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Louis XI

(1423—1483)


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(1423–83)

King of France (1461–83). He was exiled for plotting against his father, Charles VII, but succeeded to the throne in 1461. As king he imposed new taxes, dismissed his father's ministers, and attempted to curb the powers of the nobility. They retaliated by forming a coalition against him which waged the “War of Common Weal”. Charles the Bold of Burgundy led a group including the Duke of Brittany, the Duke of Bourbon, and Louis XI's brother, Charles of France, supported by some lesser magnates, clergy, and a few towns. The Battle of Montlhéry (July 1465) ended in stalemate, and Louis was able to gain the upper hand after Charles the Bold was defeated by the Swiss in 1477. He pursued a successful policy of territorial acquisition and centralization: by the time of his death only the duchy of Brittany remained largely independent.

Louis XI established firm government but nonetheless bequeathed a troubled legacy at his death. The minority of his son, Charles VIII, saw further outbreaks of discontent amongst the nobility and attempts by the dukes of Brittany to undermine the monarchy.


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