Born: 8 September 1157
Died: 6 April 1199 (killed in battle)
Birthplace: Oxford, England
Best known as: The 'Lion-Hearted' king of England
King of England from 1189 to 1199, Richard was called "Lionheart" (in French, Coeur de Lion) for his fighting skill and bravery. The son of battling spouses Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, Richard was crowned king on 3 September 1189 after defeating his father with the aid of his mother. He joined the Third Crusade in 1190, campaigning in the Holy Land; he conquered Messina and Cyprus and then fought to a truce with the Muslim commander Saladin. During this time his brother John connived with Phillip II of France to usurp Richard's throne. Hearing of the plot, Richard tried to return to England but was waylaid in Austria and imprisoned by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI. Richard finally returned to England in 1194 to defeat John and regain control of the throne. Richard died in France five years later, having spent less than a year of his decade-long reign in the British Isles; John claimed the throne and remained king until his own death in 1216.
Extra credit: Richard often has been portrayed heroically in literature, most famously in Sir Walter Scott's book Ivanhoe, in which Richard is assisted by the outlaw Robin Hood.
Copyright © 1998-2014 by Who2?, LLC. All rights reserved.
More on Richard I from Infoplease:
Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.