Medieval France Francia – Important Events

Medieval France Francia

France in the middle ages started from the 9th century to the middle of the 15th century. This period was marked by the disintegration of the Carolingian Empire and West Francia.

The control of the royal House of Capet was expanded including their struggles following the Viking’s invasions.

House of Capet

House of Capet

This period also witnessed the hundred-year war with the kingdom of England with the catastrophic ‘Black Death’ part of this war.

100 Years War

100 Years War

The 12th century saw the ups and downs of the economic system and the feudal revolution. There was a cultural shift that included a transition from Romanesque architecture to Gothic architecture, Gothic art, universities, poetry, and medieval music.

Medieval France Map


Medieval France Map

Clovis Unites The Franks

Clovis was the first king of Franks who united all Frankish tribes under one ruler. He changed the dynamics of Frankish leadership, effectively laying the foundations of a ruling dynasty so that one king could pass the throne to his heirs.

Conquests of Clovis

Clovis was the founder of the Merovingian dynasty which started in the middle of the 5th century until 751. He succeeded his father Childeric I and ruled areas extending from Southern Netherlands to northern France.

Clovis is considered the founder of France.

Clovis is considered the founder of France.

He also conquered small Frankish kingdoms in the northeast and the Visigothic kingdom of Aquitania to the South. Clovis was famous because of his conversion to Catholicism in 496.

Battle of Tours 732 *Medieval France Francia

The Battle of Tours took place on 10 October 732 between Frankish and Burgundian forces led by Charles Martel against Umayyad Caliphate led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi.

It was won by Frankish and Burgundian armies and Abdul Rahman was killed. After the victory, Charles extended his kingdom to the South.

The Saracen army prepares for battle near Paris

Martel was able to check the Moorish advance by routing the Muslim army at the Battle of Tours in 732.

This battle laid the foundation of the Carolingian Empire which led to the Frankish-dominated empire in western and central Europe for the next century.

At the same time, this battle decisively halted the expansion of the Umayyad Hispania. For this reason, Martel was celebrated as the savior of Christianity and gained the favor of the Papacy.


Charles Martel

Charlemagne Becomes Emperor 800

Charlemagne or ‘Charles the Great’ became the king of the Franks in 768. He also became the King of Lombards from 774 onwards and the Emperor of Romans from 800. He was crowned by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day in 800.



This was the first time a person had become an effective emperor in Western Europe following the fall of the Roman Empire.

In this position, Charlemagne claimed to be the heir to the original Roman Empire. After his coronation, he introduced a common currency and written language in Francia.

Medieval French Kings

He also took steps to encourage the growth of a unique Frankish culture, comprised of literature and art. During his reign, he united most of Western and Central Europe in a single entity.

The extended Frankish kingdom came to be called the Carolingian Empire. He removed Lombards from Northern Italy and led an incursion into Muslim Spain.

Carolingian People Franks

His achievements would define Western and Central Europe for centuries to come.

Treaty of Verdun *843

After the death of Charlemagne, his son Louis the Pious became the ruler of the Carolingian empire. During his reign, Louis divided the kingdom among his sons while they still remained under his greater rule.

The title of the emperor was given to the eldest son of Louis the Pious, Lothair I.


Carolingian Empire

However, because of the various subdivisions, he became less powerful. When Louis the Pious died in 840, his son claimed power as an emperor.

Lothair’s brother and half-brother refused to accept him as emperor and declared war on him. They defeated Lothair after which both sides agreed to negotiate a settlement.

Carolingian Empire

The Treaty of Verdun was signed on August 843 to divide the Carolingian Empire into three states for the three sons of Louis the Pious.

Lothair received the Kingdom of Italy, Louis got the Kingdom of Bavaria and Charles the Bald received the Kingdom of Aquitaine.

Hugh Capet Becomes King *987

Hugh Capet was the King of Franks from 987 to 996 and the founder of the ‘House of Capet’. He was the son of Hugh the Great and was the nephew of Otto the Great.

He was elected and crowned on 3 July 987. After getting the crown, he immediately started pushing for the coronation of his son Robert. Robert was crowned on 25th December in the same year.

Hugo Capet Medieval king Crowned

Hugh Capet was regarded as the founder of the dynasty and the House of Capet. His successors would continue to rule France for many subsequent centuries.

Reign of Philip II

Phillip II, also known as Phillip Augustus, was the King of France from 1180 to 1223. His predecessors were known as kings of the Franks but Philip replaced ‘Franks’ with ‘France’ in his title. was the son of King Louis VII and Adela of Champagne.


Philip Augustus King of France

After a long struggle during the Anglo-French war of 1202-4, Phillip successfully broke up the Angevin Empire at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214.

His military successes helped in the expansion of France’s Southwest. During his reign, Phillip transformed France from a small feudal state into the most powerful country in Europe.

King Philip II Augustus Famous Medieval King of France Portrait

He also significantly pushed the boundaries of his kingdom at the expense of his neighbors.

Medieval France Albigensian Crusade

The Albigensian Crusade was a military campaign that lasted for nearly 12 years. It was initiated by Pope Innocent III in France to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc.

It resulted in eliminating a significant number of Cathars and reduced the influence of counts of Barcelona as well as Languedoc’s regional culture.

Albigensian Crusade

Albigensian Crusade

The Cathars originated from the anti-materialist reform movement in the churches of the Balkans. It was a reaction to the increasing materialist outlook and interests of the Catholic Church.

The practices of the Cathars conflicted with the Incarnation of Christ which led to accusations of Gnosticism.

In 1208, Pope Innocent III declared a crusade against Cathars. From 1209 to 1215, the crusaders were successful in capturing Cathar lands.

Pope Innocent III Fourth Crusade

Pope Innocent III demands the Fourth Crusade

Battle of Bouvines

The Battle of Bouvines was fought between a Flemish-English force and the French army. It took place in the County of Flanders in 1214.

This battle resulted in a decisive victory for the French forces under Philip II. Many English-Flemish barons were killed or captured.

Battle of Bouvines Map

The allied side also sustained heavy casualties, mainly caused by the repeated charges of the French cavalry. With this victory, France emerged as the single most powerful nation in Europe.

Back in England, the prolonged war and the crushing defeat created discontent among the barons which ultimately led to the signing of the Magna Carta.

Signing Magna Carta

King John Signs the Magna Carta

The 100 Years’ War

The 100 Years’ War was a series of many wars fought between the Kingdom of England and the French House of Valois over the right to rule the Kingdom of France from 1337 to 1453.

It was one of the most notable conflicts of the middle ages in which five generations of kings fought for the largest kingdom in Western Europe.

Battle of Crécy Froissart

Battle of Crécy Froissart *100 Years War

At the end of the war, feudal armies were replaced with professional troops and weapons armies. In France, civil wars, deadly epidemics, and famine reduced the population drastically.

However, England was ultimately defeated in the war and the French victory ended a long period of instability.

Battle of Crécy

Battle of Crécy Edward III counting the dead on the battlefield of Crécy

Medieval France Francia – This war also laid the foundations for a long rivalry between England and France that would continue for many centuries to come.

Francia *Wars of Religion *Post Medieval Period

The French Wars of Religion began in 1562 (Post Medieval Times) and continued for nearly 36 years all the way until 1598. The war was caused by a conflict between adherents of the Catholic faith and Huguenots.

The French nobility was also divided into two sides during this conflict. The Catholic populace carried out several killings of the Huguenots.

In all, nearly 3 million died due to the violence caused by this war. This made it the second deadliest religious war in French history.

Reign of Louis XI *Post Medieval Period

Louis XI, also known as Louis the Great, was the King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign was the longest time of any monarch of a sovereign country in Europe.

He eliminated feudalism in parts of France and brought a system of absolute monarchical rule which ultimately led to the French revolution.

During his long reign, he fought three wars; the war of Devolution, the war of the League of Augsburg, and the War of Spanish succession. He brought various administrative reforms and introduced strategic advantages for the French military.

Medieval France Events Summary

  • Medieval France ‘Francia’ During the 5th century, Clovis emerged as a ruler who united all Frankish tribes under a single rule.
  • Clovis’s rule laid the foundations of the Merovingian Empire. 732 – the Battle of Tours was fought. medieval France Francia
  • Charles Martel, a Frankish leader, decisively defeated the Umayyad in this war, halting the Muslim advance into Europe.
  • 800 – Charlemagne was crowned as the Emperor. He became the first emperor to effectively rule over Western Europe following the fall of the Roman Empire.


  • 843 – The treaty of Verdun was signed between the sons of Frankish king Louis the Pious. This treaty defined separate realms for his three sons. 987 – Hugh Capet became the King of the Franks. He would go on to establish a dynasty that continued to rule France for many centuries.
  • 1180, Philip II became the King of France. He brought an end to the Angevin Empire and expanded French territories. medieval France Francia
  • Early 13th century, France launched Albigensian Crusade with the backing of the Pope. It resulted in the elimination of Cathars and the annexation of their territories by the French monarchs.

Battle of Crécy Froissart

  • The 100 Years’ War was fought between France and England from 1337 to 1453. It was fought over claims to the French throne. In the end, England was defeated and France stood victorious.
  • French Wars of Religion began in 1562 and continued for nearly 36 years. These were a series of conflicts between Huguenots and Catholics. It resulted in the massacre of Huguenot nobles and the populace at large.medieval France Francia