King of France, called the great, born in the castle of Pau, in Bern, December 14, 1553 and died 14 may 1610 in Paris. He was son of the Duke of Vendôme, Antonio of Bourbon, and of Jeanne III of Albret.
His father was the head of one branch under the Bourbons, descended directly from Roberto de Clermont, the sixth son of san Luis (Luis IX), because he owned certain rights to the Crown of France. His mother was the daughter of Henri II King of Navarre and Marguerite of Angoulême , sister of Francisco I, so it was the throne of Navarre and returned to be linked to the succession of the throne of France. Following the traditions of Navarra, he received the title of Prince of Viana.
Jeanne d ' Albret 1555 ascended the throne of Navarre by the death of his father and gave her husband the title of King of Navarre. Death in 1562 of Borbón Antonio made Juana the Queen alone and responsible for the education of the young Prince. This decisively marked Enrique since his mother was a Calvinist convinced by what the Prince was educated in this new doctrine.
During the wars of Religion which ravaged France, in particular throughout the third, both Juana and her son joined the Protestant Huguenots in La Rochelle, and after the death in 1569 of the Prince of Condé, Enrique was hailed as the head of the Protestant cause, but since the Prince of Viana had just 16 yearscommand of the army fell directly on Admiral Coligny.
In June 1572, after the death of Jeanne d ' Albert, Henry became King of Navarre under the name of Enrique III, that same year, on August 18, was held the wedding between Catholic and Protestant protests. The night from 23 to 24 August occurred in all France a bloody crackdown against protesters, known for his cruelty as the St. Bartholomew's day massacre. The killing was ordered by King Carlos IX and the Queen Mother Catherine de Medicis, and was directed by Henry of Lorraine, Duke of guise. Repression resulted in the death of ten thousand people in all France and the movement French Protestant lost many of its leaders, despite which did not disappear and Philippe de Mornay became its head. Henry III of Navarre had to choose between the rejection and death, chose to recant their faith, and for three years at the French Court remained prisoner. In February 1576 he managed to escape and arrived in Gascony, territory where the Huguenots were stronger. When Enrique de Navarra found safe in Gascony it denied his abjuration alleging that he had been forced to do it under penalty of death, and was again at the head of the Protestants. That same year, in July, the Protestants achieved an important peace treaty that granted certain advantages and above all time to organize their defenses. In 1576 the French Catholics had gathered in lathe to the Duke of guise and had formed the Catholic League.
Last brother who was the French King Enrique III, Francisco, Duke of Alençon and Anjoudied without heirs in 1584. Since Enrique III had no heirs male of his marriage with Luisa de Lorena, and according to the Salic law, the Crown was Enrique III of Navarre who was the closest relative. Then it was when the most powerful League moved to avoid a Huguenot is elevated on the throne of France, and the (less legitimate) rights of the Duke of guise to the throne. Henry III of France then made a failed attempt that Borbón Enrique renounce his rights to the throne or became to Catholicism.
Enrique III enacted the Nemours edict that Protestantism was outlawed in France in July 1585. The Protestant response was immediate, they declared war to the King of France. This confrontation is known as Guerra of the three Enriques since its protagonists were: Enrique III as nominal head of the Catholics; Enrique Guisa as authentic Catholic leader and Enrique de Borbón as representative of the Protestants. The Kingdom was divided into two camps: on one side, the Calvinist Party, which dominated the Southwest with the support of England and several German princes; and another, Catholic, whose main stronghold was the Parisian Court dominated by the guise, and supported by subsidies of Felipe II of Spain. The guise also had its part to cities, inner agitated by the deep socio-economic crisis that lived the United. Meanwhile, the pretender to the throne became leader of the Huguenot party and received the support of Elizabeth I of England and elector of the Palatinate. The victory of the Protestants in Coutras 20 October 1587 put an end to the confrontation.
In 1588 Enrique III, fearful of the power of the guises made to assassinate two heads of family, the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Duke of guise. This action remains the King the few allies who still maintained it had to ask for help, to save his life, his enemy Borbón Enrique. Together both monarchs besieged Paris in August 1589. In such action the Dominican James Clement and killed the King of France, so it was left as sole candidate to the throne Enrique III King of Navarre. Henry de Borbón had with support from Protestants, the staff of the Court and the of many Catholics who asked it became to Catholicism; front to it was even powerful guise family that was headed by Garter, King Felipe II of España and Pope Gregory XIV; his predecessor Pope Sixtus V had excommunicated him and declared him not suitable to take the Crown of France and of Navarre. Finally, some Catholics who initially supported Henry with the condition that became to Catholicism, to see that it had no interest in such conversion formed the named third party, which proposed the election of the elderly Cardinal Carlos de Borbón, son of Luis I Prince of Condé, and as lieutenant to the Duke of Mayenne; When Enrique de Borbón had repeated on many occasions that it would not change of religion for political reasons. Because of that the situation was at an impasse, Enrique took a decision, retired to Normandy with the intention of recruiting troops and enlisting the support of England, Germany and the increasingly divided League.
Enrique de Borbón in Arques victory in September 1589 gave him the support he needed to occur again in Paris and reclaim the throne. But at that time appeared the figure of Mayenne, which protected the interests of a sector of the League and of Cardinal Borbón. Henry of Navarre won a decisive victory over Mayenne at Ivry in March 1590, but then, when it seemed that all his enemies was finished, one more powerful than all the above together appeared to further complicate things. The troops of Felipe II, at the increasingly likely prospect of a Protestant to sit on the throne of France, and before the request of help from the League, took part in the conflict. The British supported Enrique IV and sent an army under the command of the Earl of Essex and the FrobisherCorsair fleet.
From Flanders the powerful thirds of Alejandro Farnesio invaded the North of France, destroying many enemies he was, he defeated Enrique in the battles of Ligny and Aumale, and returned to Flanders, and that he had serious health problems, which had never been supporter of the invasion and that his troops were exhausted. But no sooner had come to Flanders when he again received the order of plunging into France. On this second occasion, and despite his delicate state of health, with their thirds reached the gates of Paris. Spain also had their candidate to the throne of France in the person of the Princess Isabel Clara Eugenia, since this was the daughter of Isabella of Valois and granddaughter of Henri II and Catherine de Medicis, the Spanish bid was therefore weak since the Salica law prohibited the Government from the women, but the force of Spanish troops was about achieving it.
They soon arise the divisions within the Catholic League. On the one hand appeared a faction, the sixteen, radical Catholicism who refused any according to Enrique IV and which were supported militarily and economically by Spain. On the other hand, those who saw one greater danger than in the Protestantism of the French King in the expansionist attitudes of Felipe II. This did not do but weaken the coalition and allow a respite to the harassed Enrique IV.
Henry de Borbón, with his country invaded by Spanish troops, with Catholics pressing him to convert to Catholicism and his army on the run and defeated, decided to ignore his Adviser of Rosny, later Duke of Sully, and converted to Catholicism. A legend without historic documentation indicating it attributed the phrase to Enrique: Paris is worth a mass, which according to legend was the expression of the sovereign to the difficulties in which was he decided to make public his conversion to Catholicism. The legend makes the conversion of the King in an empty act motivated by political and lacking aspects of sincerity. Whatever it was, the actual conversion took place July 27, 1593 to the Archbishop of Bourges and had an instant of the revolt effect, since as Catholics were aware of it they were paying the squares that had in its possession and joining the real cause. 27 February 1594 Enrique IV was crowned as King of France at the Cathedral of Chartres. That same year, in March, Paris opened its doors to the King which forced to withdraw the Spanish troops. However the war against the League lasted until 1596 and with Spain was not signed peace until the 2 may 1598, at the known as the Treaty of Vervins, and after a hard military conflict between both monarchies.
Felipe II, before the turn that events had given had to renounce their dynastic aspirations on the French throne, despite which kept the hope of annexing, with the blessing of the Catholic League, some of the territories that had conquered the thirds on French soil. It was for this reason that Enrique IV declared war to Felipe II. The Spanish monarch invaded France from all its borders. Henry IV lost in 1597 Amiens and Calais, as he watched as the Spanish armies roamed France from one end to the other. Both England and the United provinces joined France in a coalition to power and Spanish expansionism, the agreement was signed may 24, 1596. Despite this, the Allied armies continued to succeed in stopping the advance of the thirds. Only the financial difficulties of the Hacienda of Felipe II, which has declared a suspension of payments in 1596, forced the Spanish King to seek peace. April 13, 1598 was issued the edict of Nantes which restored the religious tolerance in France and which granted religious freedom to the Huguenots, with limited restrictions. I may 2 was signed the peace of Vervins with Spain, why Felipe II recognized Henry as King of France and returned him to the conquered territories.
Henry IV, once secured his position on the throne, was devoted to reorganize a fully war-stricken country. The provinces were at the mercy of abuses of the Governors and under the absolute power of the great nobles who behaved as feudal lords in their domains. The first work of the King was to put an end to this kind of abuse and trim the power of the nobility. To remedy the situation of ruin of the Hacienda and solve the economic problems of the citizenship it undertook a series of works aimed to improve infrastructure at the time taking measures to facilitate trade, all aiming to create new sources of wealth and revive business transactions legally. He promoted the development of agriculture, industry and trade, producing a spectacular growth that will lead to the colonization of Canada; in this new territory in French Explorer Champlain founded Quebec City. Placed at the head of the Treasury to the Duke of Sully, which gave carte blanche for his ambitious programme of reforms. Sully was able to reduce the foreign debt of France very considerably. Ten years France went through a process of growth not known up to then.
After laying the foundations of the interior of France resurgence, Enrique IV returned his attention outward, in particular towards Savoy, where he managed to seize, in 1601, districts of Bresse, Bugey, and Volromey. But the aim of the French monarch was the Constitution of an international alliance against the House of Austria, the secular enemy of the French monarchy. The succession of the duchies of Jülich and Cleves was the reason that Enrique IV sought to initiate hostilities. Before Enrique IV had entered into negotiations with the Protestant Union of Germany, who asked for help on this occasion. In 1610, he signed the Treaty of Bruzzolo with the Duke Carlos Emmanuel, Duke of Savoy. This agreement was the basis for the collaboration of the two countries against the Spanish domination of the Italian peninsula. But when the French monarch would take up arms against the Hapsburgs, the Jesuit Ravaillac stabbed him killing him may 14, 1610, the day before the consecration of the heir had occurred in Reims, at the behest of the Queen María de Médicis, which was named Regent during the minority of the dolphin, this coincidence of events raised many suspicions and it was assumed that María could have some complicity in the death of the monarch, but no one could prove it. Before Enrique IV had left gracefully several bombings, one of them starring Gontaud Carlos, Duke of Biron.
Henry IV ended up as one of the Kings most loved by the French people; He had fame great military and possess an extraordinary value. She had numerous lovers, including Gabriela d' stress, Enriqueta Entragues and already in his old age, the young Charlotte de Essarts, later Princess of Condé. He was married twice, the first with Marguerite de Valois (the famous Queen Margot), which his successor; broke, without having any son, after numerous scandals that starred, and married María de Médicis had the future Luis XIII, a Prince who died in 1611; Gastón Duke of Orleans; Elizabeth, later Queen of Spain for her marriage to Felipe IV; Cristina, married to Víctor Amadeo, Duke of Savoy, and Henrietta, wife of Carlos I, King of England.