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Charles III of Anglia (The Kalmar Union)

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Charles III
Charles III Anglia (The Kalmar Union).png
Charles III and Elisabeth of Norfolk
King of Anglia
Reign 12th August, 1275 - 14th March, 1310
Predecessor Conrad
Successor Henry I
Spouse Maria of Loon

Elisabeth of Norfolk
Felicitas of Dampierre
Joanna of Brabant

Issue Sophia Karlsdotter

Henry I Karlsson
Rudolph Karlsson
John Karlsson
William Karlsson
Imagina Karlsdotter
Beatrix Karlsdotter
Charles Karlsson
Katharina Karlsdotter
Alix Karlsdotter
Valdemar Karlsson
Caecilia Karlsdotter
Helena Karlsdotter

Full name
Charles Conradsson
House Estridsson
Father Conrad Karlsson
Mother Jutta of Cleves
Born 7th December, 1243
Mons, Hainault
Died 14th March, 1310
Lincoln, Anglia

Charles III, Charles the Blind, has a mixed reputation amongst Anglia's medieval kings. Whilst he proved himself to be more than capable on the battlefield, recovering and extending Anglia's territory he proved much less successful at home, fatally undermining the authority of the monarchy.

Charles was in Anglia when news came from across the Channel that his father Conrad had died. For three years Charles had acted as his father's 'Marshall' in Anglia, wrangling funds and armies out of the Witenage. He had been regarded as a fair but slightly overbearing presence and his nobility probably wished he would quickly disappear off to the continent to pursue territorial squabbles and continue where Conrad left off; opposing William of Holland's Imperial wars. They were to be denied however. Instead he plunged into the still simmering Long Scottish War demanding the powerful Earl of Northumberland, Jon Magnusson turn his Scottish fortresses over to the crown. Magnusson would begrudgingly cede Berwick and Selkirk with their considerable estates which Charles proceeded to ruin with poor management. Attempts to force the Scottish lords to battle proved fruitless and supplies frequently fell short. Eventually in 1277 he returned the castles to Magnusson's control and travelled to the continent, confirming his alliance with Rudolph of Hapsburg.

He returned to Anglia, largely unheralded in 1279, to extract taxes for a war against France, specifically to take back Artesië once and for all. Though a popular cause it provoked an instant reaction from the nobles. Stirred up by Magnusson and the Archbishop of Jorvik, Edward Herland, the nobles rebelled. The Anglian Baron's War was not an instant success, in fact the death of Magnusson in late 1279 nearly derailed it completely, and it would take two years for Charles' support to crumble. Captured in Norwich castle in February 1281 Charles reluctantly signed an approximation of Wessex's Magna Carta agreement. This installed a permanent Witenage which the king was not allowed to dismiss and confirmed the rule of law over the king. In return however Charles was granted taxation, enough to cover two years of war with France. Charles gladly took this up and disappeared off to the continent once more.

From 1281 to 1283 Charles battered French defenses. His comprehensive victory at Pontoise just outside Paris in April 1283 forced Louis IX to cede Artesië in its entirety, a significant victory which would plunge Louis and France into considerable gloom. Louis would spend much of the rest of his reign fighting off constant revolt. Charles meanwhile set about arranging his next scheme, an all out assault on Scotland. This was soon abandoned however as word reached him that Scotland had allied with Wessex. The Witenage blocked his demands; a war against isolated France was one thing, a broad war against a potent Wessex, even if Man and Hordaland honoured their vague agreements, was quite another. Charles had no option but to look for other paths for glory and would in time relinquish Anglia's few remaining fortresses in Scotland in 1290, ending the Long Scottish War. Scotland's continued independence was recognised, not only by Anglia, but by Hordaland and Man too and Anglia stopped demanding fealty from the Scottish kings. Denied a victory which may have strengthened his hand against the Witenage, he turned to persecuting the Jews to line his purse, confiscating property and all but expelling them from both Anglia and Flanders-Hainault, a situation which would considerably harm his successors' ability to raise funds.

Soon after consolidating his now considerable war-chest Charles honoured his alliance with Brabant, joining the War of the Limburg Succession, however it was a low intensity conflict and only came to a head in mid 1288. Brabant had begun a siege of the Archbishop of Cologne's fortress of Worringen, which Luxembourg and the Archbishop attempted to relieve. Charles raced to join his allies and at the close fought battle in June, Charles was lucky to keep his life. Struck over the head with a sword by a Colognian knight, he was blinded and carried off the battlefield by his squires. Shaken, the Anglian army momentarily wavered but would rally and the Anglian-Brabant force would prove victorious.

Luxembourg had lost the battle but win the eventual war as the young count Henry VII was groomed for the Imperial throne by Cologne. Charles continued in his support for the Hapsburgs, opposing Adolf of Nassau's unhappy 6 years as King of the Romans and provided men for the Battle of Göllheim where Adolf was killed. Charles' war-chest could not secure Albert of Hapsburg's succession and instead Germany descended into civil war. Charles, now permanently blind, was cautious and distant from the front-lines, with his eldest sons Henry and Rudolph leading the Anglian armies in Germany. Henry VII's irresistible rise to the Imperial throne was partly based on the overbearing presence of Anglia in the Low Countries and the fact Henry had bested the Anglians on the battlefield swung opinion in his favour. Charles remained unreconciled to Henry who was soon more interested in restoring Imperial rule to Italia and dynastical politicking in Bohemia but kept the peace, pursuing feuds with France instead.

All parties' ability to wage war in the Low Countries, and indeed throughout the Rhineland and Northern Italia, were much hampered by the arrival of Great Pox in Europe, linked to a company of mercenary Icelanders whom had been contracted by Charles to besiege Cologne's fortresses in 1284. The initial virulent spread almost ruined several trading cities in Flanders and Holland and led to a sharp drop-off in taxes and cross-Channel trade. While the disease itself soon settled into an endemic but non-fatal strain the trade links built up over centuries would take years to repair.

In 1310 Charles was betrothed to a fourth potential wife, Joanna of Brabant, however he died in Lincoln before they could be wed. She would instead become Henry I's second wife after the church cleared the couple of any potential embarrassing complications.

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