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Valois dynasty

Valois dynasty

A dynasty of thirteen kings of France who reigned from 1328 through 1589. The Valois dynasty began with Philip VI, who succeeded the last king of the House of Capet, Charles IV. At this time England and France were in conflict over French support of a rebellion in Scotland, and over the English king Edward III's claim to the throne of France. The two countries went to war in 1337, a contest that endured for more than a century and brought ruin to cities and estates throughout France. The authority of the kings of France was challenged by powerful French nobles and tested further by the arrival of the Black Deaththe bubonic plague that struck France in the late 1340s and killed millions of its citizens. The plague and the war drove many French nobles to break away from the authority of the king, and a peasant rebellion known as the Jacquerie brought further chaos and violence to the kingdom. At the Battle of Agincourt, in 1415, English longbowmen defeated the armies of the king and devastated the French knights.

The French cause and the Valois dynasty found salvation in the person of Joan of Arc, who convinced Charles VII to appoint her commander of the French forces lifting the English siege of Orléans. Although Joan was captured and executed in 1429, the French began scoring victories against the English. Royal authority strengthened under Charles and his successors, who brought Normandy, Burgundy, Guienne, and Brittany under central control. The French nobles were brought to heel through a system of seneschalsrepresentatives who enforced royal laws and decreesand by the actions of royal courts known as Parlements that were established throughout the nation.

At the end of the fifteenth century, with central authority strengthened and France recovered from the Hundred Years' War, the Valois monarchs Charles VIII and Louis XII involved the kingdom in the many disputes burning in the Italian peninsula. In the end, France was expelled from Italy by an alliance of the Habsburg emperors and the Italian city-states, which fielded effective mercenary armies.

The Valois line continued through the reigns of Francis I from 1515 to 1547 and Henri II, whose reign began in 1547. Francis I was a dedicated patron of writers and artists, and made France a center of the Renaissance. Both Francis I and Henri II strongly resisted the Protestant Reformation, prosecuting Protestant heresy and keeping France within the Catholic Church. The conflict culminated during the reign of Charles IX in a nationwide assault on Protestants in 1572 known as the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre. The assassination of Henri II in 1559 touched off a bloody civil conflict known as the Wars of Religion between Catholics and French Protestants, also known as Hu guenots. Henri III was murdered in 1589 and left behind no heir, bringing Henri IV to the throne as the first of the Bourbon dynasty.

See Also: Francis I; Henri III; Henri IV

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Valois Dynasty (France)

VALOIS DYNASTY (FRANCE)

VALOIS DYNASTY (FRANCE). From its accession to the French throne in 1328 through its end in 1589, the Valois dynasty included thirteen kings: Philip VI (ruled 13281350); John the Good (13501364); Charles V (13641380); Charles VI (13801422); Charles VII (14221461); Louis XI (14611483); Charles VIII (14831498); Louis XII (14981515); Francis I (15151547); Henry II (15471559); Francis II (15591560); Charles IX (15601574); Henry III (15741589).

Over this period, the dynasty presided over some of the most violent years in French history. Its reign included the Hundred Years' War (13371453) and the Wars of Religion (15621598), two periods in which it seemed that France itself might break apart; and from 1495 through 1557 there were a series of wars with the kings of Spain, with each side seeking hegemony in Italy. The sixteenth-century Valois also confronted the advent of Protestantism, and their response to it continued to influence French society well into the nineteenth century. Despite the advantages that converting to Protestantism might have offered, Francis I and Henry II vigorously prosecuted all forms of heresy; and Charles IX endorsed the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of Protestants in 1572. As a result, to the end of the Old Regime the French monarchy would remain closely allied with Catholic ritual and belief.

The Valois included colorful characters to match the dramatic times in which they ruled. A patron of the arts and ambitious warrior, Francis I was a Renaissance monarch well suited to compete with his contemporaries Henry VIII of England (ruled 15091547) and the Emperor Charles V (ruled 15191556). But several other members of the dynasty showed signs of mental instability, and in both the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries these had dire political consequences.

See also Charles VIII (France) ; France ; Francis I (France) ; Henry II (France) ; Henry III (France) ; Louis XII (France) ; St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre ; Wars of Religion, French .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Baumgartner, Frederic J. Henry II, King of France, 1547 1559. Durham, N.C., 1988.

Knecht, R. J. Francis I. New York, 1982.

. The French Civil Wars, 15621598. New York, 2000.

Jonathan Dewald

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Valois (royal house of France)

Valois (välwä´), royal house of France that ruled from 1328 to 1589. At the death of Charles IV, the last of the direct Capetians, the Valois dynasty came to the throne in the person of Philip VI, son of Charles of Valois and grandson of Philip III. The direct Valois line ended (1498) with Charles VIII; the dynasty was continued by Louis XII (Valois-Orléans) and, after his death (1515), by the Valois-Angoulême line, of which Francis I was the first to rule. At the death of Henry III (1589), the house of Bourbon, descending from a younger son of Louis IX, succeeded to the throne in the person of Henry IV.

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Valois (historic region, France)

Valois, historic region, now comprised in Aisne and Oise depts., N France. Crépy-en-Valois was its historic capital. It is a rich agricultural area. A county and later a duchy, Valois was the appanage of the royal house of Valois, which succeeded the elder Capetian line (see Capetians) on the French throne. It was incorporated into the royal domain in 1515.

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Valois

Valois Royal dynasty that ruled France from the accession (1328) of Philip VI to the death (1589) of Henry III, when the throne passed to the Bourbons. See also Charles VIII; Francis I; Louis XII; Louis XII

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Valois

Valois the French royal house from the accession of Philip VI, successor to the last Capetian king, in 1328 to the death of Henry III (1589), when the throne passed to the Bourbons.

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Valois

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