Wednesday, May 14, 2008

1610 Assassination of Henri IV

Henry IV (French: Henri IV) (13 December 1553 – 14 May 1610), ruled as King of France from 1589 to 1610 and, as Henry III, King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty in France. His parents were Jeanne III of Navarre and her husband, Antoine de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme.

As a Huguenot, Henry was involved in the Wars of Religion before ascending to the throne in 1589. In 1598 he enacted the Edict of Nantes which guaranteed religious liberties to the Protestants and thereby effectively ended the civil war. Once crowned, he changed his faith from Calvinism to Catholicism to better serve the country. One of the most popular French kings, both during and after his reign, Henry showed great care for the welfare of his subjects and displayed an unusual religious tolerance for the time. He was murdered by a fanatical Catholic, François Ravaillac.

Henry was nicknamed Henry the Great (Henri le Grand), and in France is sometimes called le bon roi Henri ("good king Henry") or le Vert galant ("the green gallant", a reference to his constant womanizing). He also gave his name to the Henry IV style of architecture, which he patronised.

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