Karl III
Holmger Knutsson.jpg
Karl III
King of Gothenland
Reign 6th June, 1244 - 4th November, 1275
Predecessor Karl II
Successor John I
Born 1206
Jönköping, Gothenland
Died 6th June, 1275
Gothenburg, Gothenland
Spouse Euphemia of Greater Poland
Issue John I

Karl Karlsson

Full name
Karl Karlsson
House Sverker
Father Karl II
Mother Ingegerd of Bjelbo

Karl III ruled over Gothenland during the mid-13th century. Almost his entire reign was dedicated to continuing his father's policy of increasing Gothenlandic control of the southern Baltic.

Frequently acting as his father's regent whilst Karl II campaigned in Prussia and Poland the young Karl was regarded as a steady hand. Ambitious and meticulous he took great care to strengthen his alliances both within Gothenland and outside of it, too - supporting Denmark through its religious turmoil of the 1240s and lessening tensions with Viken to the north.

Upon succeeding to the throne in 1244 he plunged whole-heartedly into the military enterprise gathering pace across the Baltic. The time was spent avoiding the main thrusts of the Teutonic Order's campaigns and picking fights elsewhere - along the Pomerelian or Lithuanian coasts usually. He would gleefully exploit the Prussian revolt of 1260-1274 and the anarchy in Lithuania by seizing Memel which would form the kernel of the subsequent conquest of Samland. In 1269 the fiction of Gotlandish independence was finally ended and the island was fully annexed by Gothenland.

This growing dominance of the Baltic did not go unchallenged and Cnut II of Svealand of Svealand campaigned against Karl in 1258-9. It appears no actual battles were fought but Karl is seen to have 'won' the war, forcing Svealand to focus its attentions on its traditional arenas of Finland, Saaremaa and Novgorod rather than Prussia.

Friendship with Denmark continued into the very last year of Karl's reign. With Danish presence in Pomerania threatened by William of Holland's Imperial forces only a last minute action by Gothenland and Viken's navy saved the island of Rugia from being lost, too. This action would intensify joint Dano-Gothenlandic actions in Pomerania for many years to come. However, Karl did not live long enough to receive Eric III's thanks for the invention, dying only three days after the withdrawal of William of Holland's forces. He would be succeeded by his eldest son John.

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