Charles XII


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Charles XII,

1682–1718, king of Sweden (1697–1718), son and successor of Charles XI. The regency under which he succeeded was abolished in 1697 at the request of the Riksdag. At the coronation he omitted the usual oath and crowned himself. Charles's youth and inexperience invited the coalition (1699) of Peter IPeter I
or Peter the Great,
1672–1725, czar of Russia (1682–1725), major figure in the development of imperial Russia. Early Life

Peter was the youngest child of Czar Alexis, by Alexis's second wife, Natalya Naryshkin.
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 of Russia, Augustus IIAugustus II,
1670–1733, king of Poland (1697–1733) and, as Frederick Augustus I, elector of Saxony (1694–1733). He commanded the imperial army against the Turks (1695–96), but had no success and was replaced by Prince Eugene of Savoy as soon as he
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 of Poland and Saxony, and Frederick IVFrederick IV,
1671–1730, king of Denmark and Norway (1699–1730), son and successor of Christian V. He allied himself (1699) with Augustus II of Poland and Saxony and with Peter I of Russia against Charles XII of Sweden in the Northern War, but was forced to sign the
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 of Denmark that challenged Swedish supremacy in the Baltics. The resulting Northern WarNorthern War,
1700–1721, general European conflict, fought in N and E Europe at the same time that the War of the Spanish Succession was fought in the west and the south.
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 quickly revealed Charles's abilities. In one of the most brilliant campaigns in history, Charles forced Denmark to make peace (Aug., 1700), defeated Peter I at Narva (Nov., 1700), subjugated Courland (1701), invaded Poland and, declaring Augustus II dethroned, secured the election (1704) of Stanislaus IStanislaus I,
1677–1766, king of Poland (1704–1709, 1733–35) and duke of Lorraine (1735–66). He was born Stanislaus Leszczynski. Early in the Northern War (1700–1721), Charles XII of Sweden overran Poland and expelled King Augustus II.
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 as king of Poland. In 1706 he invaded Saxony and forced Augustus to recognize Stanislaus as king, end his alliance with Russia, and surrender his adviser, Johann Reinhold von PatkulPatkul, Johann Reinhold von
, 1660–1707, Livonian nobleman. He incurred the wrath of Charles XI of Sweden by championing the rights of the Livonian gentry and fled abroad to escape punishment. In 1698, Patkul entered the service of Augustus II of Poland and Saxony.
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, whom Charles then had broken on the wheel. Charles then concentrated on his chief enemy, Peter I. He secured the alliance of the Cossack leader MazepaMazepa, Ivan
, c.1640–1709, Cossack hetman [leader] in the Russian Ukraine. He was made hetman (1687) on the insistence of Prince Gallitzin, adviser to the Russian regent, Sophia Alekseyevna, and he aided Gallitzin in his campaign against the Tatars (1689).
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 and invaded Russia in 1708. The Swedish army was outnumbered, weakened by long marches and a cold winter, and without the active leadership of Charles, who was wounded; it suffered a disastrous defeat by the Russians at Poltava. Much of the army was captured, and Charles fled to Turkey, where he persuaded Sultan Ahmed IIIAhmed III,
1673–1736, Ottoman sultan (1703–30), brother and successor of Mustafa II to the throne of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). He gave asylum to Charles XII of Sweden and to Mazepa after Peter the Great of Russia had defeated (1709) them at Poltava.
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 to declare war (1710) on Russia. After the Peace of the Pruth (1711) between Russia and Turkey, Charles, who had taken residence near Bender in Bessarabia, became an increasingly unwelcome guest. He was requested to leave Turkey but obstinately refused. A whole Turkish army was sent (1713) to dislodge him from his house; Charles defended it with a handful of men for several hours until he was forced by fire to make a sortie. Taken prisoner and detained near Adrianople, he feigned sickness for over a year. Late in 1714 he unexpectedly arrived at Swedish-occupied Stralsund and defended it against the Prussians and the Danes until Dec., 1715. When it fell he escaped to Sweden and proceeded to invade (1716) Norway. He was killed in the Swedish trenches while besieging the fortress of Fredrikssten. He was succeeded by his sister, Ulrica Leonora, who was forced to recognize a new constitution that gave most of the power to the nobles and clergy. During her reign the Northern War ended (1721) with substantial Swedish losses. His final failure cost Sweden its rank as a great power. The classic biography is Voltaire's History of Charles XII.

Bibliography

See also biographies by R. N. Bain (1895, repr. 1969), J. A. Gade (1916), F. G. Bengtsson (tr. 1960), and R. M. Hatton (1968).

References in periodicals archive ?
While the earlier work concentrated upon the magnetic personality of Charles XII and described in detail his personal bravery, his wars, and his spectacular march across central and eastern Europe, and thus, despite a somewhat innovative "novelistic" style, more or less fell into the traditional category of "drum and trumpet" history, the latter work treated military history less enthusiastically and concentrated upon how Peter transformed the old Tsardom of Muscovy into the new "Russian Empire" through economic, social, and legal reforms.
Bielke died at the eve of the reign of Charles XII.
For instance, Chandler compellingly describes Pushkin's synthesis of archival research and first-hand, oral accounts of events in composing A History of the Pugachev Rebellion, but his readers might also appreciate knowing that in so doing Pushkin was in part responding to and improving upon the historiographical techniques employed by Voltaire in L'Histoire de Charles XII and Histoire de l'Empire de Russie as well as Russian historians such as Nikolai Karamzin and Dmitrii Bantysh-Kamenskii.
In 1713, after a period of self-exile in Turkey, Charles XII created the office of Supreme Ombudsman.
Part 4, "Johnson and Politics," pours down a torrent of erudite hot lava on the belief that Johnson refused as an Oxford student to swear allegiance to the new Hanoverian dynasty or that he meant the portrait of Charles XII of Sweden in The Vanity of Human Wishes as a coded eulogy for Charles Edward Stuart and his Jacobite invasion of England.
Based on a poem by Pushkin, the opera, which had its premiere in 1884 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, details the quest for Ukrainian independence from Russia in the early 18th century, ending in the defeat of the ambitious Cossack leader, Mazeppa, and his cohort in the grand scheme, Charles XII of Sweden, by Peter the Great at Poltava.
At the dawn of the 18th century Sweden was a European superpower until King Charles XII came a cropper on the endless steppe.
Matthew Davis unearths some scattered 'Stuart sympathies' among Johnson's notes to Richard II; Niall Mackenzie labours for thirty pages to convince 'waverers'--for we are clearly being asked to sign up to something--that the phrase 'While ladies interpose' in Johnson's Vanity of Human Wishes continues an alleged Jacobite comparison between Charles XII of Sweden and Charles Stuart.
He was confident, although he had read Voltaire's account of the same disastrous mistake made by Charles XII of Sweden a century before.
I had an ancestor who went with King Charles XII of Sweden to fight Peter the Great (of Russia).
His Vanity of Human Wishes (1749) is among those works drawn from the closet of its apparently innocent moral status and, we are told, is a demonstrably Jacobite poem by a Jacobite author, as so well displayed in the portrait of Charles XII of Sweden.