The crown lands , crown estate, royal domain or (in French) domaine royal (from demesne) of France were the lands, fiefs and rights directly possessed by the kings of France.While the term eventually came to refer to a territorial unit, the royal domain originally referred to the network of "castles, villages and estates, forests, towns, religious houses and bishoprics, and the rights of justice, tolls and taxes" effectively held by the king or under his domination. In terms of territory, before the reign of Henry IV, the domaine royal did not encompass the entirety of the territory of the kingdom of France and for much of the Middle Ages significant portions of the kingdom were the direct possessions of other feudal lords.
In the tenth and eleventh centuries, the first Capetians—while being the kings of France—were among the least powerful of the great feudal lords of France in terms of territory possessed. Patiently, through the use of feudal law (and, in particular, the confiscation of fiefs from rebellious vassals), conquest, annexation, skillful marriages with heiresses of large fiefs, and even by purchase, the kings of France were able to increase the royal domain. By the time of Philip IV, the meaning of "royal domain" began to shift from a mere collection of lands and rights to a fixed territorial unit,and by the sixteenth century the "royal domain" began to coincide with the entire kingdom. However, the medieval system of appanage (a concession of a fief with its land rights by the sovereign to his younger sons, which reverts to the crown upon the extinction of the male line of the original holder) alienated large territories from the royal domain and sometimes created dangerous rivals (especially the Duchy of Burgundy from the 14th to the 15th centuries).
During the Wars of Religion, the alienation of lands and fiefs from the royal domain was frequently criticized. The Edict of Moulins (1566) declared that the royal domain (defined in the second article as all the land controlled by the crown for more than ten years) could not be alienated, except in two cases: by interlocking, in the case of financial emergency, with a perpetual option to repurchase the land; and to form an appanage, which must return to the crown in its original state on the extinction of the male line.
Traditionally, the king was expected to survive from the revenues generated from the royal domain, but fiscal necessity, especially in times of war, led the kings to enact "exceptional" taxes, like the taille , upon the whole of the kingdom (the taille became permanent in 1439).
At the beginning of Hugh Capet's reign, the crown estate was extremely small and consisted essentially of scattered possessions in the Île-de-France and Orléanais regions (Senlis, Poissy, Orléans), with several other isolated pockets, such as Attigny. These lands were largely the inheritance of the Robertians, the direct ancestors of the Capetians.
From the reign of Francis I, the concept of "royal domain" begins to coincide with the French kingdom in general; the appanage of the House of Bourbon however remains alienated.
The Capetian dynasty, also known as the House of France, is a dynasty of Frankish origin, and a branch of the Robertians. It is among the largest and oldest royal houses in Europe and the world, and consists of Hugh Capet, the founder of the dynasty, and his male-line descendants, who ruled in France without interruption from 987 to 1792, and again from 1814 to 1848. The senior line ruled in France as the House of Capet from the election of Hugh Capet in 987 until the death of Charles IV in 1328. That line was succeeded by cadet branches, the Houses of Valois and then Bourbon, which ruled without interruption until the French Revolution abolished the monarchy in 1792. The Bourbons were restored in 1814 in the aftermath of Napoleon's defeat, but had to vacate the throne again in 1830 in favor of the last Capetian monarch of France, Louis Philippe I, who belonged to the House of Orléans.
Anjou was a French province straddling the lower Loire River. Its capital was Angers and it was roughly coextensive with the diocese of Angers. Anjou was bordered by Brittany to the west, Maine to the north, Touraine to the east and Poitou to the south. The adjectival form is Angevin, and inhabitants of Anjou are known as Angevins. During the Middle Ages, the County of Anjou, ruled by the Counts of Anjou, was a prominent fief of the French crown.
The House of Valois was a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. They succeeded the House of Capet to the French throne, and were the royal house of France from 1328 to 1589. Junior members of the family founded cadet branches in Orléans, Anjou, Burgundy, and Alençon.
Philip the Bold was Duke of Burgundy and jure uxoris Count of Flanders, Artois and Burgundy. He was the fourth and youngest son of King John II of France and Bonne of Luxembourg. Philip was the founder of the Burgundian branch of the House of Valois. His vast collection of territories made him the undisputed premier peer of the Kingdom of France and made his successors formidable subjects, and later rivals, of the kings of France.
An appanage, or apanage, is the grant of an estate, title, office or other thing of value to a younger child of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture. It was common in much of Europe.
The Kingdom of France in the Middle Ages was marked by the fragmentation of the Carolingian Empire and West Francia (843–987); the expansion of royal control by the House of Capet (987–1328), including their struggles with the virtually independent principalities that had developed following the Viking invasions and through the piecemeal dismantling of the Carolingian Empire and the creation and extension of administrative/state control in the 13th century; and the rise of the House of Valois (1328–1589), including the protracted dynastic crisis of the Hundred Years' War with the Kingdom of England (1337–1453) compounded by the catastrophic Black Death epidemic (1348), which laid the seeds for a more centralized and expanded state in the early modern period and the creation of a sense of French identity.
The Duchy of Aquitaine was a historical fiefdom in western, central and southern areas of present-day France to the south of the Loire River, although its extent, as well as its name, fluctuated greatly over the centuries, at times comprising much of what is now southwestern France (Gascony) and central France.
Duke of Bourbon is a title in the peerage of France. It was created in the first half of the 14th century for the eldest son of Robert of France, Count of Clermont and Beatrice of Burgundy, heiress of the lordship of Bourbon. In 1416, with the death of John of Valois, the Dukes of Bourbon were simultaneously Dukes of Auvergne.
Charles of Valois, the third son of Philip III of France and Isabella of Aragon, was a member of the House of Capet and founder of the House of Valois, whose rule over France would start in 1328.
Several counts and then royal dukes of Alençon have figured in French history. The title has been awarded to a younger brother of the French sovereign.
The House of Capet or the Direct Capetians, also called the House of France, or simply the Capets, ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328. It was the most senior line of the Capetian dynasty – itself a derivative dynasty from the Robertians. Historians in the 19th century came to apply the name "Capetian" to both the ruling house of France and to the wider-spread male-line descendants of Hugh Capet. Contemporaries did not use the name "Capetian". The Capets were sometimes called "the third race of kings". The name "Capet" derives from the nickname given to Hugh, the first Capetian king.
Charles of France, Duke of Berry, was a grandson of Louis XIV of France. Although he was only a grandson of Louis XIV, Berry held the rank of fils de France, rather than petit-fils de France, as the son of the Dauphin, heir apparent to the throne. The Duke of Berry was for seven years heir presumptive to the throne of Spain (1700–1707), until his brother Philip V fathered a son in 1707.
The League of the Public Weal was an alliance of feudal nobles organized in 1465 in defiance of the centralized authority of King Louis XI of France. It was masterminded by Charles the Bold, Count of Charolais, son of the Duke of Burgundy, with the king's brother Charles, Duke of Berry, as a figurehead.
Charles, Duke of Berry, later Duke of Normandy and Duke of Aquitaine, was a son of Charles VII, King of France. He spent most of his life in conflict with his elder brother, King Louis XI.
The Counts of Dreux were a noble family of France, who took their title from the chief stronghold of their domain, the château of Dreux, which lies near the boundary between Normandy and the Île-de-France. They are notable for inheriting the Duchy of Brittany through Pierre de Dreux's marriage to Alix de Thouars in the early 13th century.
The House of Valois-Burgundy, or the Younger House of Burgundy, was a noble French family deriving from the royal House of Valois. It is distinct from the Capetian House of Burgundy, descendants of King Robert II of France, though both houses stem from the Capetian dynasty. They ruled the Duchy of Burgundy from 1363 to 1482 and later came to rule vast lands including Artois, Flanders, Luxembourg, Hainault, the county palatine of Burgundy (Franche-Comté), and other lands through marriage, forming what is now known as the Burgundian State.
Originally, the Duchy of Chartres was the comté de Chartres, a County. The title of comte de Chartres thus became duc de Chartres. This duchy–peerage was given by Louis XIV of France to his nephew, Philippe II d'Orléans, at his birth in 1674. Philippe II was the younger son and heir of the king's brother, Philippe de France, Duke of Orléans.
The term House of France refers to the branch of the Capetian dynasty which provided the Kings of France following the election of Hugh Capet. The House of France consists of a number of branches and their sub-branches. Some of its branches have acceded to the Crown, while others remained cadets.
This article covers the mechanism by which the French throne passed from the establishment of the Frankish Kingdom in 486 to the fall of the Second French Empire in 1870.