Friday, November 30, 2012

[November 30] Leka I, titular king of the Albanians

Parents: Zog I, king of the Albanians, and Géraldine Apponyi de Nagyappony
Date of Birth: 5 April 1939
House: Zogu
Spouse(s): Susan, daughter of Alan Robert Cullen-Ward and Phyllis Dorothea Murray-Prior
Predecessor: Zog
Reign: 1961 – 2011
Brief: Forced into exile only two days after his birth, Leka I was never destined to see the Albanian throne. The Italians invaded Albania in 1939, with Victor Emmanuel III proclaiming himself King of Albania, though he would come to regret the invasion later in life. He travelled around Europe in his exile, settling in England by 1940. The family moved to Egypt where Leka attended English schools, and then he studied at Aiglon College in Switzerland before passing out of Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in Britain. He became a lieutenant in the British Army then a businessman. In 1957, he was designated his father's heir, and four years later he was proclaimed King of the Albanians by the Albanian National Assembly-in-Exile. He was married in 1975 to an Australian and his reception had numerous other deposed heads of state in attendance. Fearing a communist assassination attempt on his life, Leka began gathering arms and bodyguards around himself, which prompted the Spanish government to kick him out of the country. On his flight into Africa, he ran into Albanian communists who tried to capture him but were turned away when the titular king produced an RPG launcher. He finally set up a new base in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was given diplomatic protection. After the fall of communism in Albania, Leka I returned to his homeland in 1993, renouncing his titles in exchange for citizenship. A referendum was held in 1997 to reestablish a monarchy, but the bid failed partially due to communist interference. The king left the country and was found guilty in absentia of sedition, which was pardoned two years later when 72 members of Parliament requested the royal family to return. The party that backed his family is a minority member of a coalition that had promised future referendums on monarchy. However, for Leka I, he withdrew from politics entirely in 2006 and died five years later. His son, Leka II, now heads the family's campaign for recognition.
Date of Death: 30 November 1780
Successor: Leka II

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Edmund II, king of England (1016)
  • Charles XII, king of Sweden (1718)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

[November 29] Maria Theresa, queen of Bohemia

Full Name: Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina
Parents: Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, and Elisabeth Christina of Burnswick-Wolfenbüttel
Date of Birth: 13 May 1717
House: Habsburg
Spouse(s): François, duke of Lorraine, son of Leopold, duke of Lorraine, and Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans
Predecessor: Charles VI
Reign: 1740 – 1780
Brief: The resultant final heir of the House of Habsburg, Maria Theresa was destined to be queen of Bohemia and archduchess of Austria from at least 1713, when her father passed his Pragmatic Sanction. Most of the rest of his reign was spent securing the law that would allow his daughter to succeed to the throne, but it was all for nothing. This was partially because Emperor Charles VI had already signed a Mutual Pact of Succession with his elder brother that ensured that the daughters of Emperor Joseph I would supersede any daughters of Charles. But by the time Charles died, little mattered to the land-hungry magnates of Europe who only wished to dissect Austria for themselves. Raised by Jesuits and kept under harsh security, Maria Theresa was not a great student and her father did not teach her how to rule his empire. At the age of nineteen, Maria Theresa married the duke of Lorraine, who lost Lorraine the next year but gained the Grand Duchy of Tuscany as compensation. When Charles finally died in 1740 of mushroom poisoning, he left Austria in financial bankruptcy and a small unprepared army. Maria Theresa did not have a clue how to run her new government.

Taking her father's advice, Maria Theresa campaigned to have her husband elected Holy Roman Emperor, since she could not gain the title herself. To give him a free vote from Bohemia, the queen made him joint-ruler of Austria and Bohemia, though Hungary waited a year before approving the joint leadership. Despite his joint role, Maria Theresa did not trust her husband and did not allow him to make decisions within her empire. Outside of Austria, the queen's neighbors began banging swords in a move that would prompt the War of the Austrian Succession. Charles Albert, duke of Bavaria, was married to the senior Habsburg heiress and wanted a piece of Austria. Frederick II, king of Prussia, wanted Silesia and took it from her through force after negotiations failed. The Bavarian duke invaded Bohemia in 1741 while Maria Theresa was pregnant with her second child. She threw everything into the war effort to keep Charles Albert from succeeding, but the Bavarian duke was nominated Holy Roman Emperor in early 1742. On the same day, Austrian troops occupied his Bavarian capital of Munich, sullying the coronation. In 1745, Charles Albert died, ending the Bavarian fight. François was elected Holy Roman Emperor Franz I later that year and the war ended in 1748 with the cession of Parma to Spain. For ten years, Maria Theresa had peace until Prussia invaded Saxony in 1756 sparking the Seven Years' War. Luckily, the war ended with little changed for Austria, though the queen desperately wanted Silesia back from Prussia. Domestically, Maria Theresa modernized much of the Austrian military, creating a standing army and unifying Bohemia and Austria more closely. She ended capital punishment and outlawed witch burning and torture. When Franz I died in 1765, Maria Theresa removed herself from government, leaving the management to her eldest son, Joseph II. She died in 1780, probably after a prolonged smallpox attack that left her sick with pneumonia. She was the last direct Habsburg descendant on record, her cousin having predecesed her, and her successors would be known as the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.
Date of Death: 29 November 1780
Successor: Joseph II

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Chlothar I, king of the Franks (561)
  • Gregory III, pope of Rome (741)
  • Otto II, duke of Bavaria (1253)
  • Clement IV, pope of Rome (1268)
  • Philippe IV, king of France (1314)
  • Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor (1378)
  • Nanda, king of Burma (1600)
  • Frederick V, count palatine of the Rhine (1632)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

[November 28] Wilhelmina, queen of the Netherlands

Parents: William III, king of the Netherlands, and Emma of Waldeck & Pyrmont
Date of Birth: 31 August 1880
House: Orange-Nassau
Spouse(s): Henry, son of Frederick Francis II, grand duke of Mekclenburg-Schwerin, and Marie of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
Predecessor: William III
Reign: 1890 – 1948
Brief: Born late in the life of King William III, Wilhelmina was kept close to her parents during her childhood. She became heir to the throne in 1884 when her brother died. When King William died in 1890, Queen Emma was proclaimed regent for her ten-year-old daughter. She took direct control of the government in 1898 and married three years later to a German prince. With her husband, Wilhelmina only produced a daughter, Juliana, in 1909. During World War I, the Netherlands remained neutral but Wilhelmina was constantly on her guard, inspecting her troops in case they were called upon. The queen stopped a communist take-over of her government in 1917 simply through her charisma. After the war, she provided asylum for the deposed German emperor Wilhelm II. When World War II broke out and Germany invaded the Netherlands, the royal family fled to the United Kingdom, though the queen wished to remain in the Netherlands to increase morale for the resistance. During the war, she sent secret radio messages to her people in the Netherlands, overthrew her own government-in-exile which was trying to negotiate a separate peace with the Nazis, and addressed the US Congress. For her services, she was inducted into the British Order of the Garter, with Churchhill calling her "the only real man" among the many governments-in-exile in London. The queen returned home but abdicated to her daughter in 1948 due to failing health and disappointment over the return of pre-war politics to the Netherlands. She died fourteen years later at her palace in Het Loo.
Date of Death: 28 November 1962
Successor: Juliana

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • St. Gregory III, pope of Rome (741)
  • Owain, king of Gwynedd (1107)
  • Naungdawgyi, king of Burma (1763)
  • Mubarak al-Sabah, emir of Kuwait (1915)
  • Constantine VI, patriarch of Constantinople (1930)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

[November 27] Constance, queen of Sicily

Parents: Roger II, king of Sicily, and Beatrice of Rethel
Date of Birth: 2 November 1154
House: Hauteville
Spouse(s): Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, son of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Beatrix of Burgundy
Predecessor: William III
Reign: 1194 – 1198
Brief: Born posthumously to Roger II, king of Sicily, a line of illegitimate children of Roger succeed him leaving Constance to develop relatively normally. She wasn't betrothed until she was thirty and when she was, it was to the future Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI. They married in 1186 and became a force to be reckoned with. After a coup shifted the Sicilian inheritance to another illegitimate line, Henry and Constance gathered an army, invading Sicily and Naples in 1190. Constance took up residence at Salerno, the mainland capital of the kingdom, while Henry ravaged the rebel forces. His army caught malaria, though, and were forced to retreat to Germany, leaving Constance alone in the south. Salerno betrayed Constance and handed her over to the usurper, Tancred. He agreed to return the queen in exchange for recognition as king of Sicily by the pope. Henry sent a small force to recapture the queen before any diplomacy could be finalized. Luckily, Tancred died suddenly in 1194 leaving the throne disputed between Constance and Tancred' son, William III. Meanwhile, Constance gave birth to a son, Frederick, at the age of 40, allowing many matrons to view the birth and the queen breast-feeding to ensure the child's legitimacy. Henry died in 1197 and Constance took direct control over Sicily for her young child, placing Frederick in the care of Pope Innocent III while relying on loyal advisors to manage her realm. Constance died suddenly in 1198, noting Innocent as the guardian of Frederick in her will.
Date of Death: 27 November 1198
Successor: Frederick II

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Clovis I, king of the Franks (511)
  • Maurice, emperor of Constantinople (602)
  • Muhammad at-Taqi, imam of Shi'a Islam (835)

Monday, November 26, 2012

[November 26] Isabel I, queen of Castile & León

Soubriquet: "The Catholic"
Parents: Juan II, king of Castile & León, and Isabella of Portugal
Date of Birth: 22 April 1451
House: Trastamara
Spouse(s): Ferdinand II, king of Aragón, son of Juan II, king of Aragón, and Juana Enriquez
Predecessor: Henry IV
Reign: 1474 – 1504
Brief: The first undisputed female ruler of the largest kingdom in Spain, Isabella ruled during a time of change. During her youth, she fought to establish her right to rule, which was only confirmed when her half-brother, Alfonso, died suddenly. She was jostled between various betrothals and proposed marriages for many years before finally settling with Ferdinand, the heir to Aragón. Isabella became queen in 1474 and almost immediately went to war with Portugal, which claimed a daughter of King Henry IV was the true heir to Castile. The war continued for many years, and Isabella took direct control over her government, traveling throughout Castile to suppress rebellions and revolts. At home, Isabella reformed the criminal code, rebuilt the finances of her realm, and pushed strongly for administrative reform within the government. In 1492, Castile dissolved the Emirate of Granada once and for all, ending the Muslim presence in Spain. Later that year, she personally financed an expedition by Christopher Columbus to seek a route to the East via the Atlantic Ocean. He returned the next year and she secured from the pope exclusive privilege to the New World for Spain with the exception of Brasil. For her participation in the crusades and for evangelizing abroad, Isabella and Ferdinand received the moniker "Catholic Monarch" from the pope, a title unique to Spain. Isabella finally retired in 1504 and died later that year, leaving the government in the hands of her daughter, Juana, and her son-in-law, Felipe I of Austria.
Date of Death: 26 November 1504
Successor: Juana

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Siricius, pope of Rome (399)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

[November 25] St. Peter, pope of Alexandria

Predecessor: Theonas
Reign: 300 – 311
Brief: Given to the church at a young age, Peter quickly rose through the ranks of holy orders until he became a priest. Theonas, the patriarch, suggested Peter as his successor while he lay dying in 300. The church complied and Peter became the pope of Alexandria. Emperor Diocletian was in the midst of his purge of Christians when Peter became pope. He argued vehemently with Bishop Meletius of Lycopolis over whether Christians who had denied their faith to avoid death should be rebaptised. Meletius was a forerunner of Arianism, which ruled as rival Christian sect into the 800s. Peter was captured again in 311 and ordered executed by Diocletian. A group of loyalists created a barrier to the guards but Peter told the guards how to smuggle him out so as not to injure the crowd. Then the soldiers drew lots, with the loser executing Peter and receiving the reward from the other soldiers. His martyrdom was later revered by the Catholic, Orthodox, and Coptic churches.
Date of Death: 25 November 311
Successor: Achillas

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Malcolm II, king of Scots (1034)
  • Lucius III, pope of Rome (1185)
  • Koreyasu, shogun of Japan (1326)
  • Philip II, prince of Achaea (1374)
  • Alfonso XII, king of Spain (1885)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

[November 24] Magnus, king of Mann and the Isles

Parents: Óláfr Gu∂rø∂arson, king of the Isles
House: Crovan
Spouse(s): Máire, daughter of Eógain, lord of Argyll
Predecessor: Haraldr
Reign: 1254 – 1265
Brief: The kingship of the Isles was in peril when Magnus succeeded his cousin Haraldr to the Manx throne. Magnus was a member of the Norwegian royal family whose father had been slain by Haraldr, who was the leading contender of a senior line. Deemed a pretender, Haraldr was forced to submit to Harold Hákon of Norway and never returned. Eógan, the lord of Argyll, and Magnus invaded the Isle of Man and fought a short war before retreating to Ireland. The next year, in 1254, the Manx people recognized his right to succeed, and Magnus returned as king. In the 1260s, the Scots sought to buy the Hebrides from Norway, which prompted a vicious war within the Isles. Magnus joined the side of the Norwegians, fighting at numerous battles and commanding a major fleet of ships. The Scots won the battle and prepared to invade Man, an invasion Magnus was unable to repulse. Magnus submitted to Scottish authority and joined the Scots fleet in pillaging the Isles. He retired to his castle the next year and died peacefully at his Rushen Castle. His death ended the rule of Norse-Gaelic rulers in Mann and on the isles. In 1266, the Isles and Mann were passed legally from the Norwegians to the Scots via the Treaty of Perth and the kingship over the islands formally ended.
Date of Death: 24 November 1265
Successor: Godred (as pretender)

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Kotoku, emperor of Japan (654)
  • Bagrat IV, king of Georgia (1072)
  • Ulrika Eleanora, queen of Sweden (1741)
  • Abdullah III, emir of Kuwait (1965)

Friday, November 23, 2012

[November 23] Edred, king of England

Parents: Edward the Elder, king of Wessex, and Eadgifu of Kent
Date of Birth: 923
House: Wessex
Predecessor: Edmund I
Reign: 946 – 955
Brief: Edred succeeded his elder brother, Edmund I, in 946 and soon after was recognized by the local Welsh rulers and the northern earls as king of Wessex. By the end of his first year as king, all of Northumbria was under his control and the Scots pledged fealty to him as overlord. But as soon as his control was complete, two Viking lords usurped the Northumbrian throne and began to harass the north. Olaf Sihtricson, a former king of Northumbria and Dublin, set up camp in York. Edred could do little to remove the menace, but the Northumbrians forced him out, replacing the king with Eric Haraldson, another Viking raider but one that could be controlled. When Eric Bloodaxe, a former king of Norway, moved in, however, Edred launched a campaign north to destroy the usurper. By convincing the Anglo-Saxon nobles to stay loyal to him, Edred managed to defeat Eric and push him off the island. By 952, Northumbria was under the control of lords loyal to Edred. The king died in 955, unmarried and without an heir. His nephew, Eadwig, succeeded him.
Date of Death: 23 November 955
Successor: Eadwig

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Berthold, duke of Bavaria (947)
  • Ladislaus, king of Bohemia & Hungary (1457)
  • William III, king of the Netherlands (1890)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

[November 22] St. Mikhail, grand prince of Vladimir

Local Name: Михаил Ярославич
Sobriquet: "The Saint"
Parents: Yaroslav III, grand prince of Vladimir, and Xenia of Tarusa
Born: 1271
House: Rurik
Spouse(s): St. Anna, daughter of Dimitry, prince of Rostov
Predecessor: Andrey
Reign: 1304 – 1318
Brief: Mikhail was the second son of his father, and succeeded his brother to the principality of Tver in 1285. Two decades later, in 1304, he succeeded his cousin to Vladimir, which Khan Tokhta of the Golden Horde confirmed. Unfortunately, Mikhail was never strongly secured in his post despite his legitimacy. He had to fight to confirm his titles to Novgorod and vied for influence with Prince Yury of Moscow. Yury eventually gained patent to Novgorod and married the khan's sister, thereby solidifying the patronage of the khans for Moscow at Vladimir's expense. The khan sent troops to Yury to help in the family feud, but Mikhail prevailed, capturing the prince's wife at Bortenevo. While in custody, though, the Mongol wife died, which the khan blamed Mikhail for. Mikhail was summoned to the capital of the Horde and was executed. Although the Orthodox church did not favor Mikhail during his lifetime, he was later proclaimed a martyr and a saint for his execution.
Date of Death: 22 November 1318
Successor: Yury

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Felix II, antipope of Rome (365)
  • Lothair II, king of Italy (950)
  • Eric V, king of Denmark (1286)
  • Ahmed I, sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1617)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

[November 21] Salahuddin, king of Malaysia

Parents: Hisamuddin, king of Malaysia, and Raja Jemaah
Born: 8 March 1926
House: Selangor
Spouse(s): (1) Raja Nur Saidatul, (2) Che Maheram,  (3) Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, and (4) Tuanku Siti Aishah
Predecessor: Tuanku Jaafar
Reign: 1999 – 2001
Brief: Salahuddin was raised in the royal house of his father, who was sultan of Selangor and briefly the second king of Malaysia. The young man studied at Malay College in Kuala Kangsar but retreated to his estates during World War II. He finished his studies at the University of London in 1947. Once he returned, Salahuddin actively worked with the Selangor government as an inspector of schools, while also working in the military achieving the rank of major. In 1960, Salahuddin became the sultan of Selangor, succeeding his father. In 1984, he became commander-in-chief of the Malaysian Navy, replacing his previous duty as chief of the Air Force which he had held since 1966. As a blow to his self-esteem, Salahuddin was forced to surrender his capital, Kuala Lampur, to the federal government in 1974 so as to create a new  capital for the country. Four years later, he established Shah Alam as the new capital of his province. In 1999, Salahuddin was elected the eleventh king of Malaysia (Yang di-Pertuan Agong). More territory was ceded from Selangor during his reign, but he died after only two years in office from complications related to a coronary surgery. 
Date of Death: 21 November 2001
Successor: Sirajuddin

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Gelasius I, pope of Rome (496)
  • Reizei, emperor of Japan (1011)
  • Garcia IV, king of Navarre (1150)
  • Philip I, duke of Burgundy (1361)
  • Franz Josef I, emperor of Austria (1916)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

[November 20] St. Edmund, king of East Anglia

Sobriquet: "The Martyr"
Parents: Æthelweard, king of East Anglia
Born: circa 841
House: East Anglia
Predecessor: Æthelweard
Reign: 855 – 869
Brief: Very little is known about Edmund, king of East Anglia, who was briefly mentioned in only the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and is associated with some coinage. Soon after his reign, East Anglia was decimated by Viking attacks, which destroyed most of the evidence of his existence. Although nothing is known of his reign, much is said about his death in 869. A large Danish army marched from Mercia into East Anglia and met Edmund in battle, where the king fell and the Danes conquered all of the land. The army was known as the "Great Heathen Army" and it continued to pillage England, passing into Wessex around 870 and then onto Northumbria. The leader, Ivar the Boneless, is said to have beheaded Edmund after he had been shot full of arrows. In 925, Æthelstan of Wessex opened a saint cult dedicated to Edmund and coins were minted in memorial of the king. These coins were widely used throughout England during the tenth century. In 1095, a large church was built for Edmund's relics and the site became one of the wealthiest pilgrimage sites in England. The shrine was destroyed during the English Reformation but a new site in Toulouse, France, opened up with some of the saved relics. While little is known about the historical king, Edmund lives on in Catholic circles as St. Edmund the Martyr.
Date of Death: 20 November 869
Successor: Oswald

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Albert II, margrave of Meissen (1314)
  • Jean I, king of France (1316)

Monday, November 19, 2012

[November 19] Matsunaga Hisahide, daimyo in Japan

Local Name: 松永 久秀
Born: 1510
House: Matsunaga
Reign: 1560s – 1577
Brief: One of the later independent daimyos in Japan, Hisahide worked hard to build up a power base in the Awa region of Japan. He was educated in poetry and was a patron of the arts within his lands. In 1565, he captured the shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, and either murdered him or forced him to commit suicide. A young cousin, Yoshihide, was installed as shogun. By 1568, the tables were turning against Hisahide as the legitimate shogun, Yoshiaki, allied with Oda Nobunaga, capturing Kyoto and forcing Hisahide to surrender. Hisahide was allowed to keep Yamato Province and served Nobunaga until the death of the shogun in 1573. Hisahide fought a four year campaign against Nobunaga until he was trapped in his castle in 1577 and forced to commit suicide. Most of his family died with him rather than submit to Nobunaga. 
Date of Death: 19 November 1577

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:

  • Anastasius II, pope of Rome (498)
  • Baeda Maryam, emperor of Ethiopia (1478)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

[November 18] John II, duke of Brittany

Parents: John I, duke of Brittany, and Blanche of Navarre
Born: 1239
House: Capet-Dreux
Spouse(s): Beatrice, daughter of Henry III, king of England, and Eleanor of Provence
Predecessor: John I
Reign: 1286 – 1305
Brief: Prior to his coronation as duke, John was closed to his brother-in-law, Edward I of England, whom he accompanied on the Eighth Crusade. In 1285, he joined with Philip III of France on a war against Aragón, leaving his three children under the care of Edward in England. Once duke, his duchy was elevated to the French Peerage (previously it had been autonomous) and John II joined forces with Philip IV of France against the Flemish in the Low Countries. After the war ended, John ventured to the coronation of Pope Clement V in Lyon, where he hoped to settle a dispute he had with bishops in Brittany. While there, a wall crowded with spectators collapsed, burying John under it. He was recovered but died from injuries four days later.
Date of Death: 18 November 1305
Successor: Arthur II

Saturday, November 17, 2012

[November 17] Mary I, queen of England

Sobriquet: "Bloody Mary"
Parents: Henry VIII, king of England, and Catherine of Aragón
Born: 18 February 1516
House: Tudor
Spouse(s): Felipé II, king of Spain, son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Maria Manuela of Portugal
Predecessor: Edward VI or Jane
Reign: 1553 – 1558
Brief: The only surviving child of Henry VIII and his first wife, Mary was raised as a Catholic in an increasingly Protestant England. At the age of two, she was promised to the French Dauphin, but that eventually lapsed, being replaced with a betrothal to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, which also later lapsed. Meanwhile, Henry VIII removed Mary from the line of succession to replace her with Elizabeth, his daughter from his second marriage. Mary was sickly and disappeared into obscurity for many years. Henry finally produced a son, Edward, in 1537 but it wasn't until 1543 that the family was reunited and Mary returned to the line of succession behind Edward and ahead of Elizabeth. Edward succeeded to the throne as a minor in 1547. His regents arranged to bypass Mary and Elizabeth in the succession, settling on a cousin, Jane, as the king's heir. When Edward died at the age of fifteen from an infected lung, Jane succeeded briefly to the throne, but Mary rallied a makeshift army in East Anglia and deposed the upstart queen nine days later.

As queen, Mary sought out a husband and found one in Charles V's son, Felipé of Spain, whom she married in 1554. There was little love between the couple and they never produced a child. Mary lashed out against Protestant leaders throughout her short reign. OVer a period of a week, she executed 283 people, mostly by burning, for heresy. She continued her persecutions until the end of her reign, though with declining frequency. In 1557, Felipé, now king of Spain, convinced Mary to go to war with France, which ended with the loss of Calais, the only remaining English possession on the continent. After 1557, Mary acknowledged Elizabeth as her successor. She died the next year of an influenza epidemic, though signs of other problems were also present. 
Date of Death: 17 November 1558
Successor: Elizabeth I

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Jin Kangdi, emperor of China (344)
  • Valentinian I, emperor of Rome (375)
  • Leo II, emperor of Constantinople (474)
  • Jomei, emperor of Japan (641)
  •  John III, king of Sweden (1592)
  • Catherine II, empress of Russia (1796)
  • Adolphe, grand duke of Luxembourg (1905)

Friday, November 16, 2012

[November 15] Frederick William II, king of Prussia

Surnamed: "The Fat Bastard" (Der dicke Lüderjahn)
Local Name: Friedfrich Wilhelm
Parents: Augustus William, heir of Prussia, and Luise of Brunswick-Wilfenbüttel
Born: 25 September 1744
House: Hohenzollern
Spouse(s): (1) Elisabeth Christina, daughter of Charles I, duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and Philippine Charlotte of Prussia, then (2) Frederika Louisa, daughter of Ludwig IX, landgrave of Hesse-Darmstaft, and Caroline of Zweibrücken, alongside (3) Julie and (4) Sophie, daughters of Friedrich Christian von Voss and Amalia Ottilia av Vieregg
Predecessor: Frederick II
Reign: 1786 – 1797
Brief: The reign of Frederick William II was perilous from the start. The king was flirtatious and cared little for the role he played in government. He was artistically-inclined and favored music over warfare, things that sent shivers down the spine of Frederick the Great, his predecessor. As soon as Frederick William took the throne, he lightened the burdens of the Prussian people, encouraging trade at reduced costs and educating more people. The king was also a Rosicrucian and employed many of them in his government. He neglected the army, leaving it under the control of foreign warlords. His foreign policy was a joke, giving concessions to anyone would deigned to invade Brandenburg-Prussia. And when the French Revolution broke out, he delayed, focused more on the wealth that could come out of Poland than the threat in the west. He eventually removed himself from the French-Revolutionary wars in 1795, betraying the other European powers and isolating Prussia. When Frederick William II finally died in 1797, the economy of Prussia was in shambles, the army confused, and the kingship in doubt. 
Date of Death: 16 November 1797
Successor: Frederick William III

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Anastasius II, pope of Rome (498)
  • Henry III, king of England (1272)
  • Hisaaki, shogun of Japan (1328)
  • Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden (1632)
  • Robert I, duke of Parma (1907)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

[November 15] Maria II, queen of Portugal

Surnamed: "The Educator" (A Educadora) and "The Good Mother" (A Boa Mãe)
Parents: Pedro IV, king of Portugal, and Maria Leopoldina of Austria
Born: 4 April 1819
House: Capet-Burgundy-Aviz-Bragança
Spouse(s): (1) Auguste, 2nd duke of Leuchtenberg, son of Eugène de Beauharnais and Augusta of Bavaria, then (2) Fernando II, son of Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha and Maria Antonia Koháry de Csábrág
Predecessor: Pedro IV
Reign: 1826 – 1828, 1834 – 1853
Brief: Maria II has the unique distinction of being the only European monarch in modern history to be born outside of Europe, being born in Brasil in 1819. Her father, Pedro, was the eldest son of King João VI and was Emperor of Brasil since 1822. A younger son, Miguel, had been exiled after prompting revolutions against his father during the Napoleonic Wars. Maria, his eldest granddaughter, was nominated as his heir until "the legitimate heir" returned to Portugal. Unfortunately, João did not note which son was his legitimate heir. Pedro sought a compromise: marry his daughter to his brother. This would solve any succession crisis. Miguel agreed, but when he finally arrived in Portugal, he proclaimed himself king and deposed his niece. Pedro replied violently in 1831, abdicating the Brasilian throne to his son, Pedro II, and invading Portugal with forces loyal to Maria. Miguel was finally forced to abdicate in 1834, leading a long life of exile abroad. Maria II was now in firm control over Brasil. After a short marriage to a grandson of Empress Josephine (Napoleon's wife), Maria married a prince of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, who received the title "king consort" a year later. She successfully suppressed an insurrection in 1846, and completely avoided the crises of 1848. She focused on expanding education and public health in Portugal. Maria II died in 1853 due to complications from childbirth, leaving the country to her teenaged son, Pedro V.
Date of Death: 15 November 1853
Successor: Pedro V

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Penda, king of Mercia (655)
  • Constantine VIII, emperor of Constantinople (1028)
  • Leopold III, margrave of Austria (1136)
  • Jungjong, king of Korea (1544)
  • Tsangyang Gyatso, dalai lama of Tibet (1706)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

[November 14] St. Justinian I, emperor of Constantinople

Local Name: Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus
Surnamed: "The Great"
Parents: Sabbatius and Vigilantia, sister of Justin I, emperor of Constantinople
Born: circa 482
House: Justinian
Spouse(s): Theodora, daughter of Acacius and Theodora
Predecessor: Justin I
Reign: 527 – 565
Brief: Born into a Greek peasant family, Justinian rose to prominence when he was adopted as the heir of Emperor Justin, his uncle, in the 520s. As Justin's health declined, Justinian took control of the Roman government in Constantinople. He created a meritocracy rather than catering to family members, marrying his mistress, Theodora, in 525. Justinian reformed the judicial codes in the empire, forming the backbone of future judicial law across much of the east and, eventually, the west. During this time, the emperor set out on a campaign to rebuild the Roman Empire beginning in 530. He conquered North Africa from the Vandals, eliminating their entire empire; he intervened in Italy, deposing the Ostrogoths and reclaiming Rome itself for the Eastern Empire; and he waged constant warfare with the Sassanids of Persia in a bid to define borders between the two states. Regarding Christianity, Justinian directly oversaw the management of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople, while trying at the same time to work with the popes in Rome rather than against them. The emperor died in 565 leaving the empire to his nephew, Justin II. The Orthodox Church later canonized him, though this was not recognized in the west.
Date of Death: 14 November 565
Successor: Justin II

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Miguel, king of Portugal (1866)
  • Guangxu, emperor of China (1908)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[November 13] Albert II, margrave of Meissen

Local Name: Albrecht II
Surnamed: "The Degenerate" (Der Entartete)
Parents: Henry III, margrave of Meissen, and Constantia of Austria
Born: 1240
House: Wettin
Spouse(s): (1) Margaret, daughter of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, and Isabella of England, then (2) Kunigarde, daughter of Otto of Eisenberg, then (3) Elisabeth, heiress of Nordhalben
Predecessor: Henry III
Reign: 1288 – 1292
Brief: Albert II enters the history books as the landgrave of Thuringia and the count palatine of Saxony in 1265. His father, Henry III, retained Meissen until his death in 1288. A younger brother received smaller portions of the domain. In 1274, Albert married his mistress and attempted to deprive his legitimate children from the succession, sparking a short civil war within Saxony. With the deaths of an uncle, Theodoric, and Henry III, the succession dispute became acute since the fighting expanded over all of Meissen. In 1288, Albert was captured by his eldest surviving son, Frederick, forcing the Treaty of Rochlitz which deprived the margrave of much of his lands. Meissen itself Albert retained until 1292 when he sold it to his nephew, Frederick Tuta, in defiance of his own children. He further angered his children by selling Thuringia to the German King Adolf of Nassau. When Albert finally died in 1314, Albert I, the new German king, claimed the territory for himself via the old treaty. Albert finally resolved the issues with his son when his son married the daughter of his step-mother, thereby uniting both halves of the family. His death in 1305 pushed Albert over the edge. He gave up any remaining claims to his lands and handed them to Frederick, dying several years later at Erfurt.
Date of Death: 13 November 1314
Successor: Frederick I

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Nicholas I, pope of Rome (867)
  • Malcolm III, king of Scotland (1093)
  • Fulk, king of Jerusalem (1143)
  • Albert I, margrave of Brandenburg (1170)
  • Ivan II, grand prince of Moscow (1359)
  • Franz Joseph II, prince of Liechtenstein (1989)

Monday, November 12, 2012

[November 12] Cnut II, king of Denmark, Norway & England

Local Name: Knút inn ríki
Surnamed: "The Great"
Parents: Sweyn, king of Denmark & Norway, and Sigrid
Born: circa 985
House: Hairhair
Predecessor: Harold II (Denmark), Edmund II (England), and Olaf II (Norway)
Reign: 1018 – 1035
Brief: Cnut decisively entered history with his father's invasion of England in 1013 which left the prince in control of thee Danish fleet and army. A year later, Sweyn died and Cnut found himself on the defensive, fleeting to Denmark as an English army chased him out of England. He negotiated with his brother, Harald, and took a second fleet to England in 1015, fighting with Edmund II of England for fourteen months before finally forcing the Anglo-Saxon king's capitulation. Edmund died a few weeks later, leaving all of England under Danish control. He quickly consolidated his rule, marrying the queen mother Emma of Normandy and tracking down all surviving members of the house of Wessex. Though he originally sought to rule through his own men, Cnut eventually allowed local lords to rule in his name. In 1018, Harald in Denmark died and Cnut returned to claim the throne. There was no rebellion there, so Cnut went on a pilgrimage to Rome to witness the coronation of Holy Roman Emperor Conrad II. On his return trip, Cnut rallied forces in England and Denmark and claimed the Norwegian throne from Olaf II, who abdicated. Cnut was kind to the church and restored local institutions in all three kingdoms that he ruled over. He eventually died in 1035 and was buried at Winchester, leaving the entire kingdom to Harthacnut, who was unable to maintain control over England or Norway initially.
Date of Death: 12 November 1035
Successor: Harthacnut

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Boniface III, pope of Rome (607)
  • Duncan II, king of Scots (1094)
  • Louis III, king of Naples (1434)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

[November 11] Lili'uokalani, queen of Hawai'i

Local Name: Lydia Lili'u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamaka'eha
Parents: Caesar Kapa'akea and Analea Keohokalole
Born: 2 September 1838
House: Kalakaua
Predecessor: Kalakaua
Reign: 1891 – 1893
Brief: Raised by royal relatives in the Western style, learning English and government, Lili'uokalani married John Owen Dominis, the governor of O'ahu and Maui, in 1862 at the age of 24. The princess never had any children of her own, though her husband had three illegitimate children that she adopted. In 1874, Liliuokalani's brother, David, won the election for kingship, and three years later, Lili'uokalani became crown princess when her younger brother died. A decade later, the princess was sent to the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in London, where she learned of the Bayonet Constitution passing in Hawai'i under coercion. She returned to Hawai'i at once. Lili'uokalani inherited the throne in early 1891 and moved to overturn the Bayonet Constitution by drafting a new one which would reinfranchise Asians and native Hawaiians. American and European businessmen conspired to depose the queen since she was a woman, and since she no longer respected the constitution. Trade suffered, as well, which precipitated her overthrow by the United States government in January 1893. In November of the same year, US President Grover Cleveland offered to return the throne to the queen in return for amnesty to those responsible. She refused and was found guilty of neglect. On July 4, 1894, Sanford B. Dole proclaimed the Republic of Hawai'i, and the queen was officially dismissed from the country. She was arrested the next year after a failed counter-revolution and was imprisoned, which is when she wrote "Ke Aloha o Ka Haku". She was restored as a citizen in 1896 and campaigned against US annexation for much of the rest of her life. She sued the government multiple times to reclaim lost lands, but failed every time. Queen Lili'uokalani died in 1917 from a stroke. She received a massive state funeral attended in recognition for her years of service to Hawai'i.
Date of Death: 11 November 1917
Successor: David Kalakaua Kawananakoa (as pretender)

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Pedro V, king of Portugal (1861)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

[November 10] St. Leo I, pope of Rome

Surnamed: "The Great"
Born: circa 391
Predecessor: Sixtus III
Reign: 440 – 461
Brief: A Tuscan by birth, Leo served as a deacon of the church from around 431 and was highly praised by his contemporaries. When Pope Sixtus III died in 440, Leo was unanimously elected to succeed him, a rather rare occurrence. Almost at once, Leo reasserted the authority of the Papacy over the various bishops in Italy, obtaining a decree from Emperor Valentinian III that recognized the primacy of the Pope. He then worked to assert his authority over the other patriarchates including pressuring Alexandria to recognize his supremacy, and working to suppress the growing power of the patriarchate of Contantinople. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Leo decisively confirmed his power over his peers through his Tome, which had originally been written for the Second Council of Ephesus in 449 but was not read at that time. Anticipating the breakup of the Western Empire, Leo worked diligently to assert the power of the pope in the West in the hope that it may succeed the Empire when it fell. In 452, Leo accompanied two royal dignitaries to confront Attila the Hun who was invading Italy. While the specifics are unknown, Attilla turned his armies away. Four years later, the Vandals successfully sacked Rome, though Leo helped reduce the total damage. Leo died in 461 leaving a legacy of Papal power-building for future popes to work from and enhance.
Date of Death: 10 November 461
Successor: Hilarius

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Celestine IV, pope of Rome (1241)
  • Wladyslaw III, king of Poland (1444)
  • Paul III, pope of Rome (1549)
  • Michael, king of Poland (1673)

Friday, November 9, 2012

[November 9] Ulrich II, count of Celje

Local Name: Ulrik Celjski
Parents: Frederick II, count of Celje, and Elizabeth of Croatia
Born: 1406
House: Celje
Spouse(s): Catherine, daughter of Durad Brankovic, despot of Serbia
Predecessor: Frederick II
Reign: 1436 – 1456
Brief: The most successful, though last, count of Celje, Ulrich II rose to prominence when he joined forces with Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg in 1436. Ulrich led raids against his Austrian overlords for a short time until Albert II became king of Germany, at which point Ulrich switched sides and was made lieutenant of Bohemia. In 1440, he joined Queen Elizabeth at the coronation of her son, Ladislaus the Posthumous as the king of Hungary. In 1443, Ulrich claimed the Bosnian throne via his mother when King Tvrtko II died that year. But a feud erupted with John Huyadi, who was regent of Hungary and refused to aid the count in his campaign. Hunyadi began to harass the count the in 1446 but lost when Ulrich led a campaign in 1448 against Hunyadi to regain Habsburg control over the kingdom. By 1452, Ulrich was the virtual ruler of Hungary, in control of Ladislaus and made Captain-General after Hunyadi died at the Siege of Belgrade. Unfortunately, Ulrich died soon after, murdered in a fortress by supporters of Hunyadi's son László. Matthias Corvinus, a brother of László, claimed Celje as next-of-kin, but the territory soon after fell under direct Habsburg control.
Date of Death: 9 November 1456

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Constantine VII, emperor of Constantinople (959)
  • Gaozong, emperor of China (1187)
  • Ferdinand II, king of Aragón (1516)
  • Bayinnaung, king of Burma (1581)
  • Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, king of Saudi Arabia (1953)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

[November 8] Louis IV, king of East Francia

Surnamed: "The Child"
Parents: Arnulf, king of East Francia, and Ota of Hesse
Born: September 893
House: Carolingian
Predecessor: Arnulf
Reign: 899 – 911
Brief: Born the only legitimate son of Roman Emperor and king of East Francia Arnulf of Carinthia, Louis the Child ascended the throne of the East Franks at the age of six. His coronation in 900 was the earliest recorded at the time, but the child king was powerless as his German empire fell around him. From the beginning, East Francia was ravaged by the Magyars. The boy was sickly and his government was controlled by a few nobles and bishops. When his half-broter Zwrntibold died in 900, The remnants of Lotharingia (Lorraine) were added to East Francia, expanding the state into a nascent Holy Roman Empire. In 903, under the leadership of his regents, Louis promulgated the first customs tax in Germany. Louis' army was constantly on the defensive against the Magyars despite a few victories. The army was almost complete destroyed in 910, soon after Louis took direct command of his army. Louis died distraught at the age of eighteen. His death brought a power vacuum to East Francia until Henry the Fowler helped fill it. Conrad of Franconia was elected as his successor, fighting the urge to elect the Carolingian king of West Francia and reunite the old empire once more. The nobles in Lorraine chose Charles the Simple, however, and the Holy Roman Empire would remain divided for another thousand years.
Date of Death: 8 November 911
Successor: Conrad I

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Agapetus II, pope of Rome (955)
  • Baldwin IV, count of Hainaut (1171)
  • Conrad, count palatine of the Rhine (1195)
  • Louis VIII, king of France (1226)
  • Natsuka Masaie, daimyo in Japan (1600)
  • Jahangir, emperor of India (1627)
  • Francisco I, king of the Two Sicilies (1830)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

[November 7] St. Engelbert I, archbishop of Cologne

Parents: Engelbert I, count of Berg, and Margarete of Guelders
Born: circa 1185
House: Berg
Predecessor: Bruno IV and Dietrich I
Reign: 1216 – 1225
Brief: Engelbert entered the clergy at the age of twelve when he began schooling in Cologne. He was made provost of St. George chapel and eventually was made the provost of Cologne Cathedral in 1216. He began collecting over provostships at St. Severin, Aachen, Deventer, and Zutphen. He was offered the title bishop of Münster in 1203, but declined it since he was only eighteen. In 1206, Engelbert was excommunicated for supporting his cousin, the archbishop of Cologne, who supported Philip of Swabia as Holy Roman Emperor. Engelbert was pardoned in 1208 and joined the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars of southern France in 1212 as penance. When he returned to Germany, he was made archbishop of Cologne.

Engelbert became a close confidant of Emperor Frederick II, joined him as imperial administer and acting as guardian for the emperor's son, Henry. In Cologne, he cleaned up the archbishopric and its finances, protecting them from rivals. He claimed the county of Berg in 1218 when his brother died, though Duke Walram III of Limburg claimed it as well. The dispute was resolved in 1220 and Engelbert served as count until his death. In Cologne, Engelbert reorganized the secular lands into what many considered a full ecclesiastical state. A conflict erupted in 1225 with a cousin in Essen who had been defrauding nuns. Engelbert wished to bring his cousin to trial for his crimes. The cousin, Frederick, confronted Engelbert and murdered him, though the intent was probably to capture the archbishop. He was buried in Cologne Cathedral in early 1226 and was immediately declared a martyr. Although he was never formally canonized, a saint biography and a feast day have both been appointed to him.
Date of Death: 7 November 1225
Successor: Heinrich I

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Umar, caliph of Sunni Islam (644)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

[November 6] William II, prince of Orange

Parents: Frederick Henry, prince of Orange, and Amalia of Solms-Braunfels
Born: 27 May 1626
House: Nassau-Orange
Spouse(s): Mary Henrietta, daughter of Charles I, king of England & Scotland, and Henrietta Maria of France
Predecessor: Frederick Henry
Reign: 1647 – 1650
Brief: The shortest-lived of the Dutch princes of Orange, William II served as the fourth stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel in hereditary succession from his father. Although the position of stadtholder, issued by the various States-Generals of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, was formally a military title, it had been granted increasing royal prerogatives since William the Silent began the Dutch revolt in the 1580s. William II oversaw the signing of the Treaty of Münster, which recognized an end to the Eighty Years' War and Spanish recognition of the Dutch Republic. Working against his government, William conspired with the French to expand Dutch territory at the expense of democracy in the nascent republic. He actively campaigned for a restoration of his brother-in-law, Charles II, to the throne of England and Scotland. William also fought against any move by the States-General that would reduce the size of his standing army, fearing a loss of power. In 1649, he arrested eight members of a local assembly and sent his cousin with an army to conquer Amsterdam, but weather defeated him. He died soon after of smallpox in 1650. His son, William III, was born a week after his death and the States-General elected not to operate with a stadtholder for two decades until William III came of age.
Date of Death: 6 November 1650
Successor: William III

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Tsuchimikado, emperor of Japan (1231)
  • Innocent VII, pope of Rome (1406)
  • Ulrich, duke of Württemberg (1550)
  • Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden (1632)
  • João IV, king of Portugal (1656)
  • Catherine II, empress of Russia (1796)
  • Charles X, king of France (1836)
  • Khai Dinh, emperor of Vietnam (1925)

Monday, November 5, 2012

[November 5] Casimir III, king of Poland

Local Name: Kazimierz Wielki
Surnamed: "The Great"
Parents: Wladyslaw I, king of Poland, Hedwig of Kalisz
Born: 30 April 1310
House: Piast
Spouse(s): (1) Aldona, daughter of Gediminas, grand duke of Lithuania, and Jewna, then (2) Adelheid, daughter of Henry II, landgrave of Hesse, and Elizabeth of Meissen, then (3) Christina, then (4) Hedwig, daughter of Henry V, duke of Zagan, and Anna of Mazovia
Predecessor: Vladislaus I
Reign: 1333 – 1370
Brief: Though now considered the only "great" king of Poland, when he ascended the throne his crown was in peril. Wars had ravaged the land and the Polish economy. As king, he expanded the country southward into the Ukraine, and worked on improving the economy. Much of his reign was dominated by warfare, though Poland itself was relatively peaceful during the period. Castles were built around the marches of Poland and Casimir personally reformed the Polish army and civil service. He founded the University of Krakow to better educate his officials. Facing a lack of an heir, he designated Louis I of Hungary as his successor. An illegitimate son was born a few years earlier, but he failed to claim the throne. To avoid warfare with the Mongols, Casimir III paid tribute to the Golden Horde, which satisfied them for a time. Casimir died in 1370 leaving the country to Louis in personal union with the kingdom of Hungary, though his sister Elizabeth ruled as regent in Poland for many years. Casimir III was the last Piast king.
Date of Death: 5 November 1370
Successor: Louis

Sunday, November 4, 2012

[November 4] Thieu Tri, emperor of Vietnam

An imperial edict signed by Thieu Tri
Local Name: Nguyễn Phúc Miên Tông
Parents: Minh Mang, emperor of Vietnam, and Ho Thi Hoa
Born: 6 June 1807
House: Nguyen
Predecessor: Minh Mang
Reign: 1841 – 1847
Brief: As an early emperor of Vietnam, Thieu Tri was a conservative, focusing on isolationism and Confucianism in the face of Western imperialism. He was suspicious of outsiders despite a desire to learn about them. The United Kingdom and France were both pushing into Indochina from the west, and Christian missionaries, generally Spanish and French continued to appear in Vietnam, despite bans in place against them. Tri began imprisoning the missionaries, and France responded. In 1843, they invaded Indochina to recover their missionaries and ensure the safety of French explorers. The United States got involved in 1845 when the USS Constitution attempted to free a missionary who was a multiple offender. Two years later, France reached Tourane, a major Vietnamese city, and demanded that missionaries be released and that Tri cease his persecution of them. When Tri ignored the request, the French attacked and destroyed all the coastal defenses of Vietnam as well as much of the Vietnamese fleet. Tri responded by issuing an execution order, which his men fortunately did not put into effect. Tri died shortly afterwards. Not a single missionary was executed during his reign despite his threats.
Date of Death: 4 November 1847
Successor: Tu Duc

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Khalil Sultan, ruler of Transoxonia (1411)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

[November 3] Peter II, king of Yugoslavia

Local Name: Petar II Karađorđević (Петар II Карађорђевић)
Parents: Alexander I, king of Yugoslavia, and Maria of Romania
Born: 6 September 1923
House: Karadordevic
Spouse(s): Alexandra, daughter of Alexander I, king of Greece, and Aspasia Manos
Predecessor: Alexander I
Reign: 1934 – 1945
Brief: Peter was still in school in England when his father died in 1934, elevating the boy to the kingdom of Yugoslavia. His cousin, Paul, ruled in his name with a regency council until 1941. With few options available to them during World War II, Peter's government chose to join the Tripartite Axis in 1941. Two days later, though, Peter overthrew the pro-German government with the aide of the British and proclaimed himself of age to rule the country. Germany retaliated by attacking Yugoslavia and Greece in Operation Punishment. The government surrendered to the joint German, Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Italian invasion on April 17th. Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia were all broken off to form puppet governments for its conquerers. Peter fled to Greece and then Palestine, eventually joining the exiled government ministers of half of Europe in London. While in the UK, Peter completed his education at Cambridge and joined the Royal Air Force. Civil war broke out in Yugoslavia as pro-communist Partisans fought pro-monarchy royalists, with the latter often collaborating with the Axis powers. Winston Churchill finally convinced the Allies to support the Partisans in order to win the war. Josip Tito was appointed commander-in-chief and prime minister. In the months after the war ended, Yugoslavia deposed Peter II. The young man moved to the United States and died in 1970 from complications from a liver transplant. He remains the only European monarch buried in US soil.
Date of Death: 3 November 1970
Successor: Alexander (as pretender)

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Constantius II, emperor of Rome (361)
  • John III, emperor of Constantinople (1254)

Friday, November 2, 2012

[November 2] James II, king of Aragón

Surnamed: "The Just" (El Justo)
Parents: Peter III, king of Aragón, and Constance of Sicily
Born: 10 August 1267
House: Barcleona
Spouse(s): (1) Isabella, daughter of Sancho IV, king of Castile, and María de Molina, then (2) Blanche, daughter of Charles II, king of Naples, and Maria of Hungary, then (3) Marie, daughter of Hugh III, king of Cyprus, and Isabella of Ibelin, then (4) Elisenda, daughter of Pedro I, lord of Altona, and Gisela d'Abarça
Predecessor: Alfonso III
Reign: 1291 – 1327
Brief: Inheriting Sicily from his father in 1285, James II rose to claim the entire Aragonese empire in 1291 when his elder brother, Alfonso III, died. As one of his earliest actions, James ended the feud over Sicily with Charles II of Anjou by ceding to him Sicily. Unfortunately, the Sicilian nobles elected James' brother, Frederick, rather than Charles. The pope requested that James and Charles remove Frederick, investing James with the kingship of Sardinia and Corsica as an enticement. James, however, never moved to depose his brother. In 1295, James returned the Balearic Islands to his uncle, James II of Majorca. But three years later, the Aragonese king demanded to be recognized as the overlord of the islands. An attack on Murcia in 1296 gained him access to Granada and all its wealth, angering the Castilians, though avoiding any lasting grudge. He reigned from Aragón for the rest of his life and died in 1327.
Date of Death: 2 November 1327
Successor: Alfonso IV

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Peter III, king of Aragón (1285)
  • Maximilian III, archduke of Austria (1618)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

[November 1] Charles II, king of Spain

Surnamed: "The Hexed" (El Hechizado)
Parents: Philip IV, king of Spain, and Mariana of Austria
Born: 6 November 1661
House: Habsburg-Spain
Spouse(s): (1) Marie Louise, daughter of Philippe I, duke of Orléans, and Henrietta of England, then (2) Maria Anna, daughter of Philip William, elector of the Palatinate, and Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt
Predecessor: Philip IV
Reign: 1665 – 1700
Brief: Although he ruled a vast empire spanning all of Spain, the Low Countries, southern Italy, and much of the New World, the infamy of Charles II was his medical condition. Born with mandibular prognathism (the Habsburg Jaw) and unable to chew, Charles also suffered from an enlarged tongue and other ailments resulting from many generations of inbreeding. His mother, Mariana, ruled during much of his reign, from his minority through many period of poor health. The Spanish court vacillated between French and Austrian influences with Charles generally being ignored. By the end of his life, Charles lived in seclusion, becoming hypersensitive and easily angered. He resolved the succession of Spain on a French grand-nephew, Duke Philip of Anjou, before disappearing entirely from the public. When he died in 1700, the coroner was baffled at how he had lived for so long, finding little of substance left within the dead king's body. Charles II's death prompted the War of the Spanish Succession in 1701 which would last fourteen years as countries fought over the unmanageably large Spanish Empire.
Date of Death: 1 November 1700
Successor: Philip V

Other Monarchs Who Died Today:
  • Richard, duke of Burgundy (921)
  • Henry I, duke of Bavaria (955)
  • Amadeus VII, duke of Savoy (1391)
  • John V, duke of Brittany (1399)
  • Alexander III, tsar of Russia (1894)

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