Biography of King of Francia Francisco I (1494-1547)

francisco I of France with his family and members of the Court.

King of France, born in the town of Cognac, the year 1494, and died in the castle of Rambouillet, the year 1547. Son of Carlos de Valois, count of Angoulême, and of Luisa de Saboya. He/She ascended the French throne the year 1515, succeeding his father-in-law, Luis XII, whose daughter Claudia had married a year earlier. Cultured and chivalrous, King represented better than anyone else the typical ideal of Renaissance Prince, with all defects and qualities that this desentrañaba. According to the testimonies of the time, it was an ambitious policy, libertine, tolerant Prince's fine features and majestic, with great value, willingly in excess of the war, air and without limits, which made him to be a man of few scruples. He/She fervently wanted the glory, both for himself and for his country. As Renaissance Prince, loved the letters and the arts, and protected and made work of patronage on the most important of the season, both French and foreign artists. Characters of the likes of Rabelais, Leonardo da Vinci and Benvenuto Cellinipassed through his court. His court was one of the most luxurious and splendid era, where their favorite, the Countess of Chateaubriand and the Duchess of Étampes, vied with each other in beauty and refinement. Francisco worried about build splendid sandcastles where take refuge in their hours of rest, and surrounded by the great nobility. Among them, we highlight of Chambord, Saint Germain, Villers-Cotterêts, and especially that of Fontaineblau, which worked on the likes of Ruggieri, Fontana and his great protégé and friend Benvenuto Cellini.

His education was directed by his mother who, along with her sister Margaret, exerted a powerful influence on the French monarch. His training as a Prince was very complete and comprehensive, thanks to men like Pierre de Rohan, the Marshal Gie, Artus Goffier and François Rochefort. His first political and military action made it to 18 years of age, struggling against the Holy League, headed by Fernando el Católicocomponents, in the year 1516, when he/she was twenty-one years old, he/she was declared King of France on the death of Luis XII without direct male descent, thus beginning the long reign of that later would be called Prince of the Renaissance.

francisco I, King of France.

Foreign policy

Practically most of the political power of Francisco was channelled towards the outside, due to the fact that the 16th century was a particularly turbulent period, clashes between the most powerful monarchies by the ostentation of the continental pre-eminence; all punctuated by the great religious issue raised as a result of the reform undertaken by Martín Luther.

Francisco, one time on the French throne, held the Regency of the Government while he/she was out, this fell to his mother, aided by the Constable Borbón Carlos. He/She went to Italy with the clear purpose of continuing the policy of Italian expansion undertaken by his predecessors on the throne. This action led to protests by the major powers, but did not prevent the French King to retook the major square of the Milan Swiss. To such military provocation, the European powers immediately mounted a League against him, formed by Henry VIII of England, Maximiliano de Austria, Pope Leo X and the Archduke of Flanders don Carlos (future King of Spain and Emperor of Germany). Due to the quick victory of Francisco, the League collapsed. Pope León X, fearing the presence of Francisco in Milan, seceded from the League and signed with the Concordat of Bologna, in the year 1516, which recognized his authority over Milan and granted him the privilege of appointing its own bishops. In return, the French King is committed not to attack the Papal possessions in Italy. The success of Francisco culminated with the perpetual peace signed with the Swiss by which Francisco obtained the right to recruit troops in the Swiss cantons.

In the year 1519 died the Emperor Maximiliano, with what the imperial throne became vacant. Francisco presented himself as a candidate, taking on their behalf their money and their recent Italian successes. But it was not supported by German bankers or the people themselves. He/She was elected Carlos I of Spain, what thereafter came a constant rivalry between the two, rivalry, which focused on a series of wars between both kings by the possession of Italy, and ultimately by settling who the two would be the political leader of the continent. Francisco, to be completely surrounded and threatened by the extensive territorial possessions that Carlos, had inherited sought alliance with Enrique VIII of England. In the year 1520 both monarchs was interviewed in the field of the cloth of gold (so called because the camp tents were embroidered with gold thread). Henry VIII not only refused to join Francisco, they openly supported Carlos V of Germany; both Carlos and Francisco, signed a Treaty of friendship in Windsor Castle.

Hostilities between the two soon succeed, where the French King was from failure to failure, from the beginning to the end. In the year 1521 lost Milan, Parma and Piacenza; in the year 1522 general Lautrec was crushed at the battle of Bicocca, and evacuated the entire area of the Milan and Genoa. To finish so disastrous campaign, the Constable Borbón Carlos joined the side of the emperor. In a last attempt to straighten the campaign, Francisco decided to attack the city of Pavia, in the year 1525. The Swiss troops who had hired, as mercenaries, left you. Francisco was taken prisoner and taken to Madrid, where he/she remained low in the Torres de los Lujanes, and subsequently in the Alcazar. Francisco was forced to sign the grueling Treaty of Madrid in 1526, which gave several French provinces, it renounced its claims on Italy and promised in marriage to Eleanor of Austria, sister of Carlos V.

Nothing but regain their freedom, Francisco forgot the promises made in their captivity (only fulfilled the Covenant marriage), and organized, at three months, a new League against the Emperor, known as the League of Cognac. This new alliance against Carlos V formed it: the Pope Clement VII, the Italian cities of Milan, Florence and Venice, and finally the own Francisco Enrique VIII, this last is had disconnected the Alliance with the emperor by his intention to divorce her aunt, the Queen Catherine of Aragon. The anti-imperial Pact was formed 22 May 1526, with a military campaign that lasted from 1527 to 1529. Well prepared and mercenary troops of Carlos V conducted the famous sack of Rome, in retaliation against the Pope for helping their enemy. Francisco invaded Naples, both by sea and by land, but thanks to the great Genoese Captain Andrea Doria, which had moved to the ranks of the Emperor, could keep the vital square. The long duration of the campaign, which wore down all challengers, necessitated the signing of a peace; This was signed at Cambrai, the year 1529, and was better known as the peace of the ladies by having been negotiated by Luisa de Saboya, mother of Francisco, and Margarita of Austria, the Emperor's aunt. Through this agreement, Carlos V withdrew its claims on Burgundy, while Francisco was definitely leaving Italy, in addition to paying a lot of money, 12 million ducats for the rescue of their two sons, which captives were still in Madrid as hostages since 1526.

Hostilities between both monarchs returned to resume on the death of the Duke of Milan, Francisco Sforza, childless, in the year 1535. Francisco aspired to place a friendly Italian interests Duke, but Carlos V refused to that fact, for the same objectives which the French King fed. The war between the two was again served. If past clashes between the two had not served much, territorially speaking, this contest was even less, only serving so that both armies wear each other without being able to conquer important places or advance on the enemy in a consistent and effective manner. This circumstance forced to sign peace of Nice, in the year 1537, which agreed a truce of 10 years between the two countries. Both certainly needed it.

The desired truce was broken again by Francisco, always attentive to the slightest chance of wearing the power of his great rival. France was threatened by the European possessions of the Emperor, thus, Francisco could never be quiet with such pressure. The outbreak of the clashes were caused by the murder, by the Spaniards, two officers of the French King. This event was tapped by Francisco to reassemble an anti-imperial League. The circumstances were really conducive to do so, as Carlos V had just returned from a disastrous expedition against Algiers. Francisco, very Christian King and appointed by the Pope as greatest son of the Church, did not drawback to sign a series of alliances with the Turkish sultan Suleiman the magnificent, Duke of Cleves and the Kings of Denmark, Sweden and England, all of them Protestant. He/She prepared five armies to invade the dominions of the emperor by Artois, Brabant, Netherlands, Roussillon and the Piedmont. Francisco personally commanded the army which had come by the Roussillon, but was dampened by the Duke of Alba. However, in the rest of the forces he/she acted with fortune. Henry VIII invaded the Territories North of the Emperor, getting capture Boulogne square. At the same time, Francisco won resounding victory of Cérisoles, in the year 1544. Carlos V struck back with force and ordered an army that is inexorably headed towards Paris. Faced with this serious threat imperial, Francisco not was obliged to sign the peace of Crépy, on September 18, 1544. The two Kings agreed to return the territories conquered to the other party. Francisco resigned its claims on Flanders and Naples, and at the same time, Carlos V to interests on Burgundy. Thus was an end to fights between Spanish and French who had dominated the first half of the 16th century. Francisco still lasted two years more the war against England, due to the fact that Enrique VIII refused to return the conquered plaza de Boulogne by not being counted with England for the signing of the peace treaty. Henry VIII, finally, gave in return for the payment of a substantial annual pension. Francisco spent the remainder of his life, until his death occurred the year 1547, in the midst of the pleasures of his luxurious Court.

Domestic policy

In religious matters, Francisco was in principle indulgent with the French reformers, known in France as Huguenots, as their religious beliefs were not very deep. As demonstrated in its alliances, he/she had no more qualms about joining the "infidels", be they Muslim or Protestant, if with this you could get some benefit in their war against the emperor. But, from the moment that it was aware of the Huguenots, who mostly belonged to the nobility, represented a real political danger, Francisco took a stance of resolute opposition against them, which culminated in the edict of Fontainebleau, 1 April 1540, which forbade the Protestant creed.

In the interior of the Kingdom was a jealous defender of Royal supremacy, and imposed their authority over the Church, mostly as a result of the Concordat of Bologna, signed with the Pope, which allowed him to appoint the French bishops. Ever-increasing interference by the monarchs in the Ecclesiastical Affairs was an accomplished in most of the European monarchies of the time, unmistakable signs of the fashioning of so-called centralist and authoritarian monarchies, where King stood on the cusp of the political organization, with an unquestioned power. Francisco also reduced the excessive power that the nobles had special relevance in the judicial field. He/She reorganized the army and imposed the use of the French language in all acts and official documents. His concern for culture was indisputable, as it corresponded to a deeply imbued with the spirit of the Renaissance Prince. During his reign are recorded in France a remarkable economic development, because of the large amount of precious metal from the Indies, and passing to France via Spain. The rise of the circulation of currency allowed an increase of the metallurgical and textile industries. Its purpose of favouring the navigation had no desired success. Their constant struggle with the Emperor brought as consequence the periodic ruin of his administration, but, despite this, was a monarch loved by his people who saw him as the embodiment of the perfect French hero.


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