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Louis XII of France

Louis XII, father of the people (June 27, 1462 - January 1, 1515) was king of France from 1498-1515, the last French king from the Orleanist branch of the Valois Dynasty.

Born Louis d'Orleans in the Royal Chateau Blois on June 27, 1462, son of Charles, duc d'Orleans, Louis was required by royal command to marry Jeanne, the daughter of his second cousin King Louis XI.

Later, he was part of a rebellion against King Charles VIII of France and was imprisoned from 1487 to 1490. After regaining the King's trust, he lead some troops in Charles' Italy invasion. He ascended to the throne when Charles VIII died childless; Louis had the Pope annul the marriage to Jeanne so that he could marry Charles' widow, Queen Anne de Bretagne[?] (1477-1514). This marriage had nothing to do with love, but was a strategy designed to securely link her region of Brittany to Louis' kingdom of France.

Louis XII proved to be a popular king, introducing reforms in the judicial system and reducing taxes. These reforms and his caring nature earned him the epithet Father of the People. However, like his predecessor, he led several invasions of Italy. He successfully secured Milan in 1500, and then partitioned the Kingdom of Naples with Ferdinand of Aragon. Soon the two partitioning powers fell out with one another, and Spanish forces led by Hernandez Gonzalo de Cordoba drove the French from Southern Italy. The French grip on Milan remained strong, however, until 1511 when Pope Julius II formed the Holy League to oppose French ambition in Italy, and the French were driven from Milan by the Swiss in 1513. In an attempt to divert English troups from the war, he encouraged the Scots to attack the English, leading the Scots to disaster at the Battle of Flodden Field.

After his wife Anne's death in 1514, a deal was struck with King Henry VIII of England, and 52-year-old King Louis married King Henry's 18-year-old sister, Mary Tudor (1496-1533), on October 9, 1514.

Less than three months later, Louis XII died on January 1, 1515 and was interred in Saint Denis Basilica.

He was succeeded by his daughter Claude's husband, Francois I.

Preceded by:
Charles VIII
List of French monarchs Succeeded by:
François I



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