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Biography of Charles XII


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Charles XII. King of Sweden, son of Charles XI, a warlike prince. Ascended the throne at the age of 15. He had to cope with Denmark, Russia, and Poland combined against him. He foiled the Danes at Copenhagen, the Russians at Narva, and Augustus II of Poland at Riga; but being trapped in Russia and cooped up to spend a winter there, he was attacked by Peter the Great at Pultowa and defeated in July 1709, so that he had to take refuge with the Turks at Bender. Here he was again attacked, captured, and conveyed to Demotica; but escaping, he found his way miraculously back to Sweden. Making peace with the czar, he commenced an attack on Norway, but was killed by a musket-shot at the siege of Frederikshald. "His appearance among the luxurious kings and knights of the north at the time," Carlyle compares to "the bursting of a cataract of bombshells in a dull ballroom." Born 1682, died 1718.