Kingdom of France

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Kingdom of France

Royaume de France  (French)
  • 987–1792
  • 1814–1815
  • 1815–1848
Pavillon royal de la France.svg
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg
Flag
(Top: Flag of France before Huguenot Wars at 16th century,
Bottom: Flag after Huguenot Wars)
Anthem:  Marche Henri IV
(1590–1792,1814–1830)
"March of Henry IV"

La Parisienne
(1830–1848)
"The Parisian"
Kingdom of France (1789).svg
The Kingdom of France in 1789.
Capital
Common languages
Religion
Roman Catholicism
Government
King  
 987–996
Hugh Capet
 1180–1223
Philip II
 1364–1380
Charles V
 1422–1461
Charles VII
 1589–1610
Henry IV
 1643–1715
Louis XIV
 1774–1792
Louis XVI
 1814–1824
Louis XVIII
 1824–1830
Charles X
 1830–1848
Louis Philippe I
Prime Minister  
 1815
Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand
 1847–1848
François Guizot
Legislature
Chamber of Peers
Chamber of Deputies
Historical era Medieval / Early Modern
 Begin of Capetian dynasty
3 July 987
1337–1453
1562–1598
5 May 1789
6 April 1814
2 August 1830
24 February 1848
Currency Livre, Franc, Écu, Louis d'or
ISO 3166 code FR
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Denier de Lothaire frappe a Chinon.jpg West Francia
Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg First French Empire
French First Republic Flag of France (1790-1794).svg
French Second Republic Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg

The Kingdom of France (French : Royaume de France) was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Western Europe. It was one of the most powerful states in Europe and a great power since the Late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War. It was also an early colonial power, with possessions around the world.

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.

France in the Middle Ages History of France during the Middle Ages

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.

Early modern France history of France during the early modern era

The Kingdom of France in the early modern period, from the Renaissance to the Revolution (1789–1804), was a monarchy ruled by the House of Bourbon. This corresponds to the so-called Ancien Régime. The territory of France during this period increased until it included essentially the extent of the modern country, and it also included the territories of the first French colonial empire overseas.

Contents

France originated as West Francia (Francia Occidentalis), the western half of the Carolingian Empire, with the Treaty of Verdun (843). A branch of the Carolingian dynasty continued to rule until 987, when Hugh Capet was elected king and founded the Capetian dynasty. The territory remained known as Francia and its ruler as rex Francorum ("king of the Franks") well into the High Middle Ages. The first king calling himself Roi de France ("King of France") was Philip II, in 1190. France continued to be ruled by the Capetians and their cadet lines—the Valois and Bourbon—until the monarchy was overthrown in 1792 during the French Revolution.

West Francia former country (843-987)

In medieval historiography, West Francia or the Kingdom of the West Franks was the western part of Charlemagne's Empire, ruled by the Germanic Franks that forms the earliest stage of the Kingdom of France, lasting from about 840 until 987. West Francia was formed out of the division of the Carolingian Empire in 843 under the Treaty of Verdun after the death of Emperor Louis the Pious and the east–west division which "gradually hardened into the establishment of separate kingdoms (...) of what we can begin to call Germany and France."

Carolingian Empire final stage in the history of the early medieval realm of the Franks, ruled by the Carolingian dynasty

The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large empire in western and central Europe during the early Middle Ages. It was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty, which had ruled as kings of the Franks since 751 and as kings of the Lombards of Italy from 774. In 800, the Frankish king Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome by Pope Leo III in an effort to revive the Roman Empire in the west during a vacancy in the throne of the eastern Roman Empire. After a civil war (840–43) following the death of Emperor Louis the Pious, the empire was divided into autonomous kingdoms, with one king still recognised as emperor, but with little authority outside his own kingdom. The unity of the empire and the hereditary right of the Carolingians continued to be acknowledged, preceding the Holy Roman Empire, which lasted until 1806.

Treaty of Verdun treaty

The Treaty of Verdun, signed in August 843, was the first of the treaties that divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms among the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, who was the son of Charlemagne. The treaty, signed in Verdun-sur-Meuse, ended the three-year Carolingian Civil War.

France in the Middle Ages was a de-centralised, feudal monarchy. In Brittany and Catalonia (now a part of Spain) the authority of the French king was barely felt. Lorraine and Provence were states of the Holy Roman Empire and not yet a part of France. Initially, West Frankish kings were elected by the secular and ecclesiastic magnates, but the regular coronation of the eldest son of the reigning king during his father's lifetime established the principle of male primogeniture, which became codified in the Salic law. During the Late Middle Ages, the Kings of England laid claim to the French throne, resulting in a series of conflicts known as the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453). Subsequently, France sought to extend its influence into Italy, but was defeated by Spain in the ensuing Italian Wars (1494–1559).

Feudalism combination of legal and military customs in medieval Europe

Feudalism was a combination of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour. Although derived from the Latin word feodum or feudum (fief), then in use, the term feudalism and the system it describes were not conceived of as a formal political system by the people living in the Middle Ages. In its classic definition, by François-Louis Ganshof (1944), feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs.

Duchy of Brittany Medieval duchy in northwestern France

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 on the west, the English Channel to the north. It was 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.

Principality of Catalonia principality in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula between the 12th century and 1714

The Principality of Catalonia was a medieval and early modern political entity in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula. During most of its history it was in dynastic union with the Kingdom of Aragon, constituting together the Crown of Aragon. Between the 13th and the 18th centuries it was bordered by the Kingdom of Aragon to the west, the Kingdom of Valencia to the south, the Kingdom of France and the feudal lordship of Andorra to the north and by the Mediterranean sea to the east. The term "Principality of Catalonia" remained in use until the Second Spanish Republic, when its use declined because of its historical relation to the monarchy. Today, the term Principat (Principality) is used primarily to refer to the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain, as distinct from the other Catalan Countries. and usually including the historical region of Roussillon in southern France.

France in the early modern era was increasingly centralised; the French language began to displace other languages from official use, and the monarch expanded his absolute power, albeit in an administrative system (the Ancien Régime ) complicated by historic and regional irregularities in taxation, legal, judicial, and ecclesiastic divisions, and local prerogatives. Religiously France became divided between the Catholic majority and a Protestant minority, the Huguenots, which led to a series of civil wars, the Wars of Religion (1562–1598). France laid claim to large stretches of North America, known collectively as New France. Wars with Great Britain led to the loss of much of this territory by 1763. French intervention in the American Revolutionary War helped secure the independence of the new United States of America but was costly and achieved little for France.

Absolute monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch holds supreme authority and where that authority is not restricted by any written laws, legislature, or customs. These are often hereditary monarchies. In contrast, in constitutional monarchies, the head of state's authority derives from and is legally bounded or restricted by a constitution or legislature.

Ancien Régime Monarchic, aristocratic, social and political system established in the Kingdom of France from approximately the 15th century until the later 18th century

The Ancien Régime was the political and social system of the Kingdom of France from the Late Middle Ages until 1789, when hereditary monarchy and the feudal system of French nobility were abolished by the French Revolution. The Ancien Régime was ruled by the late Valois and Bourbon dynasties. The term is occasionally used to refer to the similar feudal systems of the time elsewhere in Europe. The administrative and social structures of the Ancien Régime were the result of years of state-building, legislative acts, internal conflicts, and civil wars, but they remained and the Valois Dynasty's attempts at re-establishing control over the scattered political centres of the country were hindered by the Huguenot Wars. Much of the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIII and the early years of Louis XIV were focused on administrative centralization. Despite, however, the notion of "absolute monarchy" and the efforts by the kings to create a centralized state, the Kingdom of France retained its irregularities: authority regularly overlapped and nobles struggled to retain autonomy.

Huguenots Ethnoreligious group composed of Calvinists from France

Huguenots are an ethnoreligious group of French Protestants.

The Kingdom of France adopted a written constitution in 1791, but the Kingdom was abolished a year later and replaced with the First French Republic. The monarchy was restored by the other great powers in 1814 and lasted (except for the Hundred Days in 1815) until the French Revolution of 1848.

Bourbon Restoration Period of French history, 1814-1830

The Bourbon Restoration was the period of French history following the first fall of Napoleon in 1814, and his final defeat in the Hundred Days in 1815, until the July Revolution of 1830. The brothers of the executed Louis XVI came to power and reigned in highly conservative fashion. Exiled supporters of the monarchy returned to France. They were nonetheless unable to reverse most of the changes made by the French Revolution and Napoleon. At the Congress of Vienna they were treated respectfully, but had to give up nearly all the territorial gains made since 1789.

Hundred Days period from Napoleons escape from Elba to the second restoration of King Louis XVIII

The Hundred Days marked the period between Napoleon's return from exile on the island of Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815. This period saw the War of the Seventh Coalition, and includes the Waterloo Campaign, the Neapolitan War as well as several other minor campaigns. The phrase les Cent Jours was first used by the prefect of Paris, Gaspard, comte de Chabrol, in his speech welcoming the king back to Paris on 8 July.

French Revolution of 1848 End of the reign of King Louis Philippe and start of the Second Republic

The 1848 Revolution in France, sometimes known as the February Revolution, was one of a wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe. In France the revolutionary events ended the July Monarchy (1830–1848) and led to the creation of the French Second Republic.

Political history

West Francia

During the later years of the elderly Charlemagne's rule, the Vikings made advances along the northern and western perimeters of the Kingdom of the Franks. After Charlemagne's death in 814 his heirs were incapable of maintaining political unity and the empire began to crumble. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 divided the Carolingian Empire into three parts, with Charles the Bald ruling over West Francia, the nucleus of what would develop into the kingdom of France. [1] Charles the Bald was also crowned King of Lotharingia after the death of Lothair II in 869, but in the Treaty of Meerssen (870) was forced to cede much of Lotharingia to his brothers, retaining the Rhone and Meuse basins (including Verdun, Vienne and Besançon) but leaving the Rhineland with Aachen, Metz and Trier in East Francia.

Charlemagne King of the Franks, King of Italy, and Holy Roman Emperor

Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was king of the Franks from 768, king of the Lombards from 774, and emperor of the Romans from 800. During the Early Middle Ages, he united the majority of western and central Europe. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.

Charles the Bald Holy Roman Emperor and King of West Francia

Charles the Bald was the king of West Francia (843–877), king of Italy (875–877) and emperor of the Carolingian Empire (875–877). After a series of civil wars during the reign of his father, Louis the Pious, Charles succeeded by the Treaty of Verdun (843) in acquiring the western third of the Carolingian Empire. He was a grandson of Charlemagne and the youngest son of Louis the Pious by his second wife, Judith.

Lothair II King of Lotharingia

Lothair II was the king of Lotharingia from 855 until his death. He was the second son of Emperor Lothair I and Ermengarde of Tours. He was married to Teutberga, daughter of Boso the Elder.

Viking advances were allowed to increase, and their dreaded longships were sailing up the Loire and Seine rivers and other inland waterways, wreaking havoc and spreading terror. During the reign of Charles the Simple (898–922), Normans under Rollo from Norway, were settled in an area on either side of the River Seine, downstream from Paris, that was to become Normandy. [2] [3]

High Middle Ages

The Carolingians were to share the fate of their predecessors: after an intermittent power struggle between the two dynasties, the accession in 987 of Hugh Capet, Duke of France and Count of Paris, established the Capetian dynasty on the throne. With its offshoots, the houses of Valois and Bourbon, it was to rule France for more than 800 years. [4]

The old order left the new dynasty in immediate control of little beyond the middle Seine and adjacent territories, while powerful territorial lords such as the 10th- and 11th-century counts of Blois accumulated large domains of their own through marriage and through private arrangements with lesser nobles for protection and support.

The area around the lower Seine became a source of particular concern when Duke William took possession of the kingdom of England by the Norman Conquest of 1066, making himself and his heirs the King's equal outside France (where he was still nominally subject to the Crown).

Henry II inherited the Duchy of Normandy and the County of Anjou, and married France's newly divorced ex-queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who ruled much of southwest France, in 1152. After defeating a revolt led by Eleanor and three of their four sons, Henry had Eleanor imprisoned, made the Duke of Brittany his vassal, and in effect ruled the western half of France as a greater power than the French throne. However, disputes among Henry's descendants over the division of his French territories, coupled with John of England's lengthy quarrel with Philip II, allowed Philip II to recover influence over most of this territory. After the French victory at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214, the English monarchs maintained power only in southwestern Duchy of Guyenne. [5]

Late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War

France in 1223 France.1223.png
France in 1223

The death of Charles IV of France in 1328 without male heirs ended the main Capetian line. Under Salic law the crown could not pass through a woman (Philip IV's daughter was Isabella, whose son was Edward III of England), so the throne passed to Philip VI, son of Charles of Valois. This, in addition to a long-standing dispute over the rights to Gascony in the south of France, and the relationship between England and the Flemish cloth towns, led to the Hundred Years' War of 1337–1453. The following century was to see devastating warfare, peasant revolts (the English peasants' revolt of 1381 and the Jacquerie of 1358 in France) and the growth of nationalism in both countries. [6]

The losses of the century of war were enormous, particularly owing to the plague (the Black Death, usually considered an outbreak of bubonic plague), which arrived from Italy in 1348, spreading rapidly up the Rhone valley and thence across most of the country: it is estimated that a population of some 18–20 million in modern-day France at the time of the 1328 hearth tax returns had been reduced 150 years later by 50 percent or more. [7]

Renaissance and Reformation

The Renaissance era was noted for the emergence of powerful centralized institutions, as well as a flourishing culture (much of it imported from Italy). [8] The kings built a strong fiscal system, which heightened the power of the king to raise armies that overawed the local nobility. [9] In Paris especially there emerged strong traditions in literature, art and music. The prevailing style was classical. [10] [11]

The Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts was signed into law by Francis I in 1539. Largely the work of Chancellor Guillaume Poyet, it dealt with a number of government, judicial and ecclesiastical matters. Articles 110 and 111, the most famous, called for the use of the French language in all legal acts, notarised contracts and official legislation.

Italian Wars

After the Hundred Years' War, Charles VIII of France signed three additional treaties with Henry VII of England, Maximilian I of Habsburg, and Ferdinand II of Aragon respectively at Étaples (1492), Senlis (1493) and in Barcelona (1493). These three treaties cleared the way for France to undertake the long Italian Wars (1494–1559), which marked the beginning of early modern France. French efforts to gain dominance resulted only in the increased power of the Habsburg house.

Wars of Religion

Henry IV, by Frans Pourbus the younger, 1610. Henry IV of france by pourbous younger.jpg
Henry IV, by Frans Pourbus the younger, 1610.

Barely were the Italian Wars over, when France was plunged into a domestic crisis with far-reaching consequences. Despite the conclusion of a Concordat between France and the Papacy (1516), granting the crown unrivalled power in senior ecclesiastical appointments, France was deeply affected by the Protestant Reformation's attempt to break the hegemony of Catholic Europe. A growing urban-based Protestant minority (later dubbed Huguenots ) faced ever harsher repression under the rule of Francis I's son King Henry II. After Henry II's death in a joust, the country was ruled by his widow Catherine de' Medici and her sons Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III. Renewed Catholic reaction headed by the powerful dukes of Guise culminated in a massacre of Huguenots (1562), starting the first of the French Wars of Religion, during which English, German, and Spanish forces intervened on the side of rival Protestant and Catholic forces. Opposed to absolute monarchy, the Huguenot Monarchomachs theorized during this time the right of rebellion and the legitimacy of tyrannicide. [12]

The Wars of Religion culminated in the War of the Three Henrys in which Henry III assassinated Henry de Guise, leader of the Spanish-backed Catholic league, and the king was murdered in return. After the assassination of both Henry of Guise (1588) and Henry III (1589), the conflict was ended by the accession of the Protestant king of Navarre as Henry IV (first king of the Bourbon dynasty) and his subsequent abandonment of Protestantism (Expedient of 1592) effective in 1593, his acceptance by most of the Catholic establishment (1594) and by the Pope (1595), and his issue of the toleration decree known as the Edict of Nantes (1598), which guaranteed freedom of private worship and civil equality. [13]

Early Modern period

Colonial France

Louis XIII, by Philippe de Champaigne, 1647. Louis XIIIval grace.jpg
Louis XIII, by Philippe de Champaigne, 1647.

France's pacification under Henry IV laid much of the ground for the beginnings of France's rise to European hegemony. France was expansive during all but the end of the seventeenth century: the French began trading in India and Madagascar, founded Quebec and penetrated the North American Great Lakes and Mississippi, established plantation economies in the West Indies and extended their trade contacts in the Levant and enlarged their merchant marine.

Thirty Years' War

Henry IV's son Louis XIII and his minister (1624–1642) Cardinal Richelieu, elaborated a policy against Spain and the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years' War (1618–48) which had broken out in Germany. After the death of both king and cardinal, the Peace of Westphalia (1648) secured universal acceptance of Germany's political and religious fragmentation, but the Regency of Anne of Austria and her minister Cardinal Mazarin experienced a civil uprising known as the Fronde (1648–1653) which expanded into a Franco-Spanish War (1653–59). The Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659) formalised France's seizure (1642) of the Spanish territory of Roussillon after the crushing of the ephemeral Catalan Republic and ushered a short period of peace. [14]

Administrative structures

Provinces in 1789. France anciennes provinces 1789.jpg
Provinces in 1789.

The Ancien Régime, a French term rendered in English as "Old Rule", or simply "Former Regime", refers primarily to the aristocratic, social and political system of early modern France under the late Valois and Bourbon dynasties. The administrative and social structures of the Ancien Régime were the result of years of state-building, legislative acts (like the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts), internal conflicts and civil wars, but they remained a confusing patchwork of local privilege and historic differences until the French Revolution brought about a radical suppression of administrative incoherence.

Louis XIV, the Sun King

Louis XIV, by Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1701 Louis XIV of France.jpg
Louis XIV, by Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1701

For most of the reign of Louis XIV (1643–1715), ("The Sun King"), France was the dominant power in Europe, aided by the diplomacy of Cardinal Richelieu's successor as the King's chief minister, (1642–61) Cardinal Jules Mazarin, (1602–61). Cardinal Mazarin oversaw the creation of a French Royal Navy that rivalled England's, expanding it from 25 ships to almost 200. The size of the Army was also considerably increased. Renewed wars (the War of Devolution, 1667–68 and the Franco-Dutch War, 1672–78) brought further territorial gains (Artois and western Flanders and the free county of Burgundy, previously left to the Empire in 1482), but at the cost of the increasingly concerted opposition of rival royal powers, and a legacy of an increasingly enormous national debt. An adherent of the theory of the "Divine Right of Kings", which advocates the divine origin of temporal power and any lack of earthly restraint of monarchical rule, Louis XIV continued his predecessors' work of creating a centralized state governed from the capital of Paris. He sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism still persisting in parts of France and, by compelling the noble elite to regularly inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, built on the outskirts of Paris, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the earlier "Fronde" rebellion during Louis' minority youth. By these means he consolidated a system of absolute monarchy in France that endured 150 years until the French Revolution. [15] McCabe says critics used fiction to portray the degraded Turkish Court, using "the harem, the Sultan court, oriental despotism, luxury, gems and spices, carpets, and silk cushions" as an unfavorable analogy to the corruption of the French royal court. [16]

The king sought to impose total religious uniformity on the country, repealing the "Edict of Nantes" in 1685. The infamous practice of "dragonnades" was adopted, whereby intentionally rough soldiers were quartered in the homes of Protestant families and allowed to have their way with them — stealing, raping, torturing and killing adults and infants in their hovels. It is estimated that anywhere between 150,000 and 300,000 Protestants fled France during the wave of persecution that followed the repeal, [17] [18] (following "Huguenots" beginning a hundred and fifty years earlier until the end of the 18th century) costing the country a great many intellectuals, artisans, and other valuable people. Persecution extended to unorthodox Roman Catholics like the Jansenists, a group that denied free will and had already been condemned by the popes. Louis was no theologian and understood little of the complex doctrines of Jansenism, satisfying himself with the fact that they threatened the unity of the state. In this, he garnered the friendship of the papacy, which had previously been hostile to France because of its policy of putting all church property in the country under the jurisdiction of the state rather than that of Rome. [19]

In November 1700, the Spanish king Charles II died, ending the Habsburg line in that country. Louis had long waited for this moment, and now planned to put a Bourbon relative, Philip, Duke of Anjou, (1683–1746), on the throne. Essentially, Spain was to become a perpetual ally and even obedient satellite of France, ruled by a king who would carry out orders from Versailles. Realizing how this would upset the balance of power, the other European rulers were outraged. However, most of the alternatives were equally undesirable. For example, putting another Habsburg on the throne would end up recreating the grand multi-national empire of Charles V (1500–58), of the Holy Roman Empire (German First Reich), Spain, and the Two Sicilies which would also grossly upset the power balance. After nine years of exhausting war, the last thing Louis wanted was another conflict. However, the rest of Europe would not stand for his ambitions in Spain, and so the long War of the Spanish Succession began (1701–14), a mere three years after the War of the Grand Alliance, (1688–97, aka "War of the League of Augsburg") had just concluded. [20]

Louis XV, by Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1730 LouisXV-Rigaud1.jpg
Louis XV, by Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1730

Dissent and revolution

The reign (1715–74) of Louis XV saw an initial return to peace and prosperity under the regency (1715–23) of Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, whose policies were largely continued (1726–1743) by Cardinal Fleury, prime minister in all but name. The exhaustion of Europe after two major wars resulted in a long period of peace, only interrupted by minor conflicts like the War of the Polish Succession from 1733–35. Large-scale warfare resumed with the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48). But alliance with the traditional Habsburg enemy (the "Diplomatic Revolution" of 1756) against the rising power of Britain and Prussia led to costly failure in the Seven Years' War (1756–63) and the loss of France's North American colonies. [21]

On the whole, the 18th century saw growing discontent with the monarchy and the established order. Louis XV was a highly unpopular king for his sexual excesses, overall weakness, and for losing Canada to the British. A strong ruler like Louis XIV could enhance the position of the monarchy, while Louis XV weakened it. The writings of the philosophes such as Voltaire were a clear sign of discontent, but the king chose to ignore them. He died of smallpox in 1774, and the French people shed few tears at his passing. While France had not yet experienced the Industrial Revolution that was beginning in Britain, the rising middle class of the cities felt increasingly frustrated with a system and rulers that seemed silly, frivolous, aloof, and antiquated, even if true feudalism no longer existed in France.

Louis XVI, by Antoine-Francois Callet, 1775 Antoine-Francois Callet - Louis XVI, roi de France et de Navarre (1754-1793), revetu du grand costume royal en 1779 - Google Art Project.jpg
Louis XVI, by Antoine-François Callet, 1775

Upon Louis XV's death, his grandson Louis XVI became king. Initially popular, he too came to be widely detested by the 1780s. He was married to an Austrian archduchess, Marie Antoinette. French intervention in the American War of Independence was also very expensive. [22]

With the country deeply in debt, Louis XVI permitted the radical reforms of Turgot and Malesherbes, but noble disaffection led to Turgot's dismissal and Malesherbes' resignation in 1776. They were replaced by Jacques Necker. Necker had resigned in 1781 to be replaced by Calonne and Brienne, before being restored in 1788. A harsh winter that year led to widespread food shortages, and by then France was a powder keg ready to explode. [23] On the eve of the French Revolution of July 1789, France was in a profound institutional and financial crisis, but the ideas of the Enlightenment had begun to permeate the educated classes of society. [24]

Limited monarchy

On September 3, 1791, the absolute monarchy which had governed France for 948 years was forced to limit its power and become a provisional constitutional monarchy. However, this too would not last very long and on September 21, 1792 the French monarchy was effectively abolished by the proclamation of the French First Republic. The role of the King in France in a Revolution gone berserk, was finally ended with the execution of Louis XVI by guillotine on Monday, January 21, 1793, followed by the "Reign of Terror", mass executions and the provisional "Directory" form of republican government, and the eventual beginnings of twenty-five years of reform, upheaval, dictatorship, wars and renewal, with the various Napoleonic Wars.

Restoration

Louis XVIII by Robert Lefevre (1822) Lefevre - Louis XVIII of France in Coronation Robes.jpg
Louis XVIII by Robert Lefèvre (1822)
Charles X by Thomas Lawrence (1825) Charles X, King of France - Lawrence 1825.jpg
Charles X by Thomas Lawrence (1825)

The monarchy was briefly restored following the successive events of the French Revolution (1789–99), and the First French Empire under Napoleon (1804–1814/15) – when a coalition of European powers restored by arms the monarchy to the heirs of the House of Bourbon in 1814. However the deposed Emperor Napoleon I returned triumphantly to Paris from his exile in Elba and ruled France for a short period known as the Hundred Days.

When a Seventh European Coalition deposed Napoleon after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the Bourbon monarchy was once again restored. The Count of Provence, brother of the Louis XVI, who was guillotined in 1793, was crowned as Louis XVIII, nicknamed "The Desired". Louis XVIII tried to conciliate the legacies of the Revolution and Ancien Régime both, also permitting the formation of a Parliament and constitutional Charter, usually "Charte octroyée" ("Granted Charter"). His reign was characterized by disagreements between the Doctrinaires, liberal thinkers who supported the Charter and rising bourgeoisie, and the Ultra-royalists, aristocrats and clergymen who totally refused the Revolution's heritage. However, peace was maintained by statesmen like Talleyrand and the Duke of Richelieu, as well as the King's moderation and prudent intervention. [25] [26] In 1823, the liberal agitations in Spain led to a French intervention on the royalist's side, who permitted to King Ferdinand VII to reject the Constitution. [ clarification needed ]

However, the work of Louis XVIII was frustrated when, after his death in 16 September 1824, his brother the Count of Artois became King under the name of Charles X. Charles X was a strong reactionary who supported ultra-royalists and Catholic Church. Under his reign, the censorship of newspapers was reinforced, the Anti-Sacrilege Act passed and compensations to French Émigré were increased. However, there were also the intervention in the Greek Revolution and the first phase of the conquest of Algeria.

The absolutist tendencies of the King were disliked by Doctrinaire majority in the Chamber of Deputies, that in 18 March 1830 sent and cordial address to the King, remembering to him his vote on the Charter. However, Charles X received this address as a veiled threat, and in 25 July of the same year, he emanated the St. Cloud Ordinances, a plot to reduce Parliament powers and re-establish absolute rule. [27] The opposition reacted with riots in Parliament and barricades in Paris, that erupteds in the July Revolution. [28] The King abdicated, such as his son the Prince Louis Antoine, in favour to his grandson Count of Chambord, nominating his cousin the Duke of Orléans as regent. [29] However, it was too late, and the liberal opposition won over the monarchy.

Aftermath and July Monarchy

Louis Philippe I by Francois Gerard (1834) Louis-Philippe, roi des Francais.jpg
Louis Philippe I by François Gérard (1834)

On 9 August 1830, the Chamber of Deputies elected Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans as "King of the French": for the first time since French Revolution, the King reigned on a people and not on a country. The Bourbon white flag was substituted with the French tricolour, [30] and a new Charter was introduced in August 1830. [31] The conquest of Algeria continued, and new settlements were established in the Gulf of Guinea, Gabon, Madagascar, and Mayotte and also put Tahite under protectorate. [32]

However, despite the initial reforms, Louis Philippe was little different from his predecessors. The old nobility was replaced by urban bourgeoisie, and the working class was excluded from voting. [33] Louis Philippe appointed notable bourgeois as Prime Minister, like banker Casimir Périer, academic François Guizot, general Jean-de-Dieu Soult, and thus obtained the nickname of "Citizen King" (Roi Bourgeois). The July Monarchy was beset by corruption scandals and financial crisis. The opposition of the King was composed of Legitimists, supporting the Count of Chambord, Bourbon claimant to the Throne, and of Bonapartists and Republicans who fought against royalty and supported the principles of democracy. The King tried to suppress the opposition with censorship, but when the Campagne des banquets ("Banquets' Campaign") was repressed in February 1848, [34] riots and seditions erupted in Paris and later all France, resulting in the February Revolution. The National Guard refused to repress the rebellion, resulting in Louis Philippe abdicating and fleeing to England. On 24 February 1848, the monarchy was abolished and the Second Republic was proclaimed. [35] Despite later attempts to re-establish the Kingdom in the 1870s, during the Third Republic, the original French monarchy never returned.

Territories and provinces

Western Francia during the time of Hugh Capet. The royal domain is shown in blue Le royaume des Francs sous Hugues Capet-en.svg
Western Francia during the time of Hugh Capet. The royal domain is shown in blue
The kingdom of France in 1030 (royal domain in light blue) Map France 1030-fr.svg
The kingdom of France in 1030 (royal domain in light blue)
Territorial development under Philip August (Philip II), 1180-1223 Territorial Conquests of Philip II of France.png
Territorial development under Philip August (Philip II), 1180–1223

Before the 13th century, only a small part of what is now France was under control of the Frankish king; in the north there were Viking incursions leading to the formation of the Duchy of Normandy; in the west, the counts of Anjou established themselves as powerful rivals of the king, by the late 11th century ruling over the "Angevin Empire", which included the kingdom of England. It was only with Philip II of France that the bulk of the territory of Western Francia came under the rule of the Frankish kings, and Philip was consequently the first king to call himself "king of France" (1190). The division of France between the Angevin (Plantagenet) kings of England and the Capetian kings of France would lead to the Hundred Years' War, and France would regain control over these territories only by the mid 15th century. What is now eastern France (Lorraine, Arelat) was not part of Western Francia to begin with and was only incorporated into the kingdom during the early modern period.

Territories inherited from Western Francia:

Blason France moderne.svg Domain of the Frankish king (royal domain or demesne , see Crown lands of France)
Direct vassals of the French king in the 10th to 12th centuries:

Acquisitions during the 13th to 14th centuries:

Acquisitions from the Plantagenet kings of England with the French victory in the Hundred Years' War 1453

Acquisitions after the end of the Hundred Years' War:

See also

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References

  1. Roger Price (2005). A Concise History of France. Cambridge University Press. p. 30. ISBN   9780521844802.
  2. Jim Bradbury. The Capetians: Kings of France, 987–1328 (2007).
  3. Stuart Airlie, "Review article: After Empire‐recent work on the emergence of post‐Carolingian kingdoms." Early Medieval Europe (1993) 2#2 pp: 153–161.
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  6. Alice Minerva Atkinson, A Brief History of the Hundred Years' War (2012)
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  10. Philip John Yarrow, A literary history of France: Renaissance France 1470–1589 (1974)
  11. Henri Zerner, Renaissance art in France: the invention of classicism (Flammarion, 2003)
  12. Mack P. Holt, The French wars of religion, 1562–1629 (2005).
  13. David Buisseret, Henry IV, King of France (1990).
  14. Peter H. Wilson, Europe's Tragedy: A History of the Thirty Years' War (2009).
  15. William Beik, Louis XIV and Absolutism: A Brief Study with Documents (2000)
  16. Ina Baghdiantz McCabe (2008). Orientalism in Early Modern France: Eurasian Trade, Exoticism, and the Ancien Régime. Berg. p. 134. ISBN   9781847884633.
  17. La Rome protestante face aux exilés de la foi
  18. Le Refuge protestant urbain au temps de la révocation de l’Édit de Nantes
  19. John B. Wolf, Louis XIV (1974)
  20. Daniel Roche, France in the Enlightenment (1998)
  21. Colin Jones, The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon (2003)
  22. William Doyle, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (2001)
  23. Sylvia Neely, A Concise History of the French Revolution (2008)
  24. Daniel Roche, France in the Enlightenment (1998)
  25. Actes du congrès – vol. 3, 1961, p. 441
  26. Emmanuel de Waresquiel, 2003, p. 460-461
  27. Duc de Dolberg, Castellan, II, 176 (letter 30 April 1827)
  28. Mansel, Philip, Paris Between Empires (St. Martin Press, New York 2001) p.245.
  29. Bulletin des lois de la République franc̜aise, Vol. 9. Imprimerie nationale. 1831.
  30. Michel Pastoureau (2001). Les emblèmes de la France. Bonneton. p. 223.
  31. Dominique Barjot; Jean-Pierre Chaline; André Encrevé (2014). La France au xixe siècle. PUF. p. 656.
  32. La France au xixe siècle, p. 232 and 233
  33. La France au xixe siècle, p. 202
  34. La France au xixe siècle, p. 211 and 2012
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Further reading

Historiography

  • Gildea, Robert. The Past in French History (1996)
  • Nora, Pierre, ed. Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past (3 vol, 1996), essays by scholars; excerpt and text search; vol 2 excerpts; vol 3 excerpts
  • Pinkney, David H. "Two Thousand Years of Paris," Journal of Modern History (1951) 23#3 pp. 262–264 in JSTOR
  • Revel, Jacques, and Lynn Hunt, eds. Histories: French Constructions of the Past (1995). 654pp, 64 essays; emphasis on Annales School
  • Symes, Carol. "The Middle Ages between Nationalism and Colonialism," French Historical Studies (Winter 2011) 34#1 pp 37–46
  • Thébaud, Françoise. "Writing Women's and Gender History in France: A National Narrative?" Journal of Women's History (2007) 19#1 pp. 167–172 in Project Muse