King of France born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on March 31, 1519 and died in Paris June 10, 1559. Second son of Francisco I and Claudia of France. He/She became successor to the throne of France in 1536 after the sudden death of his brother mayor Francisco. Together with his father, Henry II was the most important King of the Valois dynasty.
In 1526 he/she was sent to Spain along with his brother Francisco, hostages, given by his father Francisco I as the Emperor Carlos V after the defeat of the French at Pavia on 24 February 1525. He/She remained in Spain until 1529, when both kings signed the peace of Cambrai or ladies, why Francisco I renounced all their aspirations about Italy and Flanders as well as return the Artois and Tournai to the emperor. Carlos V was resigning for his part to its claims about Burgundy.
In 1533, when even Henry was not the heir to the throne, Francisco I married you Catherine de Medicis. With this marriage the French King sought to leave in a good position to her second child, parent with one of the most important families of Italy, at the time putting near the throne to Allied future of great value to his Italian ambitions and to which, despite the continuous military defeats, Francisco will not give up until his death. Ten children were born of the marriage of Henry and Catherine, despite which Catalina lived (also was humiliated in France due to the relations that her husband kept with the Duchess of Valentinois, Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of his father) and genuine right hand of the King. Despite this, with Catherine de Médicis introduced in the French court ceremonial, fashions, and the way of doing politics typical of the Italian courts, and even called to the French court to some of the most important Italian artists of the era, such as the musician Beaujoyeulx.
When Francisco I died in 1547 and Enrique II was proclaimed King there was a total change in persons composing the Court. Ana de Pisseleu, Duchess of Étampes, mistress of her father, who for more than twenty years ruled completely the will of Francisco I, It was thrown out of court, both hate the own Enrique had it as by the animosity between Anne de Pisseleu and Diane de Poitiers. The post of Ana was occupied by Diana, which Enrique II named Duchess of Valentinois. Another important character in these early days of the reign of Enrique II was Anne de Montmorency, a fierce warrior who had already served under the command of Francisco I and that to Enrique II crushed the rebellion of Guyenne in 1548.
The most important of this first part of the reign of Enrique II event was the final union of Brittany to the territory of the French monarchy.
Later created the figures of two characters that were to mark the history of France in a significant way during the following reigns; We talk about Francisco of Lorraine, second Duke of guise and Lorraine Carlos Cardinal of guise. The Cardinal was responsible for devoting to Enrique II as ruler of France; While Lorena Francisco became one of the most important generals of the time and they were precisely his numerous victories made them win the favor of the sovereign and occupy a prominent role during the reign of its weak successor. The third of the great French military of the time who occupied a prominent place in the reign of Enrique II was the Marshal of Saint-André, Juan of Albon.
In 1548, Enrique II obtained its first great diplomatic success as King. He/She managed to convince the Queen of Scotland, María de Lorraine, to arrange the marriage of his daughter María Estuardo and Francisco, Francisco IIfuture dolphin. maría Estuardo, who had just six years old but already had been proclaimed Queen of Scotland, went to live in France where he/she was educated at the Court. In 1459 Enrique II was first Paris and his visit coincided with a mass execution of Calvinists. Henry VIII demanded plaza de Boulogne, but the refusal of the English King to cede it amicably resorted to arms and in may 1550 entered triumphal square.
Enrique II domestic politics turned to consolidate monarchial power and eliminate outbreaks of religious dissent, measures that were strengthened following the signing of the edict of Écouen in 1557. But the primordial, almost obsessive, objective of foreign policy and interior of Enrique II consisted in strengthening the position of France in the world, thereby weakening the power of Spain to defeat the great enemy inherited from his father, the Emperor Carlos and his son Felipe II, King of Spain.
The first opportunity that was presented to the young French King to the imperial power came as a result of the new uprising of the German Protestant princes. These had risen between 1531 and 1547 in the Esmalkalda League, but after the victory of Carlos V at Mühlberg (1547) the League was defeated and the Emperor Carlos tried to maintain this peace based on a series of conciliatory measures between Catholics and Protestants. In 1548 the Augsburg interim, which reflected the policy was published. Meanwhile met with the opposition of the Protestants and Catholics; the first, under the pressure of imperial so will accept the document returned to revolt headed by Mauricio of Saxony and supported the doctrine of Melanchthon and other Protestant theologians that responded to the Augsburg interim with the so-called interim of Zella or Leipzig. Henry II joined the German princes by the Treaty of Chambord in 1552. On the other hand, Enrique had signed secret treaties with the rest of the enemies of the Emperor, the Turks and the Swiss in 1550. The purpose of these two treaties, rather than territorial benefits that supposed, was to make a common front against the Emperor in order to put an end to its hegemonic European power.
In 1552 Henry II alongside its allies managed to defeat the imperial troops in the battle of Innsbruck. Unable to cope with all of its United enemies, Carlos signed the Treaty of Passau with the Protestants in June of 1552 and in 1555 was the definitive peace. Henry II had managed to seize the bishoprics of Metz, Verdun and Toul. Despite Imperial attempts, Metz remained in French possession until 1870 and Verdun and Toul until our days. The beginning of this conflict precluded the French participation in the second phase of the Council of Trent, initiated the 1 th may 1551.
In 1555, a new enemy of the Emperor and therefore a new ally of Enrique II, the Pope Giampietro Caraffa, known as Paulo IV, one of the most cruel and location history appeared on the scene. In 1556, Henry II signed a treaty with the papacy in order to occupy the Imperial possessions in Italian territory. To this end, Enrique II broke the truce of Vacucelles while Paulo IV launched a bull of excommunication against Felipe II and Carlos V, which was already in Yuste. That same summer Enrique II sent his armies to Rome under the command of Francisco de Lorena, Duke of guise. Felipe II reacted by sending to Rome to the best military of the time, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba, who was in Naples. At the same time, Felipe II prepared an army in Flanders to invade France. In March 1557 Felipe II diplomacy reached its most glorious moment to the Queen of England and wife of Felipe II, María Tudor a declaration of war against France. Command of the impressive army of the King of Spain was put under the command of Manuel Filiberto, Duke of Savoy, who after having been dispossessed by the Frenchmen wanted revenge. Henry II Meanwhile put his army in the hands of his best men, the aforementioned Duke of guise were joined by Anne de Montmorency and Coligny, on which rested the command of the French army. But the initiative of fighting was Spanish, Manuel Filiberto invaded Picardy and forced to Coligny to San Quentin; in this square, on August 10, 1557, Spanish troops defeated Coligny and Anne de Montmorency, who had gone to rescue the Marshal, in the famous battle of San Quentin. The French defeat was devastating, best of Enrique II nobility fell prisoner of the Spanish troops and the square, the main bastion of France in the North of Italy, was conquered for Felipe II. Paulo IV, abandoned by the French had to sign peace with Spain.
After the defeat of San Quintín Enrique II was forced to give up his Italian dream. The defeat had deeply damaged the French military and political prestige that the French monarch sought compensation in the attempt to invade the Spanish Netherlands. This sent the Duke of guise to attack the plaza de Calais, for two hundred years was held by the English, and was the natural gateway to Flanders. While in Paris Henry II it sumptuously celebrated his wedding with María Estuardo. Calais was under the command of the incompetent lord Wentworth that nothing could cope genius military of the Duke of guise and the 8 January 1558 yielded the fortress. Despite the fact that the English had refused on numerous occasions the help of the Spanish thirds, troops of the cantonments of Gravelines and Hesdin marched to Calais but not arrived in time. The advance of the Duke of guise remained unstoppable and after Calais fell Guines, Thionville and Dunkirk. The defence of Flanders was entrusted to Manuel Philibert of Savoy and the count of Egmont. July 13, 1558 the armies of Felipe II and Enrique II returned, this time at Gravelines, with virtually the same players that in Italy and found with identical results. The French troops were defeated and forced to retire, many French commanders died, the artillery, the banners and the loot was in Spanish hands. After this new disaster French, and given that both contenders had serious economic problems to continue with a war too long already and that the international situation had begun to be problematic after the Ascension to the throne of England from Elizabeth I and domestic religious problems of France, began peace negotiations. 3 April 1559 peace of Cateau-Cambrésis was signed, the Treaty was strengthened with the link between the daughter of Enrique II, Isabel de Valois and his great enemy, Felipe II. That same year Enrique II called the famous doctor and Belgian anatomist, Vesalius, to it were you a wound caused by a firearm, which the Belgian physician managed to cure him successfully.
The successive defeats of Enrique II against Spain, as well as the painful State of finances, on the brink of disaster, led the advance of the opponents to the French monarch, concentrated around religious dissent of Calvinists, who acquired unusual force so far.
In terms of domestic policy the reign of Enrique II was disastrous for France. The continuous wars against Spain caused the chaos of the Hacienda, which did not help the immense costs of the Court and especially to the mistress of the King, Diana of Poitiers. Economic problems caused an endless uprisings throughout all the reign, since hungry people some times and most favored classes but you equally unhappy others, rose against the disastrous policy of Enrique II. The religious added to economic problems. Henry II of France saw as the Huguenots did with increasingly higher power plots and how is constituted a major threat to the State, so the King did not hesitate to punish them harshly. Henry II managed to desanquilosar the late French administration, which reduced the number of senior positions and delimited the functions of each of them; It allowed the Foundation of the University of Reims. In 1555 it granted the license so that the first Protestant churches to open in Paris.
A colony of French Huguenots, driven by Enrique II, established a colony called Antarctic France in the Guanabara Bay, under the guidance of Nicolau Durand of Villegaisnes, in 1550. The French Government's intention was to create an enclave according to the principles of the ciudad-modelo of the thinkers of the Renaissance, where you could send to all those who were persecuted in Europe because of their beliefs. The colony was disbanded and expelled from Portuguese territory by Governor Mem de Sá 15 March 1560.
During the celebrations of the betrothal of Isabella of Valois with Felipe II, held a series of jousts and tournaments, in which Enrique participated very actively. In one of these battles the head of the Scottish guard of the King, the Earl of Montgomery, injured you in an eye with a sliver of his spear. The King survived the incident just twelve days. Seven of his ten children survived him: Isabella of Valois, Queen of Spain; Claudia, Duchess of Lorraine; the future King Francisco II; the future King Carlos IX; the future King Henry III; Marguerite, Queen of Navarre and Francisco, Duke of Alençon and Anjou.