A monarchy, from the Greek μονος, "one", and ἀρχειν, "to rule", is a form of government in which a monarch, usually a single person, is the head of State. Monarchies were formed through conquest, popular sovereignty, greed, tradition, political necessity and an opportunity to exploit certain situations.
In most monarchies, the monarch holds their position for life and passes the responsibilities and power of the position to their children or family when they die. In a few republics the head of State, often styled president, might remain in office for life, but most are elected for a term of office, after which he or she must step down, and any successors must then also be elected. There are currently 30 monarchs reigning over 44 extant sovereign monarchies in the world; the disconnect in numbers between monarchs and countries is explained by the fact that the sixteen Commonwealth realms—vast geographic areas including the transcontinental realms of Canada and Australia—are separate realms of one sovereign; and one other monarchy, Andorra, has two non-resident foreign (French and Spanish) co-monarchs.
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government where the monarch has the power to rule his or her land or State and its citizens freely, with some laws or legally-organized direct opposition in force. Although some religious authority may be able to discourage the monarch from some acts and the sovereign is expected to act according to custom, in an absolute monarchy there is no constitution or body of law above what is decreed by the sovereign (king or queen). As a theory of civics, absolute monarchy puts total trust in well-bred and well-trained monarchs raised for the role from birth.
A constitutional monarchy or limited monarchy is a form of government established under a constitutional system which acknowledges an elected or hereditary monarch as head of State, as opposed to an absolute monarchy, where the monarch is not bound by a constitution and is the sole source of political power. (The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy even though it does not have an actual written constitution.) The process of government and law within a constitutional monarchy is usually very different from that in an absolute monarchy.
The Vijayanagara Empire (Kannada: ವಿಜಯನಗರ ಸಾಮ್ರಾಜ್ಯ, Telugu: విజయనగర సామ్రాజ్యము) was a South Indian empire based in the Deccan. Established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I, it lasted until 1646 although its power declined after a major military defeat in 1565 by the Deccan sultanates. The empire is named after its capital city of Vijayanagara, whose impressive ruins surround modern Hampi, now a World Heritage Site in modern Karnataka, India. The writings of medieval European travelers such as Domingo Paes, Fernao Nuniz and Niccolò Da Conti and the literature in local vernaculars provide crucial information about its history. Archaeological excavations at Vijayanagara have revealed the empire's power and wealth.The empire's legacy includes many monuments spread over South India, the best known being the group at Hampi. The previous temple building traditions in South India came together in the Vijayanagara Architecture style. The mingling of all faiths and vernaculars inspired architectural innovation of Hindu temple construction, first in the Deccan and later in the Dravidian idioms using the local granite. Secular royal structures show the influence of the Northern Deccan Sultanate architecture. Efficient administration and vigorous overseas trade brought new technologies like water management systems for irrigation. The empire's patronage enabled fine arts and literature to reach new heights in the languages of Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Sanskrit, while Carnatic music evolved into its current form. The Vijayanagara Empire created an epoch in South Indian history that transcended regionalism by promoting Hinduism as a unifying factor.
George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Hanover from 29 January 1820 until his death. He had earlier served as The Prince Regent when his father, George III, suffered from a relapse into insanity from an illness that is now suspected to have been porphyria. The Regency, George's nine-year tenure as Prince Regent, which commenced in 1811 and ended with George III's death in 1820, was marked by victory in the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. George was a stubborn monarch, often interfering in politics, especially in the matter of Catholic emancipation, though not as much as his father. For most of George's regency and reign, Lord Liverpool controlled the government as Prime Minister. George is remembered largely for the extravagant lifestyle that he maintained as prince and monarch. By 1797 his weight had reached 17 stone 7 pounds (111 kg or 245 lb),and by 1824 his corset was made for a waist of 50 inches (127 cm). He had a poor relationship with both his father and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, whom he even forbade to attend his coronation. He was a patron of new forms of leisure, style and taste. He commissioned architects John Nash to build the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and remodel Buckingham Palace, and Sir Jeffry Wyatville to rebuild Windsor Castle. He was largely instrumental in the foundation of the National Gallery, London and King's College London.
Catherine de' Medici (April 13, 1519 – January 5, 1589) was born in Florence, Italy, as Caterina Maria Romula di Lorenzo de' Medici. Her parents, Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino, and Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne, Countess of Boulogne, both died within weeks of her birth. In 1533, at the age of fourteen, Caterina married Henry, second son of King Francis I of France and Queen Claude. Under the gallicised version of her name, Catherine de Médicis.Throughout Henry II's reign, he excluded Catherine from influence and instead showered favours on his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. Henry's death in 1559 thrust Catherine into the political arena as mother of the frail fifteen-year-old King Francis II. When he too died in 1560, she was appointed regent on behalf of her ten-year-old son King Charles IX and was granted sweeping powers. After Charles died in 1574, Catherine played a key role in the reign of her third son, Henry III. He dispensed with her advice only in the last months of her life.Catherine's three weak sons reigned in an age of almost constant civil and religious war in France. The problems facing the monarchy were complex and daunting. At first, Catherine compromised and made concessions to the rebelling Protestants, or Huguenots, as they became known. She failed, however, to grasp the theological issues that drove their movement. Later, she resorted in frustration and anger to hard-line policies against them.