Christian Friis (Chancellor)

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Christian Friis ( November 4, 1581 at Gut Krastrup in Farstrup - October 1, 1639 ) was a Danish nobleman and royal chancellor.



Christian Friis came from a noble Danish family. He was the son of Jørgen Friis († 1616) and Else Bjørn. After attending the Latin school in Sorø , his father sent him and two of his brothers on the mandatory educational trip for young nobles in 1599 , which took them to the University of Marburg and Strasbourg , among other places . As court master she accompanied Magister Hermann Nielsen, a later professor at the University of Copenhagen . In 1601 they went to Oslo , where their father had meanwhile become the royal governor of Norway , but after a few months they left again with their fourth brother and traveled through France, where two of the brothers died. While the last brother and the court master returned to Denmark, Christian Friis traveled on to Italy alone in 1604 and studied there with students from numerous other nations at the University of Padua . On the return journey he entered the service of Moritz von Oranien in the Netherlands in 1606 , but in 1607 he is already listed as a court squire at the Danish court. In this function, he accompanied Reichsrat Jacob Ulfeldt to negotiations with the States General at the end of this year .

Participation in the war and educator of princes

In Kalmar War Christian Friis was characterized in 1611 as captain when taking Kalmar and attracted the attention of King Christian IV. Up. In 1612 he became governor of the island of Öland , which had been conquered by the Danes, and held Borgholm Castle until the island was returned to Sweden during the peace negotiations . There is a diary of Friis and his correspondence with the then Chancellor Christian Friis the Elder from this war. After the peace treaty Christian Friis received the fief of Roskilde (1613/14) and then Copenhagen (1614/15 and 1620-1624). In 1614 he married Barbara Wittrup (* 1591). In the same year he accompanied the king to England. In 1615 he became court master of Crown Prince Christian and his brothers Friedrich and Ulrich . In November 1616 he accompanied Crown Prince Christian to Koldinghus, where Friedrich III. , the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf , had to take the oath of fief to the king for his lands in the Duchy of Schleswig . At this meeting he must have made a lasting impression on King Christian IV, because in December 1616 the king appointed him as the successor to the older Christian Friis, who died in June, as royal chancellor, accepted him into the imperial council , knighted him and awarded him the Elephant Order .


At only 35 years of age and without having previously held a political office, Friis was the most important man in the Danish state. In the council meetings he was often the king's representative and chairman of the council of nobility at the same time. The St. Knud Monastery in Odense was part of his income . After the outbreak of the Thirty Years War , he tried to convince the king to remain neutral. In 1623 Christian IV joined the war as leader of the Lower Rhine-Westphalian Imperial Circle . After the devastating defeat at Lutter in 1626, Friis negotiated the Lübeck Peace Treaty, with which Denmark left the war in 1629 with relatively mild conditions.

As Chancellor, he strove to improve education and promote science in the country. The high war expenditures were often a hindrance to these efforts. One of his colleagues in church reforms was Holger Rosenkrantz . In 1623 the school in Sorø was expanded to become a knight academy , for which Friis won well-known scientists such as Stephan Hansen Stephanius as professors. New professors have been won for the University of Copenhagen.