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Emerentia Pålsdotter Pauli


Warrior, stewart, led the defence of Gullberg fortress

Emerentia (Pålsdotter) Pauli is known for successfully leading the defence of Gullberg fortress in 1612.

Little is known of Emerentia Pauli’s background. Thus the identities of her parents and siblings remains elusive. What is known is that in the early 1600s Emerentia Pauli married Mårten Krakow, who hailed from Filipstad and who later served as commander of Gullberg fortress. Although these two individuals can hardly be described as anonymous it appears that all their biographical information is incomplete and unverifiable. The same is true regarding their known offspring, namely Cecilia, Catharina, Påvel, and Hans. There may have been other children too.

Indeed, it was through accounts written by one of their daughters – Cecilia – that Emerentia Pauli became known to posterity. According to Cecilia it was Emerentia Pauli who led the defence of Gullberg fortress in January 1612. The daughter portrays her mother’s actions in a commemorative account written several years after the event .The piece was entitled Berättelse om Gullbergs slotts manliga försvar af hennes föräldrar, stathållaren Mårten Krakou och hans karlvulna fru Emerentia Pauli; jemte en kort underrättelse om danskarnes härjande i Vestergötland 1611-1612. In it Emerentia Pauli’s daughter summarises the Danish invasion and notes that Mårten Krakow had already fallen off his horse at the start of the Danish attack, rendering him unable to fight. His wife, Emerentia Pauli, however, continued to lead the defence of the fortress. After five hours it became clear that the Danes would not be victorious and that King Christian IV would be forced to withdraw his troops.

Cecilia Krakow recounts how Danish soldiers entered into the same room “where we children were and where the maid was baking”. The Danes were hungry and wanted food so they sat themselves down. In the meantime Emerentia Pauli called upon several soldier’s wives help fill the fortress yard with rubbish and to dump vats filled with hot lye over the enemy. Emerentia Pauli then took herself to the top of the fortress and threw out the captain who had locked himself in in order to avoid the fight. Emerentia Pauli eventually entered the room in which the hungry Danish soldiers were sitting, along with her children, waiting to be fed. Emerentia Pauli led them one by one out of the door, killing each with a log or a musket-butt. All but one of these enemy soldiers died by her hand.

The veracity of this account is debatable. The actual attack is corroborated in other sources but the details only appear in the aforenoted account, on which Cecilia Krakow’s name should have actually appeared instead of her father’s in the title beside that of Emerentia Pauli. In May 1612 Mårten Krakow and his family were moved to Vaxholm where Mårten Krakow was appointed commandant. Once again, Emerentia Pauli actively participated in the defence of the citadel. The following year Mårten Krakow was discharged and provided with a land grant. After his death – the exact date of which is uncertain – it was Emerentia Pauli who managed the couple’s properties, including a home in Gothenburg. Emerentias backe at Skansen Lejonet, where the Gullberg fortress was previously situated, is named after Emerentia Pauli.

Emerentia Pauli died in either 1647 or 1648 in Gothenburg.

Maria Sjöberg
(Translated by Alexia Grosjean)

Published 2018-03-08

You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Emerentia Pålsdotter Pauli,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Maria Sjöberg), retrieved 2024-06-15.

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Widow
  • Mother: Brita Torkelsdotter
  • Father: Paulus Pauli
  • Sister: Helena Pauli
more ...


  • Profession: Hustru till befälhavaren på Gullbergs fästning, enligt uppgift tillförordnad befälhavare och ledare av försvaret mot danskarna
  • Profession: Godsägare och förvaltare


  • Birthplace: Filipstad
  • Filipstad
  • Göteborg
more ...


  • Krakou, Cecilia, Berättelse om Gullbergs slotts manliga försvar af hennes föräldrar, ståthållaren Mårten Krakou och hans karlvulna fru Emerentia Pauli; jemte en kort underrättelse om danskarnes härjande i Vestergötland 1611-1612., Skara, 1835

  • Lovén, Christian, Borgar och befästningar i det medeltida Sverige: [Castles and fortifications in medieval Sweden], Kungl. Vitterhets-, historie- och antikvitetsakad., Diss. Uppsala : Univ.,Stockholm, 1996

Further References

  • Högberg, Stefan, 'Emerentia Pauli', Svenska kvinnor som historien glömde, Göteborg, S. 14-29, 2019