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Angevin is the name applied to two distinct medieval dynasties which originated as counts (from 1360, dukes) of the western French province of Anjou (of which angevin is the adjectival form), but later came to rule far greater areas including England, Hungary and Poland (see Angevin Empire).



The first Angevin dynasty, known from the 12th century as the Plantagenet dynasty, came (with its Lancastrian and Yorkist branches) to rule England (1154-1485), Normandy (1144-1204, 1346-1360 and 1415-1450), and Gascony and Guyenne (1153-1453), but lost Anjou itself to the French crown in 1206.

The name "Plantagenet" is derived from the broom flower, (planta genesta). It originated with Geoffrey of Anjou, father of King Henry II of England, because he adapted the flower as his emblem, often wearing a sprig of it.

The surname "Plantagenet" has been retrospectively applied to the descendants of Geoffrey of Anjou without historical justification: it is simply a convenient method of referring to people who had, in fact, no surname. The first descendant of Geoffrey to use the surname was Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, father of both Edward IV and Richard III, who apparently assumed it about 1448.1


The second Angevin dynasty, known also as the house of Capet-Anjou, began with Charles, created count (from 1360 the family were dukes) of the western French province of Anjou by his elder brother king Louis IX of France in 1246; they were members of the French ruling house of Capet. .

In 1266 Charles was granted the crown of Naples and Sicily by the Pope in return for overthrowing the territories' Hohenstaufen rulers. Charles was driven out of Sicily in 1282, but his successors ruled Naples until 1442.

Charles's descendants later ruled also Hungary (1308-1395) and Poland (1370-1399). The last duke of the Angevin (Capet-Anjou) line died in 1481, and Anjou reverted to the French crown.


  • 1The Complete Peerage, 2nd edition, vol. I, p. 183, note (c).

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Last updated: 02-06-2005 20:30:42
Last updated: 02-24-2005 04:05:47