Monday, 20 April 2015

Episode 20: Duke Karl a.k.a. Karl IX

Karl IX was hte youngest son of Gustav Vasa and never expected to be king. We have already met him allying with brother Johan III in deposing Erik and figthing against the catholic tendencies of Johan. In 1598 he defeated Johan's son Sigismund and in effect became king himself - though he didn't call himself king until some years later.
Karl was a great entrepreneur, establishing manufactures, towns and even a canal in his dukedom. He was very much his father's son - ruthless, prone to anger, meddling in most things and ruling very hands-on. His foreign wars were not successful and before he died he expressed the hope that his son Gustav Adolf should "do it".

19th century painting of duke Karl pulling at Klas Fleming's beard at Åbo. The tale is that Karl said that had Fleming been alive his head would not have been safe. And that Fleming's widow Ebba Stenbock answered that had he been alive, the duke would never have been able to enter the castle.