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Louis XI of France

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Louis XI

Template:House of Valois

Louis XI the Prudent (French: Louis XI le Prudent) (July 3, 1423August 30, 1483), also informally nicknamed l'universelle aragne (old French for "universal spider"), was a King of France (1461 - 1483). He was the son of Charles VII of France and Mary of Anjou. He was a member of the Valois Dynasty and was one of the most successful kings of France in terms of uniting the country. His 22-year reign was marked by political machinations, resulting in his being given the nickname of "universal spider".

Born at Bourges, Cher, during the period when English held the northern France and the Dauphin (as his father was then called) held only loosely southern provinces, Louis as crown prince despised his father (regarded him as weakling) and attempted to depose him on several occasions. Louis was the grandson of the strong-willed Yolande of Aragon, the princess who was the driving force in saving France from English. However, it was only on his father's death in 1461 that he was able to take the throne.

His marriage on June 24, 1436 to Margaret, daughter of King James I of Scotland, gave Crown Prince Louis an interest in English affairs, and he later schemed to restore King Henry VI of England and his Lancastrian heir to the throne, partly because his arch-enemy, Charles the Bold of Burgundy was allied with the Yorkists. Louis gained the upper hand in his feud with Charles, and brought about his death in 1477. A candid account of some of Louis' activities is given by the courtier, Philippe de Commines, in his memoires of the period.

Crown Prince Louis, 27, married strategically a second time on February 14, 1451 to eight-year-old Charlotte of Savoy (1443- December 1, 1483). Their marriage would not be consummated until she was fourteen and their children were:

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The Entry of Louis XI. into Paris.--Fac-simile of a Miniature in the "Chroniques" of Monstrelet, Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (Imperial Library of Paris).

By war, by cunning and with sheer guile, Louis XI overcame France's feudal lords, and at the time of his death in the chateau at Plessis-lez-Tours, he had united France and laid the foundations of a strong monarchy. One year before his death, his cousin Charles IV of Anjou, the exiled pretender of Naples, had died leaving his Italian claims by testament to Louis, who was senior male-line descendant of Charles II of Naples's eldest daughter. These rights in Italy resulted later, in time of Charles VIII, Louis XII and Francis I, in efforts to subjugate much of Italy. Charles' death also resulted in the crown receiving the vast fiefs of Provence and Anjou.

Louis XI was a superstitious man who surrounded himself with astrologers. Interested in science, he once pardoned a man sentenced to death on condition that he serve as a guinea pig in a gallstone operation.

Louis XI was succeeded by his son, Charles VIII, at 13, and the eldest daughter Anne of Beaujeu became the Regent.


Preceded by:
Charles VII
King of France
July 22, 1461August 30, 1483
Succeeded by:
Charles VIII

Template:End boxde:Ludwig XI. (Frankreich) eo:Ludoviko la 11-a (Francio) fr:Louis XI de France ja:ルイ11世 (フランス王) nl:Lodewijk XI van Frankrijk pl:Ludwik XI sv:Ludvig XI av Frankrike zh:路易十一

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