Henry IV

Henry IV
1. 1050-1106, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and king of Germany 1056-1106.
2. (Bolingbroke) ("Henry of Lancaster") 1367-1413, king of England 1399-1413 (son of John of Gaunt).
3. ("Henry of Navarre"; "Henry the Great") 1553-1610, king of France 1589-1610: first of the French Bourbon kings.
4. (italics) a two-part drama (Part 1, 1597?; Part 2, 1597-98?) by Shakespeare.

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born Nov. 11, 1050, Goslar?, Saxony
died Aug. 7, 1106, Liège, Lorraine

Duke of Bavaria (1055–61), German king (1054–1106), and emperor (1084–1105/6).

He succeeded to the German throne at age six; his pious and unworldly mother was regent until 1062, and Henry gained control of the government upon reaching his majority in 1065. His reassertion of royal rights provoked rebellion in Saxony (1073–75). He engaged in a long struggle with Pope Gregory VII over the issues of obedience to papal commands and lay investiture (see Investiture Controversy). Gregory excommunicated him and absolved his subjects of their oaths of loyalty. Seeking absolution, Henry was forced to cross the Alps in winter and, according to tradition, stand barefoot in the snow three days before the castle at Canossa, where the pope was staying, before the latter would rescind his order. The German princes deserted Henry (1077) and elected Rudolf I as king. In 1080 Gregory excommunicated Henry again and recognized Rudolf. Henry responded by conquering Rome (1084) and installing the antipope Clement III. In his last years his sons Conrad and Henry led rebellions against his rule.
or Henry of Navarra French Henri de Navarre

born Dec. 13, 1553, Pau, Béarn, Navarra
died May 14, 1610, Paris

First Bourbon king of France (1589–1610) and king of Navarra (as Henry III, 1572–89), one of the most popular figures in French history.

Henry was brought up as a Protestant and received his military training from the Huguenot leader Gaspard II de Coligny in the Wars of Religion. He married Margaret of Valois in 1572; the marriage provided the opportunity for the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Day six days later. Henry was held at the French court from 1572 to 1576, when he escaped to join the forces against Henry III. He fought the War of the Three Henrys and prevailed as unrivaled leader. He became king after Henry III was assassinated in 1589, but was forced to fight the Holy League for nine years to secure his kingdom. In 1593 he converted to Roman Catholicism to remove all pretext for resistance to his rule. He entered Paris amid cheers in 1594, but he had to wage war (1595–98) against Spain, which supported the remaining resistance to him in France. Henry signed the Edict of Nantes in 1598, ending 40 years of civil war. With the aid of his ministers, including the duke de Sully, Henry brought order and new prosperity to France. His earlier marriage was annulled, and in 1600 he married Marie de Médicis. In 1610 he was assassinated by a fanatical Roman Catholic.
orig. Henry Bolingbroke

born April? 1366, Bolingbroke Castle, Lincolnshire, Eng.
died March 20, 1413, London

King of England (1399–1413), first of three 15th-century monarchs of the house of Lancaster.

Son of John of Gaunt, he initially supported Richard II against the duke of Gloucester but turned against him after being banished in 1398. He invaded England in 1399, forcing Richard's surrender and abdication. Having gained the crown by usurpation, he successfully consolidated his power in the face of repeated uprisings of powerful nobles. However, he failed to subdue the Welsh under Owen Glendower, was defeated by the Scots, and was unable to overcome the fiscal and administrative weaknesses that contributed to the eventual downfall of the Lancastrian dynasty. He was succeeded by his son, Henry V.

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▪ Holy Roman emperor
born Nov. 11, 1050, Goslar?, Saxony
died Aug. 7, 1106, Liège, Lorraine
 duke of Bavaria (as Henry VIII, 1055–61), German king (from 1054), and Holy Roman emperor (1084–1105/06), who engaged in a long struggle with Hildebrand (Pope Gregory VII) on the question of lay investiture (see Investiture Controversy), eventually drawing excommunication on himself and doing penance at Canossa (1077). His last years were spent countering the rebellion of his sons Conrad and Henry (the future Henry V).

Early years.
      Henry's father, Henry III, had retained a firm hold on the church and had resolved a schism in Rome (1046), opening new activities for the reformers. At Easter 1051, the boy was baptized after the German princes had taken an oath of fidelity and obedience at Christmas 1050. On July 17, 1053, he was elected king at Tribur (modern Trebur, in Germany) on condition that he would be a just king. In 1054 he was crowned king in Aix-la-Chapelle (modern Aachen, in Germany), and the following year he became engaged to Bertha, daughter of the Margrave of Turin. When the Emperor died in October 1056, at the age of 39, succession to the throne and survival of the dynasty were assured. The princes of the realm raised no objection when nominal government was handed over to the six-year-old boy, for whom his pious and unworldly mother became regent. Yet the early death of Henry III was the beginning of a fateful change that marked all of his son's reign. In his will, the late emperor had appointed Pope Victor II as counsellor to the Empress, and the Pope solved some of the conflicts between the princes and the imperial court that had endangered peace in the empire.

      After Victor's early death (1057), however, the politically inept empress committed a number of decisive mistakes. On her own, and without the benefit of the advice of a permanent group of counsellors, she readily yielded to various influences. She turned over the duchy of Bavaria, which Henry III had given to his son in 1055, to the Saxon count Otto of Nordheim, thus depriving the king of an important foundation of his power. She gave the duchy of Swabia to Count Rudolf of Rheinfelden—who married her daughter—and the duchy of Carinthia to Count Berthold of Zähringen; both of them eventually became opponents of Henry IV. The death of the Emperor also marked the disruption of German influence in Italy and of the close relationship between the king and the reform popes. Their independence soon became apparent in the elections of Stephen IX and Nicholas II, which were not influenced (as under Henry III) by the German court; in the new procedure for the election of the popes (1059); and in the defensive alliance with the Normans (Norman) in southern Italy. This alliance was necessary for the popes as an effective protection against the Romans and was not directed against the German king. Yet the Normans were considered usurpers and enemies of the Holy Roman Empire; the pact thus resulted in strained relations between the Pope and the German court, and these strains were aggravated by papal claims and disciplinary action taken by Nicholas II against German bishops. While the German king had so far been known as a supporter of the reformers, the Empress now imprudently entered into an alliance with Italian opponents of church reform and brought about the election of Cadalus, bishop of Parma, as antipope (Honorius II (Honorius (II))) against the reigning pope, Alexander II, who had been elected by the reformers. But since she did not give effective support to Honorius, Alexander was able to prevail. Her unwise church policy was matched by an obscurely motivated submissive policy at home, which, by unwarranted cession of holdings of the crown, weakened the material foundations of the king's power and, in addition, encouraged the rapacity of the nobles. Increasing discontent reached a climax in a conspiracy of the princes led by Anno (Anno, Saint), archbishop of Cologne, in April 1062. During a court assembly in Kaiserswerth he kidnapped the young king and had him brought to Cologne by ship. Henry's attempt to escape by jumping into the Rhine failed. Agnes (Agnes of Poitou) resigned as regent and the government was taken over by Anno, who settled the conflict with the church by recognizing Alexander II (1064). Anno was, however, too dominating and inflexible a man to win Henry's confidence, so that Adalbert, archbishop of Bremen, granting more freedom to the lascivious young king, gained increasing and finally sole influence. But he used it for such unscrupulous personal enrichment that Henry, who was declared of age in 1065, had to ban him from court early in 1066. This incident marks the beginning of the King's own rule, for which he was badly prepared. Repeated changes in the government of the empire had an unsettling effect on the boy king and had, moreover, prevented him from being given a regular education. The selfishness of his tutors, the dissolute character of his companions, and the traumatic experience of his kidnapping had produced a lack of moral stability during his years of puberty. In addition, his love of power, typical of all the rulers of his dynasty, contributed to conduct often characterized by recklessness and indiscretion.

      In 1069, after three years of marriage, he suddenly announced his intention of divorcing his wife, Bertha. Following protests by high church dignitaries, he dropped his plan, but his mercurial behaviour incurred the displeasure of the reformers. At the same time he was faced with domestic difficulties that were to harass him throughout his reign. After his mother had freely dispensed of lands during her regency, he began to increase the royal possessions in the Harz Mountains and to protect them by castles, which he handed over to Swabian ministerials (higher civil servants directly responsible to the crown). Peasants and nobles in Saxony were stirred up by the ruthless repossession of former royal rights that had long ago been appropriated by nobility or had become obsolete and by the high-handed and severe measures of the foreign ministerials. Henry tried to stop the unrest by imprisoning Magnus, the duke of Saxony, and by depriving the widely respected Otto of Bavaria of his duchy, after having unjustly accused him of plotting the murder of the King (1070). Then a rebellion broke out among the Saxons, which in 1073 spread so rapidly that Henry had to escape to Worms. After negotiations with Welf (Welf Dynasty) IV, the new duke (as Welf I) of Bavaria, and with Rudolf, the duke of Swabia, Henry was forced to grant immunity to the rebels in 1073 and had to agree to the razing of the royal Harz Castle in the final peace treaty in February 1074. When the peasants, destroying the castle, also desecrated the church and the tomb of one of the King's sons, Henry declared the peace broken. This incident assured him of support from all over the empire, and in June 1075 he won an overwhelming victory that resulted in the surrender of the Saxons. It also forced the princes at Christmas to confirm on oath the succession of his one-year-old son, Conrad.

Role in investiture (Investiture Controversy)

      This rebellion affected relations between Henry and the Pope. In Milan a popular party, the Patarines (Patarine), dedicated to reforming the city's corrupt higher clergy, elected its own archbishop, who was recognized by the Pope. When Henry countered by having his own nominee consecrated by the Lombard bishops, Alexander II excommunicated the bishops. Henry did not yield, and it was not until the Saxon rebellion that he was ready to negotiate. In 1073 he humbly asked the new pope, Gregory VII (Gregory VII, Saint), to settle the Milan problem. The King having thus renounced his right of investiture, a Roman synod, called to strengthen the Patarine movement, forbade any lay investiture in Milan; henceforward Gregory regarded Henry as his ally in questions of church reform. When planning a crusade, he even put the defense of the Roman Church into the King's hands. But after defeating the Saxons, Henry considered himself strong enough to cancel his agreements with the Pope and to nominate his court chaplain as archbishop of Milan. The violation of the agreement on investiture called into question the King's trustworthiness, and the Pope sent him a letter warning him of the melancholy fate of King Saul (after breaking with his church in the person of the prophet Samuel) but offering negotiations on the investiture problem. Instead of accepting the offer, which arrived at his court on Jan. 1, 1076, Henry, on the same day, deposed the Pope and persuaded an assembly of 26 bishops, hastily called to Worms (Worms, Concordat of), to refuse obedience to the Pope. By this impulsive reaction he turned the problem of investiture in Milan, which could have been solved by negotiations, into a fundamental dispute on the relations between church and state. Gregory replied by excommunicating Henry and absolving the King's subjects from their oaths of allegiance. Such action equalled dethronement. Many bishops who had taken part in the Worms assembly and had subsequently been excommunicated now surrendered to the Pope, and immediately the King was also faced with the newly aroused opposition of the nobility. In October 1076 the princes discussed the election of a new king in Tribur. It was only by promising to seek absolution from the ban within a year that Henry could reach a postponement of the election. The final decision was to be taken at an assembly to be called at Augsburg to which the Pope was also invited. But Henry secretly travelled to northern Italy and in Canossa did penance before Gregory VII, whereupon he was readmitted to the church. For the moment it was a political success for the King because the opposition had been deprived of all canonical arguments. Yet, Canossa meant a change. By doing penance Henry had admitted the legality of the Pope's measures and had given up the king's traditional position of authority equal or even superior to that of the church. The relations between church and state were changed forever.

      The princes, however, considered Canossa a breach of the original agreement providing for an assembly at Augsburg and declared Henry dethroned. In his stead, they elected Rudolf, duke of Swabia, in March 1077, whereupon Henry confiscated the duchies of Bavaria and Swabia on behalf of the crown. He received support from the peasants and citizens of these duchies, whereas Rudolf relied mainly on the Saxons. Gregory watched the indecisive struggle between Henry and Rudolf for almost three years until he resolved to bring about a decision for the sake of continued church reform in Germany. At a synod in March 1080, he prohibited investiture, excommunicated and dethroned Henry again, and recognized Rudolf. The reasons for this act of excommunication were not as valid as those advanced in 1077, and many nobles who had so far favoured the Pope turned against him because they thought the prohibition of investiture infringed upon their rights as patrons of churches and monasteries. Henry now succeeded in deposing Gregory and in nominating Guibert, archbishop of Ravenna, as pope at a synod in Brixen (Bressanone). When the opposition of the princes was crippled by the death of Rudolf in October 1080, Henry, freed of the threat of enemies to the rear, went to Italy to seek a military decision in his struggle with the church. After attacking Rome in vain in 1081 and 1082, he conquered the city in March 1084. Guibert was enthroned as Clement III and crowned Henry emperor on March 31, 1084. Gregory, the legitimate pope, fled to Salerno, where he died on May 25, 1085. A number of cardinals joined Clement, and, feeling that he had won a complete victory, the Emperor returned to Germany. In May 1087 he had his son Conrad crowned king. The Saxons now made peace with him. Further, Henry replaced bishops who did not join Clement with others loyal to the King.

Later crises in Italy and Germany.
      The escape and death of Gregory VII and the presence of Clement III in Rome caused a crisis in the reform movement of the church, from which, however, it quickly recovered under the pontificate of Urban II (1088–1099). The marriage, arranged by Urban in 1089, of the 17-year-old Welf (Welf Dynasty) V of Bavaria with the 43-year-old countess Matilda of Tuscany, a zealous adherent of the cause of reform in the church, allied Henry's opponents in southern Germany and Italy. Henry was forced to invade Italy once more in 1090, but, after initial success, his defeat in 1092 resulted in the uprisings in Lombardy; and the rebellion of his son Conrad, who was crowned king of Italy by the Lombards, led to general rebellion. The Emperor found himself cut off from Germany and besieged in a corner of northeastern Italy. In addition, his second wife, Praxedis of Kiev, whom he had married in 1089 after the death of Bertha in 1087, left him, bringing serious charges against him. It was not until Welf V separated from Matilda, in 1095, and his father, the deposed Welf IV, was once more granted Bavaria as a fief, in 1096, that Henry was able to return to Germany (1097).

      In Germany sympathy for reform and the papacy no longer excluded loyalty to the Emperor. Gradually Henry was able to consolidate his authority so that in May 1098 the princes elected his second son, Henry V, king in place of the disloyal Conrad. But peace with the Pope, which was necessary for a complete consolidation of authority, was a goal that remained unattainable. At first a settlement was impossible because of Henry's support for Clement III, who had died in 1100. Paschal II (1099–1118), a follower of the reformist policies of Gregory VII, was unwilling to conclude an agreement with Henry. Finally, the Emperor declared that he would go on a crusade if his excommunication were removed. To prepare for the crusade, he forbade all feuds among the great nobles of the empire for four years (1103). But unrest started again when reconciliation with the church did not materialize and the nobles thought the Emperor was restricting their rights in favour of his son. Henry V feared a controversy with the princes. In alliance with Bavarian nobles he revolted against the Emperor in 1104 to secure his throne by sacrificing his father. The Emperor escaped to Cologne, but when he went to Mainz his son imprisoned him and on Dec. 31, 1105, extorted his apparently voluntary abdication. Henry IV, however, was not yet prepared to give up. He fled to Liège and with the Lotharingians defeated Henry V's army near Visé on March 22, 1106. Henry IV suddenly died in Liège on August 7. His body was transferred to Speyer but remained there in an unconsecrated chapel before being buried in the family vault in 1111.

      Judgment of Henry by his contemporaries differed according to the parties to which they belonged. His opponents considered the tall, handsome king a tyrant—the crafty head of heresy—whose death they cheered because it seemed to usher in a new age. His friends praised him as a pious, gentle, and intelligent ruler, a patron of the arts and sciences, who surrounded himself with religious scholars and who, in his sense of law and justice, was the embodiment of the ideal king. In his attempt to preserve the traditional rights of the crown, Henry IV was only partially successful, for while he strengthened the king's position against the nobles by gaining the support of the peasants, the citizens, and the ministerials, his continuing battles with the reforming church over investiture ultimately weakened royal influence over the papacy.

Franz-Josef Schmale

Additional Reading
No critical biography has appeared. For the King's dispute with the Pope, see K.F. Morrison, “Canossa: A Revision,” Traditio, 18:121–148 (1962). Contemporary research and a full bibliography may be found in B. Gebhardt and H. Grundmann (eds.), Handbuch der deutschen Geschichte, 9th rev. ed., vol. 1 (1970). See also the Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 5 (1964).

▪ king of Castile
byname  Henry the Impotent  or  Henry the Liberal , Spanish  Enrique el Impotente  or  Enrique el Liberal 
born January 25, 1425, Valladolid, Castile [Spain]
died December 11, 1474, Madrid

      king of Castile from 1454 to 1474, whose reign, though at first promising, became chaotic.

      Henry's weak father, John II, was entirely under the control of his constable, Álvaro de Luna (Luna, Álvaro de), who gave the young Henry a separate court at Segovia, hoping to control him. Instead, Henry became the tool of other cliques, who eventually overthrew and executed Luna. In 1464 Henry reconquered Gibraltar from the Muslims, but his nobles fell into warring factions.

      Henry IV's first marriage was childless and ended in divorce. He then married a Portuguese princess Joana, who bore a daughter, Juana (La Beltraneja). One faction recognized Henry's younger half brother Alfonso, deposing Henry in effigy in the “Farce of Avila.” After three years of civil war Alfonso died, and Henry vacillated about the claim of his infant daughter. His rivals then recognized his half sister, Isabella (the future Isabella I), who, without Henry's knowledge or consent, married the heir to the throne of Aragon, Ferdinand (the future Ferdinand II). The two would one day rule a united Spain.

      Although much that was published about Henry IV may be discounted as propaganda, he suffered from the quarrels of his favourites, Juan Pacheco, marqués de Villena, and Beltran de la Cueva, and their inability to maintain order.

▪ king of England
also called (1377–97)  earl of Derby  or (1397–99)  duke of Hereford , byname  Henry Bolingbroke  or  Henry of Lancaster 
born , April ? 1366, Bolingbroke Castle, Lincolnshire, England
died March 20, 1413, London
 king of England from 1399 to 1413, the first of three 15th-century monarchs from the house of Lancaster (Lancaster, House of). He gained the crown by usurpation and successfully consolidated his power in the face of repeated uprisings of powerful nobles. However, he was unable to overcome the fiscal and administrative weaknesses that contributed to the eventual downfall of the Lancastrian dynasty.

      Henry was the eldest surviving son of John of Gaunt (John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster), duke of Lancaster, by his first wife, Blanche. Before becoming king, he was known as Henry Bolingbroke, and he received from his cousin Richard II the titles earl of Derby (1377) and duke of Hereford (1397). During the opening years of the reign of King Richard II (ruled 1377–99), Henry remained in the background while his father ran the government. When Gaunt departed for an expedition to Spain in 1386, Henry entered politics as an opponent of the crown. He and Thomas Mowbray (Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray, 1st Duke of, Earl Of Nottingham, Earl Marshal) (later 1st duke of Norfolk) became the younger members of the group of five opposition leaders—known as the lords appellants—who in 1387–89 outlawed Richard's closest associates and forced the king to submit to their domination. Richard had just regained the upper hand when Gaunt returned to reconcile the king to his enemies. Bolingbroke then went on Crusade into Lithuania (1390) and Prussia (1392). Meanwhile, Richard had not forgiven his past enmity. In 1398 the king took advantage of a quarrel between Bolingbroke and Norfolk to banish both men from the kingdom. The seizure of the Lancastrian estates by the crown upon John of Gaunt's death (February 1399) deprived Henry of his inheritance and gave him an excuse to invade England (July 1399) as a champion of the nobility. Richard surrendered to him in August; Bolingbroke's reign as King Henry IV began when Richard abdicated on September 30, 1399.

      Henry IV used his descent from King Henry III (ruled 1216–72) to justify his usurpation of the throne. Nevertheless, this claim did not convince those magnates who aspired to assert their authority at the crown's expense. During the first five years of his reign, Henry was attacked by a formidable array of domestic and foreign enemies. He quashed a conspiracy of Richard's supporters in January 1400. Eight months later the Welsh landowner Owen Glendower (Glendower, Owen) raised a rebellion against oppressive English rule in Wales. Henry led a number of fruitless expeditions into Wales from 1400 to 1405, but his son, Prince Henry (later Henry V), had greater success in reasserting royal control over the region. Meanwhile, Glendower encouraged domestic resistance to Henry's rule by allying with the powerful Percy family—Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland, and his son Sir Henry Percy (Percy, Sir Henry), called Hotspur. Hotspur's brief uprising, the most serious challenge faced by Henry during his reign, ended when the king's forces killed the rebel in battle near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, in July 1403. In 1405 Henry had Thomas Mowbray, the eldest son of the 1st duke of Norfolk, and Richard Scrope, archbishop of York, executed for conspiring with Northumberland to raise another rebellion. Although the worst of Henry's political troubles were over, he then began to suffer from an affliction that his contemporaries believed to be leprosy—it may have been congenital syphilis. A quickly suppressed insurrection, led by Northumberland in 1408, was the last armed challenge to Henry's authority. Throughout these years the king had to combat border incursions by the Scots and ward off conflict with the French, who aided the Welsh rebels in 1405–06.

      To finance these military activities, Henry was forced to rely on parliamentary grants. From 1401 to 1406 Parliament repeatedly accused him of fiscal mismanagement and gradually acquired certain precedent-setting powers over royal expenditures and appointments. As Henry's health deteriorated, a power struggle developed within his administration between his favourite, Thomas Arundel (Arundel, Thomas), archbishop of Canterbury, and a faction headed by Henry's Beaufort half brothers and Prince Henry. The latter group ousted Arundel from the chancellorship early in 1410, but they, in turn, fell from power in 1411. Henry then made an alliance with the French faction that was waging war against the prince's Burgundian friends. As a consequence, tension between Henry and the prince was high when Henry became totally incapacitated late in 1412. He died several months later, and the prince succeeded as King Henry V.

▪ king of France
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. With the aid of such ministers as the Duke de Sully, he brought new prosperity to France.

Prince of Béarn.
      Henry de Bourbon-Navarre was the son of Antoine de Bourbon, Duke de Vendôme, and Jeanne d'Albret, queen of Navarre from 1555. Henry, through his father, was in the sole legitimate line of descent from the Capetian kings of France. It was scarcely to be expected, however, that he would one day succeed to the throne of France, since Catherine de Médicis had already borne three sons to the reigning king, Henry II, and would soon bear him a fourth. Prince Henry spent most of his early childhood in Béarn. From 1561 to 1567 he lived with his second cousins, the children of the king of France, among whom was his future wife Margaret.

      The religious crisis between Roman Catholic and Protestant (Protestantism) ( Huguenot) forces was then coming to a head, leading to a long period of civil war. Antoine de Bourbon temporarily allied himself with the Protestants but changed sides and was mortally wounded in battle against them. Henry's mother, Jeanne d'Albret, held firm and announced her Calvinism in 1560. Henry had just turned 13 when his mother brought him back to Béarn. At a crucial age in his intellectual development, he was brought up in the strict principles of Protestantism. About the same time, he began his military education. In the autumn of 1567, he served as nominal head of a punitive expedition launched against the rebellious Roman Catholic gentry of lower Navarre, which ended in an easy victory.

      In 1568 his mother put him into the charge of her brother-in-law Louis I de Bourbon, Prince de Condé (Condé, Louis I de Bourbon, 1er prince de), who was the leader of the Protestant forces. The Protestants were surprised and defeated near Jarnac on March 13, 1569, by the Duke d'Anjou, the future Henry III, and Condé was killed. Jeanne d'Albret took Henry to the new leader of the Protestant forces, Gaspard de Coligny (Coligny, Gaspard II de, Seigneur De Châtillon), who gave the young prince his military education. Henry distinguished himself at the Battle of Arnay-le-Duc on June 26, 1570, when he led the first charge of the Huguenot cavalry. The long campaign through the ravaged provinces, extending from Poitou to the heart of Burgundy, forged in him the soldierly spirit that he would retain throughout his life and made him reflect on the disaster that had befallen the kingdom.

King of Navarre.
      Peace was concluded in August 1570, and a very liberal edict was granted the Protestants. Many persons, including Catherine de Médicis, hoped the civil war had come to an end. In order to strengthen the peace, a marriage was arranged between Prince Henry and Margaret Of Valois of the French royal house. Meanwhile, upon his mother's death in June 1572, Prince Henry became king of Navarre and sovereign lord of Béarn. On August 18, 1572, he and Margaret were married in Paris, but on August 24 came the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre (Saint Bartholomew's Day, Massacre of), in which thousands of French Protestants were massacred by royal forces. The marriage was publicly styled the “scarlet nuptials” because of the bloodshed. Ordered by his brother-in-law Charles IX to abjure his Protestant faith, Henry yielded. His conversion to Roman Catholicism was obviously of dubious sincerity, and he was therefore held for three-and-a-half years at the courts of Charles IX and then Henry III. Careful to restrain his impatience, he hid his forceful personality from his detainers. In February 1576, however, he at last succeeded in escaping from the French court, whereupon he recanted and joined the combined forces of Protestants and Catholic rebels against Henry III. Once free, he displayed his sharp intellect and political acumen in his role as protector of the Protestant churches. His common sense—one of his outstanding traits, except in love affairs—manifested itself when civil war broke out anew at the end of 1576. The Huguenots fared badly, and Henry, evaluating the situation, was able to persuade his coreligionists to give up the struggle and accept the Treaty of Bergerac on Sept. 17, 1577, despite the sacrifices it imposed on them.

Heir presumptive to the throne.
      On the death of Henry III's brother, François, Duke d'Anjou, in 1584, Henry de Bourbon-Navarre became the heir presumptive to the throne of France. He was irrevocably opposed, however, by the militant Roman Catholics of the Holy League, who were unwilling to accept a Protestant king, and by the pope (Gregory XIII), who excommunicated him and declared him devoid of any right to inherit the crown. Headed by Henri, Duke de Guise (Guise, Henri I de Lorraine, 3e duc de), and his brothers, the League claimed to be the defender of the ancestral faith of France, but its increasing reliance on Spanish support rapidly became a serious threat to French independence. Henry III lacked the strength to contain the League's overwhelming influence.

      Excluded from the succession by the Treaty of Nemours (1585) between Henry III and the Holy League headed by the Duke de Guise, Henry of Navarre fought the War of the Three Henrys (Three Henrys, War of the) mainly in southwestern France. In this crucial episode in which the very independence of France was at stake, Henry's activity was the essential factor. Though too prone in peace to neglect public affairs for private pleasure, he was an unrivaled leader in times of peril. Quick to grasp the significance of every situation, he was equally prompt to act, and victory was invariably the reward of his bold swiftness. He was not a brilliant strategist but had the ability to inspire his men to action. Four centuries later, his notes and speeches still have the impact and clarity of a clarion call. The outcome of the war hinged on the encounter between Henry and the army of Henry III, who had come increasingly under the influence of the League; and at the Battle of Coutras (Oct. 20, 1587) Henry of Navarre defeated the French king's army under Anne, Duke de Joyeuse. Meanwhile, the League had accepted the daughter of Philip II of Spain and Elizabeth of Valois as the next ruler of France. Henry III grasped the full meaning of this situation for the future of France and had the Duke de Guise assassinated in December 1588. He was then reconciled with Henry of Navarre because he needed the latter's help to recover Paris from the control of the League. Their united forces laid siege to Paris on July 30, but on August 1 Henry III, the last of the Valois dynasty, was stabbed in his headquarters at Saint-Cloud. He died the next day, after staunchly proclaiming Henry of Navarre, the head of the house of Bourbon, as his successor to the French crown.

Henry IV.
      Henry IV was now king of France, but it would take him nine years of struggle against the Holy League to secure his kingdom. Many of the Roman Catholic gentry who had remained loyal to Henry III deserted him, and his army was growing exhausted. He had to withdraw from the outskirts of Paris, which remained the League's principal stronghold. Henry won victories at Arques in 1589 and Ivry in 1590 and mounted unsuccessful sieges of Paris in 1590 and of Rouen in 1591–92. He was able to capture Chartres and Noyon from the League, but the war dragged on interminably, and the king realized that it had to be ended at any cost. After long hesitation, he undertook a final conversion back to Roman Catholicism in July 1593. Though many remained unconvinced of his sincerity, Henry's conversion removed all legitimate pretext for resistance, and important towns, notably Orléans and Lyon, submitted to him in growing numbers. On March 22, 1594, Paris finally gave in to him. Whether or not he made the comment attributed to him—“Paris is well worth a mass!”—he went, amid cheers, to hear the Te Deum at Notre Dame.

      Yet even after Pope Clement VIII removed the ban of excommunication from Henry IV on Sept. 17, 1595, Spain continued to support the remaining resistance to him in France, chiefly in Brittany under the leadership of Philippe-Emmanuel, Duke de Mercoeur (Mercoeur, Philippe-Emmanuel de Lorraine, Duke de) (the younger brother of the late Duke de Guise). In order to bring this situation to an end, Henry declared war on Philip II of Spain in January 1595 and undertook mopping-up operations against the League and its Spanish allies, defeating them at Fontaine-Française in Burgundy (June 1595) and retaking Amiens from Spanish control (September 1597). The Duke de Mercoeur came to terms with the king in March 1598, and the Peace of Vervins was reached between France and Spain on May 2, 1598. On April 13, 1598, Henry signed the Edict of Nantes (Nantes, Edict of), which confirmed Roman Catholicism as the state church but granted a large measure of religious freedom to Protestants, who were also given the right to hold public office and who retained their fortresses in certain cities. The Edict of Nantes ended nearly 40 years of religious strife and civil war that had left France tottering on the brink of disintegration.

The achievements of the reign.
      Henry IV had united the kingdom and achieved peace at home and abroad. He now proceeded to bring order and prosperity back to France. The rapidity with which he restored order surprised his contemporaries, and the effect of his personal policy in that achievement cannot be ignored. This policy stemmed from the wide experience that he had acquired during the conquest of the kingdom; acquainted with all the social classes of France, he knew what each one needed (he is traditionally credited with having desired for every labourer la poule au pot, a chicken to eat, every Sunday); and he used his geniality and his persuasive manner to win obedience.

      It was the wealthy merchants and the crown officials who had contributed most to Henry's success in acquiring his kingdom, and he looked to them for its rehabilitation and economic progress. Though he succeeded in suppressing certain useless government offices, he consolidated many others by according the “annual right,” or paulette (1604), whereby the holder of an office could make it hereditary through yearly payments of one-sixtieth of the price he had originally paid for it. This practice would later create serious problems for Henry's successors, but its immediate effect was to restore an adequate income to the government, which skillfully put it to use rebuilding the French economy. At first Henry controlled the Parlements (high courts) through the moderate approach of the chancellor Pomponne de Bellièvre, but gradually he asserted his personal authority more and more, relying for this purpose on Maximilien de Béthune, Duke de Sully (Sully, Maximilien de Béthune, Duke de). Among Henry's other able councillors were Nicolas Brulart de Sillery, Nicolas de Neufville, and Pierre Jeannin.

      Henry's government eliminated the formidable national debt and realized a reserve of 18 million livres. To revive the economy he undertook projects to develop agriculture, planting colonies of Dutch and Flemish settlers to drain the marshes of Saintonge. He introduced the silk industry to France and encouraged the manufacture of cloth, glassware, and tapestries, luxury items that had formerly been imported from Holland or Italy. Under the direction of Sully, new highways and canals were constructed to aid the flow of commerce. New treaties were concluded with the Ottoman sultan Ahmed I (1604), and commercial treaties were signed with England (1606) and with Spain and Holland. Support was given to Samuel de Champlain's exploration in Canada. The French army was reorganized, its pay was raised and assured, a school of cadets formed, the artillery service was reconstituted, and strongholds on the frontier were fortified. Though he lacked the artistic taste of the Valois kings, Henry beautified Paris, completing the Tuileries and building the great gallery of the Louvre, the Pont Neuf, the Hôtel-de-Ville, and the Place Royale (now Place des Vosges).

      Although he was himself a convert, Henry managed to reassure the Protestants and to grant them privileges in the state while at the same time promoting the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation, protecting the monastic orders, and improving the recruitment of the Roman Catholic clergy in France. Pope Clement VIII's annulment of Henry's marriage to Margaret of Valois made it possible for him to marry the princess of Tuscany, Marie De Médicis, in October 1600. The new queen gave birth on Sept. 27, 1601, to the dauphin, the future Louis XIII, and eventually to four other children.

      Henry IV's foreign policy, without being aggressive toward Spain, was designed to diminish Spanish influence in Europe. He was able to force Savoy to sign the Treaty of Lyons (1601), thereby acquiring Bresse, Bugey, and other pieces of territory on France's eastern border. He also concluded alliances with the German Protestant princes, with Lorraine, and with the Swiss. A great French success was the mediation between Spain and the United Provinces of the Netherlands, which led to the conclusion of the Twelve Years' Truce in 1609.

      In the latter year difficulties arose with the Holy Roman emperor over the Cleves- Jülich succession. After some hesitation, Henry finally decided on a military expedition to expel the imperial troops from Jülich, but whether he would have gone on to risk a new general war against the Habsburgs is unknown. He was assassinated in Paris on May 14, 1610, by a fanatical Roman Catholic named François Ravaillac.

      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. And though he was never an efficient administrator, his political insight, his willingness to enlist the cooperation of well-chosen ministers, and his understanding of his people made him an efficient ruler.

      Henry IV died a victim of the fanaticism he wanted to eradicate. Centuries ahead of his own time, he said, “Those who follow their consciences are of my religion, and I am of the religion of those who are brave and good.” Too often misunderstood during his lifetime, his tragic end seemed finally to have opened the eyes of his people. They soon bestowed on him the appellation Henry the Great.

      Henry is one of the most popular figures in French history for his amorous propensities as well as his political achievements. His love affairs were numerous, the most celebrated being those with Gabrielle d'Estrées, Henriette de Balsac d'Entragues, and Charlotte des Essarts. His many amours earned him the appellation of le vert galant (“the gay old spark”).

Raymond Ritter Victor-Lucien Tapié Ed.

Additional Reading
After the bibliographies on Napoleon I, the Revolution, and Louis XIV, the one concerning Henry IV is the most abundant of any in French history, to the point that it fills an entire volume of the classic work of Henri Hauser, Les Sources de l'histoire de France au XVIe siècle, vol. 4 (1915). Pierre de Vaissière, Henri IV (1928), is a study that remains today the best informed in its entirety; this study may be supplemented by the more recent work of Duke Antoine de Lévis-Mirepoix, Henri IV, roi de France et de Navarre (1971), a brilliant and lively evocation of the personality and of the great events of his life and reign; and by that of Roland Mousnier, L'Assassinat d'Henri IV, 14 mai 1610 (1964). The writings of Henry himself are instructive in the Recueil des lettres missives de Henri IV, 9 vol. (1843–76), by M. Berger de Xivrey (finished by J. Guadet); and the numerous documents of the same nature that have followed and continued since the last quarter of the 19th century. Little has been published on Henry IV in English; however, Hesketh Pearson, Henry of Navarre: The King Who Dared (also published as Henry of Navarre: His Life, 1963), is of interest; as is Desmond Seward, The First Bourbon: Henri IV, King of France and Navarre (1971).

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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