Charles XII of Sweden was one of the greatest soldiers of his age. God had uniquely prepared him to fight Poland and Russia, who were intent on stealing Swedish territory, in the Great Northern War (1700-1721). For nine years, the brilliant King of Sweden crushed his enemies until his defeat at Poltava. Even then, he still continued the war until he was killed in 1718 while besieging a fortress. This accomplished soldier said of war: "I have resolved never to start an unjust war but never to end a legitimate one except by defeating my enemies."