Charles X Gustav of Sweden
Charles X Gustav also Carl Gustav, (8 November 1622 – 13 February 1660) was King of Sweden
Monarch of Sweden
The monarchy of Sweden is the constitutional monarchy of the Kingdom of Sweden. The present monarch, Carl XVI Gustaf, has reigned since 15 September 1973. He and his immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 from 1654 until his death. He was the son of John Casimir
John Casimir, Count Palatine of Kleeburg
John Casimir, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Kleeburg was the son of John I, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken and the founder of a branch of Wittelsbach Counts Palatine often called the Swedish line, because it gave rise to three subsequent kings of Sweden, but more commonly known as the Kleeburg ...

, Count Palatine
Count palatine
Count palatine is a high noble title, used to render several comital styles, in some cases also shortened to Palatine, which can have other meanings as well.-Comes palatinus:...

 of Zweibrücken-Kleeburg
Palatinate-Kleeburg was a state of the Holy Roman Empire, which centered on the Alsatian lordship of Cleeburg.Palatinate-Kleeberg was the younger partition of Palatinate-Zweibrücken in 1604 for John Casimir, the youngest son of John I, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken...

 and Catherine of Sweden. After his father's death he also succeeded him as Pfalzgraf
Count palatine
Count palatine is a high noble title, used to render several comital styles, in some cases also shortened to Palatine, which can have other meanings as well.-Comes palatinus:...

. He was married to Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp
Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp
Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp was the queen consort of King Charles X of Sweden and queen mother of King Charles XI...

, who bore his son and successor, Charles XI
Charles XI of Sweden
Charles XI also Carl, was King of Sweden from 1660 until his death, in a period in Swedish history known as the Swedish empire ....

. Charles X Gustav was the second Wittelsbach
The Wittelsbach family is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria.Members of the family served as Dukes, Electors and Kings of Bavaria , Counts Palatine of the Rhine , Margraves of Brandenburg , Counts of Holland, Hainaut and Zeeland , Elector-Archbishops of Cologne , Dukes of...

 king of Sweden after the childless king Christopher of Bavaria
Christopher of Bavaria
Christopher of Bavaria or Christopher the Bavarian; as king named Christopher ; Danish and Norwegian: Christoffer af/av Bayern; Swedish Kristofer av Bayern was union king of Denmark , Sweden and Norway .-Biography:He was probably born at Neumarkt in...

 (1441–1448) and he was the first king of the Swedish Caroline era, which had its peak during the end of the reign of his son, Charles XI
Charles XI of Sweden
Charles XI also Carl, was King of Sweden from 1660 until his death, in a period in Swedish history known as the Swedish empire ....

. By his predecessor Christina, he was considered de facto Duke of Eyland (Öland) before ascending to the Swedish throne.

His numbering as Charles X derives from a 16th century invention. The Swedish king Charles IX
Charles IX of Sweden
Charles IX of Sweden also Carl, was King of Sweden from 1604 until his death. He was the youngest son of King Gustav I of Sweden and his second wife, Margaret Leijonhufvud, brother of Eric XIV and John III of Sweden, and uncle of Sigismund III Vasa king of both Sweden and Poland...

 (1604–1611) chose his numeral after studying a fictitious history of Sweden. This king was the fourth actual King Charles, but has never been called Charles IV.

Heir to the throne

In his early childhood raised in the Swedish court alongside Queen Christina
Christina of Sweden
Christina , later adopted the name Christina Alexandra, was Queen regnant of Swedes, Goths and Vandals, Grand Princess of Finland, and Duchess of Ingria, Estonia, Livonia and Karelia, from 1633 to 1654. She was the only surviving legitimate child of King Gustav II Adolph and his wife Maria Eleonora...

 he received an excellent civil education. Later Charles X learned the art of war under Lennart Torstenson
Lennart Torstenson
Lennart Torstenson, Count of Ortala, Baron of Virestad , was a Swedish Field Marshal and military engineer.-Early career:He was born at Forstena in Västergötland - he always wrote his name Linnardt Torstenson...

, being present at the second Battle of Breitenfeld (1642)
Battle of Breitenfeld (1642)
The Second Battle of Breitenfeld, also known as the First Battle of Leipzig , took place at Breitenfeld , Germany, during the Thirty Years' War— fully eleven years after the first battle at the crossroads village had unbottled the Swedish forces under Gustavus II Adolphus wherein he had...

 and at Jankowitz (1645). From 1646 to 1648 he frequented the Swedish court, supposedly as a prospective husband of his cousin the queen regnant, Christina of Sweden
Christina of Sweden
Christina , later adopted the name Christina Alexandra, was Queen regnant of Swedes, Goths and Vandals, Grand Princess of Finland, and Duchess of Ingria, Estonia, Livonia and Karelia, from 1633 to 1654. She was the only surviving legitimate child of King Gustav II Adolph and his wife Maria Eleonora...

 (1626–89, reigned 1632–54), but her insurmountable objection to wedlock put an end to these anticipations, and to compensate her cousin for a broken half-promise she declared him her successor in 1649, despite the opposition of the Privy Council
Privy Council of Sweden
The High Council of Sweden or Council of the Realm consisted originally of those men of noble, common and clergical background, that the king saw fit for advisory service...

 headed by Axel Oxenstierna
Axel Oxenstierna
Axel Gustafsson Oxenstierna af Södermöre , Count of Södermöre, was a Swedish statesman. He became a member of the Swedish Privy Council in 1609 and served as Lord High Chancellor of Sweden from 1612 until his death. He was a confidant of first Gustavus Adolphus and then Queen Christina.Oxenstierna...

. In 1648 he gained the appointment of commander of the Swedish forces in Germany. The conclusion of the treaties of Westphalia in October 1648 prevented him from winning the military laurels he is said to have desired, but as the Swedish plenipotentiary at the executive congress of Nuremberg
Nuremberg[p] is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city. The population is 505,664...

, he had an opportunity to learn diplomacy, a science he is described as having quickly mastered. As the recognized heir to the throne, his position on his return to Sweden was dangerous because of the growing discontent with the queen. He therefore withdrew to the isle of Öland
' is the second largest Swedish island and the smallest of the traditional provinces of Sweden. Öland has an area of 1,342 km² and is located in the Baltic Sea just off the coast of Småland. The island has 25,000 inhabitants, but during Swedish Midsummer it is visited by up to 500,000 people...

 until the abdication of Christina on 5 June 1654 called him to the throne.

Early days as King

The beginning of Charles X's reign concentrated on the healing of domestic discords and on the rallying of all the forces of the nation round his standard for a new policy of conquest. He contracted a political marriage on 24 October 1654 with Hedwig Eleonora
Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp
Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp was the queen consort of King Charles X of Sweden and queen mother of King Charles XI...

, the daughter of Frederick III, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp
Frederick III, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp
Frederick III of Holstein-Gottorp was a Duke of Holstein-Gottorp.He was the elder son of Duke Johann Adolf of Holstein-Gottorp and Augusta of Denmark. His mother was a daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark....

, by way of securing a future ally against Denmark. The Riksdag
Riksdag of the Estates
The Riksdag of the Estates , was the name used for the Estates of the Swedish realm when they were assembled. Until its dissolution in 1866, the institution was the highest authority in Sweden next to the King...

 which assembled at Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 in March 1655, duly considered the two great pressing national questions: war, and the restitution of the alienated crown lands. Over three days a secret committee presided over by the King decided the war question: Charles X easily persuaded the delegates that a war against Poland appeared necessary and might prove very advantageous; but the consideration of the question of the subsidies due to the crown for military purposes was postponed to the following Riksdag. In 1659 he proclaimed severe punishment for anyone hunting in the royal game reserve in Ottenby
Ottenby is a nature reserve at the southern tip of the island of Öland in Sweden. Ottenby was previously a royal game reserve stocked with fallow deer, and King Charles X Gustav of Sweden built a drystone wall to confine the native deer...

, Öland
' is the second largest Swedish island and the smallest of the traditional provinces of Sweden. Öland has an area of 1,342 km² and is located in the Baltic Sea just off the coast of Småland. The island has 25,000 inhabitants, but during Swedish Midsummer it is visited by up to 500,000 people...

, Sweden, where he had built a long dry-stone wall separating the southern tip of the island.

War in Poland-Lithuania

On 10 July 1655, Charles X left Sweden to engage in a war against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

, in what became the Second (or Little) Northern War
Second Northern War
The Second Northern War was fought between Sweden and its adversaries the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth , Russia , Brandenburg-Prussia , the Habsburg Monarchy and Denmark–Norway...

 (1655–1660). By the time war was declared he had at his disposal 50,000 men and 50 warships. Hostilities had already begun with the occupation of Dünaburg
Daugavpils is a city in southeastern Latvia, located on the banks of the Daugava River, from which the city gets its name. Daugavpils literally means "Daugava Castle". With a population of over 100,000, it is the second largest city in the country after the capital Riga, which is located some...

 in Polish Livonia by the Swedes on 1 July 1655. Then on July 21, 1655 Swedish army under Arvid Wittenberg
Arvid Wittenberg
Arvid Wittenberg or Arvid Wirtenberg von Debern , Swedish count, field marshal and privy councillor. Born in Porvoo, Finland, died in prison in Zamość, Poland, 7 September 1657...

 crossed into Poland and proceeded towards the encampment of the Greater Poland Levy of the Nobility (pospolite ruszenie
Pospolite ruszenie
Pospolite ruszenie , is an anachronistic term describing the mobilisation of armed forces, especially during the period of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The tradition of wartime mobilisation of part of the population existed from before the 13th century to the 19th century...

) encamped among the banks of the Noteć
Noteć is a river in central Poland with a length of 388 km and a basin area of 17,330 km². It is a tributary of the Warta river and lies completely within Poland....

 river, with some regular infantry for support. On 25 July the Polish noble levy army capitulated, and the voivodeship
Voivodship is a term denoting the position of, or more commonly the area administered by, a voivod. Voivodeships have existed since medieval times in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Serbia....

s of Poznań
Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

 and Kalisz
Kalisz is a city in central Poland with 106,857 inhabitants , the capital city of the Kalisz Region. Situated on the Prosna river in the southeastern part of the Greater Poland Voivodeship, the city forms a conurbation with the nearby towns of Ostrów Wielkopolski and Nowe Skalmierzyce...

 placed themselves under the protection of the Swedish King. Thereupon the Swedes entered Warsaw without opposition and occupied the whole of Greater Poland
Greater Poland
Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

. The Polish king, John II Casimir of Poland
John II Casimir of Poland
John II Casimir was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania during the era of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Duke of Opole in Upper Silesia, and titular King of Sweden 1648–1660. In Poland, he is known and commonly referred as Jan Kazimierz. His parents were Sigismund III Vasa and...

 (1648–68) of the House of Vasa
House of Vasa
The House of Vasa was the Royal House of Sweden 1523-1654 and of Poland 1587-1668. It originated from a noble family in Uppland of which several members had high offices during the 15th century....

, eventually fled to Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 after his armies had suffered defeats. A great number of Polish nobles and their personal armies joined the Swedes, including the majority of the famous Winged Hussars. Many Poles saw Charles X Gustav as a strong monarch who could be a more effective leader than John II Casimir.

Meanwhile Charles X Gustav pressed on towards Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

, which the Swedes captured after a two months' siege. The fall of Kraków followed a capitulation of the Polish Royal armies, but before the end of the year a reaction began in Poland herself. On 18 November 1655 the Swedes invested the fortress-monastery of Częstochowa
Częstochowa is a city in south Poland on the Warta River with 240,027 inhabitants . It has been situated in the Silesian Voivodeship since 1999, and was previously the capital of Częstochowa Voivodeship...

, but the Poles defended it and after a seventy days’ siege the Swedish besiegers had to retire with great loss. This success elicited popular enthusiasm in Poland and gave rise to a nationalistic and religious rhetoric concerning the war and Charles X. He was depicted as tactless and his mercenaries barbaric. His refusal to legalize his position by summoning the Polish diet and his negotiations for the partition of the very state he affected to befriend, awoke a nationalistic spirit in the country.

In the beginning of 1656 King John II Casimir returned from exile and the reorganised Polish army, increased in numbers. By this time Charles had discovered that he could more readily defeat the Poles than conquer Poland. What is described as his chief object, the conquest of Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, remained unaccomplished, and a new Swedish adversary arose in the elector of Brandenburg
Brandenburg is one of the sixteen federal-states of Germany. It lies in the east of the country and is one of the new federal states that were re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former West Germany and East Germany. The capital is Potsdam...

, Frederick William I, alarmed by the ambition of the Swedish king. Charles forced the elector, albeit at the point of the sword, to become his ally and vassal (Treaty of Königsberg
Treaty of Königsberg (1656)
The Treaty of Königsberg was concluded on 7 January / 17 January 1656 during the Second Northern War. Frederick William I, the "Great Elector" of Brandenburg and duke of Prussia, was forced to join the Swedish camp and became a Swedish vassal for the Duchy of Prussia and Ermland...

, 17 January 1656); but the Polish national rising now imperatively demanded his presence in the south. For weeks he engaged in the pursuit of Polish divisions engaged in guerrilla tactics in the snow-covered plains of Poland, penetrating as far south as Jarosław in Ruthenian Voivodeship
Ruthenian Voivodeship
Ruthenia Voivodeship was an administrative division of the Kingdom of Poland . Together with Bełz Voivodeship, it formed Lesser Poland Province with its capital city in Kraków. Part of Lesser Poland region...

 (województwo ruskie), by which time he had lost two-thirds of his 15,000 men army with no apparent result. In the meantime, the Russians signed a cease-fire with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Treaty of Vilno of 1656 ) and then pursued a campaign in Livonia and laid siege to Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

, the second largest city in the Swedish Realm.

Charles's retreat from Jarosław to Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

 almost ended with disaster, for he returned with the fragments of his host, for his army was trapped by he Polish-Lithuanian armies - amidst three converging armies, in a marshy forest region intersected in every direction by well-guarded rivers - is considered one of his most brilliant achievements. But on 21 June 1656 the Poles retook Warsaw, and four days later Charles was obliged to purchase the assistance of Frederick William I, by the treaty of Marienburg
Malbork is a town in northern Poland in the Żuławy region , with 38,478 inhabitants . Situated in the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, it was previously assigned to Elbląg Voivodeship...

 (23 June 1656). On 28 July-30 the combined Swedes and Brandenburgers, 18,000 strong, after a three days’ battle
Battle of Warsaw (1656)
The Battle of Warsaw was a battle which took place near Warsaw on , between the armies of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on the one hand and of Sweden and Brandenburg on the other. It was a major battle in the Second Northern War between Poland and Sweden in the period 1655–1660, also known as...

, defeated John Casimir's army of 40,000 at Warsaw, however the Polish-Lithuanian forces promptly withdrew with no large losses and apparent strong will to fight another day, while Swedish host reoccupied the Polish capital again, causing innumerable destruction to the city and its inhabitants. However, this feat of arms did not have the desired result for Charles, and when Frederick William compelled the Swedish king to open negotiations with the Poles, they refused the terms offered, the war resumed, and Charles concluded an offensive and defensive alliance with the elector of Brandenburg (Treaty of Labiau
Treaty of Labiau
The Treaty of Labiau was a treaty signed between Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg and Charles X Gustav of Sweden on 10 November / 20 November 1656 in Labiau...

, 20 November 1656) which stipulated that Frederick William and his heirs should henceforth possess the full sovereignty of East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...


War on Denmark

Labiau involved an essential modification of Charles's Baltic policy; but the alliance with the elector of Brandenburg had now become indispensable for him on almost any terms. The difficulties of Charles X in Poland are believed to have caused him to receive the tidings of the Danish declaration of war on 1 June 1657 with extreme satisfaction. He had learnt from Torstensson that Denmark was most vulnerable if attacked from the south, and he attacked Denmark with a velocity which paralysed resistance. At the end of June 1657, at the head of 8,000 seasoned veterans, he broke up from Bromberg (Bydgoszcz) south of Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

 and reached the borders of Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

 on 18 July. The Danish army dispersed and the Swedes recovered the duchy of Bremen. In the early autumn Charles's troops swarmed over Jutland
Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...

 and firmly established themselves in the duchies. But the fortress of Fredriksodde (Fredericia
Fredericia is a town located in Fredericia municipality in the eastern part of the Jutland peninsula in Denmark, in a sub-region known locally as Trekanten, or The Triangle...

) held Charles's smaller army at bay from mid-August to mid-October, while the fleet of Denmark, after two days’ battle, compelled the Swedish fleet to abandon its projected attack on the Danish islands. The position of the Swedish king had now become critical. In July Denmark and Poland-Lithuania concluded an offensive and defensive alliance. Still more ominously for the Swedes, the elector of Brandenburg, perceiving Sweden's difficulties, joined the league against Sweden and compelled Charles to accept the proffered mediation of Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

, Coenraad van Beuningen
Coenraad van Beuningen
Coenraad van Beuningen was the Dutch Republic's most experienced diplomat, burgemeester of Amsterdam in 1669, 1672, 1680, 1681, 1683 and 1684, and from 1681 a VOC director...

 and Cardinal Mazarin. The negotiations foundered, however, upon the refusal of Sweden to refer the points in dispute to a general peace-congress, and Charles received encouragement from the capture of Fredriksodde, 23 October-24, whereupon he began to make preparations for conveying his troops over to Funen
Funen , with a size of 2,984 km² , is the third-largest island of Denmark following Zealand and Vendsyssel-Thy, and the 163rd largest island of the world. Funen is located in the central part of the country and has a population of 454,358 inhabitants . The main city is Odense, connected to the...

 in transport vessels. But soon another and cheaper expedient presented itself. In the middle of December 1657 began the great frost, which would prove so fatal to Denmark. In a few weeks the cold had grown so intense that the freezing of an arm of the sea with so rapid a current as the Small Belt became a conceivable possibility; and henceforth meteorological observations formed an essential part of the strategy of the Swedes.

March across the Belts

On 28 January 1658, Charles X arrived at Haderslev
Haderslev is a town and municipality on the east coast of the Jutland peninsula in south Denmark. Also included is the island of Årø as well as several other smaller islands in the Little Belt. The municipality covers and has a population of 56,414 . Its mayor is Jens Christian Gjesing,...

 in South Jutland. His meteorologists estimated that in a couple of days the ice of the Little Belt would become firm enough to bear even the passage of a mail-clad host. The cold during the night of 29 January became most severe; and early in the morning of the 30th the Swedish king gave the order to start, the horsemen dismounting on the weaker spots of ice and cautiously leading their horses as far apart as possible, until they swung into their saddles again, closed their ranks and made a dash for the shore. Swedish arms quickly overpowered the Danish troops lining the opposite coast and won the whole of Funen with the loss of only two companies of cavalry, which disappeared under the ice while fighting with the Danish left wing. Pursuing his march, Charles X, with his eyes fixed steadily on Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, resolved to cross the frozen Great Belt
Great Belt
The Great Belt is a strait between the main Danish islands of Zealand and Funen . Effectively dividing Denmark in two, the Belt was served by the Great Belt ferries from the late 19th century until the islands were connected by the Great Belt Fixed Link in 1997–98.-Geography:The Great Belt is the...

 also. However, he accepted the advice of his chief engineer officer Erik Dahlberg
Erik Dahlberg
Count Erik Jönsson Dahlbergh was a Swedish engineer, soldier, and field marshal, called the "Vauban of Sweden".- Life :...

, who acted as pioneer throughout and chose the more circuitous route from Svendborg, by the islands of Langeland
Langeland is a Danish island located between the Great Belt and Bay of Kiel. The island measures 285 km² and, as of 1 January 2010, has a population of 13,277. The island produces grain and is known as a recreational area. A bridge connects it to Tåsinge via Siø - a small island with a...

, Lolland
Lolland is the fourth largest island of Denmark, with an area of 1,243 square kilometers . Located in the Baltic sea, it is part of Region Sjælland...

 and Falster
Falster is an island in south-eastern Denmark with an area of 514 km² and 43,398 inhabitants as of 1 January 2010. Located in the Baltic sea, it is part of Region Sjælland and is administered by Guldborgsund Municipality...

, in preference to the direct route from Nyborg to Korsør, which would have had to cross a broad, almost uninterrupted expanse of ice. A council of war, which met at two o’clock in the morning to consider the practicability of Dahlberg's proposal, dismissed it as hazardous. Even the king wavered; but when Dahlberg persisted in his opinion, Charles overruled the objections of the commanders. On the night of 5 February the transit began, the cavalry leading the way through the snow-covered ice, which quickly thawed beneath the horses’ hoofs so that the infantry which followed after had to wade through half an ell of sludge, facing the risk that the ice would break beneath their feet. At three o’clock in the afternoon, with Dahlberg leading the way, the army reached Grimsted in Lolland without losing a man; on 8 February, Charles reached Falster. On 11 February he stood safely on the soil of Zealand. A Swedish medal struck to commemorate the transit of the Baltic Sea bear the inscription: Natura hoc debuit uni. Sweden had achieved a rare war exploit, in Sweden considered to be matched only by the crusade of the Livonian Order
Livonian Order
The Livonian Order was an autonomous Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order and a member of the Livonian Confederation from 1435–1561. After being defeated by Samogitians in the 1236 Battle of Schaulen , the remnants of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword were incorporated into the Teutonic Knights...

 led by William of Modena
William of Modena
William of Modena , also known as William of Sabina, Guglielmo de Chartreaux, Guglielmo de Savoy, Guillelmus, was an Italian clergyman and papal diplomat. He was frequently appointed a legate, or papal ambassador by the popes Honorius III and Gregory IX, especially in Livonia in the 1220s and in...

 to conquer Saaremaa
Saaremaa is the largest island in Estonia, measuring 2,673 km². The main island of Saare County, it is located in the Baltic Sea, south of Hiiumaa island, and belongs to the West Estonian Archipelago...

 (Osel) in January 1227 and afterwards when two Russian armies crossed the frozen Gulf of Bothnia
Gulf of Bothnia
The Gulf of Bothnia is the northernmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It is situated between Finland's west coast and Sweden's east coast. In the south of the gulf lie the Åland Islands, between the Sea of Åland and the Archipelago Sea.-Name:...

 from Finland to mainland Sweden in March during the Finnish War
Finnish War
The Finnish War was fought between Sweden and the Russian Empire from February 1808 to September 1809. As a result of the war, the eastern third of Sweden was established as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian Empire...

. It is believed that the effect of this achievement on the Danish government found expression in the Treaty of Taastrup
Treaty of Taastrup
The Treaty of Taastrup was a preliminary accord signed on 11 February 1658 between Charles X Gustav of Sweden and King Frederick III of Denmark. The treaty was signed at the Høje Taastrup Church. Individuals such as Count Corfitz Ulfeldt participated in the peace negotiations after Denmark lost in...

 on 18 February, and in the Treaty of Roskilde
Treaty of Roskilde
The Treaty of Roskilde was concluded on 26 February or 8 March 1658 during the Second Northern War between Frederick III of Denmark–Norway and Charles X Gustav of Sweden in the Danish city of Roskilde...

 (26 February 1658), whereby Denmark sacrificed a great part of her territory to save the rest. However, Charles X continued the war efforts against Denmark after a council
Privy Council of Sweden
The High Council of Sweden or Council of the Realm consisted originally of those men of noble, common and clergical background, that the king saw fit for advisory service...

 held at Gottorp
Gottorf Castle is a castle and estate in the city of Schleswig, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is the ancestral home of the Holstein-Gottorp branch of the House of Oldenburg...

 on 7 July, even though he was in defiance of international equity. Without warning, Denmark was attacked a second time.

On 17 July he again landed on Zealand and besieged Copenhagen with its king Frederick III of Denmark
Frederick III of Denmark
Frederick III was king of Denmark and Norway from 1648 until his death. He instituted absolute monarchy in Denmark and Norway in 1660, confirmed by law in 1665 as the first in western historiography. He was born the second-eldest son of Christian IV of Denmark and Anne Catherine of Brandenburg...

, but Copenhagen repelled a major assault
The assault on Copenhagen
The assault on Copenhagen 11 February 1659 was a major battle during the Second Northern War, taking place during the siege of Copenhagen by the Swedish army.- Background :...

 and managed to hold out long enough for the Dutch fleet under Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam
Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam
Jacob, Banner Lord of Wassenaer, Lord Obdam, Hensbroek, Spanbroek, Opmeer, Zuidwijk and Kernhem was a Dutch Lieutenant-Admiral, and supreme commander of the confederate Dutch navy. The name Obdam was then also spelled as Opdam...

 to relieve the city, defeating the Swedish fleet in the Battle of the Sound
Battle of the Sound
The naval Battle of the Sound took place on 8 November 1658 during the Second Northern War, near the Sound or Oresund, just north of the Danish capital, Copenhagen. Sweden had defeated Denmark and an army under Charles X of Sweden had Copenhagen itself under siege...

 on 29 October 1658. The Dutch liberated the Danish Isles in 1659. As Baltic trade was vital to the Dutch economy they made clear to Charles they wouldn't allow Sweden to control the Sound.

The Estates in Gothenburg

Charles X consented to reopen negotiations with Denmark, at the same time proposing to exercise pressure upon his rival by a simultaneous winter campaign in Norway. Such an enterprise necessitated fresh subsidies from his already impoverished people, and obliged him in December 1659 to cross over to Sweden to meet the estates
Riksdag of the Estates
The Riksdag of the Estates , was the name used for the Estates of the Swedish realm when they were assembled. Until its dissolution in 1866, the institution was the highest authority in Sweden next to the King...

, whom he had summoned to Gothenburg
Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden and the fifth-largest in the Nordic countries. Situated on the west coast of Sweden, the city proper has a population of 519,399, with 549,839 in the urban area and total of 937,015 inhabitants in the metropolitan area...

. The lower estates protested the imposition of fresh burdens, but were persuaded by Charles.

Illness and death

Soon after the estates opened on 4 January 1660, Charles X Gustav fell ill with symptoms of a cold. Ignoring his illness, he repeatedly went to inspect the Swedish forces near Gothenburg, and soon broke down with chills, headaches and dyspnoea. On 15 January, court physician Johann Köster arrived, and in medical error
Medical error
A medical error may be defined as a preventable adverse effect of care, whether or not it is evident or harmful to the patient. This might include an inaccurate or incomplete diagnosis or treatment of a disease, injury, syndrome, behavior, infection, or other ailment.-Definitions:As a general...

 mistook Charles X Gustav's pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 for scorbut and dyspepsia
Dyspepsia , also known as upset stomach or indigestion, refers to a condition of impaired digestion. It is a medical condition characterized by chronic or recurrent pain in the upper abdomen, upper abdominal fullness and feeling full earlier than expected when eating...

. Köster started a "cure" including the application of multiple enemata, laxatives, bloodletting
Bloodletting is the withdrawal of often little quantities of blood from a patient to cure or prevent illness and disease. Bloodletting was based on an ancient system of medicine in which blood and other bodily fluid were considered to be "humors" the proper balance of which maintained health...

 and sneezing powder
Sneezing powder
Sneezing powder refers to a group of powders or powder-like substances that induce sneezing when someone is exposed to them. This is usually done as a practical joke or prank to an unsuspecting victim....

. While after three weeks the fever eventually was down and the coughing was better, the pneumonia had persisted and evolved into a sepsis
Sepsis is a potentially deadly medical condition that is characterized by a whole-body inflammatory state and the presence of a known or suspected infection. The body may develop this inflammatory response by the immune system to microbes in the blood, urine, lungs, skin, or other tissues...

 by 8 February.

On 12 February, Charles X Gustav signed his testament
Will (law)
A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his/her estate and provides for the transfer of his/her property at death...

: His son, Charles XI of Sweden
Charles XI of Sweden
Charles XI also Carl, was King of Sweden from 1660 until his death, in a period in Swedish history known as the Swedish empire ....

, was still a minor, and Charles X Gustav appointed a minor regency consisting of six relatives and close friends. Charles X Gustav died the next day at the age of 37.



Charles X had one legitimate child by Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp
Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp
Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp was the queen consort of King Charles X of Sweden and queen mother of King Charles XI...

: his successor Charles XI
Charles XI of Sweden
Charles XI also Carl, was King of Sweden from 1660 until his death, in a period in Swedish history known as the Swedish empire ....

 (1655–1697, reigned 1660–1697).

By Brita Allerts he had an illegitimate son: Gustaf Carlson (1647–1708), who became Count of Börringe
Börringe Abbey
Börringekloster Castle , formerly Börringe Priory , is a castle built in 1763 on the ruins of a medieval Benedictine priory in Svedala, Scania, in southern Sweden.- Priory :...

 and Lindholmen Castle
Lindholmen Castle
Lindholmen Castle is a former Danish fortified castle on the banks of lake Börringe in Svedala Municipality, Scania, southern Sweden.-Medieval history:...

 in Scania
Scania is the southernmost of the 25 traditional non-administrative provinces of Sweden, constituting a peninsula on the southern tip of the Scandinavian peninsula, and some adjacent islands. The modern administrative subdivision Skåne County is almost, but not totally, congruent with the...


He also had a number of other children, by different women, before his marriage.

See also

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