Charles IX (Sweden)

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Charles IX of Sweden
Signature Karl IX.  (Sweden) .PNG

Charles IX (* October 4, 1550 in Stockholm ; † October 30, 1611 in Nyköping ) was first imperial administrator from 1599 to 1604, then King of Sweden from 1604 to 1611.

Charles IX was the fifth son of Gustav I of Sweden and his second wife Margareta Eriksdotter Leijonhufvud .

Karl as Duke

According to his father's will, Södermanland , Värmland and some areas in Närke , Västmanland and Västergötland went to the Duchy of Charles . As long as his brother Erik was king, he could not take over his inheritance. The successful uprising against Erik XIV in 1568 was largely due to him. The kingdom went to his brother Johann , but Karl's position of power gained tremendously in importance as he took possession of his duchy in 1569.

When Johann began to support the Counter Reformation , Karl demanded independence in religious matters for his duchy. In this way, Protestantism was able to spread further in these parts of the country.

Conflict with Sigismund

After the death of Johann III. Karl saw new dangers for the Swedish Protestantism, since the new King Sigismund III. Wasa already king of Catholic Poland . Karl therefore allied himself with some senior members of the council, with whom he had previously been in dispute, against his nephew. Together they were able to wrest a law from Sigismund at his coronation in Uppsala in 1594 , which secured the Reformation .

When Sigismund set about returning to Poland in the summer of 1594, he received suggestions from Karl and a group of councilors on how Sweden should be governed during his absence. These proposals were very similar, except that Karl claimed the post of Reich administrator , while the council members wanted to integrate Karl as an equal member in a government.

Since Sigismund did not want to give the council or Duke Karl full government power due to the different religious views, he gave the government a very vague task. For this he appointed a number of governors who received their orders directly from him from Poland and who, contrary to previous agreements, favored the Catholic Church. At the instigation of Charles one was in 1595 stands Reichstag in Söderköping held, in which he received the full authority of a regent. When he then began to attack some of the most defiant city officials at gunpoint, Sigismund was forced to intervene in the action. Unhindered by Karl's fleet commanded by Joachim Scheel , Sigismund reached Sweden with an army in July 1598, but was defeated by Karl on September 25, 1598 in the Battle of Stångebro . Sigismund returned to Poland after agreeing to the Linköping Peace . In 1599, Sigismund was deposed as king by the Estates' Assembly in Stockholm because he had violated the will of Gustav I. Wasa .

Charles IX as king

After Sigismund's removal, it was suggested that his son Władysław IV. Wasa could become King of Sweden if he grew up in Sweden according to Protestant tradition. Since Sigismund did not react, Karl was appointed ruling king by the Reichstag in 1600. According to Gustav Wasa's will, Johann von Östergötland was the son of Johann III. higher in line of succession than Karl. That's why Karl initially only allowed himself to be called King for a while. It was only when Johann publicly rejected his claim in 1604 that Karl was considered the undisputed king. The solemn coronation took place in Uppsala in 1607.

Karl was careful not to give the Reichsrat the same status as in the Middle Ages, but he respected the legal restrictions imposed on the king. He tried to renew the Swedish legal system, but this was only carried out after his time. Karl campaigned for an expansion of the mining industry and helped Uppsala University to flourish again.

In terms of foreign policy, Karl tried several times to conquer Livonia . But Sigismund was able to regain these areas again and again. Karl's support for the Russian Tsar Vasily IV also remained fruitless. In 1611 the Kalmark War broke out with Denmark . The reasons lay on the one hand in the ambition of the Danish King Christian IV , and on the other hand in Sweden's claim to the Norwegian Finnmark . The war was fought near Kalmar and resulted in the loss of this city to Denmark.

Charles IX died on October 30, 1611 in Nyköping and is buried in Strängnäs Cathedral.


On May 11, 1579, he married Maria Christine von der Pfalz (1561–1589) in Heidelberg , who made him the father of these children:

  • Margareta Elisabeth (born September 24, 1580 - † August 26, 1585)
  • Elisabeth Sabina (March 12, 1582 - July 6, 1585)
  • Ludwig (born March 17, 1583 Heidelberg; † May 26, 1583 ibid.), Buried in the choir of the Heiliggeistkirche
  • Katharina (born November 19, 1584; † December 13, 1638) ∞ Count Palatine Johann Kasimir von Pfalz-Zweibrücken -Kleeburg
  • Gustav (June 12, 1587 - December 4, 1587)
  • Marie (December 18, 1588 - April 24, 1589)

On August 27, 1592 he married Christine von Holstein-Gottorp (1573-1625), with whom he had the following children:

  • Christina (born November 26, 1593 - † May 25, 1594)
  • Gustav II Adolf (December 19, 1594 - November 16, 1632), King of Sweden
  • Maria Elisabeth (March 10, 1596 - August 7, 1618) ∞ John of Sweden (1589–1618) , Duke of Östergötland
  • Karl Filip (April 22, 1601 - January 25, 1622), Duke of Södermanland

He was also the father of the natural son Karl, Count von Gyllenhielm .


Web links

Commons : Charles IX. (Sweden)  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Sigismund III. Wasa King of Sweden
Gustav II Adolf