In about 961 King Harald Greyhides men killed Jarl Haakon's father, and he became the Earl, or Jarl of Lade. After continuous
fighting Jarl Haakon was forced to flee to Denmark and the protection of Harald Bluetooth. Together they made plans against Harald Greyhide who they finally killed in 970.
In 975 Jarl Haakon became ruler of Norway, under the protection of Harald Bluetooth, but was really an independent ruler. He never seems to have taken the title of king. When Bluetooth tried to force Jarl Haakon to convert to Christianity Jarl Haakon broke his allegiance with Harald. Under no circumstances was the Jarl going to give up the Old Gods. The Danes attacked but were defeated at the battle of Hjorungavar in 986.
In Heimskringla it is written that ," while Hacon the Jarl was ruling over Norway there were good seasons in the land and good peace between the bonders within. But as time went on it often happens that the Jarl had improper dealings with women. This began to change the feelings of the populace and they began to show great unfriendliness towards the Jarl". It further says, " When Hacon the Jarl went north along the coast in the summer and the people gave themselves up to him, he bade them keep up the temples and blood offerings all over the land and so it was done".
Jarl Haakon heard about a King of Norwegian heritage who was residing in Ireland. He sent out a spy to Ireland, posing as a merchant, to see if this was true and to make him his ally. Instead, the spy betrayed Jarl Haakon and told the King in exile that the Jarl had lost support in Norway and had been weakened by losing his alliance with the Danes.
In 995 A.D., the Christian, Olaf Trygvasson, ( Olaf I ), arrived in Norway and Jarl Haakon quickly lost support and fled, eventually being killed by his own slave. By killing Jarl Haakon the slave was hoping to be spared by Olaf I. Olaf had him put to death as well.
Jarl Haakon, in his lifetime did his best to keep the Old Gods and religion in good order. After his return to Norway he rebuilt the Temples and reversed the Christianization of Norway, if only temporarily. We honor Jarl Haakon, the Great, on April 9th. Hail Jarl Haakon !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !