This is part of the Medieval European History Metanode.

The Valois Dynasty ruled France from 1328 to 1589. It began when Philip VI of Valois (1313-1348) inherited the throne from his cousin, Charles IV, the last in the line of the Capetian Dynasty. Philip's reign was marred by the Hundred Years War. The Hundred Years War node explains the war and its causes, so suffice it to say that Edward III of England was angry with Philip because he refused to hand over land that his father had annexed from the English. The war raged on and off for 116 years, and at times it completely died down. The Dynasty had more to worry about than the war, though; the Little Ice Age of 1315-1317 left a colder climate which was very troublesome for crops, the Black Plague hit the kingdom during the last year of Philip's reign, and a serious economic crisis compounded these problems.

The Hundred Years War was not going so well for the French when Charles VI the Mad ascended to the throne. He drifted in and out of madness, so that whenever anyone attempted to depose him, he regained composure and squashed the rebellion. Henry V of England married Charles's daughter, and the Duke of Burgundy attempted to make him king. The Queen, Isabella, wanted Henry to be king as well, and so she tried to discredit her own son's right to the throne by declaring him to be a bastard. The English ruled France for sometime, and the young prince had no support until a young peasant girl gave him his kingdom back.

This prince, who would become Charles IV the Victorious, lived at Berry until Joan of Arc came along in 1429. She convinced him to give her an army, and she rode on to liberate the city of Orleans from an English seige. Bolstered by this victory, Charles the Dauphin followed Joan to Rheims, where he was annointed and crowned as king in a tradition dating back to the early Frankish Empire. Charles later betrayed Joan by allowing the English to capture her and refusing to pay her ransom, but he went on to be a very powerful king. He ended the Hundred Years War by signing the Treaty of Arras with the Duke of Burgandy in 1435. By 1436, Charles was at the royal palace in Paris and had gained control of Gascony and Normandy. He also restructured the government and military.

Later Capetians hoarded power, and the idea of an absolute monarchy grew. They reserved the exclusive rights to wage war and levy taxes. The Valois kings of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries waged unsuccessful wars with Italy, and the kings of the sixteenth century reigned during the French Renaissance. However, the Wars of Religion (1562-1598) weakened the power of the last Valois kings, for militant Roman Catholic and Protestant factions dominated politics.

The Line of the Valois Dynasty
Philip VI of Valois (1328-1350)
John II the Good (1350-1364)
Charles V the Wise (1364-1380)
Charles VI the Mad (1380-1422)
Charles VII the Victorious (1422-1461)
Louis XI (1461-1483)
Charles VIII the Affable (1483-1498)
Louis XII (1498-1515)
Francis I (1515-1547)
Henry II (1547-1559)
Francis II (1559-1560)
Charles IX (1560-1574)
Henry III (1574-1589)

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