Rulers that never got the chance to reign during peace time and spent their entire time in power at war?

Mar 2016
I suppose this is more referring to monarchs of old rather than closer to modern times where term duration and limits for elected leaders often mean that wars are either not started or ended by them.

One that come to mind would be Charles XII of Sweden, who became King when he was only 15 years old, and less than three years later in 1700, at the age of 17, he would embark on the Great Northern War, which would continue until his own death 18 years later (and still continued shortly after that). So he spent just over half of his life - and his entire adult life - at war, for much of it leading campaigns personally all over Eastern Europe and into Russia and the Ottoman Empire. His popular image is entirely defined by this single war, and he himself was so focused on it that he never married and never had children.

What are some other interesting ones you can think of?
Likes: Edratman
Sep 2016
Alexander the Great. He became King at the age of 20 in 336 BC and almost immediately had to fight against Thracians, Illyrians and Thebes. After that, Alexander started his famous campaign against Persian Empire and he didn't stop fighting for 10 years. Shortly after coming back from India, he died from in Babylon from illness in 323 BC.

Before he even became King, Alexander fought in Battle of Chaeronea at the age of 18 and led campaign against Thracian Maedi as 16 year old kid.

Alexander's battles and campaigns :
Maedi campaign - 340 BC
Battle of Chaeronea - 338 BC
Battle of Haemus Pass - 335 BC
Battle of Lyginus - 335 BC
Battle at Danube against Gaetae - 335 BC
Battle of Pelion - 335 BC
Siege of Thebes - 335 BC
Battle of Granicus - 334 BC
Siege of Miletus - 334 BC
Siege of Halicarnassus - 334 BC
Battle of Sagalassos - 333 BC
Battle of Issus - 333 BC
Siege of Tyre - 332 BC
Siege of Gaza - 332 BC
Battle of Gaugamela - 331 BC
Battle of Uxian Defile - 331 BC
Battle of the Persian Gate - 330 BC
Siege of Cyropolis and 6 other cities - 329 BC
Battle of Jaxartes - 329 BC
Sogdian Rock - 327 BC
Rock of Chorienes - 327 BC
Battle of Arigaeum - 327 BC
Battle of Massaga - 327 BC
Siege of Massaga - 327 BC
Siege of Aornus - 326 BC
Battle of Hydaspes - 326 BC
Siege of Sangala - 326 BC
Mallian campaign - 325 BC

Napoleon's reign also was filled with wars and barely any peaceful years.
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Mar 2018
I guess any king of England or France who was crowned and died during the hundred years war was always technically at war, even if there were long periods without much engagement. That's at least a dozen monarchs there. You could play the same trick about the 80 years war.


Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
Gustav II Adolph of Sweden (who inherited the country in a three-way-war).

His father Charles IX, who started the wars, first deposing hos nephew Sigismund, then continuing the war as a the Second Polish war (1600-1629), the one son Gustav inherited.

Charles X, of same (though he was in an awful hurry to start wars himself and so has no excuses).

Erik XIV and John III, also of Sweden (Nordic 7 Years War and the First Polish War morphing into the Nordic 25 Years War).

Really between Gustav I Wasa (1523-1560), who was more or less continuously putting down rebellions against his rule, and Charles XII (1697-1718), only Queen Christina and Charles XI saw prolonged periods of peace.


Ad Honoris
May 2014
I think that Abraham Lincoln was such a leader as U.S. President (not exactly a 'ruler' in U.S. terms). The ACW started very shortly after his inauguration and ended only shortly before his assassination.
Yep, he was the first person whom I've thought of.

Also, Winston Churchill. Britain was either always or almost always at war during his first Prime Ministership. Had he not won the PM seat again later, his PMship would have been either entirely or almost entirely consumed by war.

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