King Of Naples And Sicily Charles Of Anjou, count of Anjou and Provence, born about 1220, died in 1285. He was the youngest brother of Louis IX. of France, and married Beatrix, the heiress of Provence, thus becoming related to Henry III. of England and Richard of Cornwall, the king elect of Germany, who had married the two eldest sisters of Beatrix. He accompanied his brother in his first crusade, landing with him in Egypt in 1249, and being taken with him a prisoner by the Saracens. On his liberation he came back to Provence, where lie had first to reestablish his authority in some of the large cities. He greatly assisted his mother, Blanche of Castile, in her regency during the king's absence in Palestine. On the death of the emperor Conrad IV. the kingdom of the Two Sicilies was offered to him by Pope Urban IV., in defiance of the rights of the Hohenstaufen. Crowned at Rome, he marched against Manfred, the natural brother of Conrad IV., who had been proclaimed king by the Sicilians. At Grandella, near Benevento, he won a great battle in 1266. Here his rival was slain, and he assumed at once over the reluctant Italians a power which he maintained by unmitigated severity.
The numerous adherents of the Hohenstaufens, aware of the popular feeling, invited young Conradin, son of Conrad, to Italy. This prince, then scarcely 16 years old,entered his hereditary states, where he was enthusiastically received. Everything seemed to promise him victory; his army was numerous and full of confidence; but Charles, with forces comparatively small, succeeded in defeating his opponent in 1208, at the battle of Tagliacozzo, and making him his prisoner. He subsequently had him executed on the principal square of Naples, after going through the mockery of a trial. The friends and adherents of the prince were also unmercifully dealt with, and the unpopularity of the conqueror was still further increased by the insolence of his French soldiery. In 1270 Charles sailed for Tunis, to join his brother Louis IX. in his second crusade. On his arrival he found Louis dead; but he succeeded in compelling the bey of Tunis to acknowledge himself his tributary. On his return he planned the conquest of the eastern empire, but his schemes were baffled by the insurrection commonly called the "Sicilian vespers," March 30, 1282. Sicily placed itself under the protection of Don Pedro of Aragon, and Charles tried in vain to reconquer the island.
He was overpowered by the superior cunning of Pedro and the prowess of the admiral Roger de Loria. During this hard contest it was proposed that a duel should take place at Bordeaux between the two princes, a proposal eagerly accepted by Charles, although he was already 60 years old; but the offer was only made by Pedro to gain time, and the Ara-gonese did not appear on the appointed day. Charles repaired in haste to Italy, hoping to take revenge on the battle field; but on arriving at Gaeta he learned that his son had been defeated and taken prisoner in a naval engagement with the Aragonese admiral. This misfortune preyed heavily upon his mind; the inflexible warrior now became as wavering as he had been resolute. His death soon followed. He was succeeded by his son, Charles II., called the Lame, who began to reign in 1289, after his liberation. He also tried in vain to reconquer Sicily, and died in 1309.