m. JAN 1281
Facts and Events
Charles I, also known as Charles Robert (; 128816 July 1342) was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1308. He was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou. His paternal grandmother, Mary, was a daughter of Stephen V of Hungary. Charles inherited the claim of his father, Charles Martel, Prince of Salerno, to the Kingdom of Hungary in 1295. However, most Hungarian prelates and lords refused to acknowledge his claim and remained loyal to Andrew III of Hungary. Charles's paternal grandfather, Charles II of Naples, made Charles's uncle, Robert, heir to the Kingdom of Naples, although Robert was a younger brother of Charles's father.
Charles came to the Kingdom of Hungary upon the invitation of an influential Croatian lord, Paul Šubić, in August 1300. Andrew III died on 14 January 1301 and Charles was crowned king within four months, but with a provisional crown instead of the Holy Crown of Hungary. Most Hungarian noblemen refused to yield him and elected Wenceslaus of Bohemia king. Charles withdrew to the southern regions of the kingdom. Pope Boniface VIII acknowledged Charles as the lawful king in 1303, but Charles could not strengthen his position against his opponent. Wenceslaus abdicated in favor of Otto of Bavaria in 1305. Because of the lack of a central government, the Kingdom of Hungary had disintegrated into a dozen provinces, each headed by a powerful nobleman, or "oligarch". One of those oligarchs, Ladislaus Kán, captured and imprisoned Otto of Bavaria in 1307. Charles was elected king in Pest on 27 November 1308, but his rule was only nominal in most parts of his kingdom even after he was crowned with the Holy Crown on 27 August 1310.
Charles won his first decisive victory in the Battle of Rozgony (at present-day Rozhanovce in Slovakia) on 15 June 1312. Thereafter his troops seized most fortresses of the powerful Aba family. During the next decade, Charles restored royal power primarily with the assistance of the prelates and lesser noblemen in most regions of the kingdom. After the death of the most powerful oligarch, Matthew Csák, in 1321, Charles became the undisputed ruler of the whole kingdom, with the exception of Croatia where local noblemen could preserve their autonomous status. He neither could hinder the development of Wallachia into an independent principality after his defeat in the Battle of Posada in 1330. Charles's contemporaries described his defeat in that battle as a punishment by God for his cruel revenge against the family of Felician Záh who had attempted to slaughter the royal family.
Charles rarely made perpetual land grants, instead introduced a system of "office fiefs", whereby his officials enjoyed significant revenues, but only for the time they held a royal office, which ensured their loyalty. In the second half of his reign, Charles did not hold Diets and administered his kingdom with absolute power. He established the Order of Saint George, which was the first order of secular knights. He promoted the opening of new gold mines, which made Hungary the largest producer of gold in Europe. The first Hungarian golden coins were minted during his reign. At the congress of Visegrád of 1335, he mediated a reconciliation between two neighboring monarchs, John of Bohemia and Casimir III of Poland. Treaties signed at the same congress also contributed to the development of new commercial routes linking Hungary with Western Europe. Charles's efforts to reunite Hungary, together with his administrative and economic reforms, established the basis for the achievements of his successor, Louis the Great.