Saint Olaf, king of Norway, killed in battle, July 29, 1030. He was the son of Ilarald Granske, and grandson of Harald the Fair-Haired, and was educated by Sigurd Syr, the chief of an upland district, who married the young prince's widowed mother. At the age of 12 Olaf commanded a piratical expedition to the British coasts, where he assisted the Anglo-Saxons in opposing the Danes; and at the age of 16 he had been engaged in nine great battles. In his career as a viking he visited Sweden; and once, being blockaded by the Swedes within the Mselar lake, he escaped by cutting a canal to the sea. For the next two years he infested the shores of France and Spain; and at length returning to Norway during the absence of Eric (1014), then engaged in the wars of Canute in England, he made himself master of the kingdom to the great joy of the Christians, and soon rendered it independent of both Sweden and Denmark. In his zeal for the Christian faith, he burned the heathen temples, erecting churches on the nuns, and marched through his dominions at the head of an army, compelling submission to the new faith. He forbade all piracy, and enforced his law so rigorously that, although the vikings were sons of his most powerful subjects, he punished the offenders with loss of life or limb.
His severity provoked rebellion, and while quelling this he was suddenly attacked by Canute the Great, who laid claim to Norway, landed an army at Drontheim, and conquered the kingdom. Olaf fled with his infant son Magnus to Russia; but two years afterward (1030), assisted by the king of Sweden, he entered Norway from the north, gave battle to the Danes near Drontheim, and fell in the thick of the fight, with most of his followers and kinsmen. The body of the king was secretly buried by one of his adherents.