The Swedish Privateer and his Wife

In May 1710, Lars Gatenhielm received a letter of marque from Swedish king Charles XII. For eight years, Gatenhielm caused havoc in Kattegatt and in the North Sea, operating 50 ships and capturing more than 80 different enemy and neutral ships. In May 1718, Gatenhielm died from tuberculosis but his pirate empire was now taken over by his wife, Ingela Gatenhielm. The two had married in April 1711, and since Lars’ tuberculosis had a negative effect on his legs, forcing him to use crutches, it is believed his wife Ingela took a great part in running the privateering business. Between 1718 and 1719 Ingela continued to send her ships to raid the North Sea, capturing French and British merchants. Many of these were sold privately at Dunkirk, resulting in tax claims from the Swedish Crown. Ingela, in turn, raised her own claims against the Crown. The Crown finally gave in and a reconciliation was effected. Ingela died a wealthy woman in April 1729. She was buried next to her husband Lasse in Onsala church in the county of Halland. The pictures are showing Lars Gatenhielm, Ingela Gatenhielm and their coffins.