Legendary Kings Who Died In Battle

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
> Last battle: Szigetvár
> Year: 1566
> Enemy: Habsburg Empire

Suleiman the Magnificent ruled for 46 years, the longest of any Ottoman sultan. His military victories led to the division of Hungary and Croatia between the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires. On his way to take Vienna, Suleiman and his troops attacked Szigetvár, a heavily fortified castle in southern Hungary defended by Croatian and Hungarian troops. The aging and ill Suleiman died from a heart attack during the siege. The leader of the garrison, Count Nikola IV Zrinski, was also killed, but he left behind a slow fuse to a large cache of gunpowder that killed 3,000 looting Turkish soldiers, ending the Ottoman march to Vienna.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Sebastian I, King of Portugal
> Last battle: El-Ksar el Kabir, Morocco
> Year: 1578
> Enemy: Moors in Morocco

Sebastian I was a Christian hardliner who decided to engage in an ill-fated crusade against a much larger force of Muslims in northwestern Morocco. He died in battle as his forces were handily crushed. Back home, many of Sebastian’s loyal and devout followers had formed a short-lived messianic cult known as Sebastianismo, which disavowed his loss and believed he would return and rescue the Portuguese from Spanish rule.

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Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden
> Last battle: Lützen
> Year: 1632
> Enemy: Habsburg Empire

As Gustavus ascended to the throne of Sweden in 1611 just prior to his 17th birthday, his country was in conflict with Denmark, Poland, and Russia, Sweden’s conflict with Russia was of greatest concern. Gustavus was killed at the Battle of Lützen in what is now eastern Germany, one of the most important skirmishes of the Thirty Years War. But the Swedish victory against the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic League at the battle helped to delay the birth of a united Germany by about 200 years.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Charles XII, king of Sweden
> Last battle: Halden, Norway
> Year: 1718
> Enemy: Norway

About 86 years after the death of Gustavus Adolphus, another Swedish king became the last European monarch to die in battle. Charles XII was a teenager at the time of his ascension but despite his young age, he proved to be a decent military strategist who defeated a coalition of nations attempting to drive the Swedes out of parts of Northern Europe. After a failed attempt on a march to Moscow and a brief period of exile, he launched new campaigns against Russia and Norway, and was killed by a musket shot during a failed siege of the Norwegian town of Halden.

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