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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Kingdom of France
Royaume de France (French)
(Top: Flag of France before Huguenot Wars at 16th century,
Bottom: Flag after Huguenot Wars)
Motto: Montjoie Saint Denis!
The Kingdom of France in 1789.
|Louis Philippe I|
|Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand|
|Chamber of Peers|
|Chamber of Deputies|
|Historical era||Medieval / Early Modern|
• Begin of Capetian dynasty
|3 July 987|
|5 May 1789|
|6 April 1814|
|2 August 1830|
|24 February 1848|
|Currency||Livre, Franc, Écu, Louis d'or|
|ISO 3166 code||FR|
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Renaissance era was noted for the emergence of powerful centralized institutions, as well as a flourishing culture (much of it imported from Italy). The kings built a strong fiscal system, which heightened the power of the king to raise armies that overawed the local nobility. In Paris especially there emerged strong traditions in literature, art and music. The prevailing style was classical.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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, (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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 "guillotined" execution of Louis XVI 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.
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, the peace was granted by and statesmen like Talleyrand and the Duke of Richelieu, as well as King's moderation and prudent intervention. In 1823, the liberal agitations in Spain brought to a French intervention on the royalist's side, who permitted to King Ferdinand VII to reject the Constitution.
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. The opposition reacted with riots in Parliament and barricades in Paris, that erupteds in the July Revolution. 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. However, it was too late, and the liberal opposition won over the monarchy.
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, and a new Charter was introduced in August 1830. 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.
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. 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, 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. Despite later attempts to re-establish the Kingdom in the 1870s, during the Third Republic, the original French monarchy never returned.
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:
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:
Antoine Crozat, marquis du Châtel (c. 1655 – 7 June 1738), French founder of an immense fortune, was the first proprietary owner of French Louisiana, from 1712 to 1717.
Born in Toulouse, France, the sons of modest merchants, he and his brother, Pierre, rose from obscurity to become two of the wealthiest merchants of France. By way of lending money to the government, Antoine was ennobled as the marquis du Châtel, a title he transmitted to his elder son Louis-François. He became a financial counselor to Louis XIV. He invested in the Guinea Company and the Asiento Company, two lucrative overseas franchises. The king eventually offered him a 15‑year trade monopoly in Louisiana.
He married Marguerite Legendre in 1690. They had four children:
Louis François, marquis du Châtel (1691–1750)
Marie Anne (1695–1729), who married the comte d'Évreux, Louis Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, son of Godefroy Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne and Marie Anne Mancini
Joseph Antoine, marquis de Thugny (1699–1751)
Louis Antoine Crozat, baron de Thiers (1699-1770), whose collection of paintings, inherited from his uncle Pierre Crozat, was purchased after his death for the collection of Catherine II of Russia, through Denis Diderot. The paintings now hang in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.Antoine Parat
Antoine Parat was Governor of Plaisance (Placentia), Newfoundland from 1685 to 1690.Bourbon Restoration
The Bourbon Restoration was the period of French history following the fall of Napoleon 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.Duchy of Aquitaine
The Duchy of Aquitaine (Occitan: Ducat d'Aquitània, IPA: [dyˈkad dakiˈtaɲɔ]; French: Duché d'Aquitaine, IPA: [dyʃe dakitɛn]) was a historical fiefdom in western, central and southern areas of present-day France to the south of the Loire River, although its extent, as well as its name, fluctuated greatly over the centuries, at times comprising much of what is now southwestern France (Gascony) and central France.
It originated in the 7th century as a duchy of Francia, ultimately a recreation of the Roman provinces of Aquitania Prima and Secunda. As a duchy, it broke up after the conquest of the independent Aquitanian duchy of Waiofar, going on to become a sub-kingdom within the Carolingian Empire, eventually subsumed in West Francia after the 843 partition of Verdun. It reappeared as a duchy, and in the High Middle Ages, an enlarged Aquitaine pledged loyalty to the Angevin kings of England. Their claims in France triggered the Hundred Years' War, in which the kingdom of France emerged victorious in the 1450s, with many incorporated areas coming to be ruled directly by the French kings.Early modern France
The Kingdom of France in the early modern period, from the Renaissance (circa 1500–1550) to the Revolution (1789–1804), was a monarchy ruled by the House of Bourbon (a Capetian cadet branch). This corresponds to the so-called Ancien Régime ("old rule"). 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.
The period is dominated by the figure of the "Sun King", Louis XIV (his reign of 1643–1715 being one of the longest in history), who managed to eliminate the remnants of medieval feudalism and established a centralized state under an absolute monarch, a system that would endure until the French Revolution and beyond.Estates of the realm
The estates of the realm, or three estates, were the broad orders of social hierarchy used in Christendom (Christian Europe) from the medieval period to early modern Europe. Different systems for dividing society members into estates developed and evolved over time.
The best known system is the French Ancien Régime (Old Regime), a three-estate system used until the French Revolution (1789–1799). Monarchy was for the king and the queen and this system was made up of clergy (the First Estate), nobles (the Second Estate), and peasants and bourgeoisie (the Third Estate). In some regions, notably Scandinavia and Russia, burghers (the urban merchant class) and rural commoners were split into separate estates, creating a four-estate system with rural commoners ranking the lowest as the Fourth Estate. Furthermore, the non-landowning poor could be left outside the estates, leaving them without political rights. In England, a two-estate system evolved that combined nobility and clergy into one lordly estate with "commons" as the second estate. This system produced the two houses of parliament, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. In southern Germany, a three-estate system of nobility (princes and high clergy), ritters (knights), and burghers was used. In Scotland, the Three Estates were the Clergy (First Estate), Nobility (Second Estate), and Shire Commissioners, or "burghers" (Third Estate), representing the bourgeois, middle class, and lower class. The Estates made up a Scottish Parliament.
Today the terms three estates and estates of the realm may sometimes be re-interpreted to refer to the modern separation of powers in government into the legislature, administration, and the judiciary. Additionally the term fourth estate usually refers to forces outside the established power structure (evoking medieval three-estate systems), most commonly in reference to the independent press or media. Historically, in Northern and Eastern Europe, the Fourth Estate meant rural commoners.Fenestrelle
Fenestrelle is a comune (municipality) in the Metropolitan City of Turin in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of Turin.
It is the location of the Fenestrelle Fort, an alpine fortification which guarded the route between the Kingdom of France and the Duchy of Savoy.Flag of France
The flag of France (French: Drapeau français) is a tricolour flag featuring three vertical bands coloured blue (hoist side), white, and red. It is known to English speakers as the French Tricolour or simply the Tricolour (French: Tricolore). The Tricolour has become one of the most influential flags in history, with its three-colour scheme being copied by many other nations, both in Europe and the rest of the world.The royal government used many flags, the best known being a blue shield and gold fleur-de-lis (the Royal Arms of France) on a white background, or state flag. Early in the French Revolution, the Paris militia, which played a prominent role in the storming of the Bastille, wore a cockade of blue and red, the city's traditional colours. According to French general Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, white was the "ancient French colour" and was added to the militia cockade to create a tricolour, or national, cockade. This cockade became part of the uniform of the National Guard, which succeeded the militia and was commanded by Lafayette. The colours and design of the cockade are the basis of the Tricolour flag, adopted in 1790. The only difference was that the 1790 flag's colours were reversed. A modified design by Jacques-Louis David was adopted in 1794. The royal white flag was used during the Bourbon restoration from 1815 to 1830; the tricolour was brought back after the July Revolution and has been used ever since 1830, except with a brief interruption for a few days in 1848.France in the Middle Ages
The Kingdom of France in the Middle Ages (roughly, from the 9th century to the middle of the 15th century) 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 (duchies and counties, such as the Norman and Angevin regions) 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 (notably under Philip II Augustus and Louis IX) 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.
Up to the 12th century, the period saw the elaboration and extension of the seigneurial economic system (including the attachment of peasants to the land through serfdom); the extension of the feudal system of political rights and obligations between lords and vassals; the so-called "feudal revolution" of the 11th century during which ever smaller lords took control of local lands in many regions; and the appropriation by regional/local seigneurs of various administrative, fiscal and judicial rights for themselves. From the 13th century on, the state slowly regained control of a number of these lost powers. The crises of the 13th and 14th centuries led to the convening of an advisory assembly, the Estates General, and also to an effective end to serfdom.
From the 12th and 13th centuries on, France was at the center (and often originator) of a vibrant cultural production that extended across much of western Europe, including the transition from Romanesque architecture to Gothic architecture (originating in 12th-century France) and Gothic art; the foundation of medieval universities (such as the universities of Paris (recognized in 1150), Montpellier (1220), Toulouse (1229), and Orleans (1235)) and the so-called "Renaissance of the 12th century"; a growing body of secular vernacular literature (including the chanson de geste, chivalric romance, troubadour and trouvère poetry, etc.) and medieval music (such as the flowering of the Notre Dame school of polyphony from around 1150 to 1250 which represents the beginning of what is conventionally known as Ars antiqua).Jean Bochart de Champigny
Jean Bochart de Champigny, Sieur de Noroy et de Verneuil, chevalier (after 1645 – December 1720, Havre-de-Grâce), was Superintendent of Finances (with Michel de Marillac) from 1624 to 1626 and intendant of New France from 1686 to 1702. He was the son of Jean Bochart de Champigny, intendant of Rouen, and Marie Boivin.Louis Phélypeaux, comte de Saint-Florentin
Louis Phélypeaux (18 August 1705 – 27 February 1777) comte de Saint-Florentin, marquis (1725) and duc de La Vrillière (1770), was a French politician.Michel Ney
Marshal of the Empire Michel Ney (French pronunciation: [miʃɛl ˈnɛ]), 1st Duke of Elchingen, 1st Prince of the Moskva (10 January 1769 – 7 December 1815), popularly known as Marshal Ney, was a French soldier and military commander during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original 18 Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon. He was known as Le Rougeaud ("red-faced" or "ruddy") by his men and nicknamed le Brave des Braves ("the bravest of the brave") by Napoleon.Michel Particelli d'Emery
Michel Particelli d'Émery, (6 June 1596 in Lyon – 25 May 1650 in Paris), was the son of a banker in Lyon, France, originally from an Italian family of Lucca, Italy, who was the counsellor of Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu. A portrait of him was taken by Théophile-Abraham Hamel and was changed by Théophile-Abraham Hamel in order to give a face to Samuel de Champlain.Parlement
A parlement (French pronunciation: [paʁləmɑ̃] (listen)), in the Ancien Régime of France, was a provincial appellate court. In 1789, France had 13 parlements, the most important of which was the Parlement of Paris. While the English word parliament derives from this French term, parlements were not legislative bodies. They consisted of a dozen or more appellate judges, or about 1,100 judges nationwide. They were the court of final appeal of the judicial system, and typically wielded much power over a wide range of subject matter, particularly taxation. Laws and edicts issued by the Crown were not official in their respective jurisdictions until the parlements gave their assent by publishing them. The members were aristocrats called nobles of the gown who had bought or inherited their offices, and were independent of the King.
From 1770 to 1774 the Lord Chancellor, Maupeou, tried to abolish the Parlement of Paris in order to strengthen the Crown; however, when King Louis XV died in 1774, the parlements were reinstated. The parlements spearheaded the aristocracy's resistance to the absolutism and centralization of the Crown, but they worked primarily for the benefit of their own class, the French nobility. Alfred Cobban argues that the parlements were the chief obstacles to any reform before the Revolution, as well as the most formidable enemies of the French Crown. He concludes that the
Parlement of Paris, though no more in fact than a small, selfish, proud and venal oligarchy, regarded itself, and was regarded by public opinion, as the guardian of the constitutional liberties of France.
In November 1789, early in the French Revolution, all parlements were suspended, and they were formally abolished in September 1790.Provinces of France
The Kingdom of France was organized into provinces until March 4, 1790, when the establishment of the department (French: département) system superseded provinces. The provinces of France were roughly equivalent to the historic counties of England. They came into their final form over the course of many hundreds of years, as many dozens of semi-independent fiefs and former independent countries came to be incorporated into the French royal domain. Because of the haphazard manner in which the provinces evolved, each had its own sets of feudal traditions, laws, taxation systems, courts, etc., and the system represented an impediment to effective administration of the entire country from Paris. During the early years of the French Revolution, in an attempt to centralize the administration of the whole country, and to remove the influence of the French nobility over the country, the entirety of the province system was abolished and replaced by the system of departments in use today.
In some cases, several modern regions or departments share names with the historic provinces, and their borders may cover roughly the same territory.Section for Relations with States (Roman Curia)
The Section for Relations with States or Second Section of the Secretariat of State is the body within the Roman Curia charged with dealing with matters that involve relations with civil governments. It has been part of the Vatican Secretariat of State since 1909.
It is analogous to the foreign ministry of a state.Sieur de Kéréon
Sieur de Kéréon was the first French Governor of Plaisance (Placentia), Newfoundland in 1655. The post was left vacant until 1660.Sieur de la Poippe
The Sieur de la Poippe was the Governor of Plaisance (nowadays Placentia) in the French colony of Newfoundland from 1670 to 1684.Treaty of Hampton Court (1562)
The Treaty of Hampton Court (also known as the Treaty of Richmond) was signed on 22 September 1562 between Queen Elizabeth and Huguenot leader Louis I de Bourbon, prince de Condé. The treaty was concluded by François de Beauvais, Seigneur de Briquemault. Based on the terms of the accord, 3000 English troops were summoned to occupy Le Havre and Dieppe. Moreover, Queen Elizabeth promised to provide economic aid to the Huguenots. Once peace was restored in France, Elizabeth refused to withdraw her troops, stating that she had taken Le Havre not for religious reasons but to indemnify her for the loss of Calais, which was rightfully hers. The regent of France, Catherine de' Medici sent both Catholic and Huguenot troops against Le Havre, which surrendered on 28 July 1563. Feeling betrayed by the Huguenots, Elizabeth never trusted them again.