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Charles V

Charles V (Charles the Wise), 1338–80, king of France (1364–80). Son of King John II, Charles became the first French heir apparent to bear the title of dauphin after the addition of the region of Dauphiné to the royal domain in 1349. Regent during his father's captivity in England (1356–60, 1364), Charles dealt successfully with the Jacquerie revolt, with the intrigues of King Charles II of Navarre, and with the popular movement headed by Étienne Marcel, who had armed Paris against the dauphin. Becoming king in 1364, Charles stabilized the coinage and took steps to rid France of the companies of écorcheurs, marauding bands of discharged soldiers. Aided by his great general, Bertrand Du Guesclin, he almost succeeded in driving the English from France. Charles and his ministers, the Marmousets, strengthened the royal authority, introduced a standing army, built a powerful navy, and instituted reforms that put fiscal authority more firmly in the hands of the crown. A patron of the arts and of learning, he established the royal library and interested himself in the embellishment of the Louvre and in the construction of the palace at Saint-Pol. However, his love of pomp and his lack of economy put a severe economic burden on the country. In the last year of his life he sided with Pope Clement VII against Pope Urban VI at the beginning of the Great Schism (see Schism, Great). His son, Charles VI, succeeded him.

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

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