Henry IV of France

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Henry IV
Henri-le-Grand.jpg
King of France
Reign2 August 1589 – 14 May 1610
Coronation 27 February 1594
Chartres Cathedral
Predecessor Henry III
Successor Louis XIII
King of Navarre
Reign9 June 1572 – 14 May 1610
Predecessor Jeanne III
Successor Louis II
Born13 December 1553
Pau, Kingdom of Navarre
Died14 May 1610(1610-05-14) (aged 56)
Paris, Kingdom of France
Burial1 July 1610
Basilica of St Denis, Paris, France
Spouse
Issue
Full name
French: Henri de Bourbon
House Bourbon
Father Antoine of Navarre
Mother Jeanne III of Navarre
Signature Signature of Henry IV of France.svg
Royal styles of
King Henry IV
Par la grâce de Dieu, Roi de France et de Navarre
France moderne.svg
Reference style His Most Christian Majesty
Spoken styleYour Most Christian Majesty
Alternative styleSire

Henry IV (French : Henri IV, read as Henri-Quatre [ɑ̃ʁi katʁ] ; 13 December 1553 – 14 May 1610), also known by the epithet Good King Henry or Henry the Great, was King of Navarre (as Henry III) from 1572 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac, a fanatical Catholic, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIII. [1]

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

House of Bourbon European royal house of French origin

The House of Bourbon is a European royal house of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty. Bourbon kings first ruled France and Navarre in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma. Spain and Luxembourg currently have monarchs of the House of Bourbon.

The Capetian dynasty, also known as the House of France, is a dynasty of Frankish origin, founded by Hugh Capet. It is among the largest and oldest royal houses in Europe and the world, and consists of Hugh Capet's male-line descendants. 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 until the French Revolution.

Contents

The son of Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme and Jeanne d'Albret, the Queen of Navarre, Henry was baptised as a Catholic but raised in the Protestant faith by his mother. He inherited the throne of Navarre in 1572 on his mother's death. As a Huguenot, Henry was involved in the French Wars of Religion, barely escaping assassination in the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. He later led Protestant forces against the royal army. [2]

Antoine of Navarre French king consort

Antoine was the King of Navarre through his marriage to Queen Jeanne III, from 1555 until his death. He was the first monarch of the House of Bourbon, of which he was head from 1537. He was the father of Henry IV of France.

Jeanne dAlbret Queen regnant of Navarre

Jeanne d'Albret, also known as Jeanne III, was the queen regnant of Navarre from 1555 to 1572. She married Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme, and was the mother of Henri de Bourbon, who became King Henry III of Navarre and IV of France, the first Bourbon king of France. She became the Duchess of Vendôme by marriage.

Protestantism Biggest Heresy within Christianity

Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.

Henry IV and his predecessor Henry III of France are both direct descendants of the Saint-King Louis IX. Henry III belonged to the House of Valois, descended from Philip III of France, elder son of Saint Louis; Henry IV belonged to the House of Bourbon, descended from Robert, Count of Clermont, younger son of Saint Louis. As Head of the House of Bourbon, Henry was "first prince of the blood". Upon the death of his brother-in-law and distant cousin Henry III in 1589, Henry was called to the French succession by the Salic law.

Henry III of France King of Poland and France

Henry III was King of France from 1574 until his death and also King of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1573 to 1575. Henry was the thirteenth king from the House of Valois, the sixth from the Valois-Orléans branch, the fifth from the Valois-Orléans-Angoulême branch, and the last male of his dynasty.

House of Valois cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty

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 III of France King of France, 1270 to 1285

Philip III, called the Bold, was King of France from 1270 to 1285, the tenth from the House of Capet.

He initially kept the Protestant faith (the only French king to do so) and had to fight against the Catholic League, which denied that he could wear France's crown as a Protestant. To obtain mastery over his kingdom, after four years of stalemate, he found it prudent to abjure the Calvinist faith. As a pragmatic politician (in the parlance of the time, a politique ), he displayed an unusual religious tolerance for the era. Notably, he promulgated the Edict of Nantes (1598), which guaranteed religious liberties to Protestants, thereby effectively ending the Wars of Religion.

Catholic League (French) organization

The Catholic League of France, sometimes referred to by contemporary Catholics as the Holy League, was a major participant in the French Wars of Religion. Formed by Henry I, Duke of Guise, in 1576, the League intended the eradication of Protestants—mainly Calvinists or Huguenots—out of Catholic France during the Protestant Reformation, as well as the replacement of King Henry III.

Abjuration is the solemn repudiation, abandonment, or renunciation by or upon oath, often the renunciation of citizenship or some other right or privilege. The term comes from the Latin abjurare, "to forswear".

Politique member of a moderate group during the French Wars of Religion

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, politiques were those in a position of power who put the success and well-being of their state above all else. During the Wars of Religion, this included moderates of both religious faiths who held that only the restoration of a strong monarchy could save France from total collapse, as rulers would often overlook religious differences in order to have a strong country. References to individuals as politique often had a pejorative connotation of moral or religious indifference. The concept gained great currency after 1568 with the appearance of the radical Catholic League calling for the eradication of Protestantism in France, and by 1588 the politiques were seen by detractors as an organized group and treated as worse than heretics.

Considered a usurper by some Catholics and a traitor by some Protestants, Henry became target of at least 12 assassination attempts. [3] An unpopular king among his contemporaries, Henry gained more status after his death. [4] He was admired for his repeated victories over his enemies and his conversion to Catholicism. The "Good King Henry" (le bon roi Henri) was remembered for his geniality and his great concern about the welfare of his subjects. [2] An active ruler, he worked to regularise state finance, promote agriculture, eliminate corruption and encourage education. During his reign, [5] the French colonization of the Americas truly began with the foundation of the colony of Acadia and its capital Port-Royal. He was celebrated in the popular song "Vive le roi Henri" (which later became an anthem for the French monarchy during the reigns of his successors) and in Voltaire's Henriade .

French colonization of the Americas part of Frances colonial empire

The French colonization of the Americas began in the 16th century, and continued on into the following centuries as France established a colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere. France founded colonies in much of eastern North America, on a number of Caribbean islands, and in South America. Most colonies were developed to export products such as fish, rice, sugar, and furs.

Acadia colony of New France in northeastern North America

Acadia was a colony of New France in northeastern North America that included parts of eastern Quebec, the Maritime provinces, and modern-day Maine to the Kennebec River. During much of the 17th and early 18th centuries, Norridgewock on the Kennebec River and Castine at the end of the Penobscot River were the southernmost settlements of Acadia. The actual specification by the French government for the territory refers to lands bordering the Atlantic coast, roughly between the 40th and 46th parallels. Later, the territory was divided into the British colonies that became Canadian provinces and American states. The population of Acadia included members of the Wabanaki Confederacy and descendants of emigrants from France. The two communities intermarried, which resulted in a significant portion of the population of Acadia being Métis.

Port-Royal National Historic Site historic site in Nova Scotia, Canada

Port-Royal National Historic Site is a National Historic Site located on the north bank of the Annapolis Basin in the community of Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The site is the location of the Habitation at Port-Royal.

Early life

Childhood and adolescence

Henry III of France on his deathbed designating Henry IV of Navarre as his successor (1589) Henry III on his deathbed designating Henri de Navarre as his successor.jpg
Henry III of France on his deathbed designating Henry IV of Navarre as his successor (1589)

Henry de Bourbon was born in Pau, the capital of the joint Kingdom of Navarre with the sovereign principality of Béarn. [6] His parents were Queen Joan III of Navarre (Jeanne d'Albret) and her consort, Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme, King of Navarre. [7] Although baptised as a Roman Catholic, Henry was raised as a Protestant by his mother, [8] who had declared Calvinism the religion of Navarre. As a teenager, Henry joined the Huguenot forces in the French Wars of Religion. On 9 June 1572, upon his mother's death, the 19-year-old became King of Navarre. [9]

Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques Prefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Pau is a commune on the northern edge of the Pyrenees, and capital of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Département in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France.

Kingdom of Navarre medieval kingdom that occupied lands on either side of the western Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean

The Kingdom of Navarre, originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a Basque-based kingdom that occupied lands on either side of the western Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean between present-day Spain and France.

Viscounty of Béarn

The Viscounty, later Principality, of Béarn was a medieval lordship in the far south of France, part of the Duchy of Gascony from the late ninth century. In 1347 the viscount refused to acknowledge the suzerainty of the French king and declared Béarn an independent principality. It later entered a personal union with the Kingdom of Navarre in 1479 and with France in 1589. In 1620 the prince formally incorporated Béarn as a province of France.

First marriage and Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre

At Queen Joan's death, it was arranged for Henry to marry Margaret of Valois, daughter of Henry II and Catherine de' Medici. The wedding took place in Paris on 18 August 1572 [10] on the parvis of Notre Dame Cathedral.

On 24 August, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre began in Paris. Several thousand Protestants who had come to Paris for Henry's wedding were killed, as well as thousands more throughout the country in the days that followed. Henry narrowly escaped death thanks to the help of his wife and his promise to convert to Catholicism. He was forced to live at the court of France, but he escaped in early 1576. On 5 February of that year, he formally abjured Catholicism at Tours and rejoined the Protestant forces in the military conflict. [9] He named his 16-year-old sister, Catherine de Bourbon, regent of Béarn. Catherine held the regency for nearly thirty years.

Wars of Religion

Henry IV at the Battle of Arques Henri IV a la bataille d'Arques 21 septembre 1589.jpeg
Henry IV at the Battle of Arques
Henry IV at the Battle of Ivry, by Peter Paul Rubens Ivryrubens.jpg
Henry IV at the Battle of Ivry , by Peter Paul Rubens
Henry IV, as Hercules, vanquishing the Lernaean Hydra (i.e. the Catholic League), by Toussaint Dubreuil, c. 1600 Henry IV en Herculeus terrassant l Hydre de Lerne cad La ligue Catholique Atelier Toussaint Dubreuil circa 1600.jpg
Henry IV, as Hercules, vanquishing the Lernaean Hydra (i.e. the Catholic League), by Toussaint Dubreuil, c. 1600

Henry became heir presumptive to the French throne in 1584 upon the death of Francis, Duke of Anjou, brother and heir to the Catholic Henry III, who had succeeded Charles IX in 1574. Given that Henry of Navarre was the next senior agnatic descendant of King Louis IX, King Henry III had no choice but to recognise him as the legitimate successor. [11] Salic law barred the king's sisters and all others who could claim descent through only the female line from inheriting. Since Henry of Navarre was a Huguenot, the issue was not considered settled in many quarters of the country, and France was plunged into a phase of the Wars of Religion known as the War of the Three Henries. Henry III and Henry of Navarre were two of these Henries. The third was Henry I, Duke of Guise, who pushed for complete suppression of the Huguenots and had much support among Catholic loyalists. Political disagreements among the parties set off a series of campaigns and counter-campaigns that culminated in the Battle of Coutras. [12]

In December 1588, Henry III had Henry I of Guise murdered, [13] along with his brother, Louis, Cardinal de Guise. [14] Henry III thought the removal of the brothers would finally restore his authority. However, the populace was horrified and rose against him. The title of the king was no longer recognized in several cities; his power was limited to Blois, Tours, and the surrounding districts. In the general chaos, Henry III relied on King Henry of Navarre and his Huguenots.

The two kings were united by a common interest—to win France from the Catholic League. Henry III acknowledged the King of Navarre as a true subject and Frenchman, not a fanatic Huguenot aiming for the destruction of Catholics. Catholic royalist nobles also rallied to the king's standard. With this combined force, the two kings marched to Paris. The morale of the city was low, and even the Spanish ambassador believed the city could not hold out longer than a fortnight. But Henry III was assassinated shortly thereafter, on 2 August 1589, by a fanatical monk. [15]

When Henry III died, Henry of Navarre nominally became king of France. The Catholic League, however, strengthened by support from outside the country—especially from Spain—was strong enough to prevent a universal recognition of his new title. The Pope excommunicated Henry and declared him devoid of any right to inherit the crown. [16] Most of the Catholic nobles who had joined Henry III for the siege of Paris also refused to recognize the claim of Henry of Navarre, and abandoned him. He set about winning his kingdom by military conquest, aided by English money and German troops. Henry's Catholic uncle Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon was proclaimed king by the League, but the Cardinal was Henry's prisoner at the time. [17] Henry was victorious at the Battle of Arques and the Battle of Ivry, but failed to take Paris after besieging it in 1590. [18]

When Cardinal de Bourbon died in 1590, the League could not agree on a new candidate. While some supported various Guise candidates, the strongest candidate was probably the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain, the daughter of Philip II of Spain, whose mother Elisabeth had been the eldest daughter of Henry II of France. [19] In the religious fervor of the time, the Infanta was recognized to be a suitable candidate, provided that she marry a suitable husband. The French overwhelmingly rejected Philip's first choice, Archduke Ernest of Austria, the Emperor's brother, also a member of the House of Habsburg. In case of such opposition, Philip indicated that princes of the House of Lorraine would be acceptable to him: the Duke of Guise; a son of the Duke of Lorraine; and the son of the Duke of Mayenne. The Spanish ambassadors selected the Duke of Guise, to the joy of the League. However, at that moment of seeming victory, the envy of the Duke of Mayenne was aroused, and he blocked the proposed election of a king.

Jeton with portrait of King Henry IV, made in Nuremberg (Germany) by Hans Laufer France Nuremberg King Henri IV jeton Hans Laufer.jpg
Jeton with portrait of King Henry IV, made in Nuremberg (Germany) by Hans Laufer

The Parlement of Paris also upheld the Salic law. They argued that if the French accepted natural hereditary succession, as proposed by the Spaniards, and accepted a woman as their queen, then the ancient claims of the English kings would be confirmed, and the monarchy of centuries past would be nothing but an illegality. [20] The Parlement admonished Mayenne, as Lieutenant-General, that the Kings of France had resisted the interference of the Pope in political matters, and that he should not raise a foreign prince or princess to the throne of France under the pretext of religion. Mayenne was angered that he had not been consulted prior to this admonishment, but yielded, since their aim was not contrary to his present views.

Despite these setbacks for the League, Henry remained unable to take control of Paris.

"Paris is well worth a Mass"

Entrance of Henry IV in Paris, 22 March 1594, with 1,500 cuirassiers Entrance of Henry IV in Paris 22 March 1594.jpg
Entrance of Henry IV in Paris, 22 March 1594, with 1,500 cuirassiers

On 25 July 1593, with the encouragement of his great love, Gabrielle d'Estrées, Henry permanently renounced Protestantism and converted to Roman Catholicism—in order to obtain the French crown, thereby earning the resentment of the Huguenots and his former ally Queen Elizabeth I of England. He was said to have declared that Paris vaut bien une messe ("Paris is well worth a mass"), [21] [22] [23] although there is some doubt whether he said this, or whether the statement was attributed to him by his contemporaries. [24] [25] His acceptance of Roman Catholicism secured the allegiance of the vast majority of his subjects.

Since Reims, the traditional location for the coronation of French kings, was still occupied by the Catholic League, Henry was crowned King of France at the Cathedral of Chartres on 27 February 1594. [26] Pope Clement VIII removed the ban of excommunication from Henry on 17 September 1595. [27] He did not forget his former Calvinist coreligionists, however and was known for his religious tolerance. In 1598 he issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted circumscribed toleration to the Huguenots. [28]

Second marriage

Henry IV and Marie de' Medici Medaille en argent d'Henri IV et Marie de Medicis.jpg
Henry IV and Marie de' Médici

Henry's first marriage was not a happy one, and the couple remained childless. Henry and Margaret separated even before Henry acceded to the throne in August 1589. Margaret lived for many years in the Château d'Usson in the Auvergne. After Henry became king of France, it was of the utmost importance that he provide an heir to the crown to avoid the problem of a disputed succession. Henry favoured the idea of obtaining an annulment of his marriage to Margaret and taking his mistress Gabrielle d'Estrées as his bride; after all, she had already borne him three children. Henry's councillors strongly opposed this idea, but the matter was resolved unexpectedly by Gabrielle's sudden death in the early hours of 10 April 1599, after she had given birth to a premature and stillborn son. His marriage to Margaret was annulled in 1599, and Henry married Marie de' Medici in 1600.

For the royal entry of Marie into Avignon on 19 November 1600, the citizens bestowed on Henry the title of the Hercule Gaulois ("Gallic Hercules"), justifying the extravagant flattery with a genealogy that traced the origin of the House of Navarre to a nephew of Hercules' son Hispalus. [29]

Achievements of his reign

Henri IV on Horseback Trampling his Enemy. Bronze, circa 1615-1620. From France, probably Paris. Victoria and Albert Museum, London Henri IV on Horseback Trampling his Enemy. Bronze, circa 1615-1620 CE. From France, probably Paris. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London.jpg
Henri IV on Horseback Trampling his Enemy. Bronze, circa 1615-1620. From France, probably Paris. Victoria and Albert Museum, London

During his reign, Henry IV worked through his faithful right-hand man, the minister Maximilien de Béthune, Duke of Sully, to regularize state finance, promote agriculture, drain swamps, undertake public works, and encourage education. He established the Collège Royal Henri-le-Grand in La Flèche (today the Prytanée Militaire de la Flèche). He and Sully protected forests from further devastation, built a system of tree-lined highways, and constructed bridges and canals. He had a 1200-metre canal built in the park at the Château Fontainebleau (which may be fished today) and ordered the planting of pines, elms, and fruit trees. He used one construction project to attract attention to his power. When building the Pont-Neuf, a bridge in Paris, he placed a statue of himself in the middle. [30]

Itinerary of Francois Pyrard de Laval, (1601-1611) Itineraire de Pyrard de Laval.JPG
Itinerary of François Pyrard de Laval, (1601–1611)

The King restored Paris as a great city, with the Pont Neuf, which still stands today, constructed over the river Seine to connect the Right and Left Banks of the city. Henry IV also had the Place Royale built (since 1800 known as Place des Vosges), and added the Grande Galerie to the Louvre Palace. More than 400 metres long and thirty-five metres wide, this huge addition was built along the bank of the Seine River. At the time it was the longest edifice of its kind in the world. King Henry IV, a promoter of the arts by all classes of people, invited hundreds of artists and craftsmen to live and work on the building's lower floors. This tradition continued for another two hundred years, until Emperor Napoleon I banned it. The art and architecture of his reign have become known as the "Henry IV style" since that time.

King Henry's vision extended beyond France, and he financed several expeditions of Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts and Samuel de Champlain [2] to North America. France laid claim to New France (now Canada). [31]

International relations under Henry IV

Engraving of Henry IV Emanuel van Meteren Historie ppn 051504510 MG 8766 Hendrik III van Frankrijk.tif
Engraving of Henry IV
Demi-ecu coin of Henry IV, Saint Lo (1589) Henri IV demi ecu Saint Lo 1589.jpg
Demi-écu coin of Henry IV, Saint Lô (1589)

During the reign of Henry IV, rivalry continued among France, the Habsburg rulers of Spain, and the Holy Roman Empire for the mastery of Western Europe. The conflict was not resolved until after the Thirty Years' War.

Spain and Italy

During Henry's struggle for the crown, Spain had been the principal backer of the Catholic League, and it tried to thwart Henry. Under the Duke of Parma, an army from the Spanish Netherlands intervened in 1590 against Henry and foiled his siege of Paris. Another Spanish army helped the nobles opposing Henry to win the Battle of Craon against his troops in 1592.

After Henry's coronation, the war continued because there was an official tug-of-war between the French and Spanish states, but after victory at the Siege of Amiens in September 1597 the Peace of Vervins was signed in 1598. This enabled him to turn his attention to Savoy, with which he also had been fighting. Their conflicts were settled in the Treaty of Lyon of 1601, which mandated territorial exchanges between France and the Duchy of Savoy.

Germany

In 1609 Henry's intervention helped to settle the War of the Jülich Succession through diplomatic means.

It was widely believed that in 1610 Henry was preparing to go to war against the Holy Roman Empire. The preparations were terminated by his assassination, however, and the subsequent rapprochement with Spain under the regency of Marie de' Medici.

Ottoman Empire

Bilingual Franco-Turkish translation of the 1604 Franco-Ottoman Capitulations between Sultan Ahmed I and Henry IV of France, published by Francois Savary de Breves (1615) Savary Franco Ottoman Capitulations 1615.jpg
Bilingual Franco-Turkish translation of the 1604 Franco-Ottoman Capitulations between Sultan Ahmed I and Henry IV of France, published by François Savary de Brèves (1615)

Even before Henry's accession to the French throne, the French Huguenots were in contact with Aragonese Moriscos in plans against the Habsburg government of Spain in the 1570s. [33] Around 1575, plans were made for a combined attack of Aragonese Moriscos and Huguenots from Béarn under Henry against Spanish Aragon, in agreement with the king of Algiers and the Ottoman Empire, but this project floundered with the arrival of John of Austria in Aragon and the disarmament of the Moriscos. [34] [35] In 1576, a three-pronged fleet from Constantinople was planned to disembark between Murcia and Valencia while the French Huguenots would invade from the north and the Moriscos accomplish their uprising, but the Ottoman fleet failed to arrive. [34] After his crowning, Henry continued the policy of a Franco-Ottoman alliance and received an embassy from Sultan Mehmed III in 1601. [36] [37] In 1604, a "Peace Treaty and Capitulation" was signed between Henry IV and the Ottoman Sultan Ahmet I. It granted numerous advantages to France in the Ottoman Empire. [37]

In 1606–07, Henry IV sent Arnoult de Lisle as Ambassador to Morocco to obtain the observance of past friendship treaties. An embassy was sent to Tunisia in 1608 led by François Savary de Brèves. [38]

East Asia

During the reign of Henry IV, various enterprises were set up to develop trade with faraway lands. In December 1600, a company was formed through the association of Saint-Malo, Laval, and Vitré to trade with the Moluccas and Japan. [39] Two ships, the Croissant and the Corbin, were sent around the Cape of Good Hope in May 1601. One was wrecked in the Maldives, leading to the adventure of François Pyrard de Laval, who managed to return to France in 1611. [39] [40] The second ship, carrying François Martin de Vitré, reached Ceylon and traded with Aceh in Sumatra, but was captured by the Dutch on the return leg at Cape Finisterre. [39] [40] François Martin de Vitré was the first Frenchman to write an account of travels to the Far East in 1604, at the request of Henry IV, and from that time numerous accounts on Asia would be published. [41]

From 1604 to 1609, following the return of François Martin de Vitré, Henry developed a strong enthusiasm for travel to Asia and attempted to set up a French East India Company on the model of England and the Netherlands. [40] [41] [42] On 1 June 1604, he issued letters patent to Dieppe merchants to form the Dieppe Company, giving them exclusive rights to Asian trade for 15 years. No ships were sent, however, until 1616. [39] In 1609, another adventurer, Pierre-Olivier Malherbe, returned from a circumnavigation of the globe and informed Henry of his adventures. [41] He had visited China and India, and had an encounter with Akbar. [41]

Character

Henry IV, Musee des Augustins Augustins - Henri IV, roi de France et de Navarre - Jacques Boulbene.jpg
Henry IV, Musée des Augustins

Henry IV proved to be a man of vision and courage.[ citation needed ] Instead of waging costly wars to suppress opposing nobles, Henry simply paid them off. As king, he adopted policies and undertook projects to improve the lives of all subjects, which made him one of the country's most popular rulers ever.

Henry is said to have originated the oft-repeated phrase "a chicken in every pot". [2] The context for that phrase:

Si Dieu me prête vie, je ferai qu'il n'y aura point de laboureur en mon royaume qui n'ait les moyens d'avoir le dimanche une poule dans son pot!

(If God keeps me, I will make sure that no peasant in my realm will lack the means to have a chicken in the pot on Sunday!)

This statement epitomises the peace and relative prosperity which Henry brought to France after decades of religious war, and demonstrates how well he understood the plight of the French worker and peasant farmer. This real concern for the living conditions of the "lowly" population—who in the final analysis provided the economic basis for the power of the king and the great nobles—was perhaps without parallel among the kings of France. Following his death Henry would be remembered fondly by most of the population.

Henry's forthright manner, physical courage, and military successes also contrasted dramatically with the sickly, effete languor of the last Valois kings, as evinced by his blunt assertion that he ruled with "weapon in hand and arse in the saddle" (on a le bras armé et le cul sur la selle). He was also a great philanderer, fathering many children by a number of mistresses. [2]

Nicknames

Henry was nicknamed "the Great" (Henri le Grand), and in France is also called le bon roi Henri ("the good king Henry") or le vert galant ("The Green Gallant", for his numerous mistresses). [2] [43] In English he is most often referred to as Henry of Navarre.

Assassination

Henry was the subject of numerous attempts on his life, one by Pierre Barrière in August 1593 [44] and Jean Châtel in December 1594. [45]

He was finally killed in Paris on 14 May 1610 by a Catholic fanatic, François Ravaillac, who stabbed him in the Rue de la Ferronnerie. Henry's coach was stopped by traffic congestion related to the Queen's coronation ceremony, as depicted in the engraving by Gaspar Bouttats. [46] [47] Hercule de Rohan, duc de Montbazon, was with him when he was killed; Montbazon was wounded, but survived. Henry was buried at the Saint Denis Basilica.

His widow, Marie de' Medici, served as regent for their nine-year-old son, Louis XIII, until 1617. [48]

Legacy

Henri IV, Marie de' Medici and family Fouquet et henri IV.jpg
Henri IV, Marie de' Medici and family

The reign of Henry IV was long remembered by the French people. A statue was erected in his honour at the Pont Neuf in 1614, four years after his death. Although this statue—along with other royal monuments—was torn down during the French Revolution, it was the first to be rebuilt, in 1818, and it stands today on the Pont Neuf. A cult surrounding the personality of Henry IV emerged during the Bourbon Restoration. The restored Bourbons were keen to play down the controversial reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI, and instead lauded the reign of the benevolent Henry IV. The song Marche Henri IV ("Long Live Henry IV") was popular during the Restoration. In addition, when Princess Caroline of Naples and Sicily (a descendant of his) gave birth to a male heir to the throne of France seven months after the assassination of her husband Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry, by a Republican fanatic, the boy was conspicuously named Henri in reference to his forefather Henry IV. The boy was also baptised in the traditional way of Béarn/Navarre, with a spoon of Jurançon wine and some garlic, imitating the quaint manner in which Henry IV had been baptised in Pau.

Henry IV's popularity continued when the first edition of his biography, Histoire du Roy Henry le Grand, was published in Amsterdam in 1661. It was written by Hardouin de Péréfixe de Beaumont, successively bishop of Rhodez and archbishop of Paris, primarily for the edification of Louis XIV, grandson of Henry IV. A translation into English was made by James Dauncey for another grandson, King Charles II of England. An English edition was published at London in 1663.

Henry served loosely as inspiration for the character of Ferdinand, King of Navarre in William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost . [49]

Genealogy

Ancestry

Patrilineal descent

Religion

Historians have been making the assertion that Henry IV was a convinced Calvinist, only changing his formal religious allegiance to adjust, suit or achieve his political goals.

Henry IV was baptized a Roman Catholic on January 5, 1554. He was raised Reformed by his mother Jeanne III of Navarre. In 1572, after the massacre of French Calvinists, he was forced by Catherine de' Medici and other powerful Roman Catholic royalty to convert. In 1576, as he managed to escape from Paris, he abjured Roman Catholicism and returned to Calvinism. In 1593, in order to become King of France rather than by his own beliefs, he converted again to Roman Catholicism. Although a formal Roman Catholic, he valued his Calvinist upbringing and was tolerant toward the Huguenots until his death in 1610, and issued the Edict of Nantes which granted many concessions to them.

Henry's religious affiliation by date:

None (1553; not baptized yet)
Roman Catholic (1554; at baptism) [51]
Reformed (1554-1572; raised Calvinist) [8]
Roman Catholic (1572-1576; forced conversion to Roman Catholicism) [9]
Reformed (1576-1593; returned to Calvinism) [9]
Roman Catholic (1593-1610; converted to Roman Catholicism for coronation) [21] [22]

Marriages and legitimate children

On 18 August 1572, Henry married his second cousin Margaret of Valois; their childless marriage was annulled in 1599. His subsequent marriage to Marie de' Medici on 17 December 1600 produced six children:

NameBirthDeathNotes
Louis XIII, King of France 27 September 160114 May 1643Married Anne of Austria in 1615
Elisabeth, Queen of Spain 22 November 16026 October 1644Married Philip IV, King of Spain, in 1615
Christine Marie, Duchess of Savoy 10 February 160627 December 1663Married Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy, in 1619
Nicolas Henri, Duke of Orléans 16 April 160717 November 1611
Gaston, Duke of Orléans 25 April 16082 February 1660Married (1) Marie de Bourbon, Duchess of Montpensier, in 1626
Married (2) Marguerite of Lorraine in 1632
Henrietta Maria, Queen of England, Queen of Scots, and Queen of Ireland 25 November 160910 September 1669Married Charles I, King of England, King of Scots and King of Ireland, in 1625

Armorial

The arms of Henry IV changed throughout his lifetime:

Notes

  1. Baird, Henry M., The Huguenots and Henry of Navarre, Vol. 2, (Charles Scribner's Sons:New York, 1886), p. 486
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Harris, Carolyn (August 2017). "The Queen's land". Canada's History. 97 (4): 34–43. ISSN   1920-9894.
  3. Pierre Miquel, Les Guerres de religion, Paris, Club France Loisirs (1980) ISBN   2-7242-0785-8, p. 399
  4. Le Figaro, "Henri IV, Dès sa mort, il entre dans la légende", 1 August 2009
  5. Acadia. Encyclopedia Britannica
  6. Urzainqui, T./Esarte, P./Et al., p. 17
  7. de La Croix, René, Duc de Castries, The Lives of the Kings and Queens of France, (Alfred A. Knopf:New York, 1979), p. 175
  8. 1 2 Henri IV Bourbon, Who's Who in Europe 1450 1750, ed. Henry Kamen, (Routledge, 2002), p. 145
  9. 1 2 3 4 Trevor N. Dupuy, Curt Johnson and David L. Bongard, Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography , (Castle Books, 1995), p. 326
  10. R.J. Knecht, Catherine de' Medici, (Longman, 1999), p. 153
  11. Baird, Henry M., The Huguenots and Henry of Navarre, Vol. 1, (Charles Scribner's Sons:New York, 1886), p. 269
  12. Baird, Vol 1, p. 431
  13. Baird, Vol 2, p. 96
  14. Baird, Vol 2, p. 103
  15. Baird, Vol. 2, pp. 156–157
  16. Ritter, Raymond; Tapié, Victor-Lucien. "Henry IV, King of France". Encyclopedia Britannica . Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  17. Baird, Vol. 2, p. 180
  18. Baird, Vol. 2, p. 181
  19. Holt, Mack P., The French Wars of Religion, 1562–2011, (Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 148
  20. Ranke, Leopold. Civil Wars and Monarchy in France, p. 467
  21. 1 2 Alistair Horne, Seven Ages of Paris, Random House (2004)
  22. 1 2 F.P.G. Guizot (1787–1874) A Popular History of France..., gutenberg.org
  23. Janel Mueller & Joshua Scodel, eds, Elizabeth I, University of Chicago Press (2009)
  24. G. de Berthier de Savigny in his Histoire de France (1977 p. 167) claims that the Calvinists in revenge attributed the phrase to him.
  25. Paul Desalmand & Yves Stallini, Petit Inventaire des Citations Malmenées (2009)[ page needed ]
  26. Robert J. Knecht, The French Civil Wars, (Pearson Education Limited, 2000), p. 269
  27. R. J. Knecht, The French Civil Wars, 1562-1598, (Routledge, 2013), 270.
  28. de La Croix, pp. 179–180
  29. The official account, Labyrinthe royal... quoted in Jean Seznec, The Survival of the Pagan Gods, (B.F. Sessions, tr., 1995) p. 26
  30. Jones, Colin (20 October 1994). The Cambridge Illustrated History of France (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 160. ISBN   978-0-521-43294-8.
  31. de La Croix, p. 182
  32. Bosworth, Clifford Edmund (1 January 1989). ',The Encyclopaedia of Islam: Fascicules 111–112: Masrah Mawlid', Clifford Edmund Bosworth, p.799. ISBN   978-9004092396 . Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  33. Kaplan, Benjamin J; Kaplan, Benjamin J; Emerson, Michael O (2007). Divided by Faith. p. 311. ISBN   9780674024304 . Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  34. 1 2 The Moriscos of Spain: their conversion and expulsion, Henry Charles Lea, p. 281
  35. L.P. Harvey (15 September 2008). Muslims in Spain, 1500 to 1614. p. 343. ISBN   9780226319650 . Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  36. East encounters West: France and the Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth century, Fatma Müge Göçek, p. 9
  37. 1 2 Randall Lesaffer, Peace treaties and international law in European history, p. 343
  38. Asma Moalla, "The regency of Tunis and the Ottoman Porte, 1777–1814", p. 59
  39. 1 2 3 4 Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume III: A Century of Advance. Book 1, Donald F. Lach pp. 93–94
  40. 1 2 3 Newton, Arthur Percival (1936). The Cambridge History of the British Empire, volume 2. p. 61. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  41. 1 2 3 4 Lach, Donald F; Van Kley, Edwin J (15 December 1998). Asia in the Making of Europe. p. 393. ISBN   9780226467658 . Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  42. A history of modern India, 1480–1950, Claude Markovits p. 144: The account of the experiences of François Martin de Vitré "incited the king to create a company in the image of that of the United Provinces"
  43. l'Académie française: Dictionnaire de la langue française (Institut de France. 6th edition. 1835): 'C'est un vert galant' se dit d'un homme vif, alerte, qui aime beaucoup les femmes et qui s'empresse à leur plaire. É.Littré: Dictionnaire Française (Hachette. 1863): Hommme vif, alerte, vigoreux et particulièrement empressé auprès de femmes. Grand Larousse de la Langue Française (Paris. 1973): Homme entreprenant auprès de femmes. And see Discussion under the heading Vert Galant – A look at the Dictionaries
  44. Baird, Vol. 2, p. 367
  45. Baird, Vol. 2, p. 368
  46. Pierre de l'Estoile, Journal du règne de Henri IV. Paris: Gallimard (1960), p. 84
  47. Knecht, Robert J. The Murder of le roi Henri, History Today. May 2010 issue.
  48. Moote, A. Lloyd, Louis XIII, the Just, (University of California Press, Ltd., 1989), p. 41
  49. G.R. Hibbard (editor), Love's Labour's Lost (Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 49
  50. Robert Knecht, Renaissance France, genealogies; Baumgartner, genealogicl tables.
  51. The History of Henry IV., surnamed the Great, King of France and Navarre. Written originally in French ... And made English by J. D. i.e. John Dauncey; p. 15

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References

Further reading

Non-fiction
Fiction
Henry III of Navarre & IV of France
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 13 December 1553 Died: 14 May 1610
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Jeanne III
King of Navarre
9 June 1572 – 14 May 1610
Succeeded by
Louis XIII and II
Preceded by
Henry III
King of France
2 August 1589 – 14 May 1610
French nobility
Preceded by
Antoine of Navarre
Duke of Vendôme and Beaumont
Count of Marle, La Fère, and Soissons

17 November 1562 – 2 August 1589
Merged into the crown
Preceded by
Jeanne III of Navarre
Duke of Albret
Count of Foix, Armagnac,
Comminges, Bigorre,
Limoges, and Périgord
Viscount of Béarn
Lord of Donezan

9 June 1572 – 2 August 1589