Biography of Francisco II de Duque de Bretaña Montfort (1435-1488)

French aristocrat, born in Montfort manor from June 23, 1435 and died in Coueron (Britain) 9 September 1488. Member of a collateral branch of the lineage Montfort, became Duke of Brittany in 1458, died when his uncle Arturo III, Francisco was the first heir by male line, who exalted him to one of the most important French peerages.

From 1458, thus, Francisco II de Montfort continued asserting the pro-independence policy of the Dukes of Brittany, keeping the territory safe from French domination and preserving their traditions and customs. Obviously, this type of actions led to very strained relations between the breton Duke and Luis XIgala monarchy. These problems were on the rise until in 1465 Francisco II joined the count of Charolais and Duke of Burgundy, Carlos daredevil, to form the League of the public good, French noble Confederacy which fought Luis XI for the interests of Carlos de Berry, brother of Luis XI, who had been stripped of any inheritance by his bellicose brother.

As regards Francisco II, its main action throughout this new contest took place in 1467, when he/she invaded Normandy at the head of a large army of stately troops and, after beating Luis XI, loyalists took part in the appointment of Carlos as Duke of Normandy. The military soundness of the Duke of Brittany drew the attention of the most bitter enemy of Luis XI, which was none other but the English King, Eduardo IV. In Exchange for military aid to maintain the independence of Brittany, Francisco II signed in 1468 a Pact of friendship with the British monarch, which, in principle, seemed to safeguard your possessions with a strong alliance. However, the counter-offensive of Luis XI was swift and sent a powerful army to Britain, where he/she defeated the League of the public good and got rid of the threat of his brother, Carlos Berry, naming him Duke of Guyena. Also, Luis XI forced the breton Duke to accept the terms of the Treaty of Ancenis (1468), imposed by the triumphant monarch their noble rebels. Although still got Francisco II safeguarding customs Breton over the action of agents, real, Luis XI ordered him to reject the agreements signed with Eduardo IV. Obviously, Francisco II knew that only through the Alliance with the English King he/she could get the Breton autonomy, so swords would return to face and the current was only a moment of truce.

From 1468, the biographical development of Francisco II de Montfort is always linked to the preservation of Breton autonomy against the attacks of the monarchy French, always eager to acquire the Duchy to manage it from their position of power. This struggle, the real axis of the life of the Duke of Brittany, was much more for family reasons, since it did not any male child in your marriage and, therefore, the future of Britain remained in the hands of a successful marriage policy of his daughters, complicated above all of that to the dessert was heiress, Anne of Brittany.

At the end of the same year in 1468, the League of good public reaction was swift: Carlos daredevil, aided by the stately troops of the Duke of Brittany, was able to defeat Luis XI and make him prisoner in Perona. At that time, Francisco II returned to resume the friendship with the English monarch, with whose support he/she decided to reinforce the authority among the neighboring nobility of the breton territory. In spite of this, the ability of the intriguing Luis XI got, between 1470 and 1477, accession to the Crown of the counties of Burgundy, Picardy and Artois, which left Francisco II in a very weak position to counteract French centralism. After a timid diplomatic rapprochement between monarch and Duke, in 1480 hostilities returned to unleash, since Luis XI purchased, through a high sum of money, inheritance rights which had the Penthièvre family over the Duchy of Brittany. Francisco II took this event as a personal affront and it was decided to gamble everything on the whole: in January 1481 had already signed a new agreement with Eduardo IV through which promised to marry his eldest daughter, Ana of Britain, with the Prince of Wales, son of Eduardo V and heir to the English Crown. However, the internal problems of a chaotic England, plunged into the war of the Roses two prevented carry any pact between the two, with the consequent desperation of Francisco II, which saw the French intervention in Britain ever closer to fruition.

A turning point took place in 1483: death, practically at the same time, Luis XI and Eduardo IV. Apparently, the Regency of Anna of Beaujeau during the minority of his brother, the new French King Carlos VIII, allowed Francisco a wide margin of manoeuvre to be able to settle the Breton autonomy. But then the Duke of Brittany made two mistakes in bulk: the first, away from the English orbit, although it is true that the successor of Eduardo IV, the bloody Duke of Gloucester Ricardo III, crowned did not offer any guarantee; the second mistake of Francisco II was to entrust the local administration of Brittany Pierre Landais, the head of its aristocratic House. Landais, carried away by private interests, carried out one brutal persecution against another one of the Councillors of the Duke, called Guillaume Chavin, very appreciated among the nobles for their expertise in the jurisprudence.

The case is that once linked Breton nobility began to distance himself from the obedience of the Francisco II, which took advantage of perfectly intelligent Ana of Beaujeau, who did not fustigar to the detractors of the Duke to the rebellion. In 1485, a group of noblemen against the Government of Landais, aided by troops and weapons of the French monarchy, the hated Governor captured and executed him by hanging. The problem came later, as French troops, once in Britain, refused to retire; the maneuver of Beaujeau Ana had come round.

In such precarious situation, Francisco II returned to draw strength from weakness and forced all the Breton feudal barons to give obedience to fight against the invading French, promising the pardon and forgiveness for those who had grossly, let the enemy. In the three following years, skirmishes and clashes between the French and Bretons carried the war ruled by Francisco II, who, defeated in 1488, had to accept a truce: the Treaty of Le Verger. In it, and after hard fighting, the Duke of Brittany was getting the withdrawal of the French army of the Duchy, as well as the autonomy and independence of the Crown, forcing the Regent to accept laws, usages and customs of the country. But the victory of Beaujeau Ana was almost total, since Francisco II had to give in to the request of his rival: that none of the marriages of his daughters is made without the consent of the French Crown. Apparently, the very conscious that what has been agreed would end up with the Breton autonomy accelerated the death of the Duke at his residence in Coueron (Britain) 9 September 1488.


MICHALOVE, P. history of France. (Barcelona, Crítica: 1987).