Charles II of Anjou, known as Zoppo, was prince of Salerno from 1266, then count of Anjou and of Maine, count of Provence and Forcalquier, king of Naples (1285-1309) and titular king of Sicily (1285-1302) , prince of Taranto, king of Albania, prince of Achaia and titular king of Jerusalem, with the name of Charles II. He was the son of Charles I of Anjou, the brother of the French king St. Louis IX, and of Beatrice of Provence, the last-born of the Count of Provence, Raimondo Berengario IV and Beatrice of Savoy.
In 1257 Charles I of Anjou bought from the house of Baux the rights to the throne of the Kingdom of Arles and when in 1280 the Emperor Rudolf I of Habsburg thought to reconstitute the kingdom of Arles, he had to deal with him. An agreement was found between the two sovereigns, after which the emperor would rebuild the kingdom of Arles and assign it to Charles the prince of Salerno, who, in turn, would have to surrender it at the time of the wedding between the nephew of Charles I, Carlo Martello, and Clemenza, daughter of Rodolfo. Event that did not take place due to the Sicilian Vespers.
Carlo, prince of Salerno, after the raising of the Sicilian Vespers of 1282, participated in the war against the Aragonese. During 1284, his father Charles I, having received a substantial sum of money from Pope Martin IV, who had destined it for the regency of the Kingdom of Naples, went to Provence to prepare a fleet that was supposed to join some of the ships who waited in the port of Naples, and then met in Ustica with the rest of the naval force, composed of thirty galleys, and with the Italian-Angevin army, coming from Brindisi. But on 5 June the Sicilian-Aragonese fleet, under the command of Admiral Ruggero di Lauria, presented itself before the port of Naples.
Charles II of Anjou, disobeying his father's order not to move before his arrival from Provence, left the port with his ships, to fight Lauria, but was defeated and taken prisoner along with several Neapolitan nobles. When Carlo arrived in Gaeta and knew of the defeat he cursed his son, but had to renounce the invasion of Sicily, and after a useless siege of Reggio, he headed to Puglia where, on January 7, 1285, he died in Foggia.
Charles II, while he was a prisoner in Aragon , succeeded in all his titles to his father, who before dying had appointed a regent in the person of his nephew, Count Robert II of Artois, who was flanked at the behest of Pope Martin IV from Cardinal Gerardo da Cremona. The two regents held the government firmly and repressed every attempt at rebellion.
On March 28, 1285, Martin IV died and was succeeded by the Roman Giacomo Savelli, Pope Honorius IV, who continued to support the crusade against Peter III of Aragon, he said usurper of the Kingdom of Sicily.
The attempted invasion of Aragon resulted in a disaster: the Franco-Neapolitan fleet was reduced to impotence by Lauria, while the army, which had laid siege to Gerona, was seized with pestilence and had to withdraw. The same king of France, Philip III, died on 6 October in Perpignan, during the retreat. Peter III died shortly after, on 11 November: his sons succeeded him, Alfonso in Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and Mallorca, and Giacomo in Sicily. While remaining allies, the two brothers had different interests.
Since Alfonso of Aragon held Charles II the Lame, leader of the Angevin house, he received several delegations (papacy, France and England) who urged his release. The wife herself, Eleonora, urged him to free the Angevin king.
After a first agreement, taken at Oléron, in 1287, was rejected by Pope Niccolò IV, on October 27, 1288 in Canfranc, in the north of Aragon, the agreement was found and Charles II was freed on parole in exchange for three of the his sons, who were held hostage in his place: Charles would have had a year to convince Charles of Valois to renounce the throne of Aragon, otherwise he would have to return to prison.
But after his release the pope dissolved Charles from every oath and the war in Sicily resumed. Alfonso sent Admiral Ruggero di Lauria to the aid of his brother, the king of Sicily, Giacomo il Giusto, and in 1289 a truce was reached . In February 1291, in Tarascon, Alfonso III succeeded in making peace with Carlo the Zoppo, with the pope (who continued to support Charles of Valois as king of Aragon) and with France: he disclaimed the rights of his brother James over Sicily and in return Charles of Valois renounced the rights over the kingdom of Aragon, obtaining in exchange the counties of Anjou and Maine together with the hand of Margaret, daughter of Charles II the Zoppo of Naples, who was supposed to return to Sicily, that now he no longer had the support of the kingdom of Aragon. But suddenly on 18 June 1291, Alfonso III died without heirs, so his brother took over as James II of Aragon and Sicily was held.
Charles II, in the Balkans, followed the paternal policy of opposition to the Byzantine emperor, together with his cousin, Charles of Valois, brother of the king of France, Philip IV the Beautiful. Finally, on 12 June 1295, Charles entered into a peace treaty with James II of Aragon, recalled as the Treaty of Anagni which was initiated on the proposal of Pope Celestine V  and concluded by Pope Boniface VIII, for which Charles reacquired Sicily, recovered the three sons that James had held hostage for about seven years. In exchange he would have had the kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica, a kingdom created from scratch and everything to be conquered because on the island already existed autonomous state entities. The treaty also provided for the union of James with Bianca d'Angiò, daughter of King Charles; while Federico, the governor of Sicily, would have been compensated by his marriage to the heir of the Byzantine Empire, Caterina di Courtenay. Federico, embittered also because Giacomo had not complied with Alfonso III's will, refused and sided with the Sicilians who, feeling betrayed by the new Aragonese king, declared Giacomo decayed, and elected King Federico. On 11 December 1295 the Sicilian Parliament gathered in Palermo proclaimed Frederick III King of Sicily, and reconfirmed the choice on 15 January 1296 at the Castello Ursino in Catania. The official coronation took place on March 25, 1296 in the Cathedral of Palermo.
On 29 October 1295, in compliance with the treaty of Anagni, in Vilabertran (Alt Empordà), in the north of Catalonia, Bianca di Napoli married Giacomo, king of Aragon, who did not accept the dismissal from king of Sicily and was thus found side of the Angevins, against his brother Federico and the Sicilians.
Frederick resumed the war of the Vespers and taking the initiative against the Angevins, not only kept Sicily but had brought the war to Calabria and the Neapolitan. Then Boniface VIII, at the beginning of 1297, summoned Charles II and James II to Rome and urged them to reconquer Sicily according to the treaty of Anagni; they had to leave Sicily, on the orders of Giacomo, both Giovanni da Procida and Ruggero di Lauria, who became Admiral of the anti-Sicilian allied fleet and eventually Queen Constance of Sicily also had to abandon his favorite son Federico and reach Giacomo in Rome. Giacomo intervened alongside the Angevins against his brother Federico and the Sicilians and in July 1299, at Capo d'Orlando, with his Aragonese fleet flanked by the Neapolitan fleet, he defeated Federico, who managed to save himself with only 17 galleys. But the following year, as Federico continued to resist, he returned to Aragon.
The war was now in Sicily, where the sons of Charles II, Robert and Philip I of Taranto, had conquered Catania and besieged Messina; Frederick, however, had reported a remarkable victory in the battle of Falconara near Trapani, taking Philip prisoner, he had resisted Messina and resisted in Calabria. Charles would have preferred peace but the pope, after having accused him of cowardice, in 1300 called in aid the Templars, the Hospitallers and the reluctant Genoese, but apart from a new brilliant victory of the fleet of Lauria on that Sicilian, June 14, 1300, the situation did not progress.
In mid-August of that year, driven by the need to repay the Florentine bankers of credits granted, Carlo ordered the total destruction of the rich and populous Muslim settlement of Lucera, to implement which he left a free hand to the local population who, moved by envy and from covetousness, he rocketed as much as he could and slaughtered many Muslims, men, women and children, while about 10,000 of the survivors were chained and sold to the slave market.
Finally Boniface VIII turned to the king of France, Philip IV the Beautiful, who sent an army under the command of his brother, Charles of Valois. He arrived in Sicily in May 1302, crossed it burning and plundering until Sciacca, where however he arrived destroyed by malaria and for fear of a determined attack by Federico, he accepted his offers of peace. The war of Sicilian Vespers ended with the peace of Caltabellotta: on 31 August 1302, probably in the castle of Pizzo, the peace treaty was signed. This treaty, modified by the pope on May 12, 1303, foresaw that Frederick III retained power over Sicily with the title of King of Trinacria until his death, after which the island would have to pass again to the Anjou. It also sanctioned the commitment that Federico married Eleonora, daughter of Carlo II lo Zoppo and sister of the Duke of Calabria Roberto. In return it would have gone to the Aragonese, Corsica or Sardinia or other territories or a large sum of money. Carlo assumed for himself the title of King of Sicily (Rex Siciliae, ducatus Apuliae et principatus Capuae), while temporarily renouncing the island but maintaining the territories of Campania, Calabria, Puglia, Basilicata and succeeding in obtaining a first de facto recognition of the Kingdom of Naples.
In 1303, Charles supported the election to Pope Nicholas Boccasini, Pope Benedict XI, who, when he was linked to Hungary, had supported the election of his nephew Caroberto to the throne of Hungary.
In 1304 the king began the Investiture of Mastrogiurato: a celebration in which after various festivities and flag-waving the city government was entrusted to a simple mayor. This celebration was abolished in 1806 by Gioacchino Murat, a relative of Napoleon and readapted by the city of Lanciano (Abruzzo, in the province of Chieti from 1981 and continued until today.
In 1306, Charles II came into conflict with Philip of Savoy, the third husband of the princess of Achaia, Isabella di Villehardouin, to whom he had surrendered the title, in 1289 and in 1307 declared them lapsed from the title, which was granted to his son, Filippo I of Taranto, to whom, in 1301, he had already surrendered the title of king of Albania.
In 1309, Charles II re-proposed the re-establishment of the kingdom of Arles, of which his father Charles I, on 23-8-1257, had acquired the rights to the throne from Raimondo del Balzo, Prince of Orange. But nothing came of it. Charles II the Zoppo died in Naples on May 5, 1309; his son Roberto succeeded him.