The Kingdom of France (French: Royaume de France) was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Western Europe, the predecessor of the modern French Republic. It was one of the most powerful states in Europe, a great power since the Late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War. It was also an early colonial power, with possessions around the world.
France originated as West Francia (Francia Occidentalis), the western half of the Carolingian Empire, with the Treaty of Verdun (843). A branch of the Carolingian dynasty continued to rule until 987, when Hugh Capet was elected king and founded the Capetian dynasty. The territory remained known as Francia and its ruler as rex Francorum ("king of the Franks") well into the High Middle Ages. The first king calling himself Roi de France ("King of France") was Philip II, in 1190. France continued to be ruled by the Capetians and their cadet lines - the Valois and Bourbon - until the monarchy was overthrown in 1792 during the French Revolution.
France in the Middle Ages was a de-centralised, feudal monarchy. In Brittany and Catalonia (now a part of Spain) the authority of the French king was barely felt. Lorraine and Provence were states of the Holy Roman Empire and not yet a part of France. Initially, West Frankish kings were elected by the secular and ecclesiastic magnates, but the regular coronation of the eldest son of the reigning king during his father's lifetime established the principle of male primogeniture, which became codified in the Salic law. During the late Middle Ages, the Kings of England laid claim to the French throne, resulting in a series of conflicts known as the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453). Subsequently, France sought to extend its influence into Italy, but was defeated by Spain in the ensuing Italian Wars (1494–1559).
France in the early modern era was increasingly centralised; the French language began to displace other languages from official use, and the monarch expanded his absolute power, albeit in an administrative system (the Ancien Régime) complicated by historic and regional irregularities in taxation, legal, judicial, and ecclesiastic divisions, and local prerogatives. Religiously France became divided between the Catholic majority and a Protestant minority, the Huguenots. After a series of civil wars, the Wars of Religion (1562–1598), tolerance was granted to the Huguenots in the Edict of Nantes. France laid claim to large stretches of North America, known collectively as New France. Wars with Great Britain led to the loss of much of this territory by 1763. French intervention in the American Revolutionary War helped secure the independence of the new United States of America.
The Kingdom of France adopted a written constitution in 1791, but the Kingdom was abolished a year later and replaced with the First French Republic. The monarchy was restored by the other great powers in 1814 and lasted (except for the Hundred Days in 1815) until the French Revolution of 1848.
|Reign / Rule||From||To||Coins Issued|
|King Hugh Capet||3 July 987||24 October 996|
|Robert II le Pieux (King Robert II the Pious)||24 October 996||20 July 1031|
|Henri Ier (King Henry I)||20 July 1031||4 August 1060|
|Philippe Ier l' Amoureux (King Philip I the Amorous)||4 August 1060||29 July 1108|
|Louis VI le Gros (King Louis VI the Fat)||29 July 1108||1 August 1137|
|Louis VII le Jeune (King Louis VII the Younger)||1 August 1137||18 September 1180|
|Philippe II Auguste (King Philip II Augustus)||18 September 1180||14 July 1223|
|Louis VIII le Lion (King Louis VIII the Lion)||14 July 1223||8 November 1226|
|Saint Louis (King Louis IX the Saint)||8 November 1226||25 July 1270|
|Philippe III le Hardi (King Philip III the Bold)||25 July 1270||5 October 1285|
|Philippe IV le Bel (King Philip IV the Fair)||5 October 1285||29 November 1314||1|
|Louis X le Hutin (King Louis X the Quarreler)||29 November 1314||5 June 1316|
|Jean Ier le Posthume (King John I the Posthumous)||15 November 1316||20 November 1316|
|Philippe V le Long (King Philip V the Tall)||20 November 1316||3 January 1322|
|Charles IV le Bel (King Charles IV the Fair)||3 January 1322||1 February 1328|
|Philippe VI de Valois, le Fortuné (King Philip VI the Fortunate)||1 April 1328||22 August 1350||1|
|Jean II le Bon (King John II the Good)||22 August 1350||8 April 1364|
|Charles V le Sage (King Charles V the Wise)||8 April 1364||16 September 1380|
|Charles VI le Bienaimé (King Charles VI the Beloved)||16 September 1380||21 October 1422|
|King Henry VI of England (disputed)||21 October 1422||19 October 1453|
|Charles VII le Victorieux (King Charles VII the Victorious)||21 October 1422||22 July 1461||1|
|Louis XI le Prudent (King Louis XI the Prudent)||22 July 1461||30 August 1483|
|Charles VIII l'Affable (King Charles VIII the Affable)||30 August 1483||7 April 1498|
|Louis XII le Père du Peuple (King Louis XII Father of the People)||7 April 1498||1 January 1515|
|François Ier le Père et Restaurateur des Lettres (King Francis I the Father and Restorer of Letters)||1 January 1515||31 March 1547|
|Henri II (King Henry II)||31 March 1547||10 July 1559|
|François II (King Francis II)||10 July 1559||5 December 1560|
|King Charles IX||5 December 1560||30 May 1574|
|Henri III (King Henry III)||30 May 1574||2 August 1589|
|Henri IV (King Henry IV)||2 July 1589||14 May 1610|
|Louis XIII le Juste (King Louis XIII the Just)||14 May 1610||14 May 1643||3|
|Louis XIV le Grand, le Roi Soleil (Louis XIV the Great, the Sun King)||14 May 1643||1 September 1715||8|
|Louis XV le Bien-Aimé (King Louis XV the Beloved)||1 September 1715||10 May 1774||6|
|Louis XVI le Restaurateur de la Liberté Française (King Louis XVI the Restorer of French Liberty)||10 May 1774||21 September 1792||4|