Charlemagne was the King of the Franks and the Holy Roman Emperor. He was born on April 2, 742. Nobody knows where he was born. Some of the history buffs say that it could have been in Liege, Belgium or even Aachen in modern-day Germany. He was also known as Karl and Charles the Great. He certainly had a few names didn’t he? His name is Carolus Magnus in Latin and Carlo Magno is the Spanish translation.
Who was Charlemagne?
His father was Pepin the Short, the Frankish leader. Do you think he was short? Maybe he was! He became the king of the Franks in the year 751 CE.
In 754 Pope Stephen II was officially crowned Pepin and was then anointed both Charlemagne and his brother who was younger Carloman.
When Pepin died he left his empire to his two sons. Not sure this was such a good idea as they used to fight a lot! But eventually his younger brother Carloman died, and the empire was left to him and him alone!
Charlemagne was the king of the Franks from 768 until he died in 814 CE.
He was also the emperor of the Romans for 14 years in total from 800 to 814 CE. He sure had a few important jobs to do, that’s for sure.
Charlemagne built a massive empire and it covered most of western and eastern Europe. He clearly wasn’t afraid to get what he wanted!
He ruled over something called the Carolingian Renaissance. Wow that’s a name to wrap around your tongue! It was basically all about a set of customs, traditions and values as well as a legal renewal.
Interesting Facts about Charlemagne
His father became king because all the rulers wouldn’t stop killing each other! What a strange way to become king.
He was one serious fighter that you wouldn’t want to get into battle with that’s for sure. Want to know which lands he conquered? Well get ready…there are a lot. He conquered Germany, Lombards in Northern Italy, Rome, Bavaria and some of Spain. He sure was a busy man taking control over all of those lands!
Did you know that he was crowned as Emperor of the Romans over the Holy Roman Empire? Well he sure was. He wasn’t really expecting this, but when he was in Rome in 800 CE Pope Leo III crowned him with this honour. He was called Carolus Augustus. He was one cool cat with that title as many people respected him for it, but it gave him zero powers at all! Apparently he really didn’t want this title, and said that if he would have known he wouldn’t have gone there at all
He was a really good leader, but he was also very good at doing all his paperwork. Argh, who wants to do lots of paperwork? Well he did! When he conquered territories he would very kindly allow them to still rule and also even allow their cultures and laws to be the same. But, everything was written down, so that nobody could say they didn’t know what the laws were!
He set up all sorts of systems while he ruled, like a new type of money, different accounting codes, laws on lending money and the control of prices by the government. He was very passionate about education and built lots of schools in monasteries for people to learn in. Now that’s cool. Can you believe it, but he couldn’t read or write at all?
During his lifetime he took quite a few wives…in fact five in total.
Did you know that each King in a deck of cards is named after a historical ruler? Well in a deck of cards Charlemagne is the King of Hearts. How cool is that?
Charlemagne sure liked to be the centre of the party! When he had guests over he would throw a table cloth into a fire and then pull it out unharmed. Wonder how he did that?
Can you guess how many military expeditions he sent his men out on during his reign? No? Well it was a total of 50. Wow, that’s quite a lot.
He had around 18 children. Can you imagine having 17 brothers and sisters?
Because of all Charlemagne’s children, some of those clever scientists believe that most people alive today that have European ancestry are probably descendants of Charlemagne, however no one will ever be able to prove it, so they can keep on guessing.
Now this one is weird. Some people think that George Washington is somehow related to Charlemagne. It would be interesting to find out if that was true!
Wow, he sure was a powerful man, and did a lot in his time. Now you know all there is to know about Charlemagne.