King Louis IX

      King Louis IX ruled France from November 8, 1226 until his death on August 25, 1270. He reigned for 43 years. He is commonly reffered to as Saint Louis.

     Louis was born on April 25, 1215 near Poissy, France. He was the eldest son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castille. He recieved a good education, and, when his father died, he became King of Frrance in 1226 at the age of eleven. His mother acted as regent until he turned 19 in 1234. His mother was a great regent, and many rebels were defeated during her reign.

     Louis was extremely pious, taking all of Christendom’s duties upon himself, including fighting the Muslims in Palestine. He embarked upon his first crusade in 1248 to the Holy Land, but it failed and he returned to France in 1249. Louis then formed a treaty with Henry III of England, called the Treaty of Paris. In this treaty, both kings relinquished claims to various French and English lands. Louis thought that this would bring peace to France for many years to come.

     Louis developed court procedures for peasants so that they could recieve a fair and just ruling from a judge during court hearings. He also reformed the tax system, making it more efficient and effective. Louis also constructed the first French navy in the hopes that in the future, if war broke out with England, the French would be able to attack the British Isles. The Sainte-Chapelle, a cathedral in Paris often regarded as the high point of Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture, was sponsored by Louis.

Interior of Sainte-Chapelle

     In 1270, Louis embarked upon another crusade to the Holy Land. This one, too, failed, like his other crusade did. However, Louis did succeed in freeing thousands of Christian captives. Louis, though, never returned to France. He caught typhus and died on August 25, 1270, at the age of 56, near Tunis.

     In 1297, Louis was declared a saint by Pope Boniface VIII. Several Christian orders were named after him, including The Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Louis. He is often regarded as one of France’s greatest kings, and is noted for his kindness and benevolence. Because of him, France grew into one of Europe’s greatest countries and a world superpower. Without his contributions to France and the French people, the world as we know it would be completely different.

Interesting Fact #1: Louis is the only French king to be a saint. He is venerated by the Catholic Church and The Church of England.

Interesting Fact #2: Many French kings from the House of Bourbon were named Louis in his honor. Louis’s younger son, Robert, Count of Clermont, was the founder of the House of Bourbon.

Interesting Fact #3: According to legend, every day, 120 peasants would come to Louis’s palace to have dinner. 13 peasants ate in the same room as him, and 3 ate at his table.

Credits: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09368a.htm, http://historymedren.about.com/od/lwho/p/who_louis9.htm, http://www.st-louis.org/louis.htm, Picture of Louis: http://catholicfire.blogspot.com/2009/08/st-louis-ix-confessor-king-of-france.html, Picture of Sainte-Chapelle: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sainte_Chapelle_-_Upper_level_1.jpg