Charles I

Charles I

[chahrlz; Fr. sharl]
Charles I, emperor of the West and Frankish king: see Charlemagne.
Charles I, 1887-1922, last emperor of Austria and, as Charles IV, king of Hungary (1916-18); son of Archduke Otto and grandnephew and successor of Emperor Francis Joseph. He married Zita of Bourbon-Parma. The death (1914) of his uncle, Francis Ferdinand, made Charles heir to the throne. He showed skill as a commander in World War I. After his accession he put out peace feelers. His correspondence with his brother-in-law, Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma, justified French claims to Alsace-Lorraine. The Allies published (Apr., 1918) the correspondence, thus causing friction between Austria and Germany and diminishing Charles's popularity. Charles vainly tried to save the Austro-Hungarian monarchy by proclaiming (Oct. 16, 1918) an Austrian federative state. Hungary and Czechoslovakia declared their independence, and on Nov. 3, Charles had to consent to unconditional surrender in the armistice concluded with General Armando Diaz. Charles abdicated as emperor of Austria on Nov. 11 and as king of Hungary on Nov. 13; early in 1919 he and his family went into exile in Switzerland. After the triumph of the monarchists in Hungary in 1920, he attempted unsuccessfully to regain the Hungarian throne in Mar., 1921, and again in October, when the regent, Horthy, had him arrested. Charles was exiled to Madeira and there died of pneumonia. His son, Archduke Otto, inherited his claim to the throne. Charles I was beatified in 2004.

See biographies by H. Vivian (1932) and G. Shepherd (1968).

Charles 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. The negotiations for his marriage to the Spanish infanta were unpopular in England, and Charles himself turned against Spain after his unhappy visit to Madrid (1623) in the company of George Villiers, 1st duke of Buckingham. Apart from these negotiations, he took little part in politics before he succeeded (Feb., 1625) his father as king.


Early Struggle with Parliament

A shy and dignified figure, he was popular at the time of his coronation, but he immediately offended his Protestant subjects by his marriage to the Catholic Henrietta Maria, sister of Louis XIII of France. Charles's favorite, Buckingham, was unpopular, and the foreign ventures under Buckingham's guidance were unfortunate, particularly the unsuccessful expedition to Cádiz (1625) and the two disastrous attempts to relieve French Protestants in La Rochelle (1627 and 1628). Nor would Parliament willingly grant money to help Charles's sister, Elizabeth of Bohemia, and the Protestants in the Thirty Years War. The reign eventuated in the bitter struggle for supremacy between the king and Parliament that finally resulted in the English civil war.

Parliament had a substantial role in the making of money grants to the king and adopted the tactic of withholding grants until its grievances were redressed. The Parliament of 1625 refused money, demanded ministers it could trust, and was soon dissolved by Charles. That of 1626 was dissolved when it started impeachment proceedings against Buckingham. Charles, to meet his needs for money, resorted to quartering troops upon the people and to a forced loan, which he attempted to collect by prosecutions and imprisonments.

Forced to call Parliament again in 1628, he was compelled to agree to the Petition of Right, in return for a badly needed subsidy. Charles adjourned Parliament when it declared that his continued collection of customs duties was a violation of the Petition. Although Buckingham was assassinated (1628), the parliamentary session of 1629 was bitter. It closed dramatically with a resolution condemning unauthorized taxation and attempts to change existing church practices.

The Years of No Parliament

Charles governed without Parliament for 11 years after 1629, which were marked by popular opposition to strict enforcement of the practices of the Established Church by Archbishop William Laud and to the ingenious if disingenuous devices employed by the government to obtain funds. The royally controlled courts of high commission and Star Chamber waged a harsh campaign against nonconformists and recusants (Catholics), and large emigrations to America, of both Puritans and Catholics, took place. The trial (1637-38) of John Hampden for refusal to pay a tax of ship money greatly increased public indignation. Meanwhile Charles's deputy in Ireland, Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford, was carrying out a wide program of reforms through his oppressive policy of "Thorough."

Renewed Struggles with Parliament

Conditions in England reached a crisis when Charles attempted (1637) to force episcopacy upon the Scots, an attempt that was violently opposed by the Scottish Covenanters and that resulted in the Bishops' Wars. Unable to wage war effectively, Charles in May, 1640, summoned the so-called Short Parliament, which demanded redress of grievances before granting funds and was dissolved.

Another attempt to carry on the war without Parliament failed, and the famous Long Parliament was summoned in November. Under the leadership of John Pym, John Hampden, and Sir Henry Vane (the younger), Parliament secured itself against dissolution without its own consent and brought about the death of Strafford, the abolition of the courts of high commission and Star Chamber, and the end of unparliamentary taxation.

Charles professed to accept the revolutionary legislation, though he was known to hold strong views on the divine right of monarchy. Parliament's trust in the king was further undermined when his queen was implicated in the army plot to coerce Parliament, and Charles was suspected of complicity in the Irish rebellion (1641) and its resulting atrocities, especially in Ulster. In 1641, Parliament presented its Grand Remonstrance, calling for religious and administrative reforms and reciting in full its grievances against the king. Charles repudiated the charges, and his unsuccessful attempt to seize five opposition leaders of Commons in violation of traditional privilege was the fatal blunder that precipitated war.

Civil War and Execution

There were no decisive victories in the civil war until Charles was defeated at Marston Moor (1644) and Naseby (1645). In 1646 he gave himself up to the Scottish army, which delivered him to Parliament. He was ultimately taken over by the English army leaders, who were now highly suspicious of Parliament. He escaped (Nov., 1647) to Carisbrooke, on the Isle of Wight, where he concluded an alliance with the discontented Scots, which led to the second civil war (1648) and another royalist defeat. Parliament, now reduced in number by Pride's Purge (see under Pride, Thomas) and controlled by Charles's most powerful enemies, established a special high court of justice (see regicides), which tried Charles and convicted him of treason for levying war against Parliament. He was beheaded on Jan. 30, 1649. To the royalists he became the martyred king and author of the Eikon Basilike. By his opponents he was considered a double-dealing tyrant.


See biography by C. Hibbert (1968); C. Hill, The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714 (1961); C. V. Wedgwood, The Great Rebellion: The King's Peace, 1637-1641 (1955), The King's War 1641-1647 (1958), and A Coffin for King Charles (1964); M. Ashley, Charles I and Cromwell (1988); L. J. Reeve, Charles I and the Road to Personal Rule (1989).

Charles I, Frankish king: see Charlemagne.
Charles I, 1288-1342, king of Hungary (1308-42), founder of the Angevin dynasty in Hungary; grandson of Charles II of Naples, who had married a daughter of Stephen V of Hungary. On the death (1301) of Andrew III, last of the Arpad dynasty, Charles was the candidate of Pope Boniface VIII for the crown of St. Stephen, but the Hungarians elected Wenceslaus III of Bohemia; in 1308 the Hungarian diet at last chose Charles, who was crowned in 1310. He reorganized the army on a feudal basis, using the nobility for its personnel, and taxed the bourgeoisie. Silver and gold mines became state monopolies, and in 1338 gold became the accepted currency. He encouraged trade and increased the privileges of the cities. He married his second son to Joanna I of Naples and took as his second wife Elizabeth, daughter of King Ladislaus I of Poland. In 1339 he secured the succession to Casimir III of Poland for his eldest son, later Louis I of Hungary.
Charles 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). After obtaining Provence by marriage (1246), he extended his influence into Piedmont. He became senator of Rome (1263, 1265-78) and undertook to champion the papal cause against Manfred in the kingdom of Naples and Sicily. In reward, he was crowned king (1266) by Pope Clement IV. Charles defeated (1266) Manfred at Benevento and defeated and executed Conradin in 1268. As leader of the Guelphs, or papal faction, he gained political hegemony in Italy and won suzerainty over several cities in Tuscany, Piedmont, and Lombardy, but his overbearing policies led to a cooling of his relations with the papacy. Planning to establish his own empire, he allied himself with the deposed Byzantine emperor, Baldwin II, against Michael VIII and fought for years in the Balkans. Corfu, Epirus, and Albania were taken, but the crushing taxes necessitated by his wars and his appointment of oppressive French officials to exact them led to the Sicilian Vespers (1282). The ensuing war against the Sicilian rebels and Peter III of Aragón, chosen by the rebels as king of Sicily, continued under Charles's son and successor, Charles II. Charles I was the founder of the first Angevin dynasty in Naples.
Charles I, 1863-1908, king of Portugal (1889-1908), son and successor of Louis I. A cultured man, learned in language and oceanography, Charles had little opportunity to display his administrative talents in a reign beset by political stagnation and financial troubles. Portuguese and British ambitions clashed over Africa, and in 1890, Great Britain issued an ultimatum demanding that the Portuguese cease attempts to expand their African empire. The Portuguese complied, but the issue raised strong feeling against Charles's rule. Financial affairs grew worse, and Germany sought to obtain part of the Portuguese African empire. After a revolt in 1906, Charles empowered João Franco, head of the Regenerator (conservative) party, to establish a dictatorial government. This provoked another revolt in 1908, in the course of which Charles and his eldest son were assassinated in a public square in Lisbon. Charles's second son, Manuel II, succeeded to the throne.
Charles I and Charles II, kings of Romania: see Carol I and Carol II.
Charles I, king of Spain: see Charles V, Holy Roman emperor.
Charles I, 953-992?, duke of Lower Lorraine (977-91); younger son of King Louis IV of France. He claimed the French throne when his nephew, Louis V of France, died (987) without issue, but he was set aside in favor of Hugh Capet. Charles seized Laon (988) and Reims (989), but was betrayed (991) by the bishop of Laon, who turned him over to Hugh. Charles died in prison. With the death of his sons the French Carolingian dynasty ended.
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