Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Charles XII

Charles XII., of Sweden (1682-1718), succeeded his father at the age of 15. As he was so young his neighbours, who had not forgotten the aggressions of his grandfather, Charles X, thought that their turn had come, and Frederick of Denmark, Augustus of Poland, and the Czar Peter of Russia, all resolved to fall upon him. The Danes began, but an Anglo-Dutch squadron aided Charles by threatening Copenhagen, and Denmark was obliged to abandon her intention. In 1700 Charles defeated the Russians at Narva; he then proceeded to dethrone the king of Poland; and in 1708 he made a sudden incursion into Russia, and nearly succeeded in capturing Czar Peter, drove the Russians before him, and had the way open to Moscow, when he all at once turned south towards the Ukraine in order to effect a junction with some forces which the Cossack Mazeppa had promised to bring to his aid. Mazeppa, however, was not able to keep his promise; the Czar cut off Charles's reinforcements from Sweden, beat him at Pultowa (1709), and the king was obliged to flee to Turkish territory at Bender. Russian agents - apparently then as ubiquitous as now - caused him after a time to be violently expelled from Turkey, or rather to escape to save his life, and in 1714 he was back in his own country. In 1716 he attacked Norway, and then formed a scheme of making peace with the Csar, taking Norway, and restoring the Stuarts to the throne of England. In 1718 he again attacked Norway, and was killed at the siege of Friedrichshall by a musket-shot while recklessly exposing himself outside the entrenchments. There were rumours that he died by a shot from his own side, and accusations were brought against some of his officers, but could not be proved. A surgical examination of the skull at a later period gave countenance to this view owing to the ignorance of the doctors, who thought that the hole" made by the exit of the bullet was caused by its entry. A recent examination has proved that the bullet came from the direction of the city, and that it was fired from a higher level than that occupied by the king. This enthusiastic madman was a thorough soldier, simple in dress and habits, shared all the privations of his men, and was as much beloved by them as Napoleon I. was by his soldiers. The Life of Charles XII. by Voltaire, though not accurate in all particulars, is well written and is of great interest.