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Charles II,1630–85, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1660–85), eldest surviving son of Charles ICharles I,
1600–1649, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1625–49), second son of James I and Anne of Denmark. Early Life
He became heir to the throne on the death of his older brother Henry in 1612 and was made prince of Wales in 1616.
..... Click the link for more information. and Henrietta Maria.
Prince of Wales at the time of the English civil war, Charles was sent (1645) to the W of England with his council, which included Edward Hyde (later 1st earl of ClarendonClarendon, Edward Hyde, 1st earl of
, 1609–74, English statesman and historian. Elected (1640) to the Short and Long parliaments, he was at first associated with the opposition to Charles I and helped prepare the
..... Click the link for more information. ) and Thomas Wriothesley, 4th earl of SouthamptonSouthampton, Thomas Wriothesley, 4th earl of,
1607–67, English nobleman; son of the 3d earl. At first an opponent of the court party in the events leading up to the English civil war, he later joined the royalists
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1646, Charles was forced to escape to France, where he stayed with his mother and was tutored by the philosopher Thomas HobbesHobbes, Thomas
, 1588–1679, English philosopher, grad. Magdalen College, Oxford, 1608. For many years a tutor in the Cavendish family, Hobbes took great interest in mathematics, physics, and the contemporary rationalism.
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1649, Charles vainly attempted to save his father's life by presenting to Parliament a signed blank sheet of paper, thereby granting whatever terms might be requested.
After his father's execution (1649), Charles was proclaimed king in Scotland and in parts of Ireland and England. He accepted the terms of the Scottish CovenantersCovenanters
, in Scottish history, groups of Presbyterians bound by oath to sustain each other in the defense of their religion. The first formal Covenant was signed in 1557, signaling the beginning of the Protestant effort to seize power in Scotland.
..... Click the link for more information. and went (1650) to Scotland, where he was crowned (1651), after agreeing to enforce Presbyterianism in England as well as Scotland. In 1651 he marched into England but was defeated by Oliver Cromwell at the battle of Worcester. Charles then escaped to France, where he lived in relative poverty. The Anglo-French negotiations of 1654 forced Charles into Germany, but he moved to the Spanish Netherlands after he had concluded (1656) a treaty with Spain.
Restoration and Reign
In 1660 Gen. George MonckMonck or Monk, George, 1st duke of Albemarle,
1608–70, English soldier and politician.
..... Click the link for more information. engineered Charles's RestorationRestoration,
in English history, the reestablishment of the monarchy on the accession (1660) of Charles II after the collapse of the Commonwealth (see under commonwealth) and the Protectorate.
..... Click the link for more information. to the throne, and the king returned to England. Charles had promised a general amnesty in his conciliatory Declaration of Breda, and he and Clarendon, who became first minister, acted immediately to secure passage of the Act of Indemnity, pardoning all except the regicidesregicides
[Lat., =king-killers], in English history, name given to those judges and court officers responsible for the trial and execution of Charles I in 1649. After the Restoration (1660) of the monarchy they were excepted from the general pardon granted by the Act of
..... Click the link for more information. . Charles also favored religious toleration (largely because of his own leanings toward Roman Catholicism), but the strongly Anglican Cavalier Parliament, which first convened in 1661, passed the series of statutes known as the Clarendon CodeClarendon Code,
1661–65, group of English statutes passed after the Restoration of Charles II to strengthen the position of the Church of England. The Corporation Act (1661) required all officers of incorporated municipalities to take communion according to the rites of
..... Click the link for more information. , which was designed to strike at religious nonconformity. The king attempted unsuccessfully to suspend these statutes by the declaration of indulgence of 1662, which he was forced (1663) to withdraw.
Charles's government endorsed the foreign policy of the Commonwealth with its Navigation ActsNavigation Acts,
in English history, name given to certain parliamentary legislation, more properly called the British Acts of Trade. The acts were an outgrowth of mercantilism, and followed principles laid down by Tudor and early Stuart trade regulations.
..... Click the link for more information. , which contributed to the outbreak (1664) of the second of the Dutch WarsDutch Wars,
series of conflicts between the English and Dutch during the mid to late 17th cent. The wars had their roots in the Anglo-Dutch commercial rivalry, although the last of the three wars was a wider conflict in which French interests played a primary role.
..... Click the link for more information. . While the war was being waged, London suffered the great plague of 1665 and the fire of 1666. Clarendon fell from power in 1667, the year the war ended, to be replaced by the CabalCabal
, inner group of advisers to Charles II of England. Their initials form the word (which is, however, of older origin)—Clifford of Chudleigh, Ashley (Lord Shaftesbury), Buckingham (George Villiers), Arlington (Henry Bennet), and Lauderdale (John Maitland).
..... Click the link for more information. ministry.
Charles then took England into the Triple Alliance (1668) with Holland and Sweden, but he simultaneously sought the support of Louis XIV of France, with whom he negotiated the secret Treaty of Dover (1670). By this treaty, designed to free the king from dependence on Parliament, Charles was to adopt Roman Catholicism, convert his subjects, and wage war against the Dutch, for which Louis was to advance him a large subsidy and 6,000 men. In 1672 the third Dutch War began. Many suspected it to be a cloak for the introduction of arbitrary government and Roman Catholicism. Charles was forced to rescind (1672) his second declaration of indulgence toward dissenters, to approve (1673) the Test ActTest Act,
1673, English statute that excluded from public office (both military and civil) all those who refused to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, who refused to receive the communion according to the rites of the Church of England, or who refused to renounce belief
..... Click the link for more information. , and to sign (1674) a peace with the Dutch.
Thomas Osborne, earl of DanbyDanby, Thomas Osborne, earl of,
1631–1712, English statesman. Under the patronage of the 2d duke of Buckingham, he was appointed treasurer of the navy (1668), a privy councilor (1672), and lord treasurer (1673–78).
..... Click the link for more information. , became chief minister on the disintegration of the Cabal and inaugurated a foreign policy friendly to Holland. Charles, unable to secure money from an increasingly hostile Parliament, signed a series of secret agreements with Louis XIV, by which he received large French subsidies in return for a pro-French policy, although he feigned sympathy with the anti-French movement at home. His alliance with Louis, however, was broken (1677) by the marriage of his niece Mary to his nephew (and Louis's archenemy) William of Orange (later William III).
Anti-Catholic feeling in England exploded (1678) in the affair of the Popish Plot (see Oates, TitusOates, Titus,
1649–1705, English conspirator. An Anglican priest whose whole career was marked with intrigue and scandal, he joined forces with one Israel Tonge to invent the story of the Popish Plot of 1678.
..... Click the link for more information. ), in which Charles did not intervene until his wife, Catherine of BraganzaCatherine of Braganza
, 1638–1705, queen consort of Charles II of England, daughter of John IV of Portugal. She was married to Charles in 1662. As part of her dowry England secured Bombay (now Mumbai) and Tangier.
..... Click the link for more information. , was accused. However, the affair was made use of by the 1st earl of ShaftesburyShaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st earl of,
1621–83, English statesman. In the English civil war he supported the crown until 1644 but then joined the parliamentarians.
..... Click the link for more information. , who led a movement to exclude Charles's brother, the Catholic duke of York (later James IIJames II,
1633–1701, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1685–88); second son of Charles I, brother and successor of Charles II. Early Life
..... Click the link for more information. ), from succession to the throne, promoting instead the claim of Charles's illegitimate son the duke of MonmouthMonmouth, James Scott, duke of
, 1649–85, pretender to the English throne; illegitimate son of Charles II of England by Lucy Walter. After his mother's death, he was cared for by Lord Crofts, by whose name the boy was known. In 1662, James went to live at Charles's court.
..... Click the link for more information. .
In 1681 the king dissolved Parliament to block passage of Shaftesbury's Exclusion Act, and thenceforth Charles ruled as an absolute monarch, without a Parliament. His personal popularity increased after the exclusion crisis and particularly after the unsuccessful Rye House PlotRye House Plot,
1683, conspiracy to assassinate Charles II of England and his brother James, duke of York (later James II), as they passed by Rumbold's Rye House in Hertfordshire on the road from Newmarket to London.
..... Click the link for more information. . He took steps to root out the supporters of exclusion (now known as the Whigs) from positions of power, coercing municipal governments into obedience by the threat that he would rescind the city charters.
Charles died a Roman Catholic and was succeeded by his brother James. He had no legitimate offspring but many children by his various mistresses, who included Lucy WalterWalter, Lucy,
1630?–1658, mistress (1648–50) of Charles II of England during his exile in Holland and France. She was the mother by him of James Scott, duke of Monmouth, whom the Whigs supported as heir to the throne in their attempt to exclude James, duke of York
..... Click the link for more information. , Barbara Villiers (duchess of ClevelandCleveland, Barbara Villiers, duchess of
, 1641–1709, mistress of King Charles II of England. She became Charles's mistress at Breda in 1660 and returned with him to England at the Restoration. The king made her husband, Roger Palmer, earl of Castlemaine.
..... Click the link for more information. ), Louise Kéroualle (duchess of PortsmouthPortsmouth, Louise Renée de Kéroualle, duchess of
, 1649–1734, French mistress of Charles II of England. She exerted a powerful influence over the king in favor of France—and to her own advantage—from 1671 until his death in 1685.
..... Click the link for more information. ), and Nell GwynGwyn or Gwynn, Nell
(Eleanor Gwyn), 1650–87, English actress. Once an orange-seller at the Theatre Royal, she became a member of Killigrew's company, making her debut there in 1665.
..... Click the link for more information. .
Character and Influence
Charles was a ruler of considerable political skill. His reign was marked by a gradual increase in the power of Parliament, which he learned to circumvent rather than manipulate. The period also saw the rise of the great political parties, WhigWhig,
English political party. The name, originally a term of abuse first used for Scottish Presbyterians in the 17th cent., seems to have been a shortened form of whiggamor [cattle driver]. It was applied (c.
..... Click the link for more information. and ToryTory
, English political party. The term was originally applied to outlaws in Ireland and was adopted as a derogatory name for supporters of the duke of York (later James II) at the time (c.
..... Click the link for more information. ; the advance of colonization and trade in India, America, and the East Indies; and the great progress of England as a sea power. The pleasure-loving character of the king set the tone of the brilliant Restoration period in art and literature.
See contemporaneous accounts by G. Burnet, J. Evelyn, and S. Pepys; letters ed. by A. Bryant (rev. ed. 1955) and H. Pearson (1960); biographies by A. Fraser (1978, repr. 2007), J. R. Jones (1987), J. Abbott (2009), and J. Uglow (2009); G. N. Clark, The Later Stuarts (2d ed. 1955); D. Ogg, England in the Reign of Charles II (2 vol., 2d ed. 1963).
Charles II(Charles the Bad), 1332–87, king of Navarre (1349–87), count of Évreux; grandson of King Louis X of France. He carried on a long feud with his father-in-law, John II, king of France, procuring the assassination (1354) of John's favorite, Charles de La Cerda, and forming an alliance with King Edward III of England. In 1356 Charles was treacherously seized by John and imprisoned, but he was rescued after the capture of John at Poitiers. He helped suppress (1358) the JacquerieJacquerie
[Fr.,=collection of Jacques, which is, like Jacques Bonhomme, a nickname for the French peasant], 1358, revolt of the French peasantry. The uprising was in part a reaction to widespread poverty during the Hundred Years War.
..... Click the link for more information. revolt and was chosen by Étienne MarcelMarcel, Étienne
, d. 1358, French bourgeois leader, provost of the merchants of Paris. In the States-General of 1355 he and Robert Le Coq bargained for governmental reforms with the French king, John II, who needed funds for the English war.
..... Click the link for more information. to defend Paris against the dauphin (later King Charles V), but he betrayed this trust. Until his death he was involved in quarrels with Charles V and with Castile and in intrigues with England.
Charles II,1661–1700, king of Spain, Naples, and Sicily (1665–1700), son and successor of Philip IV. The last of the Spanish Hapsburgs, he was physically crippled and mentally retarded. His mother, Mariana of Austria, was regent for him and continued to rule after his majority. Her bias in favor of Austria aroused opposition, and she was forced into exile (1677) by Charles's illegitimate brother, John of AustriaJohn of Austria,
1629–79, Spanish general and statesman; illegitimate son of Philip IV. He helped put down Masaniello's revolt (1647) in Naples, was viceroy of Sicily (1648–51), and fought (1651–52) against the rebels in Catalonia.
..... Click the link for more information. . After John's death (1679) she again exercised power. Charles's reign saw the continued loss of Spanish foreign power, as was evident in the War of DevolutionDevolution, War of,
1667–68, undertaken by Louis XIV for the conquest of the Spanish Netherlands. On her marriage to Louis, Marie Thérèse, daughter of Philip IV of Spain, had renounced her rights of inheritance in return for a large dowry.
..... Click the link for more information. and the War of the Grand AllianceGrand Alliance, War of the,
1688–97, war between France and a coalition of European powers, known as the League of Augsburg (and, after 1689, as the Grand Alliance).
..... Click the link for more information. , and a severe decline in Spain's economy, society, and intellectual life. The indolent grandees and the clergy regained a political role. Tax exemptions for privileged groups brought high taxes on industry and agriculture, and emigration increased. Before his death the childless Charles named Philip of Anjou as his heir. Philip's succession (as Philip V) provoked the War of the Spanish SuccessionSpanish Succession, War of the,
1701–14, last of the general European wars caused by the efforts of King Louis XIV to extend French power. The conflict in America corresponding to the period of the War of the Spanish Succession was known as Queen Anne's War (see French and
..... Click the link for more information. .
Charles the Bald,823–77, emperor of the West (875–77) and king of the West Franks (843–77); son of Emperor Louis ILouis I
or Louis the Pious,
Fr. Louis le Pieux or Louis le Débonnaire, 778–840, emperor of the West (814–40), son and successor of Charlemagne. He was crowned king of Aquitaine in 781 and co-emperor with his father in 813.
..... Click the link for more information. by a second marriage. The efforts of Louis to create a kingdom for Charles were responsible for the repeated revolts of Louis's elder sons that disturbed the latter part of Louis's reign. When Lothair ILothair I
, 795–855, emperor of the West (840–55), son and successor of Louis I. In 817 his father crowned him coemperor. He was recrowned (823) at Rome by the pope and issued (824) a constitution, proclaiming his right to confirm papal elections.
..... Click the link for more information. , the eldest and heir to the imperial title, attempted to reunite the empire after Louis's death (840), Charles and Louis the GermanLouis the German,
c.804–876, king of the East Franks (817–76). When his father, Emperor of the West Louis I, partitioned the empire in 817, Louis received Bavaria and adjacent territories.
..... Click the link for more information. marched against their brother and defeated him at Fontenoy (841). Reaffirming their alliance in 842 (see Strasbourg, Oath ofStrasbourg, Oath of,
842, oath sworn by Charles the Bald (later Holy Roman Emperor Charles II) and Louis the German in solemnizing their alliance against their brother, Emperor Lothair I.
..... Click the link for more information. ), they signed (843) with Lothair the Treaty of Verdun (see Verdun, Treaty ofVerdun, Treaty of,
the partition of Charlemagne's empire among three sons of Louis I, emperor of the West. It was concluded in 843 at Verdun on the Meuse or, possibly, Verdun-sur-le-Doubs, Soâne-et-Loire dept., E France.
..... Click the link for more information. ), which divided the empire into three parts. The part roughly corresponding to modern France fell to Charles. He was almost continuously at war with his brothers and their sons, with the Norsemen (or Normans, as they came to be known in France), and with rebellious subjects. When Charles's nephew LothairLothair,
sometimes called Lothair II,
d. 869, king of Lotharingia (855–69), second son of Emperor of the West Lothair I. He inherited the region bounded by the Rhine, Scheldt, Alps, and North Sea, which became known as Lotharingia (Lorraine).
..... Click the link for more information. , son of Lothair I and king of Lotharingia, died in 869, Charles seized his kingdom but was forced by the Treaty of MersenMersen, Treaty of,
870, redivision of the Carolingian empire by the sons of Louis I, Charles the Bald (later Charles II) of the West Franks (France) and Louis the German of the East Franks (Germany), signed at Mersen (Dutch Meersen), now in the Netherlands.
..... Click the link for more information. (870) to divide it with Louis the German. In 875, at the death of his nephew Louis II, who had succeeded Lothair I as emperor, Charles secured the imperial crown. His reign witnessed the growth of the power of the nobles at the expense of the royal power and thus marked the rise of local feudalism. Charles's chief adviser was Archbishop HincmarHincmar
, 806–82, Frankish canonist and theologian, archbishop of Reims (from 845). He was a supporter of Carolingian Emperor Louis I and a counselor of his son Charles II (Charles the Bald).
..... Click the link for more information. .
Charles II(Charles the Lame), 1248–1309, king of Naples (1285–1309), count of Anjou and Provence, son and successor of Charles ICharles I
(Charles of Anjou), 1227–85, king of Naples and Sicily (1266–85), count of Anjou and Provence, youngest brother of King Louis IX of France. He took part in Louis's crusades to Egypt (1248) and Tunisia (1270).
..... Click the link for more information. . In the war of the Sicilian VespersSicilian Vespers,
in Italian history, name given the rebellion staged by the Sicilians against the Angevin French domination of Sicily; the rebellion broke out at Palermo at the start of Vespers on Easter Monday, Mar. 30, 1282.
..... Click the link for more information. between Charles I and Peter III of Aragón for possession of Sicily, Charles was captured (1284) in a naval battle by the Aragonese. His father died while he was in captivity and Charles succeeded to the Neapolitan throne, although he was not crowned until 1289, following his release. The war in Sicily against James (James IIJames II,
c.1260–1327, king of Aragón and count of Barcelona (1291–1327), king of Sicily (1285–95). He succeeded his father, Peter III, in Sicily and his brother, Alfonso III, in Aragón.
..... Click the link for more information. of Aragón), son and successor of Peter III, continued until James's renunciation of Sicily and recognition of Charles II as king in 1295. The Sicilians, however, refused to accept the reestablishment of French rule and set up James's brother, Frederick IIFrederick II,
1272–1337, king of Sicily (1296–1337), 3d son of Peter III of Aragón. When his brother, who was king of Sicily, became (1291) king of Aragón as James II, Frederick was his regent in Sicily.
..... Click the link for more information. , as king; war was resumed. Finally, in 1302, after the failure of a French expedition to Sicily sponsored by Pope Boniface VIIIBoniface VIII,
1235–1303, pope (1294–1303), an Italian (b. Anagni) named Benedetto Caetani; successor of St. Celestine V.
As a cardinal he was independent of the factions in the papal court, and he opposed the election of Celestine.
..... Click the link for more information. , the Peace of Caltabellotta was signed; Charles II and Pope Boniface VIII agreed that Frederick II would remain king, but Sicily was to go to Charles or his heir on Frederick's death.
Charles II,French king: see Charles IICharles II
or Charles the Bald,
823–77, emperor of the West (875–77) and king of the West Franks (843–77); son of Emperor Louis I by a second marriage.
..... Click the link for more information. , emperor of the West.
Charles II,king of Hungary: see Charles IIICharles III
(Charles of Durazzo), 1345–86, king of Naples (1381–86) and, as Charles II, of Hungary (1385–86); great-grandson of Charles II of Naples. Adopted as a child by Joanna I of Naples, he later lived at the court of Louis I of Hungary.
..... Click the link for more information. , king of Naples.
(known as Charles the Bald). Born June 13, 823, in Frankfurt-am-Main; died Oct. 6, 877, in Avrieux, the Alps. Ruler of the Western Frankish kingdom from 840. Western emperor from 875.
Charles II, the son of Louis the Pious, belonged to the Carolingian dynasty. By the Treaty of Verdun of 843, he secured the Western Frankish kingdom. In 870 he annexed a portion of Lorraine to his kingdom (Treaty of Mersen). Charles strove unsuccessfully to halt the breakup of the kingdom into independent feudal seigneuries. After the death of emperor Louis II in875, Charles secured the title of emperor and king of Italy from the Roman pope. In 876, he made a futile attempt to seize the Eastern Frankish kingdom.