Capetian France

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Capetian France

The history of the French state dates back to the Germanic invasions of the fifth century and the conversion of Clovis to Catholic Christianity in 496. Merovingians were replaced by the Carolingian dynasty. Charlemagne ruled over a Frankish Empire which included not only modern day France but also Germany and most of Italy north of Rome. When this Carolingian Empire disintegrated in the ninth century, France constituted the Western portion of the old Empire. From 987 to 1328, it was ruled by the Capetian dynasty. 

The Capetians

The Capetian dynasty was founded by Hugh Capet, elected king of France in 987 over the last legitimate pretender of the Carolingian line, Charles, duke of Lower Lorraine. Originally conceded by election, kingship did not become hereditary among the Capetians until 1179. The Capetians initially controlled only the duchy of France (Paris and Orleans), but owing to a shrewd and persistent policy of annexation their jurisdiction progressively extended to other regions : Artois, Vermandois, and Auvergne were incorporated into the kingdom under Philip Augustus (1180-1223) , who also confiscated from the English monarch John Lackland the territories of Anjou (birthplace of the Plantagenet family), Maine, Normandy, Poitou, Saintonge, and Touraine. Capetian dominions further expanded to include the county of Toulouse under Philip III the Bold (1270-1285), and later Champagne, Angoumois, and the county of Lyons under Philip IV the Fair (1285-1314). The direct Capetian line produced 14 monarchs, among them Saint Louis (1226-1270) , then died out with Charles IV the Fair (1323-1328), the last of Philip IV the Fair's three sons. They were succeeded by the Valois branch of the Capetians, of which Charles V was the third to rule after Philip VI of Valois (1328-1350) and John II the Good (1350-1364) . The Valois line endured until the death of Henry III in 1589. His successor, Henry IV (1589-1614) was the first Capetian king of the Bourbon line, which continued without interruption until Louis XVI was deposed in 1791.
This is the WEB site of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France and illustrates much of French Medieval History.

The Great Lords of France at the time of the Capetians: ; Counts of Flanders, Maine, Anjou, Blois, and Toulouse



     HUGH CAPET, 987-996

     ROBERT II, 996-1031

     HENRY I, 1031-1060

     PHILIP I, 1060-1108

     LOUIS VI, 1108-1137

     LOUIS VII, 1137-1180

     PHILIP II (AUGUSTUS) 1180-1223

     LOUIS VIII, 1123-1126

     LOUIS IX, 1226-1270

     PHILIP III, 1270-1285

     PHILIP IV (THE FAIR) 1285-1314

     LOUIS X, 1314-1316

     PHILIP V, 1316-1322

     CHARLES IV, 1322-1328


     PHILIP VI, 1328-1350

     JOHN, 1350-1364

     CHARLES V, 1364-1380

     CHARLES VI, 1380-1422

     CHARLES VII, 1422-1461  

FRANCEHundred Years WarRevival of Valois power under Charles VII beginning in 1429 under the influence of Joan D'Arc.  Battle of Orleans 1429; turning point in 100 years war.

     LOUIS XI, 1461-1483

     CHARLES VIII,1483-1498

     LOUIS XII, 1498-1515

     FRANCIS I, 1515-1547

     HENRY II, 1547-1559

     FRANCIS II, 1559-1560

     CHARLES IX, 1560-1574

     HENRY III, 1574-1589


     HENRY IV, 1589-1610

     LOUIS XIII, 1610-1643

     LOUIS XIV, 1643-1715

     LOUIS XV, 1715-1774

     LOUIS XVI, 1774-1792