Charles I of Anjou
Count of Anjou, Maine, Provence and Forcalquier, king of Naples, Sicily and Jerusalem (1246-1285)
Charles (1227-1285) - the younger brother of Louis IX, King of France (fourth son of Louis VIII and Blanca of Castile). In 1246 he was knighted and received Anjou, Mans and Touraine. In 1246, he married Beatrice Provence, the daughter and heiress of Raymond Berenger V, Count of Provence and Forcalquier. The Provencal nobles, led by the widowed countess Beatrice of Savoy, met a new overlord without of enthusiasm, and their resistance was muted only by the concession of Beatrice to the Forcalquier county. In 1248, Charles, together with his brother Louis IX, went on a crusade. In 1250, Carl, together with Alphonse de Poitiers, returned to France, where, in the absence of the king and after the death of Blanca of Castile (1252), the brothers became regents.
In the next few years, Karl tried to increase his possessions by engaging in the internecine war in the county of Hainaut and was engaged in the pacification of the not conquered Provence. The one and the other helped to complete the returning king - Louis to refuse Charles forced by Hainaut, but Provence was finally subjugated.
As early as 1252, Pope Alexander IV, who was at enmity with Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, suggested that Charles win the crown of Sicily from the emperor, but Karl was forced to refuse by order of King Louis IX. In 1262 the proposal was renewed by the new Pope Urban IV. After lengthy negotiations, in 1266 another pope, Clement IV, crowned Charles as king of Sicily. On February 26, 1266, near Beneventa, the army of Manfred (the illegal son of Frederick II) was defeated, and he himself was killed. Charles , now de facto, became king of Sicily and solemnly entered the capital of his new state - Naples (then the kingdom of Sicily, in addition to the island, included part of mainland Italy). By the end of 1266 almost the entire north of Italy was in his hands. Sicily, however, did not submit, and in 1267 an uprising began. The nobility prophesied in the kings of Frederick II's grandson, Conradin. But, in 1268, Conradin's army was defeated, and then he himself was executed, which made an indelible impression on his contemporaries - this is was not too consistent with the knightly principles ... The Italians were not satisfied with the rule of Charles. The order was ensured by repression. Almost all the top positions were occupied by the French, and in general, management was rebuilt according to the French model. In addition, taxes have increased significantly.
In 1267, the emperor of the dying Latin Empire, Balduin II, trying to secure allies and receive money, handed over to Charles the suzerainty over the Achaean principality and most of the islands of the Aegean Sea. Baldwin's son, Philip and the daughters of Carl Beatrice were engaged, with the condition that if the marriage turned out to be childless, all rights to the empire would fall to Charles. Charles intermarried with the Bela IV king of Hungary — his daughter Isabella married the grandson of Bela prince Laszlo, and the sister of Laszlo, Maria the heir to Charles, the future Charles II. Subsequently, this allowed the grandson of Charles II, Charles Robert, to ascend the Hungarian throne. The prince of Achaia, Guillaume Villehardouin, was forced in 1271 to marry the eldest daughter and heiress Isabella to the second son of Charles, Philip. And, again, in the case of a childless marriage, all rights (and not only suzerainty) of the Achaean principality were transferred to Charles. Our hero didn’t suffer with excessive modesty :)
In 1270, Louis IX set off on another crusade. Charles sailed a little later and arrived after the death of his brother. In this extremely unsuccessful campaign, Charles proved himself as a skilled warrior. Mainly thanks to him, the Tunisian army was defeated and peace was concluded.
In 1272, Charles conquered part of Albania from the despot of Epirus and proclaimed himself the Albanian king. In 1277, Mary of Antioch gave Charles her rights to the Kingdom of Jerusalem (which she contested with the King of Cyprus, Hugo III) in exchange for a life annuity. The governor of Acre fled and Charles became also king of Jerusalem.
From 1278 to 1280 Charles struggled with the emperor Rudolf. The Count of Provence was considered a vassal of the emperor, which Charles, naturally, tried not to recall. The widow of Louis IX, Margaret of Provence, who hated Charles all because of the same Provence, appealed to Rudolph with a request to give the county to her. Reconciliation was achieved through the mediation of the Pope.
March 29, 1282 began an uprising in Sicily - the famous Sicilian vespers. In Messina, the fleet of Charles was burned. The rebels offered the crown of Pedro III to the King of Aragon. He was married to the daughter of Manfred Constance, who remained the sole heiress of the Hohenstaufen. On September 4, Pedro was proclaimed King of Sicily in Palermo, on October 2 Messina was occupied, and on October 14, the Aragon fleet defeated Charles. Charles was supported by his nephew, King Philip III of France, who sent mercenaries and Pope Martin IV, who separated the rebels, and then Pedro, from the church. In 1284, the pope announced the overthrow of Pedro III and handed over the crown of Aragon to Karl Valois, the second son of Philip III. Naturally, Pedro did not even think to obey, so the pope declared a crusade against the king, scheduled for 1285. Charles , for his part, intended to resume military operations in Sicily. However, at the end of December 1284 he fell ill and died on January 7, 1285.
"He was a brave knight, distinguished by prudence, restraint, firmness, insight. But at the same time he was overbearing, greedy and cruel." Chronicle of Salimbene of Parma.