Kingdom of France


May 23, 2022

The kingdom of France is the historiographical name given to different political entities of France in the Middle Ages and in modern times. According to historians, the date of creation of the kingdom can be associated with one of these three major events: the accession of Clovis in 481 and the extension of the Frankish kingdoms; the partition of the Carolingian Empire in 843; or the election of Hugues Capet in 987. This kingdom disappeared during the French Revolution in 1792 before reappearing briefly from 1814 to 1848. The king of the Franks Clovis had sealed the alliance of the Frankish kingdoms with the Catholic Church during his baptism. This alliance is perpetuated in the kingdom of France by the coronation until 1824 of the kings in Reims, which makes them monarchs by divine right. The first Capetians were anxious to crown their eldest son during their lifetime, because their authority was in fact limited to Île-de-France. It is only from Philippe Auguste that their official acts use the denomination of kingdom of France and that they are able to really act of authority in the whole kingdom. The territory of the latter is made up of feudal fiefs of which the King of West Francia has been the suzerain since the division in 843 of the Carolingian Empire. The gradual integration of the feudal fiefs into the royal domain required the establishment of a royal administration. Saint Louis attaches paramount importance to its role of justice and the Parliament, superior court of justice, is set up. The long Hundred Years War is an opportunity to establish under Charles VII an army and permanent taxes. Richelieu, minister of Louis XIII, and Louis XIV reinforced the royal authority in the provinces by bringing local governors from the nobility to heel and by delegating intendants appointed to them by the king. The propensity of royalty to wield increasingly absolute power was challenged in times of turmoil, civil wars, and reigns of minor kings. The protest took on a more pronounced character when the philosophy of the Enlightenment and the values ​​it conveyed were disseminated: government of reason, separation of powers, individual freedoms... The French Revolution led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. However, the different formulas tried failed successively in 1792, 1830 and 1848, bringing the end of royalty in France.


Origins (481-843)

The foundation of the kingdom of the Franks by Clovis

The Franks are a people settled on the borders of Northern Gaul. They serve the Western Roman Empire as mercenaries and Romanize quite quickly. They obtain the status of federated people, but fail to unite and burst into several small kingdoms. Several probably legendary kings succeeded one another, including Merovée, founder of the Merovingian dynasty. The first king whose existence is certain is Childeric I, who reigns over a small kingdom around Tournai. Five years after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Clovis inherited in 481 a kingdom smaller than the other barbarian kingdoms. In 486, he defeated Syagrius at the battle of Soissons and extended his territories. In 496, he defeated the Alemanni at Tolbiac and was baptized at Reims. He can now present himself as the liberator of the Christian peoples of Gaul, then under the domination of barbarians who practice Arianism. In 507, he defeated the Visigoths at the Battle of Vouillé, which allowed him to expand into southern Gaul. In 509, he was elected king of all the Franks.

The division of the kingdom according to the successions

Clovis I died in 511; his kingdom is divided between his four sons. Each inherited part of the kingdom and took the title of "King of the Franks". Nevertheless, this sharing does not make the idea of