Louis XI of France
Louis XI (July 3, 1423 - August 30, 1483) was a King of France (1461 - 1483). He was the son of Charles VII of France and Mary of Anjou . He was a member of the Valois Dynasty and was one of the most successful kings of France in terms of uniting the country. His 22-year reign was marked by political machinations, resulting in his being given the nickname of the "Spider King".
His marriage on June 24, 1436 to Margaret, daughter of King James I of Scotland, gave Louis XI an interest in English affairs, and he schemed to restore King Henry VI of England and his Lancastrian heir to the throne - partly because his arch-enemy, Charles the Bold of Burgundy was allied with the Yorkists. Louis gained the upper hand in his feud with Charles, and brought about his death in 1477. A candid account of some of Louis' activities is given by the courtier, Philippe de Commines, in his Memoires of the period.
King Louis XI married strategically a second time on February 14, 1451 to eight-year-old Charlotte of Savoy (1443- December 1, 1483). Their marriage would not be consummated until she was fourteen and their children were:
- Anne (April, 1461 - November 14, 1522)
- Jeanne (April 23, 1464 - February 4, 1505)
- Charles VIII (June 30, 1470 - April 8, 1498)
By war, by cunning and with sheer guile, Louis XI overcame France's feudal lords and at the time of his death in the chateau at Plessis-lez-Tours , he had united France and laid the foundations of a strong monarchy.
Louis XI was a superstitious man who surrounded himself with astrologers. Interested in science, he once pardoned a man sentenced to death on condition that he serve as a guinea pig in a gallstone operation.
Louis XI was succeeded by his son, Charles VIII.
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