Peder Schumacher Griffenfeld

Peder Schumacher was the son of pub-owner Joachim Schumacher but attained the rank and position of Count and Chancellor.

Peder Schumacher, who was unusually intelligent, studied in Copenhagen, Rostock, Dresden, Leiden and Oxford. He was Frederik III’s secretary and in 1668 he became councillor; he prepared the Danish Act of Succession, the constitution of the absolutist monarchy. In 1673 he was appointed Count with the name Griffenfeld, and the year after he became Chancellor, as such the highest ranking official in the Kingdom.

Griffenfeld had many enemies in the Administration and he also came into conflict with Christian V. In 1676 he was arrested and condemned to death for bribery and treason, after it was disclosed that he had worked against official Danish foreign policy. On the scaffold he was reprieved with lifetime imprisonment. He was jailed at Holmen in Copenhagen until he was transferred to a fortress at Trondheim in Norway in 1680. In 1698 he was allowed to live in Trondheim. Griffenfeld was the most able Danish politician of his time, but his great ambitions and arrogance became his downfall.