Thursday, May 31, 2012

[May 31] Géza II, king of Hungary

Parents: Béla II, king of Hungary, and Helena of Raska
Date of Birth: 1130
House: Árpád
Spouse: Euphrosyne, daughter of Mstislav I, grand prince of Kiev, and Liubava Dmitrievna
Predecessor: Béla II
Reign: 1141 – 1162
Summary: A child king of a relatively new kingdom, Géza was still young when his father died in 1141. His mother, Helena, served as his regent while an uncle, Belos, governed. A relative, Boris, disputed Géza's claim to the throne and in 1146 occupied the fortress at Pozsony. It took weeks for Hungarian forces to remove the pretender. It was Géza's first taste in war as well, as he personally led the armies against the troops of Boris and his Austrian ally, Henry II. When he returned to the capital, he married Euphrosyne, a daughter of the Kievan grand prince,  and took up management of his realm.

In 1147, Boris appeared in the country again in the company of King Louis VII of France, but the French king was on Crusade and promised to keep a close watch on Boris to ensure he did not escape to cause trouble again in Hungary. During the first years of his sole reign, he dealt with many problems on his borders. His allies in the Kievan 'Rus and in the south were constantly asking for aide against rival powers. Géza assisted where he could, but rarely committed more troops than necessary. In 1150, he led a campaign against a relative of Boris who had started rabble-rousing in Hungary. While Géza was away, Boris himself attacked southern Hungary supported by Byzantine troops. Géza largely ignored Boris and made peace with the Byzantine Empire, stranding Boris without an army. Further intrigue plagued the later years of Géza's reign. His brother, Stephen, attempted to take the throne from Géza with the support of their uncle, Belos, who had served as governor in earlier years. Géza defeated the conspiracy and Stephen was forced to flee first to the Holy Roman Empire and then to Constantinople. Géza's other brother, Ladislaus, also attempted a coup in 1159 but was equally defeated. Among Géza's last acts was to recognize the legitimacy of Pope Alexander III in the Investiture Controversy and abandon his rights to invest bishops within Hungary. He died the next year leaving an intact kingdom to his son, Stephen III.
Date of Death: 31 May 1162
Successor: Stephen III

Other Monarch Deaths:
Petronius Maximus, emperor of Rome (455)
Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, shogun of Japan (1408)
Martin I, king of Aragón (1410)
Friedrich Wilhelm I, king of Prussia (1740)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

[May 30] Isaac Babalola Akinyele, olubadan of Ibadan

Parents: Josiah Akinyele and Abigail Lapeno
Date of Birth: 18 April 1882
House: Akinyele
Predecessor: Apete
Reign: 1955 – 1964
Summary: Isaac was the second son of Christian converts Josiah and Abigail. Josiah was the son of a pagan warrior of Ibadan with a relatively high place in Ibadan's militocracy. He converted to Christianity in the 1850s. His wife, Abigail, was the daughter of another Ibadan pagan warrior who similarly converted to Christianity. Abigail was Josiah's second wife, and their first son, Alexander, later became the first Anglican bishop of Ibadan. Isaac was their second son and attempted in all his ways to mimic his elder brother. He excelled in school and the people of Ibadan began to look to him as an example. By 1910, the ruler of Ibadan proclaimed that every household must send at least one child to school. During this time, Isaac worked as a civil servant in the British government of Nigeria. He became a customs inspector in 1903. Over the years, he improved his rank, becoming a judge of the native court in the 1910s while also establishing cocoa plantations throughout Ibadan. In 1914, he and his brother joined the Egbe Agba O'Tan association of educated Yorùbá tribespeople. Alexander soon after founded the Ibadan Progressive Union, which was a peaceful organization supporting change in the native government in Nigeria. Isaac joined the Faith Tabernacle in 1924. It was a church that emphasized local customs and traditions in Christianity, thereby increasing the desire to join the religion. By 1935, Isaac became a Ibadan lord (Oloye) and soon after appointed Balogun, a title akin to duke in Europe. In 1948, he was recognized for his Christian virtues by the crown of the United Kingdom and became an officer of the Order of the British Empire. Yet even in his old age, he had not yet reached his pinnacle. For his services to Ibadan and the British government in Nigeria, Isaac was appointed the Olubadan of Ibadan, a non-hereditary kingship over the city. When Queen Elizabeth II visited Nigeria in 1956, she knighted Isaac.

Nigeria's independence movement was already begun, though, when he became olubadan. By 1960, independence had been recognized and the entire country was up in revolt. Nigeria was in a state of chaos. The north was dominated by Islamic groups while the south was Christian. Throughout the entire episode, Isaac remained separated from the government, preferring instead to seek peace initiatives. Isaac hosted several peace conferences in Ibadan between 1962 and 1964, but all came to naught. A federal government with a constitution was proclaimed in 1963 but the warring continued. Isaac died in 1964 with the country he loved still in turmoil.
Date of Death: 30 May 1964
Successor: Yesufu Kobiowu

Other Monarch Deaths:
Wladislaus II, duke of Poland (1159)
Ferdinand III, king of Castile (1252)
Charles IX, king of France (1574)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

[May 29] Constantine XI, emperor of Constantinople

True Name: Kōnstantinos XI Dragasēs Palaiologo (Κωνσταντῖνος ΙΑ' Δραγάσης Παλαιολόγος)
Parents: Manuel II, emperor of Constantinople, and Helena Dragas
Date of Birth: 8 February 1404
House: Palaiologos
Spouse: (1) Theodora, daughter of Leonard II, lord of Zante, then (2) Caterina, daughter of Dorino, lord of Lesbos, and Orietta Doria
Predecessor: John VIII
Reign: 1448 – 1453
Summary: Despite being born as the second son of the large family of Manuel II, Constantine was truly set to rule an empire. Most of his childhood was spent playing in the palaces of Constantinople and during his older brother, John VIII's, campaigns in Italy, Constantine ruled as his regent in the Imperial capital. In 1443, Constantine became the despot of Morea, a state created in the aftermath of the Latin conquest of Constantinople two centuries earlier. Mistra, its capital, was a center of arts and culture that rivaled Constantinople. With the threat of the Ottoman Empire ever present, Constantine built up the city walls and conquered the surrounding Duchy of Athens that had been tributary to the Ottomans previously. In 1446, Sultan Murad II invaded Morea, destroyed the wall, and sacked the city. Constantine fled back home and stopped any future plans of expanding Morea at the Ottoman's expense. John VIII died childless in 1448 and Constantine was next in line, but his younger brother, Demetrios, sought the throne as well. The two rival claimants sought the advice of Murad II, who favored Constantine.

Constantine was crowned in Mistra rather than Constantinople and never had a chance to be formally crowned by the patriarch in Constantinople. In 1451, Murad II died and his son, Mehmed II, took over and immediately began plans to invade Constantinople and the surviving territory of the Byzantine Empire. Constantine tried his utmost to rebuild his defenses but the economy was against him and the clergy was indifferent. A few troops from the West came in to help, but in 1452, Mehmed blockaded the city, thereby stopping future reinforcements. The army of the enemy was many times larger than Constantinople's and better equipped. Mehmed offered Constantine Morea in exchange for surrendering the Empire, but the emperor would not admit defeat. Constantine XI died the day the city fell and tradition states that he fell while leading a last charge against the Ottoman army. His body was never found and it is likely he was buried in a mass grave with his soldiers. Constantine was the last emperor of Constantinople in a line that stretched almost unbroken to Augustus, emperor of Rome. The Ottoman Empire renamed the city Istanbul soon after its conquest and relocated their capital to the city. Mehmed took the title "sultan of Rûm" as one of his subsidiary titles.
Date of Death: 29 May 1459
Successor: Mehmed II

Other Monarch Deaths:
Christopher I, king of Denmark (1259)
Henry II, king of Castile (1379)
Hongxi, emperor of China (1425)
Anaukpetlun, king of Burma (1628)
Michael III, prince of Serbia (1868)

Monday, May 28, 2012

[May 28] Afonso IV, king of Portugal

Surnamed: "The Brave"
Parents: Denis, king of Portugal, and Elizabeth of Aragon
Date of Birth: 8 February 1291
House: Capet-Burgundy
Spouse: Beatrice, daughter of Sancho IV, king of Castile, and Maria de Molina
Predecessor: Denis
Reign: 1325 - 1357
Summary: Born in Lisbon, he was the eldest but less favored son of King Denis of Portugal. An illegitimate son of the king curried more favor and it took all of Afonso's power to secure the throne for himself. Civil wars between Afonso and his brother were commonplace before his coronation. When Afonso became king, he sentenced his brother to exile in Castile, stripping him of all lands and titles. For many years, his brother continued to incite rebellions in Portugal until the two finally signed a peace treaty.

During Afonso's lifetime, new alliances were formed with Castile. Afonso himself married a Castilian princess in 1309, and he married his daughter, Maria, to a Castilian king in 1328. His son, Pedro, was betrothed to a Castilian princess as well. Portugal then went to war with Castile because the king, Alfonso XI, was abusing Afonso's daughter, Maria. The two Iberian powers finally came to terms in 1339 and the next year, they led a joint invasion of Moorish Iberia (Southern Spain). During the later years of his reign, Castilian exiles flooded into Portugal fleeing from the civil war between Pedro the Cruel of Castile and his half-brother Henry of Trastamara. When Afonso's son, Pedro, openly acknowledged a Castilian heiress as his mistress, the political intrigue in Portugal reached its height. Aging, Afonso was unable to stop his son from making a mockery of his court. Pedro's illegitimate children with Ines de Castro grew in power and authority within Portugal while Pedro's legitimate son, Fernando, remained sickly.  In 1355, Afonso had enough. He had Ines executed. Pedro responded by  taking control of the military and devastating Portugal. The two only reconciled in 1357, and Afonso died only days later. Afonso's only real contribution to the future of Portugal was the enlargement and state financing of the Portuguese navy, which in the next century would reach India under Vasco da Gama. The Age of Exploration began during his reign, though discoveries only came years later.
Date of Death: 28 May 1357
Successor: Pedro I

Other Monarch Deaths:
Caterina, countess of Forli (1509)
Saito Dosan, daimyo of Japan (1556)
Sakuramachi, emperor of Japan (1750)
Edward VIII, king of the United Kingdom (1972)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

[May 27] Dirk III, count of Holland

Parents: Arnulf, count of Holland, and Luitgard of Luxemburg
Date of Birth: circa 981
House: Holland
Spouse: Othelindis
Predecessor: Arnulf
Reign: 993 – 1039
Summary: Dirk never ruled in Holland. Instead, he was the count of a region known as West Friesland, an area that was renamed Holland in 1101. It was a time before Holland's famous dykes and irrigations, when flooding was rampant and the population was sparse at best. The rivers were where most of the life dwelled, and it is there that Dirk was born. Dirk's mother was the sister-in-law of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II and she acted as his regent when he was too young to rule. In her capacity, she managed to use her influence to protect the borders while also using Imperial resources to suppress internal resistance.

Dirk III was a vassal of the Holy Roman Empire until 1018, when Trier, Utrecht, and Cologne all went into rebellion. Dirk moved his capital to a region near Utrecht and began to levy tolls and charge for trade on the Rhine through his land, despite defying Imperial decree to do so. Henry II was forced to recognize Dirk III as in rebellion and he confiscated Holland from the count and gave it to the bishop of Utrecht. The Imperial army was sent to ensure transfer of the land, but it was a disaster. At the Battle of Vlaardingen, the Hollanders killed many of the leaders of the Imperial army and captured the commander, Godfrey II, duke of Lower Lorraine. Henry II was forced to recognize Dirk as the uncontested count of Holland. He went on to conquer lands from Utrecht and Dirk gained Imperial protection again in 1024 when he supported Conrad II's bid for the Imperial throne. Dirk died in 1039 and the Empire immediately attempted to retake parts of Holland, but a generation later, Dirk V, Dirk III's grandson, restored all of Dirk's holding permanently to Holland.
Date of Death: 27 May 1039
Successor: Dirk IV

Other Monarch Deaths:
Procopius, usurper to Rome (366)
Ordoño I, king of Asturias (866)
Simeon I, tsar of Bulgaria (927)
Ludovico, duke of Milan (1508)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

[May 26] Charles II, elector palatine of the Rhine

True Name: Karl
Parents: Charles I Louis, elector palatine of the Rhine, and Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel
Date of Birth: 31 March 1651
House: Wittelsbach-Simmern
Spouse: Wilhelmina Ernestine, daughter of Frederick III, king of Denmark, and Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Predecessor: Charles I Louis
Reign: 1680 – 1685
Summary: Charles was born into a family that had lost much in the past fifty years. His grandfather, Frederick V, had been placed under the ban of the Empire, with all his electoral titles passing to the distant Bavarian branch of the family. The Palatinate had become Calvinist when it passed to the Simmern line in 1559 and France was constantly worried about such influence on its borders. Frederick's son, Charles I, was able to negotiate a return of the titles in 1648 at the Peace of Westphalia, but his new title was lower in rank than the old. Charles I supported the royalist cause at first in England, where his first cousin, Charles I, was at war with his parliament. Yet by the end, Charles supported the Parliamentary cause. Charles moved to England in 1644 and even was considered a likely candidate for the English throne in opposition to Charles I of England. When he returned to the Palatinate, he began to rebuild the territory that had been so ravaged in the previous years. It is during this time that Charles II was born. Charles was born and raised a Calvinist and he was quite fond of his aunt, Sophia of Hanover. She arranged his marriage to the Danish princess Wilhelmina Ernestina, to secure a better position against Catholic France. Unfortunately for Charles, they never produced any children and he, being the last of the Simmern line, faced a succession crisis throughout his brief reign that began in 1680 when his father died.

Charles was once again in England when his father died. He was made a Knight of the Garter and was made a doctor of Oxford University. When he returned to the Palatinate, he made his former teacher, Paul Hachenberg, his chief minister. Charles II was a strict Calvinist ruler who preferred military exercises but not actual warfare. He opened the doors of the Palatinate to Calvinists from all over Europe, a move recommended by his second chief minister, Johann Ludwig Langhanns. Lutheranism, on the other hand, was suppressed throughout his realm. Within two years, his government was suffering from run-away inflation aused by a budget that could not support the size of his court. When Charles died in 1685, the Simmern line ended. The next in line was a Catholic branch, while King Louis XIV of France attempted to claim the title through his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Charlotte, Charles II's sister. The result was the Nine Years War, also known as the War of the Palatine Succession. Most of Europe fought against Louis in this war out of fear that Louis would tip the balance of power in his favor. Philip William, the Neuburg heir, was able to take over in the Palatinate despite the war but his reign was brought with difficulties and it would be a decade before peace was restored to the Palatinate.
Date of Death: 26 May 1685
Successor: Philip William

Other Monarch Deaths:
Ali ar-Rida, imam of Shi'a Islam (818)
Edmund I, king of England (946)
Adalbert, margrave of Austria (1055)
Mehmed I, sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1421)
Bayezid II, sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1512)
Ferdinand Maria, elector of Bavaria (1679)

Friday, May 25, 2012

[May 25] Henry II, king of Navarre

Parents: Jean, lord of Albret, and Catherine, queen of Navarre
Date of Birth: 18 April 1503
House: Albret
Spouse: Marguerite, daughter of Charles, count of Angoulême, and Louise of Savoy
Predecessor: Catherine
Reign: 1517 – 1555
Summary: A tragedy occurred to the small Pyrenees kingdom of Navarre in 1512, just five years prior of Henry's coronation. Ferdinand II, king of Aragon, on false pretenses annexed half of Navarre. Ferdinand based his claim on the claim of his second wife, Germaine, who was a cousin to Queen Catherine, Henry's mother. When Ferdinand took the land, he stole the title as well, adding it as a sub-title to his own. Lower Navarre, the portion north of modern-day Spain, held out as a separate country still named Navarre. Yet its days of independence were numbered. Henry d'Albert was the second in his line to claim the title. His father, Jean, was a minor lord in southern France. When Catherine began negotiations to marry Henry, she chose a French princess for her son. This is the trigger that prompted Ferdinand's invasion, because the Aragonese king did not want France in his back yard. Henry did not marry a French princess and Catherine died in 1517, leaving the remaining portion of Navarre to her son.

Henry owed his country's survival to the good graces of King François I of France. Meanwhile, Charles (the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V) continued his grandfather's claim to Navarre from Spain. Henry II, though, wanted all of his country back. It was the oldest surviving state in Hispania and it was his by right. In 1516 and 1518, conferences were held to try and convince the Pamplona estates to recognize Henry II as their king. In 1521, French and Navarrese forces invaded Upper Navarre but were defeated at the Battle of Noain. In 1525, Henry was taken prisoner at the Battle of Pavia but he escaped in 1526. Soon after, he married the sister of King François. She became the mother of the penultimate independent ruler of Navarre, Jeanne III. In his final years, Henry arranged the marriage of his daughter to Antoine de Bourbon, a potential heir to the French throne, thereby ensuring continued support from France. Henry had gained the sympathy of the Huguenots in southern France and died in their care at Hagetmau in 1555, never regaining any of his southern lands.
Date of Death: 25 May 1555
Successor: Jeanne III

Other Monarch Deaths:
Boniface IV, pope of Rome (615)
Murakami, emperor of Japan (967)
Mieszko I, duke of Poland (992)
Gregory VII, pope of Rome (1085)
Alexander IV, pope of Rome (1261)
Idris I, king of Libya (1983)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

[May 24] Abu al-Hasan, sultan of Morocco

Marinid Dynasty banner
True Name: Abu Al-Hasan 'Ali ibn 'Othman (أبو الحسن علي بن عثمان‎)
Surnamed: The Black Sultan
Parents: Abu Sa'id Uthman II, sultan of Morocco, and an Abyssinian woman
Date of Birth: circa 1297
House: Marinid
Spouse: Fatima, daughter of Abu Bakr, ruler of Ifriqiya
Predecessor: Abu Sa'id Uthman II
Reign: 1331 – 1351
Summary: Abu al-Hasan was the descendant of a recent line of Moroccan sultans. His mother was Abyssinian, making her sub-Saharan in origin and dark in complexion. Throughout his life, Abu al-Hasan was known as "the Black Sultan."He became sultan in 1331 and quickly married Fatima, the daughter of a local rival. The marriage created an alliance between the Marinids and Hafsids which was quickly used in a war against the Abdalwadids of Algeria. In 1333, the ruler of Grenada asked for help in fighting the Christians and Abu al-Hassan landed a large army in Hispania. After two months, he took Gibraltar from Castile and began moving north. The Grenadans suddenly became afraid and assassinated their own sultan, Muhammad IV. The new sultan, Yusuf I, maintained the alliance with Morocco. In 1335, al-Hasan invaded Algeria to back up the army of his uncle. A three-year siege outside of the city of Tlemcen created nearly a second city beside the besieged. In 1336, he was forced to deal with a rebellious brother in the south. Meanwhile, Tlemcen finally fell and the entire territory—roughly half of modern Algeria—was annexed to Morocco.

The war with Castile escalated in 1339 when Yusuf I called for help again. Seeing the threat, Alfonso XI of Castile allied with his one-time rival Afonso IV of Portugal to face the onslaught. In 1340, Castilian forces met Moroccan ships at Ceuta. At the battle of Gibraltar, the Castilian fleet was almost completely destroyed. al-Hasan spent the rest of the summer sending troops to Grenada and then attacked Castile directly. A joint Portuguese-Genoese fleet managed to cut off the supply line to Morocco late in 1340 while the Portuguese and Castilian kings joined forces outside of Seville to attack the Muslims. The Moroccan and Grenadan forces were destroyed at the Battle of Rio Salado and al-Hasan fled to Morocco. He never returned. When his father-in-law died in 1346, al-Hasan decided to take over the rest of the old Almohad Empire and conquered his wife's hereditary lands. He then attempted a reformation of the government, replacing tribal leaders with bureaucrats. In 1348, Arab and Moorish tribesmen attacked and defeated the Moroccan army and Morocco lost control of Tunisia and northern Algeria. Tlemcen was recovered by the disinherited sons of the former ruler. The entire Moroccan empire fell soon after. In 1349, al-Hasan left Tunisia and had to take to the seas because Algeria was no longer under his control. His ship crashed on foreign shores and he rallied troops to try and retake Tlemcen but failed. His son, seeing his father's recent failures, took over the government and much of the government joined him. His son forced his father into southern Morocco then pursued him further south. In 1351, al-Hasan was finally compelled to abdicate in favor of his son. He died a few months later in his refuge in the Atlas Mountains.
Date of Death: 24 May 1351
Successor: Abu Inan Faris

Other Monarch Deaths:
David I, king of Scots (1153)
Taejo, king of Korea (1408)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

[May 23] Ismail I, shahanshah of Persia

True Name: Abū l-Muzaffar bin Haydar as-Safavī (شاه اسماعیل‎;)
Parents: Haydar, leader of the Safaviyya, and Martha
Date of Birth: 17 July 1487
House: Safavid
Spouse: the daughter of Shirvanshah II
Predecessor: Aq Qoyunlu
Reign: 1507 – 1524
Summary: The future of Persia changed because of Ismail's actions throughout his life. His father, Haydar, was the last leader of the Safaviyya Sufi order and a direct descendant of its founder. That made him the heir to his father's legacy. At only a year old, his father died in battle against the Shi'a community in Azerbaijan. Ismail was raised by his mother, who was a half-Greek Turkman. Ismail learned both Persian and Azeri as a child. As the young leader of the Safaviyya Order, he went into hiding until he was old enough to rule. He vowed to make Twelver Shi'a Islam his official religion, and to spread that sect throughout Persia. The people of Azerbaijan and Anatolia were with him, and in 1500, at the age of 13, he led an army of 7,000 troops into Persia where they defeated the local sultan. In 1501, Ismail was crowned shah of Azerbaijan, choosing Tabriz as his capital. Within a decade, the rest of Persia followed. In 1502, he crowned himself Shahanshah ("King of Kings") of Persia. He was young and in charge. 

Many famous legends and stories come from Ismail's reign. In 1510, he defeated a Sunni Uzbeg tribe, defeating a army nearly twice the size of his own, and turning the skull of his rival into a jeweled drinking goblet. Between 1512 and 1514, Ismail and Selim I of the Ottoman Empire exchanged threatening letters then went into open warfare. Selim attacked and captured Tabriz, but was forced to quickly retreat before his campaign was completed. Unfortunately, the defeat against the Ottomans destroyed Ismail. Although he quickly reclaimed his occupied possessions, he fell into heavy drinking and retired from the government. His minister, Mirza Shah-Hussayn, a Timurid, took over rule for the shahanshah. Throughout his reign, Persia reached its arms into Afghanistan, Asia Minor, the Levant, Iraq, and Arabia. Ismail also was a renowned poet under the name Khata'i. Most of his poems were written in Azeri, though many were in Persian as well. He wrote of Sufi love, Shi'a doctrine, and even of his family's politics. He claimed descent from 'Ali, Muhammed's son-in-law and the founder of Shi'ism, and emphasized that in many of his poems. Ismail had many children, but his eldest son, Tahmasp, succeeded him in 1524 when Ismail died at an early age.
Date of Death: 23 May 1524
Successor: Tahmasp I

Other Monarch Deaths:
Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor (1125)
Ashikaga Yoshitane, shogun of Japan (1523)
Ferdinando II, grand duke of Tuscany (1670)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

[May 22] Gensho, empress of Japan

The Imperial Seal of Japan
True Name: 元正天皇
Parents: Kusakabe and Gemmei, empress of Japan

Date of Birth: 683
House: Japan
Predecessor: Gemmei
Reign: 715 – 724
Summary: Ruling as the second woman in succession in Japan, Gensho was never intended to rule Japan. She was an elder sister of Emperor Mommu, who had predeceased her, and the daughter of the Japanese prince Kusakabe and his wife, Gemmei. When Mommu died, Kusakabe was already dead and his wife, Gemmei, the daughter of Emperor Tenji, took over as empress in his stead. Thus, Gensho descended from the Japanese royal family on both her parents' sides. Her claim to the succession was strong, and when Gemmei abdicated in 715, Gensho was selected as her successor. Gensho was chosen as an interim monarch until her nephew, Obito, son of Mommu, was old enough to rule, thus Gensho would be considered a regent in many other monarchies. But in Japan, regencies were not preferred and so on 3 October 715, Gensho became the 44th monarch of Japan.

Japan's first history book, the Nihonshoki, was completed during Gensho's reign. The book described much of the early history of Japan, copying oral histories and traditions. Gensho's place as the "44th empress" is due to this book's reckoning. The Japanese royal family was expansive during this time and had posts at every level of government. Fujiwara no Nakamaro helped organize a new code of law in Japan while Nagaya worked out a new taxation system. Fujiwara no Fuhito became the most powerful courtier and then was succeeded by Nagaya. Their two lines would fight for control of the government in future generations. In 724, Prince Obito was declared old enough to rule and Gensho abdicated in his favor. He was crowned Emperor Shomu. Gensho never had any children and never married, but lived another 24 years before dying in 748. Her tomb in located in the city of Nara.
Date of Death: 22 May 748
Successor: Shomu

Other Monarch Deaths:
Constantine I, emperor of Rome (337)
Go-Reizei, emperor of Japan (1068)
Alexander VII, pope of Rome (1667)
Ferdinand II, king of the Two Sicilies (1859)


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