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Ebba Brahe

Why is one of the ferries in Gränna named Ebba Brahe? Here we give a portrait of who Ebba Brahe was and what connection she had to the County of Gränna Visingsö.

Ebba Magnusdotter Brahe was born in 1596 on Visingsö. Baptized at Lyckås farm, Skärstad the same year. Her father is Magnus Brahe and her mother is Brita Stensdotter Leijonhufvud. Her grandfather was Per Brahe d.ä. the founder of the county Visingsborg who since Per Brahe d.y. developed into a large county with much power. Per d.y. was Ebba's cousin. Ebba had no siblings and therefore there was no heirs in the descending line, but Ebba's cousin Per became the new count of Visingsborg.

Gustav II Adolf Ebba is best known for her romance with Gustav II Adolf. Ebba was the maid of honor at the castle and at the castel she gets to know Gustav II Adolf. They fall in love and want to get married. But the king's mother, the widow queen Kristina, opposes the marriage. She did not think that Ebba had a sufficiently high status. Gustav Adolf convinces his mother that they get two years to think because they want to get married. But Queen Kristina treats her maid Ebba badly and convinces her that Gustav Adolf is not to be trusted. Gustav and Ebba continue their correspondence, but after two years, Kristina has persuaded Ebba that Gustav Adolf is not something for her, so she ends her romance. In the same year, Marshal Jakob De la Gardie proposes to marry, and two years later she answered yes: November 11, 1617, their engagement was celebrated in Katarina Stenbock's house in Stockholm. They married June 24, 1618 in Stockholm in the presence of the two widow queens and the king's brother. In Brahe Church on Visingsö there is a beautiful silver treasure with, among other things, what is said to be Ebba Brahe's wedding crown.

Marriage with Jakob De la Gardie Ebba and Jakob have 14 children, 7 of whom die at an early age. The most famous of the children is Magnus Gabriel. Their marriage is described as happy and Ebba as a good mother. Jakob was governor of Estonia and Livonia and Ebba lived with him there. As the husband in his service became preoccupied with his career and was often absent in the field, Ebba was given responsibility for the family's estate, and developed her ability as a businessman when she traveled between the family's estates in both Sweden and the Baltics. As a landowner and businessman, she is described as capable and wise.

In 1628 they moved back to Sweden for good. They built Makalöst and owned a number of castles, including Läckö and Ekholmen's castles. As a member of the nobility, she is described as flirtatious with a taste for luxury in clothing, art, food and jewelry and was, among other things, a customer of Claude Roquette's luxury department store in Stockholm and had a courteous household of about a hundred people. She was known for her interest in flowers and animals and had both gardens with experimental cultivations of flowers and fruit and kept animals such as pigeons, parrots and turtles.

In recent years, her husband suffered severely from an illness that blinded him, and caring for him after he became one increasingly occupied her time. In 1652, Ebba Brahe became a widow. After her husband's death, the residential palace Makalös by Norrström was inherited by his son Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie, and Ebba Brahe instead moved to Louis De Geer's palace on Götgatan in Stockholm, then also called Ebba Brahe's palace. As a widow, she dressed in mourning clothes for the rest of her life. When she became a widow, she administered the family's estates and farms, which was common in those days. She was primarily responsible for her the goods that were part of her morning gift and her inheritance. These also included many iron and mining farms, of which she was very interested. Ebba Brahe ran an extensive business and earned large incomes, which can be seen in the list of her chattels, which included a carriage pulled by two seahorses, a chandelier she donated to the Great Church in Stockholm, an artificial fruit tree that sprays water through small swans and a gilded fountain. As a person, she is described at the end of her life as proud, fierce, commanding and unpopular with servants and entertainers.

She died 5 Jan 1674 in Stockholm.