Charles IX of Sweden

Charles IX, also Carl (Swedish: Karl IX; 4 October 1550 – 30 October 1611), was King of Sweden from 1604 until his death. He was the youngest son of King Gustav I and his second wife, Margaret Leijonhufvud, brother of Eric XIV and John III, and uncle of Sigismund who was king of both Sweden and Poland. By his father's will he got, by way of appanage, the Duchy of Södermanland, which included the provinces of Närke and Värmland; but he did not come into actual possession of them till after the fall of Eric and the succession to the throne of John in 1568.

The Swedish kings Eric XIV (1560–68) and Charles IX (1604–1611) took their numbers according to a fictitious history of Sweden. He was actually the third Swedish king called Charles.[1]

He came into the throne by championing the Protestant cause during the increasingly tense times of religious strife between competing sects of Christianity. In just over a decade, these would break out as the Thirty Years' War. These conflicts had already caused the dynastic squabble rooted in religious freedom that deposed his nephew and brought him to rule as king of Sweden.

His reign marked the start of the final chapter (dated 1648 by some) of both the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. With his brother's death in November 1592, the throne of Sweden went to his nephew and Habsburg ally, Sigismund of Poland and Sweden. During these tense political times, Charles viewed the inheritance of the throne of Protestant Sweden by his devout Roman Catholic nephew with alarm. Thus, several years of religious controversy and discord followed.

During the period, Charles and the Swedish privy council ruled in Sigismund's name while he stayed in Poland. After various preliminaries, the Riksdag of the Estates forced Sigismund to abdicate the throne to Charles IX in 1595. This eventually kicked off nearly seven decades of sporadic warfare as the two lines of the divided House of Vasa both continued to attempt to remake the union between the Polish and Swedish thrones with opposing counter-claims and dynastic wars.

Quite likely, the dynastic outcome between Sweden and Poland's House of Vasa exacerbated and radicalized the later actions of Europe's Catholic princes in the German states such as the Edict of Restitution. In fact, it worsened European politics to the abandonment or prevention of settling events by diplomacy and compromise during the vast bloodletting that was the Thirty Years' war.

Charles IX
Karl IX
Charles IX by an unknown artist, Nationalmuseum
King of Sweden
Reign22 March 1604 – 30 October 1611
Coronation15 March 1607
SuccessorGustav II Adolf
Born4 October 1550
Stockholm Castle
Died30 October 1611 (aged 61)
Nyköping Castle
Burial21 April 1612
SpouseMaria of Palatinate-Simmern
Christina of Holstein-Gottorp
Catherine, Countess Palatine of Kleeburg
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
Maria Elizabeth, Duchess of Ostrogothia
Charles Philip, Duke of Södermanland
FatherGustav I of Sweden
MotherMargaret Leijonhufvud

Duke Charles

Carl IX of Sweden 1596 by H. Nützel
Duke Charles (as he then was called) in 1596

In 1568 he was the real leader of the rebellion against Eric XIV. However, he took no part in the designs of his brother John III against the unhappy king after his deposition. Charles's relations with John were always more or less strained. He had no sympathy with John's High-Church tendencies on the one hand, and he sturdily resisted all the king's endeavours to restrict his authority as Duke of Södermanland on the other. The nobility and the majority of the Riksdag of the Estates supported John. However, in his endeavours to unify the realm, and Charles had consequently (1587) to resign his pretensions to autonomy within his duchy. But, steadfast Calvinist as he was, on the religious question he was immovable. The matter came to a crisis on the death of John III in 1592. The heir to the throne was John's eldest son, Sigismund III Vasa, already king of Poland and a devoted Catholic. The fear that Sigismund might re-catholicize the land alarmed the Protestant majority in Sweden—particularly the commoners and lower nobility, and Charles came forward as their champion, and also as the defender of the Vasa dynasty against foreign interference.

Hertig Karl skymfande Klaus Flemings lik, målning av Albert Edelfelt från 1878
Duke Charles insulting the corpse of his enemy Flemming painted by Albert Edelfelt

It was due entirely to him that Sigismund as king-elect was forced to confirm the resolutions at the Uppsala Synod in 1593, thereby recognizing the fact that Sweden was essentially a Lutheran Protestant state. Under the agreement, Charles and the Swedish Privy Council shared power and ruled in Sigismund's place since he resided in Poland. In the ensuing years 1593—1595, Charles's task was extraordinarily difficult. He had steadily to oppose Sigismund's reactionary tendencies and directives; he had also to curb the nobility which sought to increase their power at the expense of the absent king, which he did with cruel rigor.

Necessity compelled him to work with the clergy and people rather than the gentry; hence it was that the Riksdag of the Estates assumed under his regency government a power and an importance which it had never possessed before. In 1595, the Riksdag of Söderköping elected Charles regent, and his attempt to force Klas Flemming, governor of Österland (Finland of the day), to submit to his authority, rather than to that of the king, provoked a civil war. Charles sought to increase his power and the king attempted to manage the situation by diplomacy over several years, until fed up, Sigismund got permission from the Commonwealth's legislature to pursue the matters dividing his Swedish subjects, and invaded with a mercenary army.

Technically Charles was, without doubt, guilty of high treason, and the considerable minority of all classes which adhered to Sigismund on his landing in Sweden in 1598 indisputably behaved like loyal subjects. In the events that followed, despite some initial successes, Sigismund lost the crucial Battle of Stångebro, and was captured himself, as well as being forced to deliver up certain Swedish noblemen who were named traitor by Charles and the Riksens ständer. With Sigismund defeated and exiled, as both an alien and a heretic to the majority of the Swedish nation, and his formal deposition by the Riksdag of the Estates in 1599 was, in effect, a natural vindication and ex post facto legitimization of Charles's position all along, for the same session of the Riksens ständer named him as the ruler as regent.

King Charles IX

Carl IX of Sweden outdoor relief 2013 Stockholm Palace
Image of King Carl IX on a wall of Stockholm Palace.
Karl IX Staty Karlstad
Statue of Charles IX in Karlstad.

Finally, the Riksdag at Linköping, 24 February 1604 declared that Sigismund abdicated the Swedish throne, that duke Charles was recognized as the sovereign. He was declared king as Karl IX (anglicized as Charles IX). Charles's short reign was one of uninterrupted warfare. The hostility of Poland and the breakup of Russia involved him in overseas contests for the possession of Livonia and Ingria, the Polish–Swedish War (1600–1611) and the Ingrian War, while his pretensions to claim Lappland brought upon him a war with Denmark in the last year of his reign.

In all these struggles, he was more or less unsuccessful, owing partly to the fact that he and his forces had to oppose superior generals (e.g. Jan Karol Chodkiewicz and Christian IV of Denmark) and partly to sheer ill-luck. Compared with his foreign policy, the domestic policy of Charles IX was comparatively unimportant. It aimed at confirming and supplementing what had already been done during his regency. He did not officially become king until 22 March 1604. The first deed in which the title appears is dated 20 March 1604; but he was not crowned until 15 March 1607.

Coloured legacy

Four and a half years later Charles IX died at Nyköping, 30 October 1611 when he was succeeded by his seventeen-year-old son Gustavus Adolphus, who had participated in the wars. As a ruler, he is the link between his great father and his still greater son. He consolidated the work of Gustav I, the creation of a great Protestant state; he prepared the way for the erection of the Protestant empire of Gustavus Adolphus.


Carl IX of Sweden family grave 2009 (5)
Grave monument of Carl IX and family at Strängnäs Cathedral.

He married, firstly, Anna Marie of Palatinate-Simmern (1561–1589), daughter of Louis VI, Elector Palatine (1539–1583) and Elisabeth of Hesse (1539–1584). Their children were:

  • Margareta Elisabeth (1580–1585)
  • Elisabeth Sabina (1582–1585)
  • Louis (1583–1583)
  • Catherine (1584–1638), married a prince of the Palatinate Zweibrücken, becoming mother of Charles X Gustav.
  • Gustav (1587–1587)
  • Maria (1588–1589)

In 1592 he married his second wife Christina of Holstein-Gottorp (1573–1625), daughter of Adolf of Holstein-Gottorp (1526–1586) and Christine of Hesse (1543–1604) and first cousin of his previous wife. Their children were:

He also had a son with his mistress, Karin Nilsdotter:

See also


  1. ^ Article Karl in Nordisk familjebok


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBain, Robert Nisbet (1911). "Charles IX., king of Sweden" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

External links

Karl IX
Born: 4 October 1550 Died: 30 October 1611
Regnal titles
Title last held by
King of Sweden
Succeeded by
Gustav II Adolf
1550 in Sweden

Events from the year 1550 in Sweden

1604 in Sweden

Events from the year 1604 in Sweden

1611 in Sweden

Events from the year 1611 in Sweden

Anna Karlsdotter

Anna Karlsdotter (Vinstorpa) (died 1552), was a Swedish noble and landholder. By her daughter Ebba Eriksdotter Vasa, she was the maternal grandmother of Queen Margaret Leijonhufvud and thereby great grandmother of King John III of Sweden and King Charles IX of Sweden. She is remembered as one of several possible people later identified with the famous legend of Pintorpafrun.

Anna Maria of the Palatinate

Maria of the Palatinate (24 July 1561 – 29 July 1589) was a Swedish princess and Duchess of Södermanland by marriage, the first spouse of the future King Charles IX of Sweden. She died before he became king, and was therefore never queen.

Charles IX

Charles IX may refer to:

Charles IX of France (1550–1574)

Charles IX of Sweden (1550–1611)

Charles Philip, Duke of Södermanland

Prince Charles Philip of Sweden, Duke of Södermanland, (Swedish: Carl Filip; Alt-Anzen (Vana-Antsla), 22 April 1601 – Narva, 25 January 1622) was a Swedish prince, Duke of Södermanland, Närke and Värmland. Charles Philip was the second surviving son of King Charles IX of Sweden and his second spouse, Duchess Christina of Holstein-Gottorp.

Ebba Stenbock

Ebba Gustavsdotter Stenbock (died 1614, in Finland) was a Swedish noble. She led the defense of the stronghold Turku Castle for the loyalist of Sigismund III Vasa during the Siege by Charles IX of Sweden in succession of her spouse Clas Eriksson Fleming, (1530-1597), governor of Finland. The sister of queen Katarina Stenbock, she married Clas Eriksson Fleming, (1530-1597), governor of Finland, in 1573.

Elisabeth of Hesse, Electress Palatine

Elisabeth of Hesse (13 February 1539 – 14 March 1582) was a German noblewoman.

She was a daughter of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse and Christine of Saxony, daughter of George, Duke of Saxony.

On 8 July 1560 she married Louis VI, Elector Palatine. They had the following children:

Anna Marie (1561–1589), married Charles IX of Sweden

Elisabeth (15 June – 2 November 1562)

Dorothea Elisabeth (12 January – 7 March 1565)

Dorothea (1566–1567)

Frederick Philip (19 October 1567 – 14 November 1568)

Johann Friedrich (died within a month of birth)

Ludwig (died within three months of birth)

Katharina (1572–1586)

Christine (1573–1619)

Frederick (1574–1610), succeeded as Elector Palatine

Philip (4 May 1575 – 9 August 1575)

Elisabeth (1576–1577)


Filipstad is a locality and the seat of Filipstad Municipality, Värmland County, Sweden, with 6,022 inhabitants in 2010.Filipstad was granted city privileges in 1611 by Charles IX of Sweden, who named it after his son Duke Carl Philip (1601–1622; younger brother of Gustavus Adolphus).

After a major fire destroyed forest and town in 1694, Filipstad lost its privileges, as it was believed the remaining forest would not be sustainable if the town were to be rebuilt. In 1835 the rights were regranted. The local government acts of 1862 made the very privileges obsolete, but the title stad (city) remained in use until the municipal reform of 1971. Since then Filipstad is the seat of the larger Filipstad Municipality. Filipstad is, despite its small population, for historical reasons, normally still referred to as a city. Statistics Sweden, however, only counts localities with more than 10,000 inhabitants as cities.

At Filipstad, there is Klockarhöjdenmasten, a 330 metres tall guyed mast used for FM/TV-broadcasting.

Wasabröd, the largest crisp bread manufacturer in the world, has one of its two factories in Filipstad, the other being in Celle, Germany.

Gustav of Sweden

Gustav of Sweden - English (actually Latin) also: Gustavus ; Swedish (legal spellings after 1900): Gustaf - may refer to:

Gustav I of Sweden, Gustav I Vasa, King of Sweden 1523-1560

Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, Gustav II Adolph, King of Sweden 1611-1632

Gustav III of Sweden, King of Sweden 1771-1792

Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden, King of Sweden 1792-1809

Gustaf V of Sweden, King of Sweden 1907-1950

Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, King of Sweden 1950-1973

Prince Gustav of Sweden, Prince of Sweden 1568

Gustav, Prince of Sweden 1587, son of King Charles IX of Sweden (died in infancy)

Gustav Adolph, Prince of Sweden de facto 1652, son of Prince Adolph John I, Count Palatine of Kleeburg (died in infancy)

Gustav, Prince of Sweden 1683, son of King Charles XI of Sweden (died in infancy)

Gustav, Prince of Vasa, Crown Prince of Sweden 1799

Prince Gustaf, Duke of Uppland, Prince of Sweden 1827

Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, Prince of Sweden 1906

House of Vasa

The House of Vasa (Swedish: Vasaätten, Polish: Wazowie, Lithuanian: Vaza) was an early modern royal house founded in 1523 in Sweden, ruling Sweden 1523–1654, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1587–1668, and the Tsardom of Russia 1610–1613 (titular until 1634). Its agnatic line became extinct with the death of King John II Casimir of Poland in 1672.

The House of Vasa descended from a Swedish 14th-century noble family, tracing agnatic kinship to Nils Kettilsson (Vasa) (died 1378), fogde of Tre Kronor Castle in Stockholm. Several members held high offices during the 15th century. In 1523, after the abolition of the Kalmar Union, Gustav Eriksson (Vasa) became King Gustav I of Sweden and the royal house was founded. His reign is sometimes referred to as the beginning of the modern state of Sweden, which included the King's break with the Roman Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation and the foundation of the Church of Sweden.

However, his eldest son and successor Erik XIV of Sweden was overthrown by Gustav's younger son, King John III of Sweden. John III married a Catholic Polish princess, Catherine Jagiellon, leading to the House of Vasa becoming rulers of Poland.

Their Catholic son Sigismund III Vasa, then ruler of a short-lived Polish–Swedish union, was usurped in 1599 by John's Protestant brother King Charles IX of Sweden in the War against Sigismund. The dynasty was split into a Protestant Swedish branch and a Catholic Polish one, which contended for crowns in subsequent wars.

The involvement of the famous Protestant general and King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in the Thirty Years' War gave rise to the saying that he was the incarnation of "the Lion of the North" (German: "Der Löwe von Mitternacht"). Yet, notably, his daughter and heiress Queen Christina of Sweden (1632–1654) abdicated in 1654 after converting to Catholicism, and emigrated to Rome. In Poland, John II Casimir of Poland abdicated in 1668. With his death, the royal House of Vasa became extinct in 1672, though the current King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, is descended from Gustav I through his paternal great-grandmother, Victoria of Baden.

John, Duke of Östergötland

John of Sweden, Duke of Östergötland (in Swedish Johan) (18 April 1589 at Uppsala Castle – 5 March 1618 at Bråborg Castle in Östergötland) was a Swedish royal dynast. He was titular Duke of Finland 1590–1606 and reigning Duke of Östergötland 1606–18.

His father was John III of Sweden and his mother was Gunilla Bielke. John's half-brother was King Sigismund III of Poland (1566–1632, reigned in Sweden in 1592–99, and in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1587–1632). His uncle was Charles IX of Sweden, who ruled from 1599 to 1611, and his first cousin was Gustav II Adolf of Sweden (1594–1632).

Kalmar War

The Kalmar War (1611–1613) was a war between Denmark–Norway and Sweden. Though Denmark soon gained the upper hand, it was unable to defeat Sweden entirely. The Kalmar War was the last time Denmark successfully defended its dominium maris baltici against Sweden, and it also marked the increasing influence of the two countries on Baltic politics.

King of Kvenland

A few Icelandic sagas tell about kings that ruled in Kvenland.

Lars Kagg

Lars Kagg (1 May 1595 – 19 November 1661) was a Swedish count and military officer. He was a political ally of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, a member of the Privy Council of Sweden and Field Marshal during the Thirty Years' War.Kagg was born at the Kiellstorp estate in Örslösa parish in Skaraborg, now Västra Götaland County. He was the son of Chamberlain Nils Mathisson Kagg. In 1609, at the age of fourteen, he was taken to the court of King Charles IX of Sweden, where he formed a lifelong relationship with Crown Prince Gustav Adolph.In 1626, he became deputy governor of Narva and Ivangorod in Swedish Ingria. In 1628, he became colonel of in the Jönköping infantry regiment. In 1631, he became commander in Brandenburg an der Havel and Spandau. In 1632, he became governor of the city of Magdeburg. He was made Lord High Constable of Sweden in 1660.In 1647, Kagg acquired an estate on the island of Helgö situated in Lake Mälaren which he named Kaggeholm, today the site of Kaggeholm Castle (Kaggeholms slott).

Order of Jehova

The Royal Order of Jehova (Swedish: Jehovaorden) was a Swedish dynastic order of knighthood instituted in 1606 by King Charles IX of Sweden. The collar of the order was worn by the king alone, as head, although a report indicate that three Swedish princes wore a collar at the coronation of King Charles IX on 15 March 1606.The motto of the king's was Jehovah "iehovah solatium meum" (Swedish: Gud är min tröst).

Polish–Swedish War (1600–11)

The Polish–Swedish War (1600–11) was a continuation of struggle between Sweden and Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth over control of Livonia and Estonia, as well as the dispute over the Swedish throne between Charles IX of Sweden and Sigismund III of Poland.

Princess Maria Elizabeth of Sweden

Princess Maria Elizabeth of Sweden (10 March 1596, Örebro Castle – 7 August 1618, Bråborg Castle) was a Swedish princess, daughter of King Charles IX of Sweden and Christina of Holstein-Gottorp, and by marriage Duchess of Ostergothia.

Ancestors of Charles IX of Sweden
16. Krister Nilsson (Vasa)
8. Johan Kristiernsson (Vasa)
17. Margareta Eriksdotter (Krummedige)
4. Erik Johansson (Vasa)
18. Gustav Anundsson (Sture)
9. Birgitta Gustafsdotter (Sture)
19. Birgitta Stensdotter (Bielke)
2. Gustav I of Sweden (Vasa)
20. Karl Magnusson (Eka)
10. Måns Karlsson (Eka)
21. Birgitta Arentsdotter (Pinnow)
5. Cecilia Månsdotter (Eka)
22. Eskil Isaksson (Banér)
11. Sigrid Eskilsdotter (Banér)
23. Cecilia Haraldsdotter (Gren)
1. Charles IX of Sweden (Vasa)
24. Kristiern Gregersson (Leijonhufvud)
12. Abraham Kristiernsson (Leijonhuvud)
6. Erik Abrahamsson (Leijonhufvud)
26. Magnus Bengtsson (Natt och Dag)
13. Birgitta Månsdotter (Natt och Dag)
27. Märta Clausdotter (Plata)
3. Margareta Leijonhufvud
28. Karl Kristiernsson (Vasa)
14. Erik Karlsson (Vasa)
29. Ebba Eriksdotter (Krummedige)
7. Ebba Eriksdotter (Vasa)
30. Karl Bengtsson (Vinstorpa)
15. Anna Karlsdotter (Vinstorpa)
31. Karin Lagesdotter (Sparre)
1st generation
2nd generation
3rd generation
4th generation
5th generation
6th generation
7th generation
8th generation
9th generation
10th generation
11th generation
12th generation
13th generation
14th generation
15th generation
16th generation
Sverker · Eric
Kalmar Union
Italics indicate


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