Portal:Monarchy/Selected king

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Selected kings

Imaginary depiction of Ælle from John Speed's 1611 "Saxon Heptarchy".
Ælle of Sussex (also Aelle or Ella) (pronounced /'ælə/) is recorded in early sources as the first king of the South Saxons, reigning in what is now called Sussex, England, from 477 to perhaps as late as 514. The information about him is so limited that it cannot be said with certainty that Ælle existed.Ælle and three of his sons are reported to have arrived from the continent near what is now Selsey Bill—the exact location is under the sea, and is probably a sandbank currently known as the Owers—and fought with the Britons. A victory in 491 at present day Pevensey is said to have ended with the Saxons slaughtering their opponents to the last man. Although the details of these traditions cannot be verified, evidence from the place names of Sussex does make it clear that it was an area with extensive and early settlement by the Saxons, supporting the idea that this was one of their early conquests.Ælle was the first king recorded by the eighth century chronicler Bede to have held "imperium", or overlordship, over other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. In the late ninth-century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (around four hundred years after his time) Ælle is recorded as being the first bretwalda, or "Britain-ruler", though there is no evidence that this was a contemporary title. Ælle's death is not recorded, and it is not known who succeeded him as king of the South Saxons.



Portrait by Allan Ramsay, 1762
George III of the United Kingdom (George William Frederick; 4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820 [N.S.]) was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until 1 January 1801, and thereafter of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. He was concurrently Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover), and thus Archtreasurer and Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, and later King of Hanover. The Electorate became the Kingdom of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, and the first of Hanover to be born in Britain and speak English as his first language.George III's long reign was marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdom and much of the rest of Europe. Early in his reign, Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India. However, many of its American colonies were soon lost in the American Revolutionary War, which led to the establishment of the United States. Later, the kingdom became involved in a series of wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France, which finally concluded in the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. In addition, during George's reign the realms of Great Britain and Ireland were joined, forming the United Kingdom. Later in his reign George III suffered from recurrent and, eventually, permanent mental illness. This baffled medical science at the time, although it is now generally thought that he suffered from the blood disease porphyria. Porphyria can be triggered by the poison arsenic, and recent studies have shown high levels of arsenic in locks of King George's hair.



Portrait of the tsar from the Tetraevangelia of Ivan Alexander
Ivan Alexander (Bulgarian: Иван Александър, transliterated Ivan Aleksandǎr; [iˈvan alɛkˈsandɤr]; original spelling: ІѠАНЪ АЛЄѮАНдРЪ), also known as John Alexander, ruled as Emperor (Tsar) of Bulgaria from 1331 to 1371, during the Second Bulgarian Empire. The date of his birth is unknown. He died on February 17, 1371. The long reign of Ivan Alexander is considered a transitional period in Bulgarian medieval history. Ivan Alexander began his rule by dealing with internal problems and external threats from Bulgaria's neighbours, the Byzantine Empire and Serbia, as well as leading his empire into a period of economic recovery and cultural and religious renaissance.However, the emperor was later unable to cope with the mounting incursions of Ottoman forces, Hungarian invasions from the northwest and the Black Death.In the early 1340s relations with the Byzantine Empire temporarily deteriorated. Ivan Alexander demanded the extradition of his cousin Šišman, one of the sons of Michael Asen III, threatening the Byzantine government with war. Ivan Alexander's show of force backfired, as the Byzantines managed to see through his intentions and sent against him the fleet of their ally, the Turkish emir of Smyrna Umur Beg. Landing in the Danube Delta, the Turks of Umur Beg pillaged the countryside and attacked nearby Bulgarian cities. Forced to restrain his demands, Ivan Alexander invaded the Byzantine Empire again at the end of 1341, claiming that he was summoned by the people of Adrianople.



King of the Hellenes
George I, King of the Hellenes (Greek: Γεώργιος A', Βασιλεύς των Ελλήνων, Georgios A' Vasileus ton Ellinon; December 24, 1845 – March 18, 1913) was King of Greece from 1863 to 1913. Originally a Danish prince, when only 17 years old he was elected King by the Greek National Assembly, which had deposed the former King Otto. His nomination was both suggested and supported by the Great Powers (the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Second French Empire and the Russian Empire).As the first monarch of the new Greek dynasty, his 50-year reign (the longest in modern Greek history) was characterized by territorial gains as Greece established its place in pre-World War I Europe. Two weeks short of the fiftieth anniversary of his accession, and during the First Balkan War, he was assassinated. In sharp contrast to his reign, the reigns of his successors would prove short and insecure.George was born in Copenhagen, the second son of Prince Christian of Denmark and Louise of Hesse-Kassel. Until his accession in Greece, he was known as Prince Vilhelm (William), the namesake of his paternal and maternal grandfathers, Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and Prince William of Hesse.He was a younger brother of Frederick VIII of Denmark and Alexandra, Queen consort of Edward VII of the United Kingdom.



Formal portrait, circa 1940–46.
George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions from 11 December 1936 until his death. He was the last Emperor of India (until 1947) and the last King of Ireland (until 1949). As the second son of King George V, he was not expected to inherit the throne and spent his early life in the shadow of his elder brother, Edward. He served in the Royal Navy during World War I, and after the war took on the usual round of public engagements. He married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923, and they had two daughters, Elizabeth (who succeeded him as Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret.At the death of his father in 1936, the future George VI's brother ascended the throne as Edward VIII. However, less than a year later Edward expressed his desire to marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. For political and religious reasons, the British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, advised Edward that he could not marry Mrs. Simpson and remain king. So, Edward abdicated to marry. By reason of this abdication, unique in 2000 years of British history, George VI ascended the throne as the third monarch of the House of Windsor.Within 24 hours of his accession the Irish parliament (the Oireachtas) passed the External Relations Act, which essentially removed the power of the monarch in Ireland.



Portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1816
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.



William IV
William IV (William Henry; 21 August 1765 – 20 June 1837) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death. William, the third son of George III and younger brother and successor to George IV, was the last king and penultimate monarch of the House of Hanover.During his youth, he served in the Royal Navy; he was, both during his reign and afterwards, nicknamed the Sailor King. His reign was one of several reforms: the poor law was updated, municipal government democratised, child labour restricted and slavery abolished throughout the British Empire. The most important reform legislation of William IV's reign was the Reform Act 1832, which refashioned the British electoral system. William did not engage in politics as much as his brother or his father, though he did prove to be the most recent monarch to appoint a Prime Minister contrary to the will of Parliament (in 1834). He gave a liberal constitution to the Kingdom of Hanover, his other kingdom.At his death William had no surviving legitimate children, and in the United Kingdom was succeeded by his niece, Queen Victoria, and in Hanover by his brother, Ernest Augustus I.William's reign was short, but eventful. The ascendancy of the House of Commons and the corresponding decline of the House of Lords was marked by the Reform Crisis, during which the threat of flooding the Upper House with peers was used effectively for the first time by a ministry.



Poster of King Bhumibol.
Bhumibol Adulyadej (Thai: ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช;  [pʰuːmipʰon adunjadeːt]; Royal Institute: Phumiphon Adunyadet; About this sound listen ) (born Monday, December 5, 1927 in the Year of the Rabbit), is the current King of Thailand. Publicly acclaimed "the Great" (Thai: มหาราช, Maharaja), he is also known as Rama IX. Having reigned since June 9, 1946, he is the world's longest-serving current head of state and the longest-serving monarch in Thai history.Although Bhumibol is a constitutional monarch, he has several times made decisive interventions in Thai politics, including the 2005-2006 Thai political crisis. He was credited with facilitating Thailand's transition to democracy in the 1990s, although in earlier periods of his reign he supported some military regimes. Most recently, he endorsed the military junta which had overthrown the elected government of Thaksin Shinawatra during the September 2006 coup. A billionare, Bhumibol used part of his great wealth to fund over 3,000 development projects, particularly in rural areas. He is immensely popular in Thailand, and is revered as a semi-divine figure by a number of Thais.Bhumibol was born in the United States and educated primarily in Switzerland. Bhumibol is also an accomplished musician, artist, and sailor.Bhumibol was born at the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States. He was the younger son of HRH Prince Mahidol Adulyadej and Mom Sangwal (later Somdej Phra Sri Nakarindhara Boromaratchachonnani).



Solidus celebrating Basiliscus as Augustus of the Byzantine Empire and his victories.
Flavius Basiliscus (d. 476/477) was an Easter Roman emperor of the house of Leo, who ruled briefly (9 January 475 – August 476), when emperor Zeno had been forced out of Constantinople by a revolt. Basiliscus was the brother of empress Aelia Verina, the wife of emperor Leo I (457 – 474). His relationship with the emperor allowed him to pursue a military career that, after minor initial successes, ended in 468, when he led the disastrous Byzantine invasion of Vandal Africa, in one of the largest military operations of Late Antiquity. Basiliscus succeeded in seizing power in 475, exploiting the unpopularity of emperor Zeno, the "barbarian" successor to Leo, and a plot organised by Verina that had caused Zeno to flee Constantinople. However, during his short rule, Basiliscus alienated the fundamental support of the Church and the people of Constantinople, promoting the Miaphysite christological position in opposition to the widely accepted Chalcedonian faith. Also, his policy of securing his power through the appointment of loyal men to key roles antagonised many important figures in the imperial court, including his sister Verina. So, when Zeno tried to regain his empire, he found virtually no opposition, triumphally entering Constantinople, and capturing and killing Basiliscus and his family. The struggle between Basiliscus and Zeno impeded the intervention of the Eastern Empire in the fall of the Western Roman Empire, which happened in early September 476. When the chieftain of the Heruli, Odoacer, deposed Western emperor Romulus Augustus, sending the imperial regalia to Constantinople, Zeno had just regained his throne, and he could only appoint Odoacer dux of Italy, thereby ending the Western Roman Empire.



Bust of Caesar Augustus.
Augustus (Latin: IMPERATOR•CÆSAR•DIVI•FILIVS•AVGVSTVS;a[›] September 23, 63 BC – August 19, AD 14), born Gaius Octavius Thurinus and prior to 27 BC, known as Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Latin: GAIVS•IVLIVS•CÆSAR•OCTAVIANVS) after adoption, was the first emperor of the Roman Empire, who ruled from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. The young Octavius was adopted by his great uncle, Julius Caesar, and came into his inheritance after Caesar's assassination in 44 BC. In 43 BC, Octavian joined forces with Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in a military dictatorship known as the Second Triumvirate. As a Triumvir, Octavian effectually ruled Rome and most of its provinces as an autocrat, seizing consular power after the deaths of the consuls Hirtius and Pansa and having himself perpetually re-elected. The Triumvirate was eventually torn apart under the competing ambitions of its rulers: Lepidus was driven into exile, and Antony committed suicide following his defeat at the Battle of Actium by the armies of Octavian in 31 BC.After the demise of the Second Triumvirate, Octavian restored the outward facade of the Roman Republic, with governmental power vested in the Roman Senate, but in practice retained his autocratic power. It took several years to work out the exact framework by which a formally republican state could be led by a sole ruler, the result of which became known as the Roman Empire. The emperorship was never an office like the Roman dictatorship which Caesar and Sulla had held before him; indeed, he declined it when the Roman populace "entreated him to take on the dictatorship". By law, Augustus held a collection of powers granted to him for life by the Senate, including those of tribune of the plebs and censor.