Sunday, September 30, 2012

[September 30] Yoshitaka, daimyo in Japan

Native Name: 大内 義隆
Parents: Yoshioki, daimyo of Suo Province
Date of Birth: 18 December 1507
House: Öuchi
Predecessor: Yoshioki
Reign: 1528 – 1551
Brief: Before he ascended the throne, Yoshitaka worked with his father and the Amago clan to take control of Aki Province. After his father's death, he continued the campaign conquering northern Kyushu and then the territories of his former ally, Amago Clan. By 1541, Yoshitaka was the sole ruler of Aki Province as well as his own hereditary area of Suo. Discontented with his new status, Yoshitaka turned on Izumo and lost terribly. He gave up on campaigning and turned to the arts and culture, splitting his advisors into two camps: those who wished to continue the wars and those who were content like their lord. In 1551, the warmonger camp rebelled and captured the daimyo, forcing him to commit suicide. Yoshitaka's adopted son, Yoshinaga, was installed on the throne as a puppet for the conqueror, Sue Harukata.
Date of Death: 30 September 1551
Successor: Yoshinaga

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Louis IV, king of France (954)
  • Yaroslav II, grand prince of Vladimir (1246)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

[September 29] Ferdinand VII, king of Spain

Surnamed: "The Desired"
Parents: Charles IV, king of Spain, and Maria Luisa of Parma
Date of Birth: 14 October 1784
House: Capet-Bourbon
Spouse(s): (1) Maria Antonietta, daughter of Ferdinand I, king of the Two Sicilies, and Marie Caroline of Austria, then (2) Maria Isabel, daughter of João VI, king of Portugal, and Carlota Joaquina of Spain, then (3) Maria Josepha Amalia, daughter of Maximilian of Saxony and Caroline of Bourbon-Parma, then (4) Maria Christina, daughter of Francis I, king of the Two Sicilies, and Maria Isabella of Spain
Predecessor: Charles IV
Reign: 1808, 1813 – 1833
Brief: Ferdinand ascended the throne in the wake of his father's forced abdication. Few supported him and the new king turned to Napoleon for help. Instead, Napoleon deposed the king and imprisoned him at the Chateau of Valençay in France for six years. The Peninsular War was the direct result of his abdication and governments throughout the Spanish colonies in the New World began rebelling against French control. Napoleon installed his brother, Joseph, on the Spanish throne and only acknowledged Ferdinand VII as king again in 1813 after signing the Treaty of Valençay. Once king again, Ferdinand became an autocrat, prompting a large-scale revolt in 1820. As he approached death, he changed the order of succession to favor his daughter, Isabella, over his nephews, angering a segment of the royal family that would soon rise up and begin the Carlist Wars.
Date of Death: 29 September 1833
Successor: Isabella II

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Lothair I, emperor of the Romans (855)
  • Charles, duke of Brittany (1364)
  • Gustav I, king of Sweden (1560)

Friday, September 28, 2012

[September 28] St. Wenceslaus I, duke of Bohemia

Parents: Vratislaus I, duke of Bohemia, and Drahomíra of the Havolans
Date of Birth: circa 907
House: Premyslid
Predecessor: Vratislav I
Reign: 921 – 935
Brief: Good King Wenceslas, a man who became a Christmas carol, was raised a Christian by his grandmother who served as his regent during the first decade of his reign. As duke, he accomplished little in his reign. Duke Arnulf of Bavaria and German King Henry I attacked Prague in 929 and forced the duchy to resume tribute payments to Germany. Raids of Magyars in Hungary drained the Bohemian coffers empty. In 935, nobles allied with Wenceslaus' brother, Boleslav, attacked and killed the young duke while on his way to church. A martyr cult developed within days of his death and he was proclaimed a saint by popular acclaimation. He was posthumously granted the title "king" by Emperor Otto I a few decades later, hence the name of the carol.
Date of Death: 28 September 935
Successor: Boleslav I

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Louis II, king of East Francia (876)
  • Pedro I, king of Aragon & Navarre (1104)
  • Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor (1197)
  • John Paul I, pope of Rome (1978)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

[September 27] Maximilian I, duke of Bavaria

Surnamed: "The Great"
Parents: William V, duke of Bavaria, and Renata of Lorraine
Date of Birth: 17 April 1573
House: Wittelsbach
Spouse(s): (1) Elisabeth Renata, daughter of Charles III, duke of Lorraine, and Claude of France, then (2) Maria Anna, daughter of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, and Maria Anna of Bavaria
Predecessor: William V
Reign: 1597 – 1651
Brief: Raised by Jesuits, Maximilian was instrumental as a Catholic leader during the Thirty Years' War. When the Protestant Union was formed by princes in Northern Germany, Maximilian became the military leader of the rival Catholic League in 1609. In 1623, after years of warfare in and around Germany, Maximilian's head general conquered the Palatinate of the Rhine and the electoral dignity of that branch of the Wittelsbachs was revoked the transferred to Maximilian I, who became the first elector of Bavaria. While Bavaria lost the Thirty Years' War after Swedish and French troops sacked Munich in 1632, Maximilian was able to retain the electoral dignity and some of his conquered Palatinate lands at the end of the war in 1648. Maximilian died three years later at Ingolstaft and was buried in Munich.
Date of Death: 27 September 1651
Successor: Ferdinand Maria

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Raymond VII, count of Toulouse (1249)
  • Go-Nara, emperor of Japan (1557)
  • Urban VII, pope of Rome (1590)
  • Innocent XII, pope of Rome (1700)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

[September 26] Taichang, emperor of China

Birth Name: Zhu Changluo (朱常洛)
Parents: Wanli, emperor of China, and Xiaojing
Date of Birth: 28 August 1582
House: Zhu (Ming)
Spouse(s): (1) Xiaoyuan Zhen, then (2) Xiaohe, then (3) Xiaochun
Predecessor: Wanli
Reign: 1620
Brief: Never the favorite child of Emperor Wanli, Taichang lived most of his life in the shadow of his younger brother, Zhu Changxun. Never educated or prepared for the emperorship, he became crown prince nonetheless at the age of 19. He became emperor twenty years later but became ill within two days of his coronation. After taking laxative, his illness grew worse and it continued to worsen until his sudden death on September 26th. He had taken a red pill administered by a court official two days prior, and a second pill the night before his death. The mystery surrounding his death has never been solved. His was one of the shortest reigns in Chinese history and the Ming court was thrown into disarray because of the suddenness of the death. Eunuchs took over the government during the reign of his son, signaling the decline of the Ming Dynasty.
Date of Death: 26 September 1620
Successor: Tianqi

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Wakisaka Yasuharu, daimyo in Japan (1626)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

[September 25] Harald III, king of Norway

Surnamed: "Hardrada" ("Hard Ruler")
Parents: Signurd Syr, king of Norway, and Asta of Vestfold
Date of Birth: circa 1015
House: Hardrada (Fairhair)
Spouse(s): (1) Elisiv, daughter of Yaroslav I, grand prince of Kiev, and Ingegerd of Sweden, and (2) Tora, daughter of Torberg and Ragnhild
Predecessor: Magnus I
Reign: 1046 – 1066
Brief: For many years, Harald served as a military commander in the Kievan Rus' and the Byzantine Empire. As early as 1030, he fought against Cnut the Great who had dispossessed his family two years prior. In 1043, now older, militarily experienced, and wealthy, Harald returned to Kiev to begin his bid to reconquer Norway from his illegitimate nephew, Magnus I. He joined with the Danish pretender Sweyn II and began raiding the Danish coast. Magnus agreed to joint rule of Norway, but Harald renegged on the deal and Magnus died soon after. Harald III, now sole king of Norway, moved on to conquer Denmark for himself, fighting his former ally, Sweyn. In 1066, Harald gave up on Denmark and set his sights on England instead to depose Harold II. He arrived in England in September and won the battle of Fulford before being killed at the battle of Stamford Bridge. His death generally marks the end of the Viking Age, and it directly led to the defeat of Harold II at the battle of Hastings the next month.
Date of Death: 25 September 1066
Successor: Magnus II

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • William VIII, duke of Aquitaine (1086)
  • Morikuni, shogun of Japan (1333)
  • Felipe I, king of Castile (1506)
  • Clement VII, pope of Rome (1534)
  • Go-Yozei, emperor of Japan (1617)
  • Léopold III, king of Belgium (1983)

Monday, September 24, 2012

[September 24] Albert, archbishop of Mainz

Parents: John Cicero, elector of Brandenburg, and Margaret of Thuringia
Date of Birth: 28 June 1490
House: Hohenzollern
Predecessor: Uriel von Gemmingen
Reign: 1514 – 1545
Brief: When he was young, he became a co-margrave of Brandenburg and soon also became archbishop of Magdeburg. His brother, Joachim I Nestor, was appointed elector. In 1514, Albert became the elector of Mainz and was made a cardinal soon after. In becoming elector, he had to begin selling indulgences and enlisted the aid of John Tetzel whose activities prompted the 95 Theses of Matin Luther to be posted on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. In 1519, he was bribed to vote for Charles I of Spain for Holy Roman Emperor against the bid of François I of France. At first tolerant to the rising Protestant movement within his lands, Albert turned on them in his latter years and was eventually booted out of his own lands, with Mainz becoming a Protestant see.
Date of Death: 24 September 1545
Successor: Sebastian von Heusenstamm

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Liberius, pope of Rome (366)
  • Pippin, king of the Franks (768)
  • Welf II, duke of Bavaria (1120)
  • Innocent II, pope of Rome (1143)
  • Manuel I, emperor of Constantinople (1180)
  • Stefan, king of Serbia (1228)
  • Reigen, emperor of Japan (1732)
  • Pedro I, emperor of Brazil (1834)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

[September 23] Robert de Sablé, grand master of the Knights Templar

Spouse(s): Clemence de Mayenne
Predecessor: Gerard de Ridefort
Reign: 1191 – 1193
Brief: A supporter of Henry the Young King in England, Robert rose to prominence under King Richard I, who aided in his appointment was grand master of the Knights Templar. In that capacity, he helped in the Reconquista in Spain, using his knights to great effect against the Moors before entering the Third Crusade at the siege of Acre. He joined forces with the Knights Hospitaller and other local forces and defeated Saladin's forces in open battle. By 1191, Richard sold the Knights Templar the island of Cyprus which Robert turned around and sold to Guy de Lusignan, the dispossessed king of Jerusalem, in 1193 after serving as lord of the island for two years. When he died, future grand masters were barred from serving on the front lines to ensure their safety.
Date of Death: 23 September 1193
Successor: Gilbert Horal

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Linus, pope of Rome (79)
  • Dan I, voivode of Wallachia (1386)
  • John I, duke of Lorraine (1390)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

[September 22] Shaka, king of the Zulu Nation

Parents: Senzangakhona, chief of the Zulu, and Nandi of the Elangeni tribe
Date of Birth: circa 1787
Predecessor: Senzangakhona
Reign: 1816 – 1828
Brief: For the illegitimate son of a minor chieftan, Shaka rose up to unify the Nguni people, merging the Mtetwa Paramountcy with the Ndwandwe kingdom into the Zulu Nation. While other African warlords were brutally punishing problem soldiers, Shaka worked to bring modern reforms to his African military corps. Still, he was a brutal warrior king who killed his brother and other rivals to maintain his position. He was eventually killed by two of his half-brothers when most of the Zulu army was in the north. One of them, Dingane, succeeded him and rid much of the tribe of Shaka supporters. Shaka's legacy with the military lived on into the late-1800s when the Zulu army defeated the British at the Battle of Isandlwana in 1879.
Date of Death: 22 September 1828
Successor: Dingane

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Selim I, sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1520)
  • Clement XIV, pope of Rome (1774)
  • Ton That Thuyet, emperor of Vietnam (1913)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

[September 21] Jai Singh II, king of Juiper

Bada Bagh, the memorial burial site of Jai Singh II near Jaisalmer, India
Parents: Bishan Singh, king of Amber
Date of Birth: 3 November 1688
House: Kachwaha
Spouse(s): Bikaner, Sheopur, and Udaipur
Predecessor: Bishan Singh
Reign: 1723 – 1743
Brief: An Indian warrior client king of the Mughal Emperor, Jai Singh II achieved his fame while serving in the Deccan Wars as the king of Amber. He raised the siege of Khelna and was appointed governor of Malwa in 1704. Following the war, Jai Singh served in numerous campaigns conquering forts of the Jat Confederacy. His kingdom was enlarged and became Juiper in 1723. In his new position, he continued to serve as the Malwa governor, conquering enemies for the Mughals and centralizing the Deccan Plateau. When the Mughals were attacked by Nadir Shah, Jai Singh began defending his own lands. He built up Jaipur city which became the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan. 
Date of Death: 21 September 1743
Successor: Isrisingh

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Conon, pope of Rome (687)
  • Edward II, king of England (1327)
  • Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (1558)
  • Håkon VII, king of Norway (1957)

[September 20] St. Mikhail, grand prince of Kiev

Parents: Vsevolov IV, grand prince of Kiev, and Anastasia of Poland
Date of Birth: circa 1185
House: Olgovich
Spouse(s): Elena, daughter of Roman of Halych and Predslava of Kiev
Predecessor: Yaroslav
Reign: 1236 – 1240, 1240, 1241 – 1243
Brief: An overly powerful leader of the Kievan Rus'. Mikhail faced the onslaught of the Mongol Horde and failed to defend Russia from the invasion. But the prosperity he spread made him famous. He merged Halych and Kiev to form a unified state with Novgorod. Novgorod and its neighbors reached their height under his rule. Mikhail was a powerful prince but he still passed on political and economic freedoms to his nobles to inspire wealth and culture. When the Tatars under the Mongols invaded Russia, he was executed for adhering to the Christian faith rather than bowing to Mongol idols. He became the first royal martyr of the Mongolian persecution and is recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church for this role. Four apocryphal sons are attributed to him, all of whom founded royal and noble families within Russia in the following centuries.
Date of Death: 20 September 1246
Successor: Yaroslav

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Louis I, king of Naples (1384)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

[September 19] Go-Daigo, emperor of Japan

Parents: Go-Uda, emperor of Japan, and Fujjiwara no Chüshi
Date of Birth: 26 November 1288
House: Japan
Spouse(s): Kishi, daughter of Saionji Sanekane
Predecessor: Hanazono
Reign: 1318 – 1339
Brief: Go-Daigo was not an emperor to be ruled over by shoguns. In 1324, and again in 1331, he attempted to overthrown the Kamakura Shogunate in the hope of ruling Japan by himself. In 1331, he raised an army abut was overthrown and a rival emperor, Kogon, was installed in his stead. He briefly regained the throne in 1333 in what became known as the Kenmu Restoration. This eventually led to the division of the Japanese empire into northern and southern courts, with Go-Daigo setting up his rival court in the south. He abdicated the throne to his son in September  1339 and died the next day.
Date of Death: 19 September 1339
Successor: Go-Murakami

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Peter I, duke of Bourbon (1356)
  • Walter VI, count of Lecce (1356)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

[September 18] Pietro I Candiano, doge of Venice

House: Candiano
Predecessor: Giovanni II
Reign: 887
Brief: As the sixteenth doge of Venice, Pietro Candiano was meant to serve Giovanni II, an elderly and loved patriarch. His extremely short reign was consumed with a military campaign against the Narentines who were occupying Dalmatia. Despite an initial naval victory, he died in open battle when his army was routed. His failure forced the Venetian Republic to pay tribute to Prince Branimir of Croatia for the next sixty years. His grand-nephew, Pietro, succeeded him in the dogeship. 
Date of Death: 18 September 887
Successor: Pietro Tribuno

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Domitian, emperor of Rome (96)
  • Constantine III, usurper of Rome (411)
  • Louis VII, king of the West Franks (1180)
  • Toyotomi Hideyoshi, daimyo in Japan (1598)
  • Charles IV, duke of Lorraine (1675)
  • Charles XV & IV, king of Sweden & Norway (1872)

Monday, September 17, 2012

[September 17] Dioscorus I, patriarch of Alexandria

Predecessor: Cyril I
Reign: 444 – 454
Brief: At the Second Council of Ephesus, Discorus was appointed the head arbiter between supporters of Eutyches, a Nestorian, and those of Flavian. He decided in favor of Eutyches, which upset Pope Leo I, a defender of Flavian. Dioscorus was deposed by the Council of Chalcedon but many in Egypt continued to support him, creating the permanent divide between the Coptic Catholic Church and the Melchite Catholic Church. While in many circles, Discorus is considered a heretic, in the Oriental Orthodox Church he is considered a saint and a great father of the church.
Date of Death: 17 September 454
Successor: Proterius I I

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Robert III, count of Flanders (1322)
  • Constantine II, tsar of Bulgaria (1422)
  • Felipe IV & III, king of Spain & Portugal (1665)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

[September 16] Clement VII, antipope of Rome

True Name: Robert
Parents: Amadeus III, count of Geneva, and Mathilde d'Auvergne
House: Geneva
Born: 1342
Predecessor: Urban VI
Reign: 1378 – 1394
Brief: Elected by the French cardinals in opposition to Pope Urban VI, Clement VII became the first antipope of the Western Schism, representing the Avignon Papacy. Experienced in combat from leading troops in the War of the Eight Saints, Clement never wished for an end to the schism, resorting to simony and extortion to fund his court at Avignon. In addition to his role as pope, Clement (as Robert) acted as the last count of Geneva of the main dynasty from 1392 to 1394, inheriting the title from his elder brother Peter. 
Date of Death: 16 September 1394
Successor: Benedict XIII

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Severus II, emperor of Rome (307)
  • Valentine, pope of Rome (827)
  • Victor III, pope of Rome (1087)
  • John IV, duke of Brittany (1345)
  • Charles V, king of France (1380)
  • James II & VII, king of England & Scotland (1701)
  • Quang Trung, emperor of Viet Nam (1792)
  • Louis XVIII, king of France (1824)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

[September 15] Gustaf VI Adolf, king of Sweden

Full Name: Oscar Fredrik Wilhelm Olaf Gustaf Adolf
Parents: Gustaf V, king of Sweden, and Victoria of Baden
House: Bernadotte
Born: 11 November 1882
Spouse(s): (1) Margaret, daughter of Arthur, duke of Connaught, and Louise Margaret of Prussia, then (2) Louise, daughter of Louis, prince of Battenberg, and Victoria of Hesse-and-by-Rhine
Predecessor: Gustaf V
Reign: 1950 – 1973
Brief: The immense popularity of Gustaf VI saved him from a short reign. The government of Sweden was working to implement a new constitution and considering dropping the monarchy altogether, but Gustaf convinced them to retain it and the new constitution wasn't promulgated until after his death in 1975. As a monarch, he ruled with decreasing powers of state, and all remaining powers were removed in 1975. Gustaf VI died of pneumonia in 1973 at the age of 91.
Date of Death: 15 September 1973
Successor: Carl XVI Gustaf

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Constans II, emperor of Constantinople (668)
  • Robert IV, margrave of Neustria (866)
  • Louis I, duke of Bavaria (1231)
  • Dmitry, grand prince of Vladimir (1326)

Friday, September 14, 2012

[September 14] Bidasu, emperor of Japan

Local Name: 敏達天皇
Parents: Kimmei, emperor of Japan, and Iwahime of Japan
House: Japan
Born: 538
Spouse(s): (1) Hirohime, then (2) Nukatabe, daughter of Kimmei, emperor of Japan
Predecessor: Kimmei
Reign: 572 – 585
Brief: Ruling during a time of turmoil when the Soga and Mononobe clans were contemplating acceptance of Buddhism, Bidatsu accomplished little of note during his reign. He worked hard to resume diplomacy with Korea and succeeded in setting up embassies in Baekje and Silla, two Korean kingdoms. After his first wife died, Bidatsu married his half-sister, Nukatabe, who would later succeed to the throne in her own right as Empress Suiko. Bidatsu died in 585 of smallpox, the first royal victim of the disease in Japan.
Date of Death: 14 September 585
Successor: Yomei

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Constantine V, emperor of Constantinople (775)
  • Al-Hadi, caliph of Sunni Islam (786)
  • Stephen V, pope of Rome (891)
  • Zengi, emir of Mosul (1146)
  • Sutoku, emperor of Japan (1164)
  • Albert Avogadro, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem (1214)
  • Albert IV, duke of Austria (1404)
  • Adrian VI, pope of Rome (1523)
  • Henry III, prince of Nassau-Breda (1538)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

[September 13] Felipe II, king of Spain

Parents: Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Isabella of Portugal
House: Habsburg-Spain
Born: 21 May 1527
Spouse(s): (1) Maria Manuela, daughter of João III, king of Portugal, and Catherine of Habsburg, then (2) Mary I, queen of England, daughter of Henry VIII, king of England, and Catherine of Aragón, then (3) Elisabeth, daughter of Henri II, king of France, and Catherine de Medici, then (4) Anna, daughter of  Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor, and Maria of Spain
Predecessor: Carlos I
Reign: 1556 – 1598
Brief: The king-consort of Queen Mary I of England for four years, Felipe II inherited half the Habsburg Empire in 1556. He further expanded his domains in 1580 by successfully claiming the Portuguese crown after the death of King Henrique. His despotic tendencies and neglect of the Low Countries led to the revolt and creation of the Dutch Republic the next year. In 1588, he unsuccessfully tried to invade England but was stopped when his Spanish Armada was destroyed by the forces of Queen Elizabeth I. His death was especially long and painful as he suffered from gout, fever, and dropsy for fifty-two days before dying at his palace near Madrid in 1598.
Date of Death: 13 September 1598
Successor: Felipe III & II

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Titus, emperor of Rome (81)
  • Leopold V, archduke of Austria (1632)
  • Hezqeyas, emperor of Ethiopia (1813)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

[September 12] John George III, elector of Saxony

Parents: John George II, elector of Saxony, and Magdalene Sybille of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
House: Wettin
Born: 20 June 1647
Spouse(s): Anna Sophie, daughter of Frederick III, king of Denmark, and Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Predecessor: John George II
Reign: 1680 – 1691
Brief: A soldier king from the start of his reign, John George III was a staunch ally of the Habsburgs against the France of King Louis XIV. He established the first standing army in Saxony and used it to support Emperor Leopold I in his wars against the Ottoman Empire and France. While he did not join in the League of Augsburg, he fought against the French in the Nine Years' War. He died from an epidemic of Cholera or Plague and was buried in the Cathedral of Freiberg.
Date of Death: 12 September 1691
Successor: John George IV

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Andronikos I, emperor of Constantinople (1185)
  • Peter II, king of Aragón (1213)
  • Innocent VI, pope of Rome (1362)
  • Albert III, duke of Saxony (1500)
  • Vasili IV, tsar of Russia (1612)
  • Afonso VI, king of Portugal (1683)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

[September 11] Melisende, queen of Jerusalem

Parents: Baldwin II, king of Jerusalem, and Morphia of Melitene
House: Rethel-Boulogne
Born: 1105
Spouse(s): Fulk V, count of Anjou & Maine
Predecessor: Baldwin II
Reign: 1131 – 1153
Date of Death: 11 September 1161
Successor: Baldwin III

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Béla I, king of Hungary (1063)
  • Go-Mizunoo, emperor of Japan (1680)
  • Peter VII, patriarch of Alexandria (2004)

Monday, September 10, 2012

[September 10] Shi Huang, emperor of China

Birth Name: Zhào Zhèng (趙政)
Surnamed: Shi Huangdi (The First Emperor: 始皇帝)
Parents: Zhuangxiang, king of Qin, and Zhào Ji, a concubine
House: Ying (Qin)
Born: 259 BCE
Predecessor: Zhuangxiang (as king of Qin)
Reign: 221 – 210 BCE
Date of Death: 10 September 210 BCE
Successor: Er Shi

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Baldwin II, count of Flanders (918)
  • Matilda, lady of the English (1102)
  • Henry II, count of Champagne (1197)
  • Go-Nijo, emperor of Japan (1308)
  • Louis I, king of Hungary, Sicily & Poland (1382)
  • John, duke of Burgundy (1419)
  • Charles III, prince of Monaco (1889)
  • Ferdinand, king of Bulgaria (1948)
  • Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, king of Tonga (2006)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

[September 9] Jacques I, king of Cyprus

Parents: Hugues IV, king of Cyprus, and Alix of Ibelin
House: Poitiers-Lusignan
Born: 1334
Spouse(s): Helvis, daughter of Philip of Brunswick and Helisia of Dampierre
Predecessor: Peter II
Reign: 1382 – 1398
Date of Death: 9 September 1398
Successor: Janus

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Olaf I, king of Norway (1000)
  • William I, king of England (1087)
  • Duarte I, king of Portugal (1438)
  • Chenghua, emperor of China (1487)
  • Francis II, duke of Brittany (1488)
  • James IV, king of Scots (1513)
  • Nakagawa Hidenari, daimyo in Japan (1676)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

[September 8] Alfonso I, king of Aragón & Navarre

Surnamed: "The Battler" (El Batallador)
Parents: Sancho V, king of Aragón and Navarre, and Felicia of Roucy
House: Jiménez
Born: circa 1073
Spouse(s): Urraca, queen of Léon, daughter of Alfonso VI, king of León, and Constance of Burgundy
Predecessor: Pedro I
Reign: 1104 – 1134
Date of Death: 8 September 1134
Successor: Ramiro II (in Aragón) and García IV (in Navarre)

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Sergius I, pope of Rome (701)
  • Leo IV, emperor of Constantinople (780)
  • Clement III, antipope of Rome (1100)
  • Charles III, king of Navarre (1425)
  • Faisal I, king of Iraq (1933)

Friday, September 7, 2012

[September 7] Geoffrey V, count of Anjou

Surnamed: "The Handsome" (Le Bel) and "Plantagenet"
Parents: Fulk V, count of Anjou, and Ermengard of Maine
House: Anjou
Born: 24 August 1113
Spouse(s): Matilda, daughter of Henry I, king of England, and Edith of Scotland
Predecessor: Fulk V
Reign: 1129 – 1151
Summary: Although born to a French count, his father became king of Jerusalem suo uxoris when Geoffrey was in his late twenties. This prestige mixed with a lifetime of good fortune that culminated with his son, Henry, eventually naming his dynasty after Geoffrey. Not a lot is known about Geoffrey before his betrothal to the widowed Empress Matilda, daughter of King Henry II of England. He was only fifteen-years-old at the time and was knighted in England prior to the wedding. Matilda was the heir to the English crown by this point, and Geoffrey should have become king consort upon her coronation. In 1128, Geoffrey became the count of Anjou since his father had left for Jerusalem to be crowned king alongside his wife.

Geoffrey ruled as a happy and handsome ruler, though some sources claim he was cold and selfish. When Henry died in England, Matilda claimed the English throne and, with Geoffrey, moved on Normandy. While parts of Normandy declared for her, the majority declared for Stephen of Blois, whom the English nobles had proclaimed king. Geoffrey began negotiating with counties that bordered Normandy in the hope that an alliance could be built against Stephen. Meanwhile, Matilda went to England in 1139 with a small army and was besieged at Arundel. Stephen was captured by Matilda's forces two years later and Matilda was proclaimed "Lady of the English." Stephen escaped and was also reproclaimed king. In Normandy, Geoffrey was conquering the entire duchy and assumed the title "Duke of Normandy" in 1444. He and his wife ruled as duke and duchess until 1149, when they gave over control to their son and heir, Henry. King Louis VII of France recognized the cession in 1150. Geoffrey was constantly at war with his own barons in Anjou, which hurt his position in Normandy and forced him to remain in France while Matilda was in England. Stephen died suddenly in 1151, although he was administered his last rights and gifted much of his private possessions to charities. Henry was proclaimed the English heir two years later and succeeded to the throne in 1154 as the first of the Plantagenet dynasty.
Date of Death: 7 September 1151
Successor: Henry I

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Claudius Silvanus, usurper of Rome (355)
  • Ferdinand IV, king of Castile (1312)
  • Frederick II, elector of Saxony (1464)
  • Ferdinand II, king of Naples (1496)
  • Guru Angad Dev, Sikh guru (1552)
  • Susenyos, emperor of Ethiopia (1632)
  • Tekle Haymanot I, emperor of Ethiopia (1708)
  • Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, king of Thailand (1809)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

[September 6] Eugenius, usurper of Rome

Full Name: Flavius Eugenius
Predecessor: Valentinian II
Reign: 393 – 394
Summary: Very little is known about Eugenius' past or upbringing. When he enters historical works, he is a teacher of grammar and rhetoric and a friend of the Frankish ruler Arbogast. When Emperor Valentinian II died, Arbogast chose Eugenius to be the next Western Roman Emperor, forcing the Roman Senate to support this election. Eugenius worked fast to replace appointments by Eastern Emperor Theodosius with those loyal to himself and Arbogast. Most were chosen from the senatorial class, endearing the Roman Senate to him as well. Unlike Theodosius, Eugenius also supported polytheism, though he himself was a Christian. This earned him the support of many of Rome's citizenry who still supported the old gods. Emperor Theodosius, who wished for an absolute Christianity within the empire, decided that he had had enough of this western pretender. While Arbogast was in the north unifying and pacifying Germanic tribes, Eugenius was in Milan attempting to receive recognition of his imperial titles. Theodosius denied him his titles and elevated his son, Honorius, to the rank of Western Emperor. He gathered an army to march on Milan. The rival armies met at the Battle of the Frigidus in September 394. The battle lasted for two days with Theodosius eventually winning the extremely bloody battle. Arbogast committed suicide after losing and Eugenius was executed for treason. His head was left on a spike outside the Roman camp. With Eugenius' death, the Roman Empire lost its last chance at preserving polytheism, with all future emperors supporting a solely Christian empire.
Date of Death: 6 September 394
Successor: Honorius

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Liudolf, duke of Swabia (957)
  • John XIII, pope of Rome (972)
  • Ashikaga Yoshizumi, shogun of Japan (1511)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

[September 5] Constance, duchess of Brittany

Date of Birth: 12 June 1161
Parents: Conan IV, duke of Brittany, and Margaret of Huntingdon
House: Penthièvre
Spouse(s): (1) Geoffrey, son of Henry II, king of England, and Eleanor, duchess of Aquitaine, then (2)Ranulf, earl of Chester, then (3) Guy of Thouars
Predecessor: Conan IV
Reign: 1171 – 1194
Summary: Inheriting the duchy of Brittany from her father in 1171 at the age of ten, Constance went on to lead a troubled life. At twenty, she was forced into marriage with Geoffrey Plantagenet, the fourth son of King Henry II of England. The couple had three children, two of which inherited Brittany after her. Geoffrey excluded his wife from managing Brittany while he lived, and when he was trampled to death in a tournament in 1186, she was only too eager to reclaim her authority. King Henry, though, sought to control his former daughter-in-law. He married her off again two years later to an English lord, who resumed her duties as lord suo uxoris. In 1191, King Richard I of England proclaimed Constance's son, Arthur, as his heir in a treaty signed by the king of France. Constance abdicated her throne in 1194 to support the claims of her son. Meanwhile, her married life was in disarray and her second husband eventually imprisoned her in England, sparking rebellions in Brittany. She was released in 1198. Constance immediately had her marriage annulled and soon after married a Breton nobleman. When Richard died in 1199, Arthur became the count of Anjou, Maine, and Poitou, but Richard's brother John took the English throne. Arthur swore loyalty to King Philip II of France prompting a short war with John. The young duke was captured at Mirabeau and vanished mysteriously three years later. Eleanor, Constance's eldest daughter, was also captured and imprisoned for the remainder of her life. Constance didn't live to see the fate of her children, though. She died at Nantes in 1201 and was buried in a nearby abbey. She probably died from complications related to the birth of twins at the age of 40.
Date of Death: 5 September 1201
Successor: Arthur I

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Nijo, emperor of Japan (1165)
  • Henry I, duke of Brabant (1235)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

[September 4] Tughril, shahanshah of Persia

Commemorative monument dedicated to Tughril near Tehran
True Name: Tuğrul (طغرل)
Date of Birth: c. 990
Parents: Seljuk, chief of the Kinik tribe
House: Seljuk
Reign: 1016 – 1063
Summary: When he first appeared on the steppe around 1016, few feared him or worried about his power. Tughril was of the Seljuk line, descended from a Turkoman warrior and leader of a small confederacy of Turkic tribes. In 1025, his brother, Chaghri, and he joined forces with the Kara-Khanid Sultanate of Bukhara, but that year the sultanate was defeated by the Ghaznavid Empire. Tughril settled in Khwarezm where he began army building, while an uncle settled in Khorasan and did the same. When that uncle, Arslan, was defeated, Tughril reacted and conquered the entire region between 1028 and 1029. By 1037, they had sacked Ghazni itself and Tughril took the sultanate of Nishapur for himself. Three years later, the battle of Dandanaqan forced the remnants of the Ghaznavid Empire to flee to the east, leaving massive land gains for the up-and-coming Seljuk leader. With the Ghaznavids out of the way, Tughril moved to consolidate his control over the remainder of Persia, which he accomplished by 1044.

With Persia under direct Seljuk control, Tughril pushed his armies to the doorstep to the Byzantine Empire and was being looked on by the Abbasid Caliphate as a potential savior from their occupation by Buyid raiders. Tughril took the city of Baghdad for himself in 1055 but lost it three years later. He reclaimed the city in 1060, having killed his foster brother to ensure its defeat. To secure his position within the Caliphate, Tughril married the daughter of the caliph. Unfortunately, he died childless three years later in Persia. His nephew, Suleiman, was appointed his successor but Alp Arslan, another Seljuk rival, eventually defeated him and took the throne the next year.
Date of Death: 4 September 1063
Successor: Alp Arsian

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Boniface I, pope of Rome (422)
  • Musa al-Kadhim, imam of Shi'a Islam (799)
  • Bermudo III, king of León (1037)

Monday, September 3, 2012

[September 3] Gian Galeazzo, duke of Milan

Date of Birth: 16 October 1351
Parents: Galeazzo II, lord of Milan, and Bianca of Savoy
House: Visconti
Spouse(s): (1) Isabelle, daughter of Jean II, king of France, and Bonne of Bohemia, then (2) Caterina, daughter of Bernabò, lord of Milan, and Beatrice Regina della Scala
Predecessor: Galeazzo II and Barnabò (as lords of Milan)
Reign: 1395 – 1402
Date of Death: 3 September 1402
Successor: Gian Maria

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Sun Xiu, emperor of Eastern Wu (264)
  • Umar al-Aqta, emir of Melitene (863)
  • Oliver Cromwell, lord protector of England (1658)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

[September 2] Jiaqing, emperor of China

Native Name: 嘉慶帝
Date of Birth: 13 November 1760
Parents: Qianlong, emperor of China, and Xiaoyichun
House: Qing (Manchu)
Spouse(s): (1) Xiaoshurui, daughter of Hitara Horchingo, duke of Cheng'en, and Yongyan of China, then (2) Xiaoherui, daughter of Gong'ala
Predecessor: Qinglong
Reign: 1796 – 1820
Summary: Born in a secondary imperial palace, his mother was a native Chinese woman while his father was descended from the Qing dynasty of Manchuria north of China. In 1773, Jiaqing became the crown prince when his elder brothers dies. A close advisor to his father, Heshen, was severely despised by the prince for his abuses of power. When he became emperor, his first task was to remove the entrenched minister of state. Jiaqing's father abdicated the throne in 1795 to avoid out-reigning his father, Kangxi. His father continued to rule for another three years as a retired emperor.

In 1799, Jiaqing took over management of the empire from his father, who died early in the year. Heshen was accused of corruption and abuse of power, stripped of his titles and rank, and ordered to commit suicide. The White Lotus Rebellion and the Miao Rebellions had broken out around this time and emptied the Chinese treasury quickly, putting China at a severe economic disadvantage. His lifelong goal became the re-establishment of Chinese fortunes and influence in East Asia. Unfortunately, British imperialism led to an outflow of silver to pay for Indian opium, a process that continued to drain the Chinese treasury. In 1803, and again in 1813, members of Jiaqing's family attempted to kill the emperor. Hundreds of members of the family were exiled for their betrayal. Fearing the spread of European ideas, the preaching of Catholicism was outlawed in China under penalty of death. Those Christians already in China were sent to Muslim cities in western China and given as slaves to appease Muslim leaders. By 1820, Jiaqing was an obese emperor and probably suffered a stroke resulting in his death. His second son, Daoguang, succeeded him.
Date of Death: 2 September 1820
Successor: Daoguang

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Constantius III, emperor of Rome (421)
  • Munetaka, shogun of Japan (1274)
  • Dawit II, emperor of Ethiopia (1540)
  • Philipp Wilhelm, Elector Palatine (1690)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

[September 1] Louis XIV, king of France & Navarre

Surnamed: "The Sun King" (le Roi-Soleil)
Date of Birth: 5 September 1938
Parents: Louis XIII, king of France, and Anne of Austria
House: Bourbon
Spouse(s): (1) Maria Theresa, daughter of Philip IV, king of Spain & Portugal, and Elisabeth of France, then (2) Françoise, daughter of Constant d'Aubigné and Jeanne de Cardillac
Predecessor: Louis XIII
Reign: 1643 – 1715
Summary: The longest-reigning monarch in European history, Louis XIV began his rule as a five-year-old child, leaving the management of the state to various regents. Anne of Austria, his mother, served as the chief regent, with Cardinal Mazarin as the prime minister. In 1648, the Thirty Years' War ended with Dutch independence from Spain formalized. As the war ended, the Fronde, a French civil war, erupted. It was led by dissatisfied aristocrats who feared a centralized French monarchy. Anne fled Paris with her sons and some courtiers until the French army returned and reestablished order in the kingdom. A second Fronde, this time led by many members of the royal family, broke out, but ended when Louis came of age. 

Mazarin's death in 1661 began Louis' formal rule in France. Although he had been of age for three years already, he chose to allow his prime minister to rule. In 1665, Louis chose Jean-Baptiste Colbert as his controller of finances in a role that he would one day regret. Over the next few years, Louis attempted to gather all the varied legal codes from throughout France into one tome that was later known as the Code Louis. As a patron, Louis expanded many of his palaces and supported all forms of art. At Versailles, he built a new chateau to rival all of those of Europe. He remodeled Paris as well, demolishing city walls and expanding boulevards. Most of Louis' reign was frought with war, many that he started or maintained. The War of Devolution in the Spanish Netherlands began in 1665 and acted as a prelude to the War of the Spanish Succession in 1700. The Franco-Dutch War in 1672 helped bring William of Orange to power in the Netherlands and also brought enmity between the two monarchs. Outside of Europe, France expanded its holdings to nearly every habitable continent, especially America and India. Louis famously began requiring all his nobles attend him at court in Versailles on a regular basis, a means to control the aristocracy. He included military nobles in this game to ensure the loyalty of the army and navy. Religion, though, was something he had little control over. In 1685, he revoked the Edict of Nantes and began to actively persecute non-Catholics living in France. Up to 200,000 Huguenots fled France in the ensuing years. The War of the League of Augsburg began in 1688 and was a direct response to French aggression in Germany. Piggybacking off this war, the Glorious Revolution in France deposed the French-friendly Stuarts with the Dutchman William of Orange, who had been hurt by France before. Louis funded Irish revolt and backed the deposed English king James II, but to no avail. The Augsburg War ended in 1697 with France having the upper hand. Another war, this time over the Spanish Succession, consumed the remainder of Louis' reign. His grandson, Philip of Anjou, was the declared heir of the dying King Charles II of Spain. When the king died, Louis went to war over Philip's claim. Attempts to avoid war failed and world war followed, with theaters in Europe, Asia, and the Americas (Queen Anne's War). The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 ended the war, with the Treaty of Rastatt ending the conflict between France and Austria. Philip retained his new throne as Philip V of Spain, while Austria gained the Austrian Netherlands and parts of Italy. Louis died of gangrene at Versailles in 1715, only days before his 77th birthday. His son, the Grand Dauphin, his grandson, the Petit Dauphin, and his great-grandson, the Duke of Brittany, had all predeceased him. A brother of the duke of Brittany, Louis, Duke of Anjou, therefore, became his successor as Louis XV.
Date of Death: 1 September 1715
Successor: Louis XV

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Baldwin V, count of Flanders (1067)
  • Adrian IV, pope of Rome (1159)
  • Kujo Yoritsune, shogun of Japan (1256)
  • Guru Ram Das, Sikh Guru (1581)

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