Charles XIV John

Charles XIV John (Swedish and Norwegian: Karl XIV Johan; born Jean Bernadotte;[1] 26 January 1763 – 8 March 1844) was King of Sweden and Norway from 1818 until his death. In modern Norwegian lists of kings he is called Charles III John. He was the first monarch of the Bernadotte dynasty.

Charles XIV John
Portrait by François Gérard
King of Sweden and Norway
Reign5 February 1818 – 8 March 1844
Coronations11 May 1818
(Stockholm Cathedral, Sweden)
7 September 1818
(Nidaros Cathedral, Norway)
PredecessorCharles XIII & II
SuccessorOscar I
Prince of Pontecorvo
Reign5 June 1806 – 21 August 1810
SuccessorLucien Murat
Minister of War of the French Republic
In office
2 July 1799  14 September 1799
Preceded byLouis Marie de Milet de Mureau
Succeeded byEdmond Louis Alexis Dubois-Crancé
BornJean Bernadotte, later Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, later Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte
(1763-01-26)26 January 1763
Pau, France
Died8 March 1844(1844-03-08) (aged 81)
Stockholm, Sweden
Burial26 April 1844
(m. 1796)
IssueOscar I of Sweden
French: Jean-Baptiste Jules
Swedish: Karl Johan Baptist Julius
FatherHenri Bernadotte
MotherJeanne de Saint-Jean
prev. Roman Catholic
Military career
Allegiance Kingdom of France
Kingdom of France
French Republic
French Empire
Kingdom of Sweden
United Kingdoms of Sweden-Norway
Years of service1780–1844
RankMarshal of the Empire And Generalissimo of the Swedish Armed Forces
Commands heldGovernor of Hanover
Governor of Ansbach
Governor of the Hanseatic Cities
Army of the Rhine (1798)
Army of the West
I Corps
IX Corps
Army of Antwerp
Allied Army of the North
Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces and Norwegian Armed Forces
Battles/warsFrench Revolutionary Wars
Napoleonic Wars
AwardsGrand Master Order of the Seraphim
Grand Master Order of the Sword
Grand Master Order of the Polar Star
Grand Master Order of Vasa
Grand Collar Legion of Honour
Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
Order of St. George 1st Class
Order of the Iron Crown
Order of the Elephant
Military Order of Maria Theresa
Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe
Other workCouncillor of State
Ambassador to the Court of Vienna and the Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary
Selected battles
Rescale fullscreen map to see Stockholm

Born in Pau in southern France, Bernadotte joined the French Royal Army in 1780. Following the outbreak of the French Revolution, he exhibited great military talent, rapidly rising through the ranks, and was made a brigadier general by 1794. He served with distinction in Italy and Germany, and was briefly Minister of War. His relationship with Napoleon was turbulent; nevertheless, Napoleon named him a Marshal of the Empire on the proclamation of the French Empire. Bernadotte played a significant role in the French victory at Austerlitz, and was made Prince of Pontecorvo as a reward. Bernadotte was, through marriage to Désirée Clary, brother-in-law to Joseph Bonaparte, and thus a member of the extended Imperial Family.

In 1810, Bernadotte was unexpectedly elected the heir-presumptive to the childless King Charles XIII of Sweden, thanks to the advocacy of Baron Carl Otto Mörner, a Swedish courtier and obscure member of the Riksdag of the Estates.[2] He assumed the name Charles John and was named regent, and generalissimo of the Swedish Armed Forces, soon after his arrival becoming de facto head of state for most of his time as Crown Prince. In 1813, following the sudden unprovoked French invasion of Swedish Pomerania, Crown Prince Charles John was instrumental in the creation of the Sixth Coalition by allying with Tsar Alexander and using Swedish diplomacy to bring warring Russia and Britain together in alliance.[3][4] He then authored the Trachenberg Plan, the war winning Allied campaign plan, and commanded the Allied Army of the North that made the decisive attack on the last day of the catastrophic French defeat at Leipzig. Charles John forced the Danish king to cede Norway to Sweden after the War of the Sixth Coalition, leading to the Swedish-Norwegian war of 1814 where Norway was defeated after a single summer's conflict. This put Norway into a union with Sweden, which lasted for almost a century before being peacefully dissolved in 1905. The Swedish-Norwegian war of 1814 is credited as Sweden's last direct conflict and war.[5]

Upon the death of Charles XIII in 1818, Charles John ascended to the throne. He presided over a period of peace and prosperity, and reigned until his death in 1844.