Charles XII of Sweden Document Signed "Carolus" as king, page, 8" x 12.75", August 11, 1716., n.p., with full wax seal. Carl XII (1682-1718), known as the "Alexander of the North" also the 'Madman of the North," was a King of Sweden from 1697 until his death in 1718. As a child, many people thought he was going to be sickly but Charles strengthened his body for war by riding horses bareback and hunting wolves in Sweden's fir forests. When his father died, Charles assumed the crown at fifteen. His youth gave other nations a pretext to invade Sweden. Saxony, Denmark-Norway, Poland and Russia joined in a coalition to attack Sweden, beginning the Great Northern War. He left the country three years later to embark on a series of battles overseas. Many of these battles were fought against Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia. After some stunning victories, Charles was eventually defeated by the Russians at the Battle of Poltava. Charles was wounded, one-third of his infantry was dead, and his vulnerable supply train destroyed. The battle was a disaster and Charles fled south to the Ottoman Empire. The Turks initially welcomed the Swedish king who managed to incite a war between the Ottomans and the Russians. However, Sultan Ahmed III eventually tired of Charles' endless scheming. He was put under house-arrest in Istanbul. Charles succeeded in escaping his imprisonment and raced on a horse across Europe to return to Sweden. His efforts to reestablish his lost empire failed. He was shot through the head and killed during a siege of the fortress of Fredriksten in Norway. In fine condition.

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