1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Charles I. (King of Hungary)

CHARLES I. (1288–1342), king of Hungary, the son of Charles Martell of Naples, and Clemencia, daughter of the emperor Rudolph, was known as Charles Robert previously to being enthroned king of Hungary in 1309. He claimed the Hungarian crown, as the grandson of Stephen V., under the banner of the pope, and in August 1300 proceeded from Naples to Dalmatia to make good his claim. He was crowned at Esztergom after the death of the last Arpad, Andrew III. (1301), but was forced the same year to surrender the crown to Wenceslaus II. of Bohemia (1289–1306). His failure only made Pope Boniface VIII. still more zealous on his behalf, and at the diet of Pressburg (1304) his Magyar adherents induced him to attempt to recover the crown of St Stephen from the Czechs. But in the meantime (1305) Wenceslaus transferred his rights to Duke Otto of Bavaria, who in his turn was taken prisoner by the Hungarian rebels. Charles’s prospects now improved, and he was enthroned at Buda on the 15th of June 1309, though his installation was not regarded as valid till he was crowned with the sacred crown (which was at last recovered from the robber-barons) at Székesfehérvár on the 27th of August 1310. For the next three years Charles had to contend with rebellion after rebellion, and it was only after his great victory over all the elements of rapine and disorder at Rozgony (June 15, 1312) that he was really master in his own land. His foreign policy aimed at the aggrandizement of his family, but his plans were prudent as well as ambitious, and Hungary benefited by them greatly. His most successful achievement was the union with Poland for mutual defence against the Habsburgs and the Czechs. This was accomplished by the convention of Trencsén (1335), confirmed the same year at the brilliant congress of Visegrád, where all the princes of central Europe met to compose their differences and were splendidly entertained during the months of October and November. The immediate result of the congress was a combined attack by the Magyars and Poles upon the emperor Louis and his ally Albert of Austria, which resulted in favour of Charles in 1337. Charles’s desire to unite the kingdoms of Hungary and Naples under the eldest son Louis was frustrated by Venice and the pope, from fear lest Hungary might become the dominant Adriatic power. He was, however, more than compensated for this disappointment by his compact (1339) with his ally and brother-in-law, Casimir of Poland, whereby it was agreed that Louis should succeed to the Polish throne on the death of the childless Casimir. For an account of the numerous important reforms effected by Charles see Hungary: History. A statesman of the first rank, he not only raised Hungary once more to the rank of a great power, but enriched and civilized her. In character he was pious, courtly and valiant, popular alike with the nobility and the middle classes, whose increasing welfare he did so much to promote, and much beloved by the clergy. His court was famous throughout Europe as a school of chivalry.

Charles was married thrice. His first wife was Maria, daughter of Duke Casimir of Teschen, whom he wedded in 1306. On her death in 1318 he married Beatrice, daughter of the emperor Henry VII. On her decease two years later he gave his hand to Elizabeth, daughter of Wladislaus Lokietek, king of Poland. Five sons were the fruit of these marriages, of whom three, Louis, Andrew and Stephen, survived him. He died on the 16th of July 1342, and was laid beside the high altar at Székesfehérvár, the ancient burial-place of the Arpads.

See Béla Kerékgyartó, The Hungarian Royal Court under the House of Anjou (Hung.) (Budapest, 1881); Rationes Collectorum Pontif. in Hungaria (Budapest, 1887); Diplomas of the Angevin Period, edited by Imre Nagy (Hung. and Lat.), vols. i.-iii. (Budapest, 1878, &c.).  (R. N. B.)