Charles I of Hungary

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Charles I (1288 – 16 July 1342), also known as Charles Robert (Caroberto), was the first King of Hungary and Croatia (1308–42) of the House of Anjou.[1] By matrilineal descent he was of the old Hungarian Árpád dynasty. His claim to the throne of Hungary was contested by several pretenders. Nevertheless, although he was only a child when his grandfather, King Charles II of Naples sent him to Hungary in 1300, Charles could strengthen his rule in the kingdom against his opponents and the powerful magnates following a long series of internal struggles. Charles also carried out numerous important political and economical reforms: he established the so called honor system which made the powerful barons dependent of his favour, and he introduced new coins with a consistently high purity of gold. Charles's foreign policy largely stemmed from dynastic alliances. His most successful achievement was the mutual defense union with Poland and Bohemia against the Habsburgs. Charles also endeavoured to enforce his or his descendants' claim to the Kingdom of Naples, but he could achieve only sham results. Nevertheless, he was one of the most successful rulers of the Kingdom of Hungary whose efforts established his successor's achievements.

Contents

Childhood

Charles was born in Naples, southern Italy, the only son of Charles Martel, Prince of Salerno and his wife Clementia, a daughter of King Rudolph I of Germany. His paternal grandmother, Mary, a daughter of King Stephen V of Hungary, declared her claim to Hungary following the death of her brother, King Ladislaus IV of Hungary, but the majority of the country accepted the rule of her distant cousin, King Andrew III. Nevertheless, Mary transferred her claim to Hungary to her eldest son, Charles Martel on 6 January 1292, who was also the heir to the Kingdom of Naples, but he was never able to enforce his claim against King Andrew III and died on 19 August 1295.

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