King of Sweden. Wittelsbach Dynasty. Born in Stockholm, the only son of King Carl X Gustav and Queen Hedwig Eleanor, he ascended the throne after his father's sudden death in 1660. During his minority, the kingdom was run by a regent, primarily the king's incompetent uncle Count Magnus Gabriel De La Gardie, leaving the king's education to the Queen Mother who followed a regimen of sport rather than statecraft. Initially, the regency ended ongoing wars with favorable peace treaties but grossly mismanaged internal affairs in attempts to enrich themselves. The regents then embroiled the country in the Scanian War during which the Swedes were defeated at the Battle of Fehrbellin and driven out of Pomerania; while Denmark overran Holstein-Gottorp and launched an invasion of Sweden. The king took control of the government in 1674, dispensing with his aristocratic advisors and taking personal control of the war. After defeating the Danes at Lund in December 1676, he entered peace negotiations with Denmark and married Princess Ulrica Eleanor of Denmark with whom he had seven children. He embarked on a foreign policy of neutrality. Internally, he expanded royal power and established an absolute monarchy by breaking the power of the high nobility. The king threw himself into the task of retooling the nation's finance, commerce, national armaments and conscription, judicial procedure, church government, and education. He died at 41 of apparent stomach cancer and was succeeded by his only surviving son. He is regarded by many as among the greatest of Sweden's kings, many of his reforms having endured in one form or another to the present day.
Bio by: Count Demitz