|Duke of Brittany|
|Reign||26 December 1458 – 9 September 1488|
|Coronation||3 February 1459|
|Successor||Anne of Brittany|
|Born||23 June 1433|
Château de Clisson, Clisson, Pays de la Loire
|Died||9 September 1488 55) (aged|
|Spouse|| Margaret of Brittany |
Margaret of Foix
|Issue||John of Brittany, Count of Montfort|
Anne of Brittany, Queen of France
Isabeau of Brittany
|Father||Richard of Brittany|
|Mother||Margaret of Orléans|
Francis II of Brittany (in Breton Frañsez II, in French François II) (23 June 1433 – 9 September 1488) was Duke of Brittany from 1458 to his death. He was the grandson of John IV, Duke of Brittany. A recurring theme in Francis' life would be his quest to maintain the quasi-independence of Brittany from France. As such, his reign was characterized by conflicts with King Louis XI of France and with his daughter, Anne of France, who served as regent during the minority of her brother, King Charles VIII. The armed and unarmed conflicts from 1465 to 1477 and 1484–1488 have been called the "War of the Public Weal" and the Mad War (la Guerre Folle), respectively.
Francis II was born on 23 June 1433 to Richard of Brittany, Count of Étampes (1395–1438) and his wife, Margaret of Orléans, Countess of Vertus (1406–1466).Richard of Brittany was the youngest son of Duke John IV of Brittany. Richard's older brothers, John V and Arthur III, both succeeded their father as duke, but upon Arthur's death in 1458 (John V's sons Francis I and Peter II died in 1450 and 1457 respectively, without sons), the only legitimate male heir was his nephew Francis II.
Duke Francis II unexpectedly became the protector of England's House of Lancaster in exile from 1471 to 1484.
During the latter half of the 15th century, civil war existed in England as the House of York and House of Lancaster fought each other for the English throne. In 1471, the Yorkists defeated their rivals in the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury. The Lancastrian king, Henry VI of England and his only son, Edward of Westminster, died in the aftermath of the Battle of Tewkesbury. Their deaths left the House of Lancaster with no direct claimants to the throne. Subsequently, the Yorkist king, Edward IV of England, was in complete control of England.He attainted those who refused to submit to his rule, such as Jasper Tudor and his nephew Henry Tudor (later King Henry VII of England), naming them as traitors and confiscating their lands.
The Tudors tried to flee to France but strong winds in the English Channel forced them to land at Le Conquet in Brittany, where they were taken into the custody of Duke Francis II.Henry Tudor, the only remaining Lancastrian noble with a trace of royal bloodline, had a weak claim to the throne, and King Edward IV regarded him as "a nobody". However, Francis II viewed Henry as a valuable tool to bargain for England's aid, when in conflicts with France, and therefore kept the Tudors under his protection. He housed Jasper Tudor, Henry Tudor, and the core of their group of exiled Lancastrians at the Château de Suscinio in Sarzeau, where they remained for 11 years. There, Francis II generously supported this group of exiled Englishmen against all the Plantagenet demands that he should surrender them.
In October 1483, Henry Tudor launched a failed invasion of England from Brittany. Duke Francis II supported this invasion by providing 40,000 gold crowns, 15,000 soldiers, and a fleet of transport ships. Henry's fleet of 15 chartered vessels was scattered by a storm, and his ship reached the coast of England in company with only one other vessel. Henry realized that the soldiers on shore were the men of the new Yorkist king, Richard III of England, and so he decided to abandon the invasion and return to Brittany. As for Henry's main conspirator in England, Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, he was convicted of treason and beheaded on 2 November 1483, way before Henry's ships landed in England.For Henry's conspiracy against King Richard III had been unravelled, and without the Duke of Buckingham or Henry Tudor, the rebellion was easily crushed.
Survivors of the failed uprising then fled to Brittany, where they openly supported Henry Tudor's claim to the throne.On Christmas Day in 1483 at the Rennes Cathedral, Henry swore an oath to marry King Edward IV's daughter, Elizabeth of York, and thus unite the warring houses of York and Lancaster. Henry's rising prominence made him a great threat to King Richard III, and the Yorkist king made several overtures to Duke Francis II to surrender the young Lancastrian. Francis II refused, holding out for the possibility of better terms from the King. In mid-1484, Francis was incapacitated by one of his periods of illness, and while recuperating, his treasurer, Pierre Landais, took over the reins of government. Landais reached an agreement with King Richard III to send Henry and his uncle Jasper back to England in exchange for a pledge of 3,000 English archers to defend Brittany against a threatened French attack. John Morton, a bishop of Flanders, learned of the scheme and warned the Tudors in time. The Tudors then managed to separately escape, hours ahead of Landais' soldiers, across the nearby border into France. They were received at the court of King Charles VIII of France, who allowed them to stay and provided them with resources. Shortly afterwards, when Francis II had recovered, he offered the 400 remaining Lancastrians, still at and around the Château de Suscinio, safe-conduct into France and even paid for their expenses. For the French, the Tudors were useful pawns to ensure that King Richard III did not interfere with French plans to acquire Brittany. Thus, the loss of the Lancastrians seriously played against the interests of Francis II.
Circa 1136, King Stephen of England named Alan of Penthièvre of Brittany (also known as Alan the Black) the 1st Earl of Richmond. After Alan, the title and its possessions (the Honour of Richmond) were typically bestowed upon the Dukes of Brittany, with a few interruptions, through the ducal reign of John IV, which ended in 1399. After John IV, the English kings would bestow the title Earl of Richmond on nobles other than the Dukes of Brittany, including Edmund Tudor, Henry Tudor's father. However the dukes of Brittany from John V through Francis II would continue to use the titulary Earl of Richmond. It is possible that Francis willed whatever remained of his claims to the earldom and the Honour of Richmond to Henry Tudor. On successfully gaining the English crown after the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, Henry VII merged the earldom and its possessions into the crown.
This section needs additional citations for verification .(January 2019)
Louis XI was renowned as a cunning adversary and a master at diplomacy, if not the military arts. His contemporary nickname was "The Universal Spider," reflecting his constant political plotting.
Francis II became a member of the League of the Public Weal.This was an alliance of feudal nobles organized in 1465 in defiance of the centralized authority of King Louis XI of France, whose declared aim was to enlarge the French royal domain by annexing all of the duchies – Burgundy, Berry, Normandy, Orléans, Brittany, etc. 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.
In 1467 Charles the Bold inherited the Duchy of Burgundy, which held fiefs in France that included the counties of Artois and Flanders, and the Imperial lands of Holland, Brabant, and Luxembourg. As Duke of Burgundy, Charles aspired to forge a kingdom of his own between France and Germany, approximating the former domains of the Frankish Emperor Lothair I. In pursuit of this goal, Charles was killed in 1477 at the Battle of Nancy against René II, Duke of Lorraine and a hired army of Swiss mercenaries, and Louis was saved from his greatest adversary. The great Duchy of Burgundy was then absorbed into the Kingdom of France, and the League of the Public Weal was essentially defeated, although several members would re-ally for the Mad War in 1485.
The fortunes of Francis II and Brittany would continue to deteriorate after Louis XI's death in 1483, as his daughter Anne of France would serve as regent for putative successor Charles VIII.
Francis II was anxious to maintain his duchy's autonomy during the minority of Charles VIII of France. He aligned himself with Louis, the Duke of Orléans (the future Louis XII) and Charles, Count of Angoulême, against the regency of Anne of France. She had been pursuing the same underhand politics towards Brittany as her father Louis XI.
In focusing on relations with his neighbour France, however, Francis II neglected his own realm. His corrupt and oppressive prime minister, Guillaume Chauvin, who was overthrown by treasurer general Pierre Landais in 1477, died in prison on 5 April 1484. A large part of the nobility had been bribed by Anne and Charles and supported them in their eagerness to subjugate Brittany. These nobles performed a coup d'état ousting Landais, who was eventually hanged in 1485.
In 1486, the Estates of Brittany confirmed Francis' daughter Anne and heir and successor to further assure the Duchy's autonomy from France. The Treaty of Chateaubriant was signed with France in 1487 and reaffirmed Brittany's autonomy. Despite the Treaty of Chateaubriant, however, the French continued to harass the Duchy. Under the leadership of Louis II de la Trémoille, the French royal army struck against Vannes and Fougères, controlling access to Brittany.
Francis II then allied with Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, against France. Alain d'Albret, a rebel lord, believing he would marry Francis' daughter Anne, reinforced the Breton army with 5000 troops supplied by the king of Spain. Maximilian I of Austria also sent 1500 men, and Edward Woodville, Lord Scales, brought over a force of archers from Britain.However Brittany was defeated 28 July 1488 in the Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier. This battle also destroyed the power-base of the warring noble leaders as Edward Woodville was killed, and Louis of Orléans and Jean, Prince of Orange were captured. Alain d'Albret and the Maréchal de Rieux succeeded in escaping, and played an important part in continuing the conflict.
A few days later, on 10 August, Francis was forced to sign the Treaty of Verger. Under the terms of the treaty, the duke was compelled to submit himself and his duchy as a vassal of the king of France, and to expel foreign princes and troops from Brittany. It also restricted his ability to marry his children to suitors of his choosing and required that he cede territory in Saint-Malo, Fougères, Dinan, and Saint-Aubin to the king as a guarantee that in the absence of a male successor the king would determine the succession. Francis died a few months later as a result of a fall from his horse during a leisurely ride. He left only a daughter, Anne of Brittany, so the treaty was used to force her, as his successor, to marry Charles VIII, and later Louis XII. Despite the French victory and the signing of the treaty, la Guerre Folle dragged on beyond Francis II's death for three more years until December 1491, when Anne married Charles VIII.
Francis II is interred in an elaborate tomb in the Nantes Cathedral. His tomb was commissioned by his daughter Anne, and is an important early example of Renaissance sculpture in France.
Francis II was married twice.
His first wife was Margaret of Brittany, the eldest daughter of Francis I, Duke of Brittany (his first cousin) and Isabella of Scotland. They had one son who died shortly after his birth:
His second wife was Margaret of Foix, Princess of Navarre, daughter of Gaston IV, Count of Foix and Queen Eleanor of Navarre. They had two children:
Francis II also had five illegitimate children with Antoinette de Maignelais, the former mistress of King Charles VII of France.
Breton nobles acted to safeguard Anne as their Duchess and to protect the Duchy's autonomy for which Francis had fought so hard. In 1489 these nobles signed the Treaty of Redon with Henry VII; that treaty between Brittany and England was intended to prevent the annexation of Brittany by France. However, in 1491 Charles VIII of France invaded Brittany and forced Anne to marry him, [ citation needed ]thereby gaining control of the duchy. Then in 1492 Henry VII signed the Treaty of Etaples with France, effectively removing England's defense of Breton autonomy in return for promises from the French to no longer support Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the English throne, and to pay a war indemnity. The duchy's autonomy was all but lost as the process of merging it into the French crown began, and Brittany's strongest ally was neutralized. Anne, however, became a formidable queen consort and fought to preserve Brittany's autonomy and Francis II's legacy for herself, the Breton people, and her descendants.
|Ancestors of Francis II, Duke of Brittany|
Henry VII was the King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizure of the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death in 1509. He was the first monarch of the House of Tudor.
The Duchy of Brittany was a medieval feudal state that existed between approximately 939 and 1547. Its territory covered the northwestern peninsula of Europe, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the English Channel to the north. It was also less definitively bordered by the Loire River to the south, and Normandy, and other French provinces, to the east. The Duchy was established after the expulsion of Viking armies from the region around 939. The Duchy, in the 10th and 11th centuries, was politically unstable, with the dukes holding only limited power outside their own personal lands. The Duchy had mixed relationships with the neighbouring Duchy of Normandy, sometimes allying itself with Normandy, and at other times, such as the Breton-Norman War, entering into open conflict.
Constance was Duchess of Brittany from 1166 to her death in 1201 and Countess of Richmond from 1171 to 1201. Constance was the daughter of Duke Conan IV by his wife, Margaret of Huntingdon, a sister of the Scottish kings Malcolm IV and William I.
Anne of Brittany was Duchess of Brittany from 1488 until her death, and queen consort of France from 1491 to 1498 and from 1499 to her death. She is the only woman to have been queen consort of France twice. During the Italian Wars, Anne also became queen consort of Naples, from 1501 to 1504, and duchess consort of Milan, in 1499–1500 and from 1500 to 1512.
The now-extinct title of Earl of Richmond was created many times in the Peerage of England. The earldom of Richmond was initially held by various Breton nobles associated with the Ducal crown of Brittany; sometimes the holder was the Breton Duke himself, including one member of the cadet branch of the French Capetian dynasty. The historical ties between the Ducal crown of Brittany and this English Earldom were maintained ceremonially by the Breton dukes even after England ceased to recognize the Breton Dukes as Earls of England and those dukes rendered homage to the King of France, rather than the English crown. It was then held either by members of the English royal families of Plantagenet and Tudor, or English nobles closely associated with the English crown. It was eventually merged into the English crown during the reign of Henry VII and has been recreated as a Dukedom.
Claude of France was a queen consort of France by marriage to Francis I. She was also ruling Duchess of Brittany from 1514. She was a daughter of the French king Louis XII of France and the duchess regnant Anne of Brittany.
In the 11th and 12th centuries the Countship of Penthièvre in Brittany belonged to a branch of the sovereign House of Brittany. It initially belonged to the House of Rennes. Alan III, Duke of Brittany, gave it to his brother Eudes in 1035, and his descendants formed a cadet branch of the ducal house.
Francis III was Duke of Brittany and Dauphin of Viennois. He was the first son of King Francis I of France and Duchess Claude of Brittany.
The House of Montfort was a Breton-French noble family, which reigned in the Duchy of Brittany from 1365 to 1514. It was a cadet branch of the House of Dreux; it was thus ultimately part of the Capetian dynasty. It should not be confused with the older House of Montfort which ruled as Counts of Montfort-l'Amaury.
The Château de Suscinio or de Susinio is a Breton castle, built in the late Middle Ages, to be the residence of the Dukes of Brittany. It is located in the commune of Sarzeau in the département of Morbihan, near the coast of the Atlantic ocean. The spectacular site comprises the moated castle, a ruined chapel, a dovecote, and a few ruined outbuildings.
The Treaty of Sablé was signed on 20 August 1488 in Sablé between Duke Francis II of Brittany and Charles VIII of France. The original Treaty of Sable was written between the Duke of Brittany and Charles VI of France shortly before his death. At the end of the life of Henry V, the throne of France went to his baby son, Henry VI of England and France. A year after the signing of Sable the treaty was reneged upon in favour of a tripartite alliance at Amiens with Burgundy and England. The town of Sable was therefore chosen for a summit in 1488 when the duchy was forced to do homage to the King of France for the last time. The duchy was later merged into the kingdom. The Duke who under the terms of the treaty, was integrated a member of the French nobility, died on 9 September 1488.
The Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier took place on 28 July 1488, between the forces of King Charles VIII of France, and those of Francis II, Duke of Brittany, and his allies. The defeat of the latter signalled the end to the "guerre folle", a feudal conflict in which French aristocrats revolted against royal power during the regency of Anne de Beaujeu. It also effectively precipitated the end of the independence of Brittany from France.
The Mad War was a late medieval conflict between a coalition of feudal lords and the French monarchy. It occurred during the regency of Anne of Beaujeu in the period after the death of Louis XI and before the majority of Charles VIII. The war began in 1485 and ended in 1488.
John IV of Chalon-Arlay or John of Chalon was a prince of Orange and lord of Arlay. He played an important role in the Mad War, a series of conflicts in which aristocrats sought to resist the expansion and centralisation of power under the French monarch.
The union of Brittany and France was a critical step in the formation of modern-day France. Brittany had been a semi-independent component of the Kingdom of France since Clovis I was given authority over the Gallo-Roman domain during the 5th century. It was first recorded as a "duchy" during the rule of Nominoe in 846. Over the centuries, the fealty demonstrated by the Duchy of Brittany toward the French king depended significantly on the individuals holding the two titles, as well as the involvement of the English monarchy at that particular time. The reign of Francis II, Duke of Brittany, was at an especially crucial time, as the nobles struggled to maintain their autonomy against the increasing central authority desired by Louis XI of France. As a result of several wars, treaties, and papal decisions, Brittany was united with France through the eventual marriage of Louis XI's son Charles VIII to the heiress of Brittany, Anne in 1491. However, because of the different systems of inheritance between the two realms, the crown and the duchy were not held by the same hereditary claimant until the reign of Henry II, beginning 1547.
Pierre Landais (1430-1485) was a Breton politician who became the principal adviser and chief minister to Francis II, Duke of Brittany. Francis left Landais in control of the affairs of the duchy, producing resentment among local barons, who finally secured the overthrow of Landais' régime. The rise and fall of Landais undermined Francis' position and prepared the way for the annexation of Brittany by France.
The Wars of the Roses were a series of civil wars fought over control of the English throne in the mid-to-late fifteenth century, fought between supporters of two rival cadet branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: Lancaster and York. The wars extinguished the male lines of the two dynasties, leading to the Tudor family inheriting the Lancastrian claim. Following the war, the Houses of Tudor and York were united, creating a new royal dynasty, thereby resolving the rival claims.
Buckingham's rebellion was a failed but significant uprising, or collection of uprisings, of October 1483 in England and parts of Wales against Richard III of England.
Anne de Bretagne is a rock opera by Alan Simon, based on the life of Anne of Brittany. The story follows the historical events that made her the last Duchess of independent Brittany and twice-crowned queen of France.
The French–Breton War lasted from 1487 to 1491. The cause of this war was the approaching death of the Breton Duke Francis II of Brittany, who had no clear successor. If not resolved, this meant a resumption of issues from a previous War of the Breton Succession (1341–1364), which had rival claimants allying with England or France, resulting in an ambiguous peace treaty that failed to prevent future succession disputes.