Kings, Queens: Renaissance PDF Print E-mail

Paris Art Studies  - The French Renaissance – Royal Reigns 1498-1610


Louis XII (1462-1515)  - Reign: 1498-1515

1498 – Death of Charles VIII without living descendants, is succeeded by his unloved brother Louis, Duc d’Orléans.

1499 – Louis has his marriage with the crippled, retarded and sterile Jeanne de France (arranged by his brother) annulled. Instead he marries his brother’s widow Anne de Bretagne, thus keeping the duchy of Brittany within the kingdom.

The King invades Italy and conquers Milan.

1501 – Unsuccessful invasion of Kingdom of Naples.

1504-05 – The Blois treaties put an end to French pretensions in Italy. Louis’ daughter Claude is engaged to Charles of Hapsburg the future Emperor Charles V.

1506 – Engagement is annulled and Claude is betrothed instead to François d’Angoulême, heir presumptive to the French throne.

1511 – Pope Julius II forms a Holy League alliance to rid Italy of the occupying French.

1513 – French loose battle of Novarra and withdraw from Milan.

1514 – Holy League is dislocated. Louis, now a widower, marries Mary Tudor sister of Henry VIII of England.

1515 – The King dies without having produced a son and heir.


François I (1494-1547)  - Reign: 1515 -1547

1515 – François I, son of Charles d’Angoulême and Louise of Savoy, succeeds his father-in-law and cousin. François re-conquers Milan after a brilliant victory at Marignan.

1516 – Signs treaty (concordat) with Pope enabling him to name French bishops and abbots and control church property in France. Crown now becomes an almost endless source of revenue yielding appointments and favors for its clients binding them closer to the central authority of the King.

1519 – After the death of Maximilian, Charles, King of Spain is elected Holy Roman Emperor as Charles V with the aid of the German banker Fugger. He asserts his rights on the duchy of Burgundy. Beginning of château de Chambord.

1521 – Beginning of hostilities between King and Emperor. Charles V takes Milan.

1524 – Death of Queen Claude who has given 7 children to the King.

1525 – François I captured by Imperial troops at siege of Pavia and taken as prisoner to Madrid.

1526 – Liberation of the King after his agreement to cede Flanders, Artois, Burgundy and his Italian possessions to the Emperor.

1527 – Alliance signed with Henry VIII of England. War against Emperor resumes.

1528 – Beginning of expansion of château de Fontainebleau (completed 1540).

1529 – Treaty of Cambrai ends war. France regains Burgundy and François I agrees to marry Charles’ sister Eleanor of Austria.

1530 – Foundation of Collège des lecteurs royaux, future Collège de France.

1532 – Publication of Rabelais’ Pantagruel, followed by Gargantua in 1534. Beginning of construction of St Eustache in Paris.

1533 – Marriage of Dauphin Henri with Catherine de Medici, niece of Pope Clement VII.

1534 – Strong royal reaction to Protestant anti catholic tracts (affaire des Placards).

1536 – Treaty with Ottoman sultan. Renewed invasion of Italy.

1538 – Truce signed with Emperor in Nice.

1540 – Edict of Fontainebleau reinforces repression of Protestants.

1542 – Renewed attack of Charles V on French frontiers.

1544 – Treaty of Crépy brings hostilities to an end, the French keep Burgundy and renounce definitely on Artois and Flanders. The English occupy Boulogne.

1546 – Beginning of Lescot wing of the Louvre.

1547 – Death of Henry VIII of England. Death of François I from the consequences of syphilis.


Henri II (1519-1559)  - Reign: 1547-1559

1547 – Henri, second son of François I, succeeds his father. At 7 he had been given as a hostage to the Spanish to ensure his father’s liberation. Released at the age of 10 he was educated by Diane de Poitiers who will later become his mistress. He was married to Catherine de Medici without much enthusiasm in 1533. At the death of this older brother François in 1536 he became the Dauphin. His principal advisors, the Montmorencys and the Guise encourage his hostility to the Empire and the Protestants in France.

1548 – Arrival of Mary Stuart in France to marry the Dauphin François (the wedding will take place in 1558).

1551 – Intensification of anti-Protestant campaign by the creation of “chambres ardentes”, religious courts of law.

1553 – Beginning of hostilities with the Empire and later England.

1559 – The Cateau-Cambresis treaty brings the war to an end. France renounces on her Italian possessions and pretensions.

The king is gravely wounded in the eye in a tournament in Paris organized in honor of his daughters Elisabeth, betrothed to Philip II of Spain, and Marguerite, betrothed to the Duke of Savoy. He dies two days later.


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