King of Sweden. Wittelsbach Dynasty. Born the eldest and only surviving son of King Carl XI and Queen Ulrica Eleanor, he ascended to the throne at 15 upon the death of his father. The five man regency under which he succeeded was abolished almost immediately at the request of the Riksdag. At his coronation he crowned himself. He continued his father's policy of absolutism and yet was an immensely popular king. A 1699 coalition of Russia, Poland/Saxony and Denmark hoped to challenge the young monarch and Swedish supremacy in the Baltics, which resulted in the Great Northern War. With apparent ease, Carl forced Denmark to make peace by August 1700, defeated the Russian armies of Emperor Peter I the Great at Narva by November that same year, subjugated Courland the following year, then invaded Poland and declared their king dethroned. Within two years he secured the election of Stanislaus I as king of Poland. In 1706 he invaded Saxony and forced them to recognize Stanislaus as king of Poland. Unfortunately, he then attempted to invade Russia. Defeated and wounded at Poltava, he fled to Moldavia, where he lived in exile under the Ottoman sultan for four years until forcibly ejected from the Turkish realm; late in 1715 he thus rode speedily all the way back to Swedish territory at Stralsund in one of the most astonishing feats of horsemanship ever known. He conscripted a new army and in 1718 started a new campaign to conquer the Danish joint kingdom of Norway. Late on November 30, 1718, Carl was killed, either by accident or design, while in the trenches at the siege of Frederikshald. With the king unmarried and childless, the succession fell upon his sister, Princess Ulrica Eleanor the Younger. This monarch's dramatic life story has been told in many languages by various authors, one of them Voltaire. The British have called him "Charles XII the Lion of the North".
Bio by: Count Demitz