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Capetians

Capetians (kəpēˈshənz) [key], royal house of France that ruled continuously from 987 to 1328; it takes its name from Hugh Capet. Related branches of the family (see Valois; Bourbon) ruled France until the final deposition of the monarchy in the 19th cent. The first historical ancestor was Robert the Strong, count of Anjou and of Blois. His son, Eudes, count of Paris, was elected (888) king after the deposition of the Carolingian king Charles III (Charles the Fat). From 893 to 987 the crown passed back and forth between Carolingians and descendants of Robert the Strong. Eudes's brother, Robert I, was chosen king in 922 but died in 923. The title, waived by his son, Hugh the Great, passed to Robert's son-in-law, Raoul, duke of Burgundy. In 987, Hugh's son, Hugh Capet, became king. His direct descendants remained on the throne until the death (1328) of Charles IV, when it passed to the related house of Valois. The successors of Hugh Capet were Robert II, Henry I, Philip I, Louis VI, Louis VII, Philip II, Louis VIII, Louis IX, Philip III, Philip IV, Louis X, John I, Philip V, and Charles IV. Their reign marked the expansion of royal authority, the revival of towns and commerce, and the beginning of the modern French state.

See R. Fawtier, The Capetian Kings of France (1941, tr. 1960); A. Lewis, Royal Succession in Capetian France (1982); R. McKitterick, The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians (1983); J. Dunbabin, France in the Making, 843–1180 (1985).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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