Louis XII, king of France

Louis XII, 1462–1515, king of France (1498–1515), son of Charles, duc d'Orléans. He succeeded his father as duke. While still duke, he rebelled against the regency of Anne de Beaujeu and was imprisoned (1488), but was released (1491) by his cousin King Charles VIII, whom he succeeded (1498) on the throne. Immediately after his accession he ensured the continuance of the personal union of Brittany and France by having his first marriage annulled and marrying his predecessor's widow, Anne of Brittany. Thereafter the king and his minister, Georges d'Amboise, attempted to assert French claims in Italy (see Italian Wars). Louis conquered Milan and Genoa, but he failed to secure Naples, which he had conquered in alliance with King Ferdinand II of Aragón. By the treaties of Blois (1504), Louis attempted a compromise with Spain and with Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, who had so far remained an inactive opponent; the treaties subsequently collapsed, and the king's daughter Claude, whose marriage to Maximilian's grandson Charles of Austria (later Holy Roman Emperor Charles V) was to have been the keystone of the new entente, was betrothed to her cousin, Francis of Angoulême, later King Francis I. In 1507, Louis suppressed the revolt of Genoa (1506–7), and in 1508 he joined the League of Cambrai (see Cambrai, League of) against Venice, defeating the Venetians at Agnadello (1509). When his Italian territories were attacked (1511) by Pope Julius II's Holy League, he committed their defense to Gaston de Foix, but after Gaston's death (1512) his troops were forced by the Swiss (then the pope's main allies) to evacuate Milan. In 1513 the Swiss routed his army at Novara while another army was defeated at Guinegate by Maximilian and King Henry VIII of England, also the pope's allies. In 1514 he made a truce with all his enemies save Maximilian. Louis endeavored to rule France with justice and moderation, and was known as the Father of the People.

See J. S. C. Bridge, A History of France from the Death of Louis XI, Vol. III–IV (1929).

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