Henry IV, also called (until 1572) Prince de Béarn, byname Henry of Navarre, or Henry of Bourbon, French Henri de Navarre, or Henry de Bourbon, (born Dec. 13, 1553, Pau, Béarn, Navarre [France]—died May 14, 1610, Paris, France), king of Navarre (as Henry III, 1572–89) and first Bourbon king of France (1589–1610), who, at the end of the Wars of Religion, abjured Protestantism and converted to Roman Catholicism (1593) in order to win Paris and reunify France.
Jun 08, 2020 · Henry IV became heir to the French throne through his marriage to Margaret of Valois but was challenged during a time of religious strife. Despite converting to Catholicism after becoming king of...
Henry IV (13 December 1553 – 14 May 1610), Henri-Quatre, was King of France from 1589 to 1610 and King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was part of the Capetian dynasty and the first king of the Bourbon family in France.
Henry IV of France, who ruled from 1589 till his death in 1610, was the first Bourbon monarch to sit on the throne of France. Prior to that, he was known as Henry III of Navarre and ruled over the state from 1572 to 1610. Henry IV’s ascendancy to the throne of France was mired with controversy.
The first of the Bourbon kings of France, Henry IV brought unity and prosperity to the country after the ruinous 16th-century Wars of Religion. Though he was not a great strategist, his courage and gallantry made him a great military leader.
- Childhood and Early Life
- Wars of Religion
- Rule as King of France
- Personal Life and Legacy
Henry was born in Pau in the Kingdom of Navarre, which is in modern-day France. His mother was Queen Joan III and Antoine de Bourbon the Duke of Vendome. Henry fought on the side of the Huguenots during the Wars of Religion and became the King of Navarre after his mother’s death. Henry then married the daughter of the King of France Henry II and Catherine de Medici Margaret Valois. The marriage to place on 18 August 1572 in Paris. On 24 August the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre erupted as Catholics slaughtered Protestants in Paris and across France. Many of the Protestants in Paris had arrived to attend Henry’s wedding. Henrysurvived but was kept under house arrest in Paris until his escape in 1575.
France had been torn apart by the Reformation with huge numbers of the country converting to the various sects of Protestantism. Henry had been baptized a Catholic but raised Calvinist and made Calvinism the state religion of Navarre. During the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre he declared his allegiance to Catholicism but joined the Protestant forces following his escape from Paris. In 1584, Henry became the heir apparent to the French throne; this was disputed though as he was a Protestant. The dispute over the throne sparked what was known as the War of The Three Henrys, which was a part of the wider Wars of Religion. The war saw Henry lead Protestant forces against Henry III the King of France and Henry Dukeof Guise, the leader of the Catholic League which sought the eradication of Protestantism. Henry III had the Duke of Guise murdered hoping to take control of the Catholic League. Instead, the King faced rebellion across France. Henry III declared Henry of Navarre a legitimate Fr...
Henry brought an end to the Wars of Religion and announced the Edict of Nantes which ended discrimination against Protestants and restored their civil rights. Henry also undertook a great campaign of public works building. Henry had roads, bridges, and canals constructed. Forests were restored, and swamps drained. Henry also sought to create a more centralized economy and to improve agriculture and taxation. Henryalso commissioned French expeditions to the New World and laid claim to Canada. Henry also founded the French East India Company to pursue French interests in the Indian Ocean and Asia. Henrycontinues the French rivalry with the Habsburgs of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. The Habsburgs had supported the Catholic League and invaded France during the War of the Three Henrys. Despite this Henry operated mostly through diplomatic means to extend French influence rather than engage in further exhausting conflict. He was able to extend French influence in Savoy and Italy. Henry...
Henry’s first marriage to Margaret Valois in 1572 produced no children. The couple mainly lived apart as Margaret remained with the royal court in Paris while Henry fought in the Wars of Religion. The marriage was annulled in 1599. Henry then married Marie de Medici in 1600. Together the couple had six children. Marie would serve as Queen Regent following Henry’s death, and their son became Louis XIII and King of France upon coming of age. Henry also had some illegitimate children. One mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrées, bore Henry three children. Henry was the first French kingfrom the Borbon line that would rule the country until the Revolution in 1789.
Henry IV of France — (1553 1610) Henry IV was the first French monarch from the Bourbon dynasty. Raised a Protestant, he converted to Catholicism in 1593 and was crowned king of France in the following year.
- He Came From A Powerful Line. While he was never meant to be King of France, Henry wasn’t a complete nobody. His father Antoine de Bourbon was legit descended from royalty.
- He Was Born A Prince. In 1555, Henry IV’s mother Jeanne d’Albret and his father became the joint queen and king of Navarre. This made two-year-old Henry the heir to the throne of Navarre, which he assumed at age 19 in 1572 after his mother’s passing.
- He Came From Two Worlds. Henry IV’s mother was apparently madly in love with Antoine, but there was one sticky little issue: They were of different faiths.
- His Father Solved It. In 1562, the Massacre of Wassy, the event that started the French Religious Wars, pushed Henry’s mother deeper into Protestantism.
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