On This Day

Francis I of France

King Francis I of France

Profession: King


Biography: Francis I was the first king from the Angoulême branch of the House of Valois. As a humanist and Renaissance King Francis encouraged the arts. He provided Leonardo da Vinci with a pension and acquired the Mona Lisa.

His reign was dominated by conflict; primarily with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and especially after Charles inherited territories that effectively surrounded France. To counter this, Francis tried an ultimately unsuccessful alliance with English King Henry VIII at their famous Cloth of Gold meeting.

At the Battle of Pavia in 1525 Francis was captured by the forces of Charles V and forced to give up territorial claims, two of his sons were also taken hostage.

To counter this Francis became the first Christian King to forge an alliance with an Ottoman Sultan by reaching an understanding with Suleiman the Magnificent.

Born: September 12, 1494
Birthplace: Cognac, France
Star Sign: Virgo

Died: March 31, 1547 (aged 52)
Cause of Death: It is said that "he died complaining about the weight of a crown that he had first perceived as a gift from God"

Married Life

  • 1514-05-18 Francis, Duke of Valois, later Francis I, King of France, marries Claude, Duchess of Brittany

Historical Events

  • 1515-01-01 Francis, Duke of Angouleme succeeds King Louis XII as Francis I of France
  • 1520-06-07 Field of the Cloth of Gold; meeting begins between English Henry VIII and King Francis I of France at Balinghem, France
  • 1526-01-14 Charles V and Francis I sign the Treaty of Madrid, forcing Francis to give up claims to Burgundy, Italy and Flanders
  • 1527-04-30 Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France sign the Treaty of Westminster, pledging to combine their forces against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in attempt to win War of the League of Cognac
  • 1537-12-28 French king Francis I issues decree to booksellers and printers requiring them to deposit their work in the King's Library, world's first legal depository requirement
  • 1541-01-15 King Francis I of France commissions Jean-Francois Roberval to settle the province of New France
  • 1544-09-18 Peace of Crépy signed by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V & French King Francis I ending the Fourth Hapsburg-Valois War

Biographies and Sources

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