Francis I of France

Article

October 20, 2021

Francis I of France (born François d'Orléans; Cognac, 12 September 1494 - Rambouillet, 31 March 1547) was king of France from 1515 until his death. Son of Charles of Valois-Angoulême (1459 - 1 January 1496) and Louise of Savoy (11 September 1476 - 22 September 1531), he was the first of the royal dynasty of the Valois-Angoulême, which died out in 1589 with the death of his nephew Henry III. He succeeded his cousin and father-in-law Louis XII on the throne of France, who had died leaving no sons. Prodigal patron of the arts, he gave a strong impetus to the French Renaissance, attracting many Italian artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, to the castle of Chambord. The reign of Francis saw major cultural changes with the rise of absolute monarchy in France, the spread of humanism and Protestantism, and the beginning of French exploration of the New World. Jacques Cartier, Giovanni da Verrazzano and other explorers claimed lands in the Americas for France and paved the way for the expansion of the first French colonial empire. Because of his role in the development and promotion of a French language he became known as "Le Père et Restaurateur des Lettres" (the "Father and Restorer of Letters"). He was also known as "François du Grand Nez" ("Francis with the big nose") and "Le Roi-Chevalier" ("the King Knight") due to his personal involvement in wars, participation which also cost him his imprisonment in Madrid. following the defeat in the battle of Pavia. Following the policy of his predecessors, Francesco continued the Italian wars. Interested in the territories of the Duchy of Savoy and in the control of the Duchy of Milan, the main objective was to weaken Charles V, king of Spain and emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the latter title disputed between the French and the Habsburgs. In order to face the hegemony of his rival, he first sought the support of Henry VIII of England in the meeting of the field of the Golden Cloth and, subsequently, formed a Franco-Ottoman alliance with the Muslim sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, a controversial move for a Christian king of the time.

Biography

Early years and succession to the throne of France

Francesco d'Orléans was born on 12 September 1494 in the castle of Cognac, France, at that time located in the ancient province of Saintonge, part of the Duchy of Aquitaine and now part of the department of Charente. The only son of Charles of Valois-Angoulême and Louise of Savoy, he was also the great-grandson of King Charles V of France. At the time of his birth his family was not part of the line of succession to the throne of France as his cousin, King Charles VIII, was still young as was his father's cousin, the Duke of Orleans and future King Louis XII. . Despite this, in 1498 Charles VIII died childless and was succeeded by Louis XII, who in turn had no male heirs. The Salic law, the only legal document of the time that regulated issues of descent in France, prevented women from inheriting the throne and therefore at the age of four Francis (who had already become count of Angoulême following the death of the father two years earlier) became a possible successor to the throne of France and was awarded the title of Duke of Valois. Left, as mentioned, fatherless at the age of only two, Francesco grew up with his mother Luisa and with his sister Margherita d'Angoulême in Amboise under the tutelage of Marshal Pierre de Rohan-Gié. Later his education was entrusted to Cardinal Adrien Gouffier de Boissy, who gave him lessons in Latin and history, while his mother taught him Italian and Spanish. The young Francesco could have a well-stocked library where he found the novels of the Round Table, which contributed to the exaltation of his imagination, so much so that from a young age he showed a strong interest in exercises which

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