In the late fifteenth century, France was recovering from the Hundred Years War with England. The majority of its territory that had been in English hands had been won back, but there were still large fiefs that France claimed that were not fully under Crown control.
The first was the independent Duchy of Brittany, which fell under French control in 1488, and was merged with the French Crown in 1547.
The second, the Duchy of Burgundy (part of the territories referred to as Burgundy, the Low Countries, Flanders etc) reverted to the French Crown in 1477, on the death of Charles the Bold, but parts of Artois and Franche-Comte were still in dispute.
The third, French Navarre, became united with France when Henri III of Navarre became Henri IV of France.
Henri IV was assassinated in 1610. He was succeeded by his son, Louis XIII, whose minority was fraught with factional intrigues. He took power himself in 1617. Louis’ reign, particularly after he appointed Cardinal Richelieu as minister, began a move towards the absolute monarchy of his son, Louis XIV, and saw a re-imposition of Catholicism in Huguenot areas.
Lorraine, now part of France, remained an independent Duchy within the
Holy Roman Empire until it was annexed by France in 1766. Savoy remained an
independent Duchy until it became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, with
some parts ceding to France.
|Monarch||Dates of Reign||Spouse(s)|
|Charles VIII||30 August 1483 - 7 April 1498||Anne, Duchess of Brittany|
|Louis XII||7 April 1498 - 1 January 1515||Jeanne of France
Anne, Duchess of Brittany
Mary (Tudor) of England
|François I||1 January 1515 - 31 March 1547||Claude, Duchess of Brittany
Eleanor (Leonora) of Austria
|Henri II||31 March 1547 - 10 July 1559||Catherine de' Medici, Duchess of Urbino|
|François II||10 July 1559 - 5 December 1560||Mary, Queen of Scots|
|Charles IX||5 December 1560 - 30 May 1574||Elisabeth of Austria|
|Henri III||30 May - 1574 - 2 August 1589||Louise of Lorraine|
Henri of Navarre)
|2 August 1589 - 14 May 1610||Marguerite of France
Maria de' Medici
|Louis XIII||14 May 1610 - 14 May 1643||Anne of Austria|