After the defeat in the Battle of Poltava (1709)
Charles XII was forced to retreat to the city of Bender in the Ottoman Empire. The conflict, known as the Great Northern War, began in 1700. King Charles XII of Sweden opposed the Russian Tsar Peter the Great, the Danish King Frederick IV and the Elector of Saxony Augustus II. While Denmark and Saxony were of little interest to Sweden, Russia and Peter the Great were not. The most difficult test was the well-known battle near Poltava on June 27, 1709, when 30,000 Swedes of Charles XII were defeated by the almost twice superior army of Peter the Great. The Russians then took several thousand prisoners, while Charles XII and his ally Hetman Mazepa managed to escape by crossing the border of the Ottoman Empire and arriving in the city of Bender along with about 1500 troops.
Arrival in Bender
Certain difficulties arose when crossing the Bug River, and the royal escort had to resort to buying extremely expensive, but, nevertheless, urgently needed food from Ochakovsky Pasha. Charles XII reached Bender on August 1, 1709, where he was received with royal honors by his friend seraskir (general) Yusuf Pasha. Initially, the Swedes were offered tents to live in, as was customary for military camps of that time. Volleys of guns thundered in honor of the new guests, and Yusuf Pasha warmly welcomed them on behalf of Sultan Ahmed III, even offering Charles XII the keys to the city and inviting him to live within the city walls.
Why did Charles XII stay in the Ottoman Empire?
If King Charles XII really wanted to return to his lands, it's hard to believe that he would have been stopped. The ongoing War of the Spanish Succession was drawing to a close, which meant that the attention of other European powers would once again turn to the East, and therefore to limit the rise of Peter the Great. Almost all the great powers, upon receiving news of his retreat to the Ottoman Empire, offered assistance to Charles XII: France offered to send a ship to the Black Sea to bring him home, and the Dutch also made a similar offer; Austria offered him free passage through Hungary and the Holy Roman Empire. But Charles XII refused all these offers, perhaps in a desire to avoid an ignominious appearance in his capital after so many victories had been achieved in the past.
Peter the Great and the Battle of Stanilesti - Prut Campaign (1711)
In 1711, the army of the Moldavian ruler Dmitry Cantemir joined the army of Peter the Great. Together they were defeated at Stenilesti on the Prut River (July 18-22, 1711), about which the tsar remarked that it was exactly the same as the defeat of Charles XII at Poltava. Charles XII rushed to the camp of the Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha Baltaji and Khan Devlet Giray II and congratulated them on the large army they had gathered, remarking with irony that it was a pity that such a great army would not actually go into battle. He was referring to the peace treaty, the terms of which were agreed between the Ottoman Empire and the Russians on July 21, 1711.
Departure of Charles XII and return to Sweden
Peter the Great's violation of the Treaty of Prut forced Sultan Ahmed III to remove Mehmed Baltaji from the position of Grand Vizier, to which Yusuf Pasha, a statesman sympathetic to Charles XII, was appointed. When it looked like there would be another war between the Russian and Ottoman empires, a new treaty was signed, much to the dismay of Charles XII. He began to think that maybe it was time to return to Sweden. But now the Polish King Augustus II the Strong and Peter the Great denied him safe passage. At the same time, the Turks were also not ready to meet his increasing demands (and an escort of 6,000 sipahis [heavy cavalry] and 30,000 Tatars plus a loan of money). Thus, King Charles XII of Sweden remained in the Ottoman Empire for another 2 years. V. Pikul wonderfully wrote about the stay of the Swedish king in Bendery in the historical miniature "Iron Head" after Poltava. The Sultan ordered to expel Charles from Bendery by force, during which there was an armed clash between the Swedes and the Janissaries, the so-called. "kalabalik". Charles XII was arrested. Initially, on February 12, 1713, he was "invited" to the castle of Demurtas, near Adrianople (today Edirne), from which he departed on September 20, 1714. Passing the Holy Roman Empire through Wallachia in just 15 days, he arrived at Swedish-controlled Stralsund in Pomerania and then into Sweden itself. And what happened to the once flourishing Sweden? What did Karl find in his homeland after his long absence? Crop failures, plague, wars and raids decimated the population, and the best healthy forces of the nation, cut off from the grain fields and iron mines, perished on the battlefields, in the snows of Siberia or on the Venetian galleys ...
Death of Charles XII
In November 1718 Charles invaded Norway, which then belonged to the Danes. His troops laid siege to the fortress of Fredriksten. On the night of November 30, Charles XII went to inspect the construction of siege trenches and fortifications, and was unexpectedly hit by a bullet that hit right in the temple. Death was instant. At that moment, there were only two people near him: Sigur, his personal secretary, and Maigret, a French engineer. The bullet hit him in the right temple; his head threw back, his right eye went inward, and his left completely jumped out of his orbit. At the sight of the dead King Megre, an original and cold person, did not find anything else but to say: "The comedy is over, let's go to dinner."