History Files

Please help the History Files

Contributed: 175

Target: 400

Totals slider

The History Files still needs your help. As a non-profit site, it is only able to support such a vast and ever-growing collection of information with your help, and this year your help is needed more than ever. Please make a donation so that we can continue to provide highly detailed historical research on a fully secure site. Your help really is appreciated.

European Kingdoms

Western Europe


Merovingian Duchy & Kingdom of Aquitaine
AD 555 - 781

The great empire-builder of the Franks, Clovis, succeeded his father in AD 481 as the Frankish ruler or Camaracum (Cambrai) and Tournai in north-eastern Gaul (now in Belgium). He went on to consolidate a single Frankish kingdom which he was able to hand on to his sons, converting the Franks to Christianity in 497 and ruthlessly eliminating his rivals. All the time he was expanding his influence southwards from the Tournai region so that the Franks quickly became the dominant Germanic tribe not only in Gaul but throughout central and Western Europe. He took the Western Roman province of Belgica Secunda in 486 (better known by this time as the enlargened domain of Soissons) and the territories of the Alemanni in 496.

By around 500 the advance south by Clovis had reached the Loire and he inflicted a defeat on the Burgundians. In 507 he defeated the Visigoths. Their kingdom of Toulouse had governed southern France since being established in 418, shortly after the defeat of the Vandali host that had devastated Aquitaine in 406-409. Clovis' victory pushed the Visigoths into Iberia, but although the Franks secured Bordeaux and Auvergne, Aquitaine's situation was much less clear. The Visigoths may have retained portions of it, and probably battled against Frankish vassals to see who could secure the region. In the end it was the Franks who won, and Aquitaine was first confirmed as a possession in 555, when a duke was appointed to govern it. By then the territory which forms modern France and Germany, and south to central Italy, was already on the way to being known as Francia.

The Pactus Legis Salicae (Law of the Salian Franks) was a written code which combined customary law, Roman written law, Christian ideals, and royal edicts, and this most likely originated during the reign of Clovis. It had a strong influence on what would happen to the Frankish kingdom over the next few centuries. When Clovis died in 511, tradition and his own codified Salic Law demanded that his holdings be divided equally among his sons. One of them, Childebert I, inherited the kingdom of Paris (otherwise known as Neustria and now northern France), while Orleans went to Chlodomer (upper central France), Austrasia went to Theuderich (the modern Netherlands, Austria, and northern Germany), and Soissons to Chlothar, the youngest of the brothers. The Frankish-dominated Burgundy (by 534, along with Provence) bordered Orleans to the east, while three other Frankish regions, Bordeaux, Aquitaine and Auvergne lay to the south of Orleans. Bordeaux was held by the king of Paris. The independent kingdom of Brittany bordered both Paris and Orleans in the west.

The capital of the new Frankish duchy of Aquitaine was Toulouse, the former Visigoth capital. Despite Visigoth and Frankish rule, the region was probably still heavily Romanised after more than four centuries of inclusion for the Aquitani tribes within the empire as the province of Aquitania. While Aquitaine was generally controlled by a duke, it did have the occasional king of its own, and these are shown below in red text.

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information by Edward Dawson and Nick Inman, from The Ethnology of Germany Part 3: The Migration of the Saxons, Henry H Howorth (Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol 7, 1878), from The History of the Franks, Volume II, Gregory of Tours (O M Dalton, Trans, 1967), from Chronicon, Marius, from the Chronicle of Fredegar / Latin Chronicle (author unknown but the work has been attributed to Fredegar since the sixteenth century thanks to his name being written in the margin), from the 'Passio' of St Killian, from Atlas historique mondial, Georges Duby (Larousse, 1978), and from Genealogy of the Kings of France, Claude Wenzler (Editions Ouest-France, Rennes, 2008).)

555 - 560

Chramn / Chram

Son of Chlothar I of the Franks. First duke of Aquitaine. Killed.


Chramn has several times risen in rebellion against his father, but during his final rebellion he has to flee to Brittany and the court of Canao of Bro Erech. Chlothar pursues him, defeats the combined forces of Chramn and Canao, and Chramn is strangled and placed in a cottage which is then burned down.

This Chramn son of Chlothar is not to be confused with another of Clothar's sons, Gunthchramn or Guntramn, who gains Burgundy during the division of the Frankish kingdom in 561. However, the same name analysis is valid for both of them. Chramn means 'raven', making it likely that he has black hair. Raven is code for dark hair, as are most colours when used as names in Germanic and Celtic languages in the tribal and early kingdom days.

561 - 583

When Chlothar I of the Franks dies in 561 his domains are partitioned between his sons. One of them, Charibert I, gains Neustria, which also includes Aquitaine, Bordeaux and Toulouse. Charibert dies in 567 without a surviving male heir, so Neustria is reunited with Soissons under Chilperic I. It is he who assigns his greatest general, Desiderius, to co-rule Aquitaine with another general, Bladast.

Map of Western Europe at the death of Clovis in AD 511
Roman bridge at Albi
Toulouse was a Roman city until AD 418, but even a century and-a-half of barbarian rule would not have erased the very strong Roman appearance of the city, with a similar effect being visible in nearby Albi, pictured here, while above that is a map showing the state of the Frankish kingdom at Clovis' death in 511 (click or tap on map to view full sized)

583 - 587


General under Chilperic I of the Franks.

583 - 587



584 - 585

Following the death of Chilperic I, Desiderius makes peace with the king's brother in Burgundy, Guntramn. However, either in the same year or in 585, the rule of Desiderius and Bladast is challenged by Gundoald. This usurper is backed by the Eastern Roman emperor, Maurice, and he manages to capture Poitiers and Toulouse, which are at least partially the domains of Guntramn. A Burgundian army marches against Gundoald and he flees to Comminges (now Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges) and is besieged. The followers of Gundoald hand him over for execution.


Gundoald / Gundowald / Gombaud

Illegitimate son of Chlothar I? Pretender. Executed.

587 - 589

Astrobald / Austrovald

Probably count of Toulouse until 587, then duke of Aquitaine.


Astrobald is appointed as the successor to Desiderius in Aquitaine and Bordeaux by Guntramn of Burgundy, and is immediately sent into the Basque Country to pacify its people. The mission is hardly a success as the duke loses many of his men and the Basques are still to be found as far as the Garonne by 602.

589 - 592

Sereus / Severus

Identity and existence is uncertain.


A separate duchy is created in Gascony, probably out of Aquitaine's territory. This duchy of 'Vasconia' has at its core the former tribal Vascones people who continually exhibit a desire for autonomy.

612 - 631

The Visigoth kings Sisebut (612-621) and Suinthila (621-631) campaign against the Basques. Some Basques migrate into southern Aquitaine, which remains part of the Frankish kingdom.


Dagobert I swiftly secures Neustria from his base in Austrasia on his father's death, preventing his half-brother Charibert II from gaining it. Instead, Charibert is given Aquitaine, which includes Agen, Cahors, Perigueux, and Saintes. In addition to this he already holds possessions in Gascony. Charibert is the first known ruler in Aquitaine since 592, and the region's first king, shown in red.

629 - 632

Charibert / Caribert II

Son of Chlothar II, king of the Franks. Assassinated?


Charibert's forces subdue the Aquitani people to the north of the Pyrenees before the end of his reign, placing the region under the control of Aquitaine. The king's early death, possibly an assassination, prevents further expansion. The death of his infant son soon afterwards makes assassination by one of his brothers look even more likely.

Coin of Charibert II
Two sides of a coin which was issued during the relatively brief reign of Charibert II of Aquitaine - a younger son of Chlothar II by his junior wife, Sichilde - who died mysteriously in 632, very soon to be followed by his infant son, Chilperic



Infant son. Never crowned. Assassinated.


With the death of the only heir, the kingdom passes to Dagobert I of Austrasia, the person most likely to be behind the assassinations. His hold on Aquitaine is short-lived, as the people rebel and elect Boggis as their duke. The Gascons rebel in the same year. The Gascons are defeated, but Boggis remains in Aquitaine, ruling semi-autonomously.

632 - c.660

Boggis / Bodogisel

Possible son of Charibert II? First duke of Aquitaine since 592?



Gascon rebel leader.


The situation in the south of Francia is uncertain at this time. Felix becomes duke in 660, but it is not certain that he succeeds the previous duke or whether there is a break. Felix may be in the service of the Franks, but he may also be independent. The Aquitani (and quite probably the Vascones) may be his subjects, but they may equally be his allies. His territory encompasses Bordeaux, Narbonensis (including Toulouse), Novempopulania, and Vasconia (of the Vascones), but does not reach as far north as the Loire.

660 - 670

Felix of Aquitaine

Patrician of Toulouse and then duke of Aquitaine.

670 - 676/688

Lupus / Lupo / Otsoa I of Aquitaine

Length of reign uncertain.


The date at which the reign of Lupus ends and that of Odo begins is highly unclear. The possible candidates include 688, 692, or 700. Records for this period in Aquitaine are poor, and even Odo's parentage is uncertain. Lupus is considered to be the probable ancestor of the Gascon dynasty of Lupus II and of the Eudonian dynasty of Aquitaine.

688 - 735

Odo / Eudes the Great


715 - 718

While a state of civil war exists in Francia, Odo declares himself to be independent in 715, which suggests that he has been a Frankish vassal up to this point. He takes part in that civil war by allying himself to Daniel Chilperich against Charles Martel, the mayor of the palace. When Chilperich loses, Odo makes peace with Charles by handing over Chilperich and his Neustrian power base.

River Garonne in France
The Garonne in south-western France had once provided a defining line between the lands of the Gauls to the north and those of the Aquitani to the south, but now it was an important trading route in eighth century France


A greater threat appears after Visigoth Iberia is overrun by the Umayyad Islamic empire. In this year Odo inflicts a major defeat on the invaders at the Battle of Toulouse.


With Odo forced to fight alongside him, the Carolingian mayor of the Merovingian palace, Charles Martel, defeats an army of 90,000 Saracens at Tours, ending the northwards expansion of the Islamic empire from Iberia.

735 - 748

Hunald / Chunoald I

Son. Abdicated and entered a monastery.


Hunald refuses to acknowledge the authority of Charles Martel, so the latter marches against him. Bordeaux is taken, as is Blaye, but Hunald is allowed to remain in Aquitaine after swearing to remain loyal.

748 - 767

Waifer / Waiffre

Son? Struggled to defend Aquitaine's independence. Murdered.

767 - 769

Hunald (II)

Possibly the same Hunald as in 735?

768 - 769

After leading an abortive uprising against increasingly powerful Carolingian rule in Francia, Hunald II flees to Gascony and seeks protection from Lupus II. Although Lupus is opposed to the young Frankish kings, Charlemagne and Carloman, he is also opposed to Hunald's family, so Lupus hands him over.

768 - 781?

Lupus II

Duke of Gascony.

778 - 781

It is unclear whether Lupus II is able to extend his authority from Gascony to also govern Aquitaine, but he certainly opposes the direct Carolingian rule by Charlemagne that commences in 778. Possibly against the wishes of Lupus, the duchy of Aquitaine is governed by minor members of the Carolingian dynasty as a sub-kingdom.

Carolingian Kingdom of Aquitaine
AD 778 - 887

Following the role played by Lupus II in Aquitaine, French Emperor Charlemagne appointed no more dukes. Instead, he assumed direct rule of the region himself as part of the slow and steady creation of his Carolingian empire, although the date at which this occurred is unclear. Charlemagne is included in the list of rulers as Charles I of Aquitaine, but in 781 he appointed his son, Louis, as a sub-king of Aquitaine to rule in his name. Louis was succeeded as ruler of Aquitaine by several other lesser members of the Carolingian dynasty until the division of the empire forced the West Franks to consolidate their territory, and Aquitaine was reduced to the status of a duchy.

FeatureThe former capital of Aquitaine, at Toulouse, was generally abandoned by the Carolingians. They used various capitals in the north, such as Limoges, Poitiers, and Bourges, which is where Charles the Child was buried. This was probably so that they could be closer to the seat of Frankish power in Paris. Toulouse itself, though, was the main base for attacks against the Umayyads in Iberia. It was from Toulouse's border areas that the counties of Urgel and Cerdanya were created around 785, and Osona in 799.

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information by Edward Dawson and Nick Inman, from The Ethnology of Germany Part 3: The Migration of the Saxons, Henry H Howorth (Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol 7, 1878), from The History of the Franks, Volume II, Gregory of Tours (O M Dalton, Trans, 1967), from Chronicon, Marius, from the Chronicle of Fredegar / Latin Chronicle (author unknown but the work has been attributed to Fredegar since the sixteenth century thanks to his name being written in the margin), from the 'Passio' of St Killian, from Atlas historique mondial, Georges Duby (Larousse, 1978), and from Genealogy of the Kings of France, Claude Wenzler (Editions Ouest-France, Rennes, 2008).)

778 - 781

Charles the Great / Charlemagne

King of the Franks (768-771). Frankish Emperor (771-814).


Tradition asserts that Charlemagne grants the Andorran people a charter in return for their help in fighting the Moors of the Islamic empire. Charlemagne is known to conduct a campaign against Islamic Iberia in 778, so this could be the point at which Andorra provides support. Confirmation seems to come around 785 when the county of Urgel is created as a division of the march (border area) of Toulouse following territorial seizures from the Umayyads by the Franks.


Pepin (born Carloman but renamed in this year by his father, Charlemagne), is given command of the Italian portion of the Carolingian empire after the successful conquest of the Lombards. Charlemagne's youngest son, Louis 'the Pious', is given Aquitaine.

Saint-Etienne Cathedral, Limoges
Under the Carolingian kings of Aquitaine, Limoges became much more important, serving as one of several capitals in the north of Aquitaine

781 - 814

Louis the Pious

Became Louis I of the Franks (814-840).


Louis reputedly confirms the Andorran charter, and the creation of the Cathedral of Urgel in 839 does show increasing Christian support for this region as it is gradually reconquered from the Moors. A Visigothic noble by the name of Borrell is the first count of Urgel and Cerdanya from around 798, and Osona from 799.

806 - 814

By the Act of Thionville in 806, Charlemagne announces the division of his vast Carolingian empire between his three sons. By 814, Pepin in Italy has already predeceased his father (810), as has Charles (813), so Louis 'the Pious' is crowned Frankish emperor at Aix-la-Chapelle.

814 - 838

Pepin I

Son. Dux Cenomannici. Predeceased his father.

838 - 855

Charles 'the Bald'

Brother. Became Charles II of West Francia (840-877).

838 - 864

Pepin II

Son of Pepin I. Claimant who contested Charles' hold on Aquitaine.

840 - 843

Before his death, Louis 'the Pious', who is also duke of Alemannia, promulgates the Ordinatio Imperii in 817, proclaiming, despite the ancient Frankish custom of dividing territory between surviving sons, that his eldest son, Lothar, will be sole beneficiary of the imperial dignity and sole inheritor of the empire.

By means of this he hopes to avoid the fragmentation of territory which so weakened the Merovingians. The new idea proves too much, provoking rebellions and rivalries between all four of Louis' sons which last until after the king's death.

One of the sons, Pepin of Aquitaine, has already predeceased his father, while Enneco (Inigo) Arista takes the opportunity to found the independent kingdom of Pamplona.

Lothar initially claims overlordship over all three regions and Louis and Charles have to go to war to convince him to relent. The counties of the Spanish March all take sides during this period, with the powerful Bernard of Septimania, count of Barcelona (along with a large number of other marches and counties, including Agde, Béziers, Girona, Melgueil, Narbonne, Nîmes, Septimania, and Toulouse, capital of Aquitaine) siding with Pepin II of Aquitaine.

Opposing them in favour of Charles are Sunifred, count of Urgel (and Andorra) and Cerdanya, his brother Sunyer I, count of Empúries, their sons (who collectively are sometimes referred to as the Bellonid dynasty or the Bellonids), Ricwin, count of Nantes (killed in battle in 841), and Lambert II, also later count of Nantes.

Lothar does relent in 843, and the Treaty of Verdun confirms the official division of the empire between Charlemagne's surviving three grandsons, with rule over the empire as a whole being nominal. Lothar receives Middle Francia (the Rhine corridor, the kingdom of Burgundy, and Italy); Charles 'the Bald' receives Western Francia (France and the duchy of Burgundy), as well as holding onto Aquitaine; and Louis the German receives Eastern Francia (Germany, including Alemannia, Bavaria, Khorushka, and Saxony).

Map of the Frankish empire at the Treaty of Verdun AD 843
King Louis 'the Pious' of the Frankish empire attempted to leave the empire intact for his eldest son, Lothar, but the others rebelled at the idea. The treaty of Verdun in AD 843 confirmed the official division of the empire between Charlemagne's three surviving grandsons (click or tap on map to view full sized)


William of Septimania, son of the executed Bernard, had risen against Charles 'the Bald' in 844, but has largely been unable to reclaim his father's lands until now. William is granted Toulouse and Empúries by Pepin II the rival king of Aquitaine, and he quickly removes both brothers, Sunifred in Barcelona, Urgel, and Cerdanya, and Sunyer in Empúries, although the former is known to die of natural causes.


Charles 'the Bald', king of West Francia and of Aquitaine, and duke of Burgundy, appoints Ranulph I as duke of Aquitaine to govern the region in his name.

855 - 866

Charles III the Child

Son of Charles 'the Bald'. Nominal overlord of duchy of Aquitaine.

866 - 879

Louis the Stammerer

Brother. King of West Francia (877-879).

875 - 877

Charles II the Bald is crowned emperor of the Romans by Pope John VIII and thereafter nominally rules the empire. His son, Louis II the Stammerer, after revolting against his father, succeeds him with difficulty and proves a weak king. During his reign, the kingdom itself weakens, with local lords gaining much more power at the expense of the throne. Aquitaine remains part of West Francia but is reduced to the status of duchy.

880 - 884

Carloman II

Son. Joint king of West Francia (879-884).

884 - 887

The succession following the death of Carloman is disputed. Charles III the Simple is supposed to succeed him, but his right is contested by Charles 'the Fat', otherwise known as Charles III of the Eastern Franks. It is the latter who wins the throne and Aquitaine would seem to be ruled directly by him until 887, when a fresh duke is appointed to govern in his name. The kingdom is effectively subsumed within West Francia from that point onwards, falling under the authority of dukes from the houses of Poitou and Auvergne.

Duchy of Aquitaine / Guyenne
AD 852 - 1429

The period during the collapse of the Frankish empire of Charlemagne is a confusing and convoluted one in terms of the politics and dynastic machinations of the time. Aquitaine remained in the hands of the kings of West Francia, and was generally governed directly by them, except for the period between 852-866, when Ranulph I of Poitiers was appointed duke of Aquitaine. The houses of Poitou and Auvergne accounted for the first seven dukes, and a further ten after a short break. The duchy's capital remained at Limoges, in the north, which was emphasised by the later ceremony of ducal coronation. The duchy also seems to have been known as called Guyenne in later years.

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information by Geoffrey Tobin, from Sword, Miter, and Cloister: Nobility and the Church in Burgundy, 980-1198, Constance Brittain Bouchard (New York 1987), and from Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II, Detlev Schwennicke (Marburg, 1984).)

852 - 866

Ranulph I

House of Poitiers (Ramnulfids). Count of Poitiers.

866 - 887

The death of Charles the Child, king of Aquitaine, and of Ranulph himself of wounds sustained at the Battle of Brissarthe against Vikings, brings Louis the Stammerer to the throne. He takes direct control rather than appointing a duke to govern in his name.

Saint-Etienne Cathedral, Limoges
Limoges remained the capital of the duchy of Aquitaine, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint-Etienne remained the city's religious seat

887 - 890

Ranulph II

Son. Count of Poitiers. Claimed the title of king from 888.

887 - 888

The rule of the Frankish empire (the former Eastern Franks) falls to non-Frankish rulers when the weak Charles 'the Bald' is deposed by the Germans at the Diet of Tribur (November 887). The Frankish empire is officially divided between east and west.

The western section becomes France, the eastern section the Holy Roman empire (modern Germany). In Aquitaine, Duke Ranulph II takes the opportunity of the instability and uncertainty to proclaim himself king.


Upon the death of Ranulph II by poisoning, his legitimate son, Ranulph II, succeeds him as count of Poitiers & Auvergne, while Ebalus 'the Bastard' succeeds him as duke of Aquitaine. It seems that Ebalus embraces his sobriquet, just as William 'the Bastard' of Normandy does, probably using it as a source of strength.

890 - 893

Ebalus 'the Bastard' / Manzer

Illegitimate son. Count of Poitiers & Auvergne.

893 - 918

William I the Pious

House of Auvergne. Count of Auvergne.

918 - 926

William II the Younger

Nephew. Count of Auvergne.

926 - 927


Brother. Count of Auvergne.

927 - 932

Ebalus 'the Bastard' / Manzer

House of Poitiers. Restored. Count of Auvergne, Berry & Velay.

932 - 936

Raymond I Pons

House of Rouergue. Count of Auvergne & Toulouse.

936 - 942

Having already encouraged a failed Breton rebellion against the Vikings, the monk Yann de Landévennec now calls on Alan to return to Brittany, which he does with the blessing and support of Æthelstan of Wessex.

Meanwhile, the future Hugh 'the Great' of Aquitaine is organising a coalition against the return of Louis to West Francia. Alan's campaign against the Loire Vikings is successful and he is declared Duke Alan II. Then he allies himself with his cousin, Judicael of Nantes (called 'Berenger' by the Franks) and Count Hugh II of Maine to attack the Seine Vikings (the Normans). Louis also takes the opportunity to attack Normandy.

936 - 955

Raymond II

955 - 962

Hugh 'the Great'

Son of King Robert I of West Francia.

955 - 956

Known in his younger days as Hugh 'the White', Hugh 'the Great' has already opposed the return of Louis IV d'Outremer to the throne of West Francia. The two had been reconciled in 937, after which Hugh had been sent to chastise Hugh the Black of the duchy of Burgundy. Auxerre and Sens had been captured, and the duchy had been divided between the two Hughs.

By 956 the current duke of Burgundy has died, so Hugh's son, Odo, succeeds him through his marriage to the old duke's daughter.

962 - 963

William III Towhead

House of Poitiers. Son of Ebalus. Count of Poitiers & Auvergne.

963 - 995

William IV Iron Arm

Son. Count of Poitiers.


In a prestigious coup for the duchy, Louis V of France chooses to be crowned king at Brioude, within the duchy. Unfortunately the king proves to be indolent and weak, and his reign signals the end of the Carolingian dynasty.

Louis V the Indolent
The short-lived accession of Louis V proved to be the end for the once-mighty Carolingian dynasty, with their equally once-mighty empire now fractured and continuing to fracture further


By this time the Carolingian kings and those drawn from the House of Paris have so weakened the effectiveness of the monarchy in France that it owns little land outside Paris. The Carolingian son of Louis V, Charles of Lower Lorraine, is ignored in favour of passing the crown permanently to the House of Paris in the form of the Capetians.

995 - 1030

William V the Great

Son. Count of Poitiers.

1030 - 1038

William VI 'the Fat'

Son. Count of Poitiers.

1038 - 1039


Brother. Duke of Gascony. Count of Poitiers.

1039 - 1058

William VII the Eagle

Brother. Count of Poitiers.

1058 - 1086

William VIII

Brother. Duke of Gascony. Count of Poitiers.


Despite reigning for nearly thirty years, Henry is unable to achieve anything more than the preservation of the Capetian dynasty in France after facing incessant conflict with rebel lords. Many of them have shown pretensions for independence, including Henry's brother, Robert I, duke of Burgundy, the count of Blois, William, duke of Normandy, the duke of Brittany, and William VIII, duke of Aquitaine.

1086 - 1127

William IX the Troubadour / the Younger

Son. Duke of Gascony. Count of Poitiers.

1127 - 1137

William X the Saint

Son. Duke of Gascony. Count of Poitiers.

1137 - 1189

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Daughter. Duchess of Gascony. Countess of Poitiers.

1137 - 1152

Louis VII the Young

Husband and co-ruler. King of France.

1147 - 1149

Louis departs France for two years as he takes part in the Second Crusade against the enemies of the kingdom of Jerusalem.

1152 - 1189

Henry II Plantagenet

House of Plantagenet. Second husband of Eleanor.


The Lady of England, Matilda, had married Prince Geoffrey Plantagenet of Anjou in 1127, uniting the French house with the very powerful Norman one. Their son, Henry Anjou, inherited the crown of England from his uncle, having already married Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152. Following the reaching of an agreement with King Stephen of England that Henry would succeed him, Henry comes to the throne not only as the ruler of England, Anjou, and Normandy, but also of most of the rest of France through his wife. The duchy of Aquitaine remains the property of the Plantagenets for over two centuries, with the Plantagenet king of England ruling it directly. The Plantagenets are often more powerful than the kings of France, and their reluctance to pay homage to the French kings as their overlord in France is a major source of conflict.

Henry II Plantagenet
Henry II of England and Normandy died having added half of France to his possessions, making him one of the most powerful rulers in Western Europe

1189 - 1199

Richard I Coeur de Lion (the Lionheart)

Son. King of England.

1199 - 1216

John Lackland

Brother. King of England.

1202 - 1214

John becomes involved in the 'War' of Bouvines. Defeat at the Battle of Bouvines on 27 July 1214 loses John the duchy of Normandy and his other French possessions to the French crown. His return to England sees him forced to sign Magna Carta by the disaffected barons and the archbishop of Canterbury on 15 June 1215.

1216 - 1272

Henry III

Son. King of England.

1272 - 1307

Edward I Longshanks

Son. King of England.

1307 - 1325

Edward II

Son. King of England.

1325 - 1362

Edward III

Son. King of England.

1337 - 1346

The Hundred Years War between England and France begins when the relatively new French king, Philip VI, confiscates Gascony from Edward III. Edward invades France to press his own claim to the French throne. In 1345, Philip appoints his son, John, as duke of Aquitaine, although without any foundation or true control, but the following year, 1346, Edward crushes Philip's army at the Battle of Crécy, killing Duke Rudolf of Lorraine amongst many others.

1345 - 1350

John II the Good

Later king of France (1350-1364).


Both sides in the war for dominion of France sign the Treaty of Bretigny, in which Edward renounces the French crown but remains sovereign 'Lord of Aquitaine' (rather than holding the mere title of duke). Unfortunately, the French break the terms of the treaty in 1369, so the English renew their claims and the war restarts.


As Lord of Aquitaine, Edward III of England grants his eldest son, Edward, Prince of Wales, the title of 'Prince of Aquitaine'.

1362 - 1376

Edward 'The Black Prince'

Son of Edward III. Prince of Aquitaine. Prince of Wales.

1376 - 1390

Following the untimely death of the Black prince, the principality is held by the English crown. In 1390, King Richard II, Edward's son, appoints his uncle, John of Gaunt, as duke of Aquitaine.

1390 - 1399

John of Gaunt

Son of Edward III. Regent to Richard II of England (1377-1386).

1392? - 1401


Son of Charles VI of France. Dauphin.


Henry IV

Son of John of Gaunt. Duke of Lancaster. King of England.


Henry IV of England inherits the duchy from his father, but cedes it to his own son as soon as he succeeds to the English throne. That son, Henry V, succeeds in conquering France completely.

1399 - 1422

Henry V

Son. King of England. Lord of Aquitaine.

1401 - 1415


Son of Charles VI of France. Dauphin.

1415 - 1420

After winning the siege of Harfleur in 1414, the much smaller army of Henry V of England wins a startling victory at Agincourt in 1415, despite being outnumbered by the 'flower of French chivalry'. In 1420, Charles VI cedes France to Henry in the Treaty of Troyes, and following Charles' death in 1422, much of France becomes an English possession. Henry continues to rule over Aquitaine as king of England and lord of Aquitaine, but he dies in 1422. His son, Henry VI, inherits the French throne at less than a year of age.

Battle of Agincourt
The overwhelming victory for the forces of Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt destroyed the flower of French chivalry and gave all of France to a Plantagenet king

1422 - 1429

Henry VI

Son. King of England. Lord of Aquitaine.

1422 - 1429

England effectively rules France through Henry's brother, John of Lancaster. Elements of the French nobility refuse to accept an English king, however, and support a fight with Charles VI's son as their figurehead. The French victory at Orleans in 1429 turns the tide of the war. John, and his younger brother Humphrey, remain Henry VI's regents in England as most of the French territory is subsequently lost.

1429 - 1469

The Hundred Years War is over and in 1429, Aquitaine is returned to the direct rule of the French king, Charles VII the Victorious. It also remains the direct possession of his successors. Only on two subsequent occasions is the duchy granted to another member of the French dynasties of kings.

1469 - 1472

Henry VI

Son of Charles VII of France. Duc de Berry.

1753 - 1754


Son of Louis, dauphin France.


The Infante Jaime, duke of Segovia, is the son of Alfonso XIII of Spain. He is also one of the Legitimist pretenders to the French throne and as such he grants his son, Gonzalo, the title of duke of Aquitaine.

1972 - 2000


Son of Jaime, duke of Segovia.


Gonzalo dies without issue and the claim to this ancient French title dies with him.

Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original king list page for the History Files.