Tuesday, July 31, 2012

[July 31] João V, king of Portugal

Surnamed: "The Magnanimous"
Full Name: João Francisco António José Bento Bernardo
Parents: Pedro II, king of Portugal, and Maria Sofia of the Palatine-Neuburg
Date of Birth: 22 October 1689
Royal House: Capet-Burgundy-Avis-Bragança
Spouse: Maria Anna, daughter of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eleonore Magdalena of the Palatine-Neuburg
Predecessor: Pedro II
Reign: 1706 – 1750
Summary: A son of the relatively new ruling dynasty in Portugal, João was destined to succeed his father from birth, being the first male born to his father and the long-awaited heir. His father was already elderly when he was born but surprisingly lived another seventeen years, finally dying in 1706. João succeeded his father at that time.

João became involved in politics immediately, sending his general, the Marquês das Minas, into Castile and capturing Madrid briefly for the Grand Alliance. He married a first cousin in 1708 and strengthened his alliance with the Habsburgs who were still slightly miffed about Portugal declaring independence from Spain seventy years earlier. João continued his war with Spain and France for the War of the Spanish Succession until 1713 and 1715 respectively. Gold and diamonds found in Brasil strengthened the Portuguese economy and made João one of the wealthiest monarchs in Europe. The increased funds allowed the king to rule without parliamentary oversight and João never called the Cortes once during his forty-four year reign, ruling as an absolute monarch. Mimicking the court of Louis XVI in France, João centralized his government at the Royal Palace of Mafra and summoned all his high lords to live there, taming the upper nobility. João purchased great works of art from throughout Europe with his vast treasure troves. He expanded the royal library and added original musical manuscripts. Virtually all of these treasures were destroyed by an earthquake and ensuing tsunami and fire in 1755. It was a loss that the art world never truly recovered from. After the Spanish war, João kept Portugal out of European conflicts during his reign, preferring instead to expand the local economy, patronize the arts, and ensure Portugal's continued independence. He spent a large portion of his wealth on ensuring that the church support his family's position. It was only in 1748, though, that Pope Benedict XIV finally recognized the Bragança dynasty as the legitimate rulers of Portugal, bestowing upon them the title "Most Faithful King." But by that time, João had already removed himself from politics, having suffered a minor stroke in 1742 which left him partially paralyzed. The government and centralization began to fall apart in his last years as they were directly dependent on a strong absolute monarch, which João was failing to be. The aging king died in 1750 and his son, José, succeeded him to the throne.
Date of Death: 31 July 1750
Successor: José

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Na'od, emperor of Ethiopia (1508)
  • Kien Phuc, emperor of Vietnam (1884)
  • Baudouin I, king of Belgium (1993)
  • Friedrich Franz, pretender to Mecklenburg-Schwerin (2001)

Monday, July 30, 2012

[July 30] Bao Dai, emperor of Vietnam

True Name: Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy (阮福永瑞)
Parents: Khai Dinh, king of Annam, and Tu Cung
Date of Birth: 22 October 1913
Royal House: Nguyen
Spouse: Nam Phuong, daughter of Pierre Nguyen Huru-Hao, and Marie Le Thj Binh, among others
Predecessor: Khai Dinh
Reign: 1926 – 1945
Summary: The son of the weak ruler of Annam, the central portion of the French-controlled colony of Vietnam, it was unlikely that Bao Dai would ever wield any real power.  His dynasty, the Nguyen, had ruled in Vietnam since 1802, mostly as rulers of Annam and Tonkin. When he was nine, Bao Dai was sent to France and educated at the Lycée Condorcet and the Paris Institute of Political Studies. His father died in 1926 and the prince took the name Bao Dai (Keeper of Greatness) as his regnal name. Since he was still young, he returned to Paris and continued his studies. He returned in the early 1930s and married Marie-Thérèse Nguyen Huru Thj Lan, a Roman Catholic commoner. Over the next ten years, the couple had five children. Marie-Thérèse was crowned Empress in 1945. Bao Dai also married many other women throughout his life, including a cousin and a Chinese woman.

World War II changed politics in Vietnam in many ways. Most importantly, the French government was taken over by Japanese overlords. While the French retained nominal control, the Japanese controlled most policy. But Bao Dai worked hard during these years to oust the French from Vietnam entirely. The Japanese supported this movement and, in 1945, it succeeded and Bao Dai proclaimed himself the emperor of a fully independent Vietnam. The country quickly joined the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere created by the Japanese. The Japanese retained a Vietnamese prince who was raised by Japanese officials to replace Bao Dai in case Vietnamese politics went a different direction. But things then turned a different way. Japan was defeated in August 1945 and the Vietminh under Ho Chi Minh sought a free Vietnam. Because of his association with Japan, Ho Chi Minh convinced Bao Dai to abdicate the Vietnamese throne, handing political power to the Vietminh. Bao Dai remained as "supreme advisor" to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

The new republic only lasted a year. In November 1946, the French returned and ousted the upstart republicans. Vietnam descended into civil war, the true start of the Vietnam War, and Bao Dai fled to Hong Kong and then China. In 1949, the French recalled him to rule as head-of-state rather than emperor. But he only stayed for a few months before returning to France. When the communists won in China in late 1949, the Vietminh was reinvigorated. The United States recognized the Empire of Vietnam under Bao Dai in 1950 even though the former emperor had left. The U.S. began supplying the French and pro-imperial forces in Vietnam as the start of an anti-communist crusade. When the Geneva Accords were signed in 1954 separating Vietnam into Northern and Southern regions, Bao Dai remained head of state in the south, but appointed Ngo Dinh Diem his prime minister and removed himself from politics once again. The next year, Bao Dai abdicated the throne again after a referendum highlighted the people's desire to form a republic. Bao Dai settled in France and Monaco and became a frequent sailor. He was constantly petitioned by both Vietnamese governments during the war to act as a spokesperson, head-of-state, or political unifier. While supporting a democratic republic, he spoke against the United States' military in Vietnam and sought peace. Despite his popularity among the Vietnamese government, the Vietnamese people and the French disliked the former emperor, the former because of his status as a French and Japanese puppet ruler, the latter because he supported the anti-French rebellion. Despite it all, he never had much political power in Vietnam. When he died in 1997, he was largely forgotten by Vietnam. His son, Bao Long, succeeded as the head of the family.
Date of Death: 30 July 1997
Successor: Bao Long (as pretender)

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Benedict I, pope of Rome (579)
  • Meiji, emperor of Japan (1912)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

[July 29] St. Ladislaus I, king of Hungary

True Name: László
Parents: Béla I, king of Hungary, and Richeza of Poland
Date of Birth: 27 June 1046
Royal House: Arpad
Spouse: Adelaide, daughter of Rufolf I, duke of Swabia, and Adelaida of Savoy
Predecessor: Géza I
Reign: 1077 – 1095

Summary: Ladislaus was the son of a rival line of Hungarian kings related closely to Saint Stephen I, the first king of Hungary. In 1048, he was able to move to Hungary from Poland where his father was granted a third of the country as an underking to his brother, Andrew I, who had inherited the throne from King Peter following a pegan revolt. Since Hungary followed a system of tanistry, the next in line should have been Laidlsaus' father, Béla, but when Andrew had a son, Salamon, the old tradition went out the window. Andrew had his son crowned during his lifetime to ensure the succession. Ladislaus was witness to this, as was his father and two brothers, Géza and Lampert. Soon after, Ladislaus went with his father to Poland where he wished to recruit troops and depose his brother. In December 1060, Béla defeated and killed his brother and took the Hungarian crown. Béla died three years later and the Ladislaus and his brothers allowed the throne to revert to Salamon. Salamon refused and invaded the country using German troops, forcing the three brothers to flee back to Poland. Troops were provided to them by the Polish king and they invaded again in 1064. To avoid civil war, the brothers and the king made an agreement that returned one third of Hungary to Ladislaus' family. Things went much better afterwards. Salamon and the three brothers helped expand Hungary into the south. By 1071, the relationship between the king and the brothers began to deteriorate. Ladislaus remained mostly in his Hungarian lands to secure the borders in case the king wished to make a move against him. By 1074, the brothers and the king were in open war and at the Battle of Mogyorod, the brothers defeated the king, who fled Hungary. Géza was proclaimed king. Ladislaus became the commander of the military and he defeated Salamon again at Nyitra. When Géza died in 1077, Ladislaus, the next eldest, was proclaimed king, though Salamon still lived. It is likely he was crowned with a gift from Byzantine Emperor Michael VII since Salamon still had the true crown.

In 1078, Ladislaus married Adelaide, the daughter of Duke Rudolf I of Swabia and the chief rival of King Henry IV of Germany, brother-in-law to King Salamon. By 1081, Salamon was on the defensive and agreed to abdicate in exchange for significant lands. When Salamon was caught conspiring against the king a few months later, the king had the necessary recourse to imprison the former monarch. King Stephen I was canonized under the reign of Ladislaus, as well as his son Emeric. Ladislaus was a harsh king at first, which was necessary to centralize and solidify his rule in Hungary. Fifty years of civil war had ravaged the land and disorganized the government. Ladislaus took personal control over the reorganization of the Catholic Church in Hungary. When King Stephen II of Croatia died in 1091, Ladislaus actively claimed the throne through his sister, Ilona, who had been married to the former King Dmitar. The Byzantine Empire also wanted Croatia, however, and invaded eastern Hungary to distract the king. It took two years for Ladislaus to defeat the Byzantines and another four to suppress the rebellions, but by 1096, Croatia was soundly a Hungarian possession. Like so many other Hungarian kings, Ladislaus left no sons so his two nephews, Coloman and Almos, fought between themselves to be heir. Almos was named king of Croatia around 1095 but Coloman, the elder, wanted to be king after Ladislaus died. He left for Poland that year to rally support. Ladislaus left to help his nephews in Bohemia when Coloman returned with a Polish army. The king died suddenly upon hearing the news. His death was mourned for three years and a cycle of legends developed around him and his name. Multiple miracles were attributed to him and because of these, he was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1192. He is remembered as the patron saint of architecture.
Date of Death: 29 July 1095
Successor: Coloman
Canonized: 27 June 1192 (Roman Catholic Church)

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Pupienus, emperor of Rome (238)
  • Balbinus, emperor of Rome (238)
  • Olaf II, king of Norway (1030)
  • Urban II, pope of Rome (1099)
  • Philippe I, king of France (1108)
  • Urban VIII, pope of Rome (1644)
  • Umberto I, king of Italy (1900)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

[July 28] William, count of Flanders

Surnamed: "Clito" (Prince)
Parents: Robert II, duke of the Normans
Date of Birth: 225 October 1102
Royal House: Normandy
Spouse: (1) Sibylla, daughter of Fulk V, count of Anjou, then (2) Joanna of Montferrat
Predecessor: Charles I
Reign: 1127 – 1128
Summary: A tragic member of the Norman dynasty of England, William Clito's fate was never in good hands. His father, Robert II Curthose, was the duke of Normandy and, by right of primogeniture, should have been king of England. But King William I decreed that his eldest son, Robert, would receive the hereditary patrimony of the family while a younger, William, would receive England. A long war ensued during which William II was succeeded by a still-younger brother, Henry I. Henry defeated Robert Curthose at the Battle of Tinchebrai in 1106 and William Clito enters the story at this point. William was placed in the custody of Duke Robert's illegitimate daughter and her husband, Helias, count of Arques. He remained there until 1110 when Henry I demanded the prince be returned to his personal custody. Helias protected the boy and fled, taking him first to Robert de Bellême, an enemy of King Henry I. Two years later, they fled again, this time to Count Baldwin VII of Flanders. By 1118, many Norman counts were upset with Henry's rule and rallied behind Count Baldwin to rebel. William Clito became their cause, since William had the senior claim to the English and Normandy thrones. When Baldwin was injured soon into the campaign, King Louis VI of France took up the cause. The French were decisively defeated by the English at the Battle of Brémule in 1119. The rebellion failed and the young prince returned to Paris. When William Ætheling, the only legitimate son of King Henry I, died in 1120, William became the senior Norman heir to the throne once again. By 1122, a large part of the Norman nobility accepted his claim to the throne. To strengthen his claim, he married the daughter of Count Fulk V of Anjou. Henry appealed to the pope and forced the marriage to be annulled in 1124 because the couple were too closely related. Another rebellion arose that same year and was defeated at the battle of Bourgtheroulde. King Louis VI continued to support the young man into 1127 when he granted him estates in French Vexin near the Norman border. William married the half-sister of the queen to secure their alliance. When Count Charles of Flanders died in 1127, Louis marched into the county and convinced the barons to elect William as their new count.
It took him only two months to secure control over Flanders, but the rebels were supported by the English and a rival, Thierry of Alsace, claimed the county as well. When two baronies declared for Thierry in 1128, William found himself in charge of less than half the county, mostly the southern edge. At the battle of Axspoele, William was able to defeat Thierry and reclaim a lost barony, but it hardly mattered. With the help of his father-in-law, Duke Godfrey of Brabant, he beseiged the city of Aalst with the intention to recapture all of Ghent, but William was wounded in the arm in a fight with a foot soldier. Within a week the wound had grown gangrenous and William died a week after that, attended by his brother-in-law, Helias. William Clito was buried at the Abbey of St Bertin in St Omer. He left no children and his titles in Flanders was taken by Thierry. His father, Robert, remained alive for another six years, a prisoner of King Henry I locked away in Cardiff.
Date of Death: 28 July 1128
Successor: Thierry

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Theodosius II, emperor of Constantinople (450)
  • Victor II, pope of Rome (1057)
  • Leopold VI, duke of Austria (1230)
  • Joseph, king of Spain and Naples
  • Charles, king of Sardinia (1849)

Friday, July 27, 2012

[July 27] Mohammad Reza, shah of Iran

True Name: محمدرضاشاه پهلوی
Parents: Reza Shah, shah of Iran, and Tadj ol-Molouk
Date of Birth: 26 October 1919
Royal House: Pahlavi

Spouse: (1) Fawzia, daughter of Faud I, king of Egypt, and Nazli Sabri, then (2) Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari, daughter of Khalil Esfandiary, Iranian ambassador to West Germany, and Eva Karl, then (3) Farah, daughter of Captain Sohrab Diba, and Farideh Ghotbi
Predecessor: Reza Shah
Reign: 1941 – 1979
Summary: The victim of American intervention and revolutionary sentimentality, Mohammad Reza was the last shah of Iran and ruled for almost four decades before the Iranian Revolution removed him from power. Born in 1919 to Reza Shah, the twin brother of Ashraf Pahlavi, his sister, Mohammad did not become officially royalty until his father became shah in 1925. In 1930, Mohammad was sent to boarding school in Switzerland, the first Iranian prince to be sent abroad for his education. When he returned in 1936, he joined a local military academy in Tehran. Although Iran was neutral in World War II, Britain and the Soviet Union invaded the country in 1941 to secure oil reserves. Iran had been helping the allies through the Persian Gulf during the first two years of the war and it became known as the Persian Corridor. Reza Shah was deposed by the invading Allied Powers due to pro-German sympathies and a lack of modernization in the empire. Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Foroughi fought to keep a Pahlavi on the throne and ensured the succession of Mohammad Reza in September 1941.
Mohammad Reza served as the figurehead leader of the Iranian government during World War II but by the 1950s, he was under duress. His new prime minister, Dr. Mosaddegh, wanted to nationalize the oil industry which was controlled in part by Britain. He was successful and the British were pushed out, endangering their own economy. US president Harry Truman supported the take-over but Eisenhower did not and fears ran wild that Iran was in the midst of a communist coup. The United States attempted to remove the new prime minister with the help of Mohammad Reza, but the plan backfired and the shah spent six months on the run from Baghdad, then to Rome. A second coup attempt succeeded and the shah was allowed to return to Iran. When Mohammad regained his office, he became increasingly fearful of technocrats and intellectuals and he barred them from government, leaving the government in the hands of conservatives. He feared communist influence in his country. He became actively involved in local royal politics, supporting the Yemeni royal family against republicans in the late 1960s and assisting the sultan of Oman in a rebellion in 1971. The shah worked to increase his standing with the other Persian Gulf states. His government, however, was in constant conflict with Iraq concerning especially shipping rights on a shared canal and the two countries almost went into open war numerous times. The shah was personally responsible for funding weapons in Kurdistan to fight against Iraq. In an interesting twist, Iran was the first Muslim leader to recognize the State of Israel, though he was constantly critical of the power of Jews in America. By the last years of his reign, Mohammad Reza became increasingly autocratic, outlawing rival political parties and installing his photograph through Iran. The disparity of wealth in Iran was made obvious in the 2,500-year anniversary celebration the shah held for the Iranian monarchy in 1971. It cost around $100 million while nearby villages were starving. The revolts began soon after. In 1977, the first major protests began. The next year, nation-wide strikes crippled the economy and millions marched against the shah. On 16 January 1979, Mohammad Reza left Iran at the suggestion of his prime minister. By the 17th, much of the iconography of the Pahlavi dynasty was destroyed. Thousands of political prisoners were released and Ayatollah Khomeini, a Shi'a religious leader, was allowed to return to Iran after years in exile. Khomeini was offered a Vatican City-like state in Qom where he could establish a home for Shi'a Islam. Instead, Khomeini appointed his own government and took over Iran. By 11 February 1979, the monarchy was dissolved and in its place, a theocracy was installed ruled directly by Ayatolla Khomeini. The former shah jumped from country to country for two years, trying to find a new home. He was finally allowed in the United States to undergo surgical treatments for gallstones. When the US Embassy in Tehran was stormed, the US promptly booted the shah from the United States. He fled to Panama and then Egypt where he soon died from complications from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was buried in the Al Rifa'i Mosque in Cairo, the final resting place of the last king of Egypt as well. His son, Reza, succeeded him in his pretention to the Iranian throne.
Date of Death: 27 July 1980
Successor: Farah (as pretender)

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Celestine I, pope of Rome (432)
  • Conrad, king of Germany & Italy (1101)
  • James I, king of Arágon (1276)
  • Rudolf IV, duke of Austria (1365)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

[July 26] Offa, king of Mercia

Parents: Thingfrith
Royal House: Mercia
Spouse: Cynethryth
Predecessor: Beornred
Reign: 757 – 796
Summary: Few Anglo-Saxon monarchs are known as well as Offa. A Bretwalda (High King) of England, he rose from relatively humble origins to rule much of modern-day England. He came to the throne following the assassination of Æthelbald in 757. A rival king, Beornred, ruled for a short while before Offa defeated him. Two sub-kingdoms, Hwicce and the Magonsæte both declared independence during the brief civil war, and Offa spent the first year of his reign winning them back. The sub-kingdom of Lindsey also probably fell into Mercian control at around this time. Other than these quick conquests, Offa spent the first five years of his reign solidifying his control over Mercia and Essex. By the early 760s, though, instability in neighboring Kent allowed Offa to step in an chose his own client king. Fighting between Mercia and Kent continued into the 780s with Offa finally becoming undisputed overlord by 785. To end future rebellions, Offa killed off the Kentish royal family and annexed the kingdom to Mercia. Sussex retained its independence for much longer but also fell by the end of the 780s. East Anglia fell into Mercian hands in 794 after Offa had the king beheaded, while in Wessex the king was controlled by Offa's daughter, Eadburh. Only Northumbria seemed to avoid direct overlordship from Offa, but even in the remote north of England, Offa's presence could be felt as King Æthelred I married Offa's daughter, Ælfflæd in 792.

Problems outside of England constantly dogged Offa. The various Welsh kingdoms were a constant bane and at least three times Offa was forced to fight campaigns against Welsh incursions. Offa is thought to have built Offa's Dyke along the Welsh border to keep the Welsh out of England. In Church relations, Offa was a Christian king but Pope Adrian I decided it was time that England receive more direct papal influence. He sent a new papal mission to England, the first since Augustine, to create canon law for the various kingdoms. Offa, often at odds with the Archbishop of Canterbury who was loyal to the Kentish kings, established the Archdiocese of Lichfield as a rival. The archdiocese only ever had a single archbishop. Offa established numerous churches and monasteries, mostly in Mercia. Ultimately, Offa has been considered the greatest king of England before Alfred the Great, and one of the single most unifying characters in early English history, despite the fact that Offa was never driven to unify, only conquer. Mercia was his empire, not England, and he sought to secure his growing kingdom for himself and his children. When he died in 796, he was buried at Bedford and succeeded by his son, Ecgfrith. But the new king lasted only five months and because Offa had been so thorough in his conquest, no other line of Mercian royals could be found. Thus Offa's dynastic legacy ended before it really started, and the throne of Mercia fell to a distant cousin.
Date of Death: 26 July 796
Successor: Ecgfrith

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Jin Chengdi, emperor of China (342)
  • Nikephoros I Logothetes, emperor of Constantinople (811)
  • Komyo, emperor of Japan (1380)
  • Paul II, pope of Rome (1471)
  • George IV, king of the United Kingdom (1830)
  • Otto, king of Greece (1867)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

[July 25] Innocent VIII, pope of Rome

True Name: Giovanni Battista Cybo
Parents: Arano Cybo and Teodorina de Mari
Date of Birth: 1432
Predecessor: Sixtus IV
Reign: 1484 – 1492
Summary: A Genoan of Greek ancestry
, he was born to a Roman senatorial family and raised in the Neapolitan court. He studied at Padua and in Rome, pursuing a clerical life. While in Rome, he fell into the retinue of Cardinal Calandnini, the half-brother of the recently-deceased Pope Nicholas V. By the late 1460s, Giovanni was the bishop of Savona. Giuliano della Rovere supported his bid to become a cardinal in 1473 by Pope Sixtus IV. Giovanni's early life was dominated by the courts of Rome and papal intrigues, and so naturally, when he was elected to the papal seat on 29 August 1484 as Pope Innocent VIII, the drama of his earlier years followed him into his papacy. The papal conclave that elected him was split between factions, and gangs rioted in the streets in the disorder. Cardinal della Roverre sought the coveted seat but not enough cardinals would elect him, so he decided to support Giovanni, a pliable leader that he felt he could control.

Almost immediately after his election, Innocent VIII declared a crusade against the infidels. Little came of this call for crusade, and by the end of his reign, he was openly supporting Ottoman Sultan Bayazid II by detaining his brother and rival, Cem. Starvation, famine, and drought in Germany convinced Innocent that witchcraft was occurring in the Holy Roman Empire. In effect, the witches were causing the later-known weather period known as the Little Ice Age. He began a massive campaign to rid Germany of witches and installed Heinrich Kramer and Jacobus Sprenger to lead the persecution. In 1487, fears of Muslim and Jewish uprisings in Spain led to Innocent naming Tomas de Torquemada as Grand Inquisitor of Spain. Innocent also called a crusade against the Waldensian sect, offering indulgences to any would join in the fight. In 1486, Innocent excommunicated King Ferran I of Naples and offered the throne to King Charles VIII of France, thereby starting a war which would not end until two years into the reign of his successor, Alexander VI. One of his few victories occured during the last months of his life. Due in part from his encouragement, the Kingdom of Grenada, the last Muslim stronghold in Western Europe, fell in January 1492. In appreciation for the victory, Innocent named Ferdinand II of Arágon and Isabella I of Castile "Catholic Majesties", a title many still grand them today. Giovanni Battista Cybo died on 25 July 1492 after an attempted blood transfusion from three young male children who all died in the process. He was succeeded after a short but contentious interregnum by Roderic Llançol i de Borja, who took the name Alexander VI. Innocent left behind two illegitimate children who were born prior to him taking his vows. His eldest son was married to Maddalena de Medici in exchange for a cardinal's hat to Giovanni de Medici, who would one day become Pope Leo X. The heretical preacher Savonarola chastised Innocent for his greed and ambition.
Date of Death: 25 July 1492
Successor: Alexander VI

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Constantius I Chlorus, emperor of Rome (306)
  • Martin I, king of Sicily (1409)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

[July 25] Matilda, margravine of Tuscany

Surnamed: "The Great Countess" (La Gran Contessa)
Parents: Boniface III, margrave of Tuscany, and Beatrice of Upper Lorraine
Date of Birth: 1046
Royal House: Canossa

Spouse: Humaira Begum, daughter of Sardar Ahmad Shah Khan and Zarin Begum
Predecessor: Godfrey IV
Reign: 1055 – 1115
Summary: Born to the noble family of Canossa, she was the youngest child of her parents. Her father was murdered when she was six and her older sister died the next year. In fear that her two surviving children would be targets of ambitious nobles, her mother, Beatrice, married Godfrey the Bearded, duke of Upper Lorraine. Soon afterwards, he and Beatrice went into open rebellion against the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III. Matilda, meanwhile, was betrothed to Godfrey's son by a different mother, Godfrey the Hunchback. Henry III was angered by Beatrice's unauthorized marriage and Beatrice ventured north to speak with the emperor. She took with her Frederick, Matilda's brother and the margrave of Tuscany. Beatrice was imprisoned in terrible conditions while Frederick was treated well but died in 1055 all the same. Matilda, unexpectedly, became the legitimate margravine of Tuscany upon his death.

Her stepfather, Godfrey, took direct control of Tuscany as her self-proclaimed regent. Since she was only around nine years old at the time, this was expected. When Henry III died, Beatrice was released and she returned to Italy with Godfrey to rule in peace. During the 1050s, the army of Tuscany was used multiple times to defend the popes from Imperial attacks, especially since three popes in a row were from Tuscany. Matilda was raised as a warrior queen. She learned military arts and horseriding alongside German and French. She married Godfrey the Hunchback sometime in the 1060s but there was little love between the pair. They only produced a single daughter before Godfrey returned to Germany, never to set foot in Tuscany again. In 1076, Matilda took control over her inheritance. Her parents both died that year and she was around thirty-years-old in any case. Harboring the Tuscan popes turned ill for her when Emperor Henry IV showed up at her door in 1077, barefoot and kneeling. Pope Gregory VII was being housed at Canossa at the time and Henry sought penance. Yet by 1080, she found herself fighting Imperial forces coming from Ravenna in the north. At the battle of Volta Mantovana, the Tuscan army was defeated. This led to a public revolt in Lucca, the capital, where her ally Bishop Anselm was ousted. In 1081, Henry IV formally deposed her but that did not have a major effect on her control over Tuscany. Matilda personally took control over her army and routed the Imperials at Sorbara in a dispossession attempt. With Gregory's death in 1085, Matilda supported the new pope, Victor III, and attempted to invade Rome to install him. The Imperial garrison was too strong, however, and she and the new pope were forced to flee. In 1090, Matilda married Welf V of Bavaria and Henry IV invaded. The newlyweds were forced into the mountains, but the Tuscan army soundly defeated the Imperial army in 1092 and Henry was never again able to gain dominance in the region. By 1095, Henry was trying to hurt Matilda in any way possible, but when she arrived at the head of an army, he fled. She spent the next twenty years reasserting her authority throughout Tuscany. The new emperor, Henry V, recognized her achievements and made her Imperial viceroy of Liguria in 1111. Matilda died of gout in 1115 and her estates were left to the pope, who divided them up and prompted the era of city-states in northern Italy. Michelangelo would later claim descent through her daughter, though records suggest the daughter may have died as a child.
Date of Death: 24 July 1115
Successor: Conrad von Scheiern

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Shirakawa, emperor of Japan (1129)
  • Konrad von Thüringen, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights (1240)

Monday, July 23, 2012

[July 23] Mohammed Zahir Shah, king of Afghanistan

Parents: Mohammed Nadir Shah, king of Afghanistan, and Mah Parwar Begum
Date of Birth: 16 October 1914
Royal House: Barakzai

Spouse: Humaira Begum, daughter of Sardar Ahmad Shah Khan and Zarin Begum
Predecessor: Mohammed Nadir Shah
Reign: 1933 – 1973
Summary: An ethnic Persian, Zahir Shah was born in Kabul to Nadir Shah, the senior member of the royal family. Zahir's father gained the throne in 1929 when Habibullah Ghazi was executed. His father was a distant relative of the previous king, but his line had been exiled to British India until 1901 when Emir Abdur Rahman Khan, emir of Afghanistan at the time, invited the family back. Kabul had many royal princes of many different lines when Zahir was young, and he went to a special school just for them. After he finished, he traveled to France where his father was acting as a diplomatic envoy. When he returned in the late 1920s, he enrolled in an infantry school then was appointed a privy counselor under his father.
He eventually served as deputy war minister and minister of education. His father was assassinated in 1933 and Zahir was chosen as the new king.

For the first three decades of his reign, he did little in the way of ruling. His uncles, Sardar Mohammad Hashim Khan and Sardar Shah Mahmud Khan, ruled in his stead as regents. During this time, Afghanistan joined the LEague of Nations and was recognized by the United States. The kingdom joined into trade agreements with the Axis powers throughout the 1930s. Afghanistan mostly remained out of World War II despite its Axis ties, and in the aftermath of the war, Zahir Shah attempted to modernize Afghanistan. He founded the first university but other major improvements failed due to political infighting and general factionalism in the government and between clans. In 1964, Zahir took direct control over the government and introduced a new constitution which granted free elections, a parliament, civil rights, women's rights, and universal suffrage. He remained the chief-of-state as a constitutional monarch. The next nine years remained stable, though little progress was made in modernizing Afghanistan. When Zahir Shah left for Italy in 1973 to undergo eye surgery, he did not yet know that his cousin, Mohammed Daoud Khan, was going to stage a coup against his government. In August, Zahir Shah abdicated his throne in favour of a republican government in Afghanistan, desiring to avoid civil war.

Already in Italy, Zahir Shah moved into an apartment in Rome where he attended to his garden, and played golf and chess. The Soviet's backed the Afghan government soon after the coup and barred Zahir from returning from exile. When open war broke out in 1983, Zahir Shah attempted to form a government-in-exile, but factionalism ended that plan. The king finally returned to Afghanistan in 2002 after the Taliban Islamist government was overthrown in the wake of the US invasion. Many wished for a return to the monarchy of Zahir Shah, but the United States asked the former king to step out of politics. He returned to his former palace and many of his family members were granted important government posts in the transitional government. Beginning in 2002, Zahir Shah began to experience various injuries, including bruised ribs, a broken femur, intestinal problems, and nose bleed. By 2004 he could hardly speak and in 2007, he had become bedridden. Zahir Shah died in July of that year. He received a funerary procession from the presidential palace to a local mosque before being buried at the royal mausoleum, the last king of Afghanistan. His son, Ahmad Shah Khan, succeeded him as the former pretender to Afghanistan. He now lives in the United States and is well known for his poetry.
Date of Death: 23 July 2007
Successor: Ahmad Shah (as pretender)

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Hassan II, king of Morocco (1999)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

[July 22] John, king of Hungary

True Name: Ioan Zápolya,
Parents: Stephen and Hedwig of Cieszyn
Date of Birth: 2 February 1487
Royal House: Zápolya

Spouse: Isabella, daughter of Sigismund I, king of Poland, and Bona Sforza
Predecessor: Louis II
Reign: 1511 – 1540
Summary: John first entered history in 1505 at the Diet of Rákos where it was decided that Hungary would only be ruled by its own native kinds. He was appointed the voivode of Transylvania, a Hungarian possession, in 1511, and he spent 15 years building up power and wealth from his people. When peasants rebelled against him in 1514, he used overwhelming force to subdue them. By 1526, Transylvania was under attack from the Ottoman Empire and John and his large army missed the battle at Mohács, which was a decisive victory for the Ottomans. King Louis II of Hungary died at that battle, and the Ottomans sacked the capital at Buda soon after. Political authority had disintegrated and the Ottomans left instead of installing their own overlord. John stepped forward as a candidate for the kinship, but Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, the brother-in-law of Louis II, also sought the throne. Most of Hungary backed John, who had been a leading figure in Hungary since 1511. Only a small group of aristocrats chose Ferdinand, but their grounding was solid: Austria could defend against Turkey much better than Hungary alone. But the Habsburgs were at war with France and distracted, and most of the nobility feared that France would attack Hungary rather than Austria help it. In November 1526, John was proclaimed king at Székesfehérvár.

Using his own wealth and his massive support, he tried to stabilize and mobilize Hungary. When he attempted to gain the support of the Habsburgs, they instead convinced a group of nobles to elect Ferdinand anti-king to John in December 1526. John was forced to send out envoys to the rest of Europe in the hope that they could garner support against the Ottoman Empire. Only France responded, but their wish wasn't to help Hungary but to have Hungary declare war on Austria. In 1527, all went wrong for John. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V occupied Rome and forced the pope to capitulate, thereby ended the war with France. Ferdinand, Charles' brother, was freed from his wartime obligations to consider the Hungarian problem. He was aided in his quest by his election to the Bohemian throne in late 1526. Fearing an Ottoman-Hungarian alliance, Austria invaded Hungary in the summer of 1527. Most of the Hungarian army was in the south suppressing a peasant rebellion stirred up by the Habsburgs. Ferdinand quickly captured Buda and then defeated John at the Battle of Tarcal. In 1528, John was forced to flee Hungary outright, settling in Poland. In 1538, after ten years in exile, Ferdinand was recognized as the legitimate successor of John I according to the Treaty of Varad. His death two years later left the throne to his son and an the Ottoman-sympathizer, John II Sigismund. John II continued to claim the throne until his abdication in 1570, at which time it reverted to the Habsburgs without issue.
Date of Death: 22 July 1540
Successor: Ferdinand I or John II Sigismund (disputed)

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Charles VII, king of France (1461)
  • Clement X, pope of Rome (1676)
  • Napoleon II, pretender to France (1832)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

[July 21] Jigme Dorji, king of Bhutan

True Name: 'jigs med rdo rje dbang phyuk
Parents: Jigme, king of Bhutan, and Pema Dechen
Date of Birth: 2 May 1929
Royal House: Wangchuck

Spouse: Kesang Choden, daughter of Jigme, king of Bhutan, and Phuntsho Choden
Predecessor: Jigme
Reign: 1952 – 1972
Summary: Not much is known about the life of Jigme Dorji before he became king except that he was educated in England and India. He ascended the throne as the third king of Bhutan upon the death of his father in 1952 and began the modernization and internationalization of the kingdom. When he first became king, he ended feudalism and slavery in the small mountainous kingdom, releasing the remaining serfs from bondage. He brought to Bhutan many modern inventions to assist in day-to-day life in Bhutan, including the introduction of wheeled vehicles rather than hand carts. As part of a reorganization of government, he established a high court and a new judicial system, and he founded the Tshogdu National Assembly, the first democratic parliament in Bhutan. In 1961, Jigme Dorji introduced an economic development plan that is still in use today. In 1963, Bhutan joined the Colombo Plan, a multinational alliance built on trade and commerce. To emphasize this plan, the king built roads throughout Bhutan, while also building schools and hospitals. In 1971, Bhutan joined the United Nations, partially as a defense against Chinese aggression in the wake of China's annexation of Tibet in 1951. When Bhutan joined the UN, Jigme Dorji granted approval to the National Assembly to depose a Bhutanese monarch with a two-thirds majority, if the event was ever required. Jigme Dorji was never a healthy monarch, suffering from a heart attack at the age of twenty. He continued to suffer from medical ailments and finally died in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1972 while attempting to remedy his illness. His son, Jigme Singye, succeeded him.

Date of Death: 21 July 1972
Successor: Jigme Singye

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Manuel II, emperor of Constantinople (1425)

Friday, July 20, 2012

[July 20] Ferdinand I, king of Romania

Surnamed: "The Loyal"
Parents: Leopold and Antónia of Portugal
Date of Birth: 24 August 1865
Royal House: Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen

Spouse: Marie, daughter of Alfred, duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, and Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
Predecessor: Carol I
Reign: 1914 – 1927
Summary: Like many of the monarchs of the late 1880s and early 1900s, Ferdinand was not born to rule a country. He was born in Germany to the royal family of the kings of Prussia, which would soon rule all of Germany. In 1886, the twenty-one-year-old man was appointed heir-presumptive to the throne of Romania when it was assumed that his uncle, King Carol I, would have no children. He was related through his mother to both the tsar of Bulgaria and the Austrian emperor, and both would provide unceasing problems for Ferdinand. After an affair with a Romanian noblewoman, Ferdinand married Marie, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, in 1898. This marriage added relatives in Russia, the United Kingdom, and numerous German states. In the months immediately prior to the start of World War I, King Carol I died and Ferdinand was thrust into the position of king without any real knowledge or experience in running a country.

When the war began, Romania joined the Allies against the Central Powers. Emperor Wilhelm II saw this as a personal betrayal and erased his name from the Hohenzollern house register. Romanians fought hard against German and Austrian aggression, losing large portions of Wallachia and Dobruja but keeping the Germans out of Moldavia. When Russia dropped out of the war in early 1918, Romania was surrounded and was forced to conclude a separate peace with the Treaty of Bucharest. But Ferdinand refused to sign the treaty and soon after the Allies defeated Bulgaria. Ferdinand immediately ordered the re-mobilization of Romania's army. The war ended soon after and Romania reaped the benefits. Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Transylvania were all added from Austro-Hungarian possessions, doubling the size of Romania. In 1922, Ferdinand underwent a second coronation ceremony at Alba Iulia, the princely seat of the ancient Roman province in Transylvania. The merger of Transylvania into Romania increased the peasant population greatly and the conservatives were pushed out in favor of a the National Peasant Party. Ferdinand died before having to deal with the Great Depression or the rise of communism in Romania. He was succeeded by his grandson, Michael I, under  a regency led partially by his second son, Nicholas.
Date of Death: 20 July 1927
Successor: Michael I

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Boniface VII, pope of Rome (985)
  • Robert II, king of France (1031)
  • Toba, emperor of Japan (1156)
  • Oshin, king of Armenia (1320)
  • John II, king of Castile (1454)
  • Leo XIII, pope of Rome (1903)
  • Abdullah I, king of Jordan (1951)
  • Wilhelm III, pretender to Germany (1951)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

[July 19] Agustín I, emperor of México

Parents: José Joaquín de Iturbide y Arreguí and María Josefa de Arámburu y Carrillo de Figueroa
Date of Birth: 27 September 1783
Royal House: Iturbide
Spouse: Ana María, daughter of Isidro Huarte y Arrivillaga and Ana Manuela Muñiz y Sánchez de Tagle
Reign: 1822 — 1823
Summary: Born in Michoacán to a privileged family of Spanish landowners, Agustín led a fairly easy life, entering Catholic seminary in the late 1790s where he was no better than his peers. He then began working at a hacienda where he acted as overseer. His sadistic behavior was first noted here, when he was spotted cutting off toes of chicken before slaughtering them. In 1802, he joined the royal army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. In 1805, he married a daughter from the wealthy Tagle family. When the first uprisings against Spanish rule occurred in 1809, it is possible that Agustín was involved in the conspiracy against the royal army. The possibility escaped the notice of the Spanish, though, who elevated Agustín to the rank of colonel in 1813 after he distinguished himself in battle. In 1815, he was personally responsible for the capture and execution of rebel general José María Morelos. Immediately after his victory over Morelos, Agustín was relieved of duty pending investigation into cruel tactics and policies. A year later, though, he was back in active service, and by 1820, he was the general in charge of southern New Spain. When Vicente Guerrero rose up that same year, Agustín began to realize that this new enemy may be beyond his ability to defeat. 

It took a threat to the Bourbon monarchy in Spain to convince Agustín de Iturbide that becoming a leader in the Mexican Independence movement would be a better choice. When republicans took over Spain in 1820, Iturbide joined with other Mexican revolutionaries in inviting King Ferdinand VII over to Mexico to create an independent Mexican state separate from Spain. Ferdinand declined the offer, banned any member of his family from taking the Mexican throne, and proclaimed México's absolute attachment to the Spanish crown. With no other option available to him, Agustín joined Guerrero and went to war with Spain.

On Mexico City on September 27th, 1821, Agustín marched on México City and proclaimed the start of the First Mexican Empire. Ferdinand was again invited over to rule the now-independent Mexico. In the meanwhile, Iturbide was proclaimed provisional president. Spain rejected the Treaty of Córdoba and forbade any member of the Spanish royal family from becoming emperor. Spain once again became Mexico’s enemy.

In the confusion, Iturbide declared himself Emperor Augustine I of Mexico, but this action was not popular with Mexico’s republicans. In response, Iturbide dissolved the national congress to solidify his rule, but no foreign power would work with the new empire. Mexico began to suffer and Iturbide was not able to stop the opposition. El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras all seceded from the Mexican Empire to become the United Provinces of Central America. Then, on February 1st, 1823, Iturbide was forced to abdicate the Mexican throne by a rebellious congress. The country began its long progress toward a republican state, and Iturbide sailed to Europe as an exile.

Iturbide’s final stand came the next year. Concerned with reports of a new Spanish attempt to retake Mexico, Iturbide returned from his exile. He was welcomed enthusiastically but the government arrested him within days. It was decided that for returning from exile, Iturbide would be executed. His final words were “¡Mexicanos! I die with honor, not as a traitor; do not leave this stain on my children and my legacy. I am not a traitor, no.” He was executed by firing squad on July 19th, 1824, the first and only native Emperor of Mexico.  His memory was revived a decade later when his dying wish was granted: Iturbide was reinterred in the Mexico City Cathedral as a hero of the revolution that freed Mexico from Spanish tyranny. [Much of this article was published under the title "El Jorge Washington de México" in the October 2010 issue of XOXOR: La Gran Revita...!!!]
Date of Death: 19 July 1924
Successor: Agustín II Jerónimo (as pretender)

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Symmachus, pope of Rome (514)
  • Uda, emperor of Japan (931)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

[July 18] Joachim III Friedrich, elector of Brandenburg

Parents: John George, elector of Brandenburg, and Sophie of Legnica
Date of Birth: 27 January 1546
Royal House: Hohenzollern
Spouse: (1) Catherine, daughter of John, margrave of Brandenburg-Küstrin, and Catherine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, then (2) Eleanor, daughter of Albert Frederick, duke of Prussia, and Marie Eleanore of Jülich-Cleves-Berg
Predecessor: John George
Reign: 1598 — 1608
Summary: Nothing is said of the early life of Joachim Friedrich. At the age of twenty, he was appointed the administrator of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg, although he lost technical rights to that post in 1570 when he married Catherine of Brandenburg-Küstrin. Since Magdeburg was a Catholic see and the Hohenzollern family was Lutheran, they only exercised political power in the archbishopric. The Bishop of Halberstadt was in charge of ecclesiastical affairs in Magdeburg between 1480 and 1680 when it was secularized and became a duchy. Joachim Friedrich became margrave and Holy Roman Imperial Elector of Brandenburg upon the death of his father in 1598, at which time he passed his authority in Madgeburg to his youngest son, Christian Wilhelm.

Of his reign, almost nothing is known. He became regent over the Duchy of Prussia in 1605 in the name of his relative, Albert Frederick, who had become feeble-minded. The Brandenburg-Ansbach branch of the family had technical control over Prussia, but it was decided that that control passed to the Electorate after Margrave George Friedrich's death in 1603. Joachim Friedrich's first wife died in 1602 and the margrave was forced to find another wife, whom he found among his cousin and ward's children. Marrying, Eleanor, the daughter of Albert Friedrich of Prussia helped emphasize his control and influence in Prussia while also giving him rights to Jülich-Cleves-Berg, a territory that Eleanor could one day inherit. Eleanor died in 1607 after giving birth to her only child, Maria Eleanore. Joachim Friedrich died the following year passing his margraviate to his eldest son from his first wife, John Sigismund.
Date of Death: 18 July 1608
Successor: John Sigismund

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

[July 17] St. Nicholas II, emperor of Russia

Full Name: Nikolay II, Nikolay Alexandrovich Romanov (Николай II, Николай Александрович Романов)
Surnamed: "The Martyr"
Parents: Alexander III, emperor of Russia, and Dagmar of Denmark
Date of Birth: 18 May 1868
Royal House: Oldenburg-Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Spouse: Alix, daughter of Louis IV, grand duke of Hesse, and Alice of the United Kingdom
Predecessor: Alexander III
Reign: 1894 — 1917
Summary: To summarize the life and many failures of Czar Nicholas II of Russia is an impossible task. Born to the German family that ruled Russia in the name of Romanov, Nicholas was the eldest son of Czar Alexander III. His cousins included his wife, Alix, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, and George V of the United Kingdom. He became the tsarevich (crown prince) upon the death of his grandfather, Alexander II, in 1881. He was sent in 1890 to Siberia where he witnessed the opening ceremony for the Trans-Siberian Railway. He then went on a world-tour that included Japan and much of Europe. Nicholas insisted on marrying Alix, the daughter of the Hessian grand duke, in 1894 and, reluctantly, his parents allowed it. But Russian society frowned on the marriage of the first cousins since Alix was German and viewed as an enemy of Russia. She maintained her Lutheran faith to the chagrin of many a Russian, but she never became popular. Alexander III unexpectedly died in late 1894 and Nicholas was thrust into the emperorship. Despite twenty-six years of upbringing, Nicholas was not prepared to lead Russia and, as many would discover, he would never really gain a knack for it.

Nicholas's first major mistake was denouncing thoughts of democracy in Russia. He chose instead to stick to the conservative position of his forefathers. When local assemblies popped up throughout Russia, Nicholas openly objected to him proclaiming his desire to retain the Russian autocracy. For the first decade of his reign, little changed in Russia. The gold standard was re-adopted allowing the national currency to undergo some much-needed reforms. The Trans-Siberian Railway was completed allowing direct trade with the Far East. In diplomacy, the relationship with France was increased and heavily emphasized. Things went sour in 1904 when the Russian fleet was suddenly attacked by Japan. The ensuing Russo-Japanese War cost Russia its Pacific fleet. Only American mediation ended a war that Nicholas refused to admit that he lost. Riots soon followed in 1905 leading to Bloody Sunday on January 9. Protesters marching peacefully through St. Petersburg were attacked by Russian infantry, killing 92 and wounding hundreds. Many fled and protests against Nicholas popped up throughout the Empire for the next thirteen years. After the riots, Nicholas decreed that he would allow basic civil liberties in Russia and allow a popular assembly, though he would retain ultimate oversight. It took three sessions of the assembly before Nicholas would tolerate its oversight, and, even still, he always kept a cautious eye on it. In his personal life, the successive births of four daughters caused Nicholas much worry of the succession. In 1904, his son, Alexei, was finally born, but his case of hemophilia B meant that he would probably never live long enough to produce offspring. His fate in 1918 ended any problems related to his succession. When Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, Nicholas eventually declared a mass mobilization of Russia, setting the course of Europe toward war. When Austria declared war soon after, the European alliances were initiated and Russia joined the Allies against the Central Powers. Throughout the war, Russia would never defeat the Germans in open battle, though successes against Austria and Ottoman Turkey were much more frequent. Though Russia had the largest army in the war, it slowly was whittled away by a triple front of Austria, Germany, and Turkey. Russia would not survive this war of attrition. Nicholas was frequently near the front lines leaving his wife, Alix, and his advisor, Grigori Rasputin, ruling the country. But people did not trust Rasputin and Alix was distrusted for being German. Run-away inflation and impossibly high food prices mixed with severe winters and broken railways caused the entire Russian population to rise in rebellion. Over the course of 1917, the Romanov family was imprisoned by an upstart Provisional Government led by the former Russian assembly and the Soviet. Both demanded the resignation of Nicholas which he finally agreed to on 15 March 1917, passing the throne to his brother, Michael. 

Michael soon after declined the throne and the Bolsheviks took control over Russia. The revolution in Russia gave the United States impetus to join the war, feeling that it was now a part of a democratic alliance. Nicholas attempted to go into exile to the United Kingdom but the Provisional Government decided to keep the family in Russian custody, moving them to the Ural Mountains. When the Bolsheviks took control of the government later that year, the Romanovs could do little. Vladimir Lenin, the new leader of the government, viewed the Romanovs as a threat to their government. In mid-July, the family was taken to the basement of a former governor's mansion and privately executed. Nicholas was shot three times in the chest. His four daughters survived the initial attack but were soon after speared with bayonets then shot in the head. The others in the room were killed indiscriminately in the first round of firing. The remains of all seven family members were only identified in 2008. Czar Nicholas was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as a martyr in 2000. While he is still considered a weak and poor ruler, he has also been seen as a victim of his times.
Date of Death: 17 July 1918
Successor: Cyril (as pretender)

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Uthman, caliph of Sunni Islam (656)
  • Edward (I) the Elder, king of Wessex (924)
  • Baldwin VI, count of Flanders (1070)
  • Dmitry Shemyaka, grand prince of Moscow (1453)
  • Tu Duc, emperor of Vietnam (1883)


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(1) cardinal (1) fantasy (1) fiction (1) shogunate (1) terms (1) Árpád (1) Öuchi (1)