A Baltic German, he held the ranks of a field marshal, commander-in-chief of the Swedish forces in Germany (1646–1648), and Lord High Admiral of Sweden (since 1657). Wrangel was gouvernor-general of Swedish Pomerania (1648–1652 and 1656–1676) and since 1664, Lord High Constable of Sweden and a member of the Privy Council. He held the title of a Count of Salmis until 1665, thereafter he was Count of Sölvesborg; by 1673, Wrangel's title was "Count of Sölvesborg, freiherr of Lindeberg and Ludenhof, lord of Skokloster, Bremervörde, Wrangelsburg, Spyker, Rappin, Ekebyhov, Gripenberg and Rostorp".
From 1658, Wrangel was supreme judge in Uppland, and from 1660, chancellor of the University of Greifswald. He held several estates, primarily in the Swedish dominions, where he constructed representative mansions - Wrangelsburg in Pomerania bears his name until today. Wrangel was a close friend of Charles X Gustav of Sweden.
Carl Gustav Wrangel was born near Uppsala to baroness Margareta Grip av Vinäs and Herman Wrangel on 23 December 1613. By his paternal descend he was a member of the Wrangel family of Baltic German origin, branches of which settled in Sweden, Russia and Germany.
Wrangel married Anna Margareta von Haugwitz (died 20 March 1673), who bore him eleven children, six of whom died very young. The five children who reached adulthood were
At the age of twenty, Carl Gustaf Wrangel distinguished himself as a cavalry captain in the Thirty Years' War. Three years later he was colonel, and in 1638 major-general, still serving in Germany. In 1644, during the Torstenson War, he commanded a fleet at sea, which defeated the Danes at Fehmarn on 23 October.