Charles IX


Charles IX
1. 1550-74, king of France 1560-74.
2. 1550-1611, king of Sweden 1604-11 (son of Gustavus I).

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I
born June 27, 1550, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, France
died May 30, 1574, Vincennes

King of France (1560–74).

Son of Catherine de Médicis, he became king on the death of his brother Francis II, under his mother's regency. Though he was proclaimed of age in 1563, he remained under his mother's domination. His reign was marked by conflicts between Catholics and Huguenots, and he was remembered for authorizing the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre (1572) at his mother's instigation, an event that apparently haunted him the rest of his life. He died of tuberculosis at age 23.
II

born Oct. 4, 1550, Stockholm, Swed.
died Oct. 30, 1611, Nyköping

King of Sweden (1604–11).

Third son of Gustav I Vasa, he helped lead a rebellion against the rule of his half brother Erik XIV that placed his other brother on the throne as John III. After the accession (1592) of his devoutly Catholic nephew, Sigismund III, Charles called the Convention of Uppsala, which demanded that Lutheranism be retained as the national religion. He opposed Sigismund in a civil war, and after the latter was deposed Charles became the virtual ruler of Sweden (1599–1604). Declared king in 1604, he pursued an aggressive foreign policy that led to war with Poland (1605) and Denmark (the Kalmar War, 1611–13).

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▪ king of France
also called (until 1560)  Duc (duke) d'Orléans 
born June 27, 1550, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris
died May 30, 1574, Vincennes, Fr.
 king of France from 1560, remembered for authorizing the massacre of Protestants on St. Bartholomew's Day, Aug. 23–24, 1572, on the advice of his mother, Catherine de Médicis.

      The second son of Henry II and Catherine, Charles became king on the death of his brother Francis II, but his mother was regent. Proclaimed of age on Aug. 17, 1563, after his 13th birthday (according to the custom of the kingdom), he remained under his mother's domination, being incapable of choosing and following a policy of his own. His health was poor and he was mentally unstable.

      To strengthen the prestige of the crown, Catherine took Charles on a tour of France from 1564 to 1566. The kingdom, however, was torn by the hostility between the Catholics and the Huguenots. The victories of his brother, the Duc d'Anjou (later Henry III), over the Huguenots at Jarnac and Moncontour in 1569 made Charles jealous, so that in 1571, when the Huguenot Gaspard de Coligny came to court, Charles was persuaded to favour a Huguenot plan for intervention against the Spanish in the Netherlands; Charles sanctioned a defensive alliance with England and Huguenot aid to the Dutch. All this came to nothing, however, when Catherine, alarmed at the new policy and at Coligny's ascendancy, and dismayed at the reaction to an unsuccessful attempt on Coligny's life (Aug. 22, 1572), induced Charles to order the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day.

      The massacre apparently haunted Charles for the rest of his life. His health deteriorated, and he became increasingly melancholy. He died of tuberculosis, leaving no children by his consort, Elizabeth of Austria, whom he had married in 1570, but one son, Charles, later duc d'Angoulême, by his mistress Marie Touchet.

      Charles, although emotionally disturbed, was an intelligent man. His education had been entrusted to the Humanist Jacques Amyot, who helped him to develop a love of literature. He wrote poetry and a work on hunting and was a patron of the Pléiade (Pléiade, La), a literary group dedicated to the advancement of French literature.

▪ king of Sweden

born Oct. 4, 1550, Stockholm
died Oct. 30, 1611, Nyköping, Swed.
 virtual ruler of Sweden (1599–1604) and king (1604–11) who reaffirmed Lutheranism as the national religion and pursued an aggressive foreign policy leading to war with Poland (1605) and Denmark (1611).

      The youngest son of the Swedish king Gustav I Vasa, Charles in 1568 was one of the leaders of a rebellion against the rule of his half brother Erik XIV that placed his other brother on the throne as John III. Charles subsequently clashed with his brother in asserting his authority in his duchy and in leading the opposition to the king's efforts to reconcile Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism in Sweden. He rejected the king's new liturgy, the “Red Book,” and granted asylum to persecuted Lutherans in his duchy. He was also influenced by Calvinist ideas. The brothers were reunited in 1587, however, when both opposed the nobles' state council, which promoted the candidacy of John's son Sigismund (king of Poland as Sigismund III Vasa) for the Polish throne.

      After the devoutly Catholic Sigismund also succeeded to the Swedish throne in 1592, Charles called the Convention of Uppsala (1593), which demanded that Lutheranism be retained as the national religion. By playing on the nobles' fear of absolutist rule by an absentee monarch, Charles won their support in forcing Sigismund to accept the decisions of the Convention of Uppsala and to recognize Charles as regent in conjunction with the nobles' state council. The king's renunciation of this agreement provoked a civil war in which Charles had the support of the lower estates against the royal armies and the nobility. Defeated at Stångebro (1598), Sigismund was deposed the following year and replaced by Charles as virtual ruler of Sweden. Charles then ruthlessly suppressed the state council and his other aristocratic opponents, and thereafter his relations with the nobility remained tense. He was declared king in 1604.

      Charles's overthrow of Sigismund led to hostilities with Poland, but full-scale war did not break out until 1605; almost immediately the Swedes suffered a disastrous defeat at Kirkholm. Charles's forces then intervened in Russia, attempting to prevent a Polish conquest of the country and to install his son Gustavus (later king of Sweden as Gustav II Adolf) as ruler. Gaining no real advantage in Russia, Charles then provoked a war with Denmark (the Kalmar War, 1611–13) that was subsequently concluded by Gustavus, disadvantageously for Sweden.

      After he had suppressed his aristocratic opposition, Charles relied on the political support of the lower estates. An excellent administrator, he contributed to the nation's economic growth by sponsoring the development of metallurgical industries and by introducing foreign technicians and entrepreneurs. But he was an unattractive character, unscrupulous and choleric, brutal and coarse in speech and action, who tried to rule by a diet subordinated to his will and a system of terror.

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Universalium. 2010.

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