Born In: Paris, France
Louis X of France reigned as the king of Navarre (from April 4, 1305 to June 5, 1316) and as the king of France (from November 29, 1314 to June 5, 1316). Louis was the eldest son of Philip IV of France and Joan I of Navarre. While he inherited the kingdom of Navarre from his mother, he succeeded his father as the king of France later. Louis introduced some major reforms in his kingdom. He abolished slavery or serfdom in his kingdom, with a view to earn more revenue, as the slaves were required to buy their freedom by paying with their property. Repealing an order that his father had introduced to drive out Jews from his kingdom, Louis let the Jews come back to France, but with conditions. He also built an army to take care of the Flanders issue. Louis’s kingdom was known for various conflicts, which earned him the nickname “the Quarrelsome.” He was perhaps one of the first documented tennis players in history. He died at the age of 26, after consuming wine, following a game of tennis. His heir, John I, was born 5 months after Louis’s death. However, John, too, died within days of his birth, leaving the kingdom to Louis’s brother Philip.
Also Known As: Louis the Quarrelsome, Louis the Headstrong, Louis the Stubborn
Died At Age: 26
Spouse/Ex-: Clementia of Hungary (m. 1315), Margaret of Burgundy, Queen of France (m. 1305–1315)
father: Philip IV of France
mother: Joan I of Navarre
siblings: Philip V of France
children: Joan II of Navarre, John I of France
Born Country: France
Died on: June 5, 1316
place of death: Vincennes, France
Diseases & Disabilities: Pneumonia
Cause of Death: Pleurisy
Louis X of France was born on October 4, 1289, in Paris, France. He was the eldest son of Philip IV of France and Joan I of Navarre. Louis was quite popular as "the Quarrelsome," due to the conflicts and tension that prevailed in his short reign. He was also known as “the Headstrong” and “the Stubborn.”
He took over as the king of Navarre (as Louis I) after his mother’s death on April 4, 1305 (coronation on October 1, 1307, in Pamplona). On November 29 (30, according to some sources), 1314, Louis succeeded his father as the king of France. His coronation took place on August 24, 1315, in Reims. With this, he also handed over Navarre to his brother, Philip V of France.
Louis X of France served as the king of Navarre for 11 years and as the king of France for less than 2 years. His reign was riddled with feuds with the noble groups of his kingdom. He also introduced some major reforms.
Philip IV's reign had witnessed a lot of opposition due to his reforms. After Philip's death and Louis’s ascension, this opposition became more evident.
Charles of Valois took advantage of the revolts to go against Philip IV's former minister and chamberlain Enguerrand de Marigny. Charles convinced Louis to charge de Marigny with sorcery. De Marigny was eventually executed in April 1315 at Vincennes. A lot of other ministers were prosecuted in this fashion.
In 1315, Louis declared that all slaves/serfs in France were to be freed. However, he maintained that the serfs would be required to buy their freedom.
He asked his commissioners to decide on the value of each serf. He also declared that in case the serfs refused to pay, their property would be seized and the proceeds would be used to finance the war in Flanders.
In 1306, Philip IV had expelled the Jews from France. Louis reversed this policy, as he believed France would benefit economically if the Jews were allowed to come back.
Louis laid down a charter in 1315, through which he allowed the Jews to come back to France, provided they abided by certain conditions. The Jews were to be allowed in the country only for 12 years. They were to wear armbands and could only stay in designated Jewish communities. They were also to be banned from usury initially.
Louis X of France also made efforts to solve the issue of Flanders, a wealthy autonomous state back then, which had resisted the superiority of the French rulers. In 1302, Philip IV’s army had been defeated by Flanders at Courtrai. Through the French had later won the Battle of Mons-en-Pévèle, Flanders was still a doubtful issue.
Louis gathered an army at the Flemish border. He had banned exports of grain and other goods to Flanders back in 1315. However, this order became challenging to enforce. Louis also had to force the officers of the Church at the borders and King Edward II of England to help him prevent Spanish merchants from trading with the Flemish. Incidents of smuggling increased, and Louis had to directly requisition food for his army, resulting in more opposition.
Louis got married to Margaret of Burgundy on September 21, 1305, when he was 15. Margaret was the daughter of Duke Robert II of Burgundy. Louis and Margaret had a daughter named Joan (later known as Joan II of Navarre) in 1305.
In 1314, Margaret, along with Blanche and Joan (the wives of Louis's brothers Charles and Philip, respectively) were charged with infidelity.
Margaret and Blanche appeared before the French parliament and were convicted. Their lovers were executed, while they were sentenced to life imprisonment. Philip’s wife, Joan, was found innocent. Margaret was strangled to death at the Chateau Gaillard prison on August 14, 1315.
On August 19 that year, just days after Margaret’s death, Louis married Clementia (or Clémence) of Hungary, the daughter of Charles I of Hungary (also known as Charles Martek of Anjou) and the niece of Louis’s uncle Charles of Valois. In August 1315, Louis and Clementia were crowned in Reims.
Louis X of France was an avid player of “jeu de paume,” or what is now known as tennis. He was also arguably the first person to build indoor tennis courts.
In June 1316, Louis gulped down some cooled wine after a game of tennis at Vincennes, Val-de-Marne, France. He died on June 5, either due to pneumonia or pleurisy. Many suspected he was poisoned. He was 26 at that time. Louis was interred in Saint Denis Basilica on June 7 June 1316.
Clementia gave birth to Louis’s son, John I of France, 5 months after Louis’s death. John died as an infant just 5 days after his birth. A succession conflict followed.
Following Louis’s death, his brother Philip was initially made a regent for the 5 months until the birth of John I. After John I’s death, Philip took over as the next successor.
Louis X of France appears as a protagonist in Les Rois Maudits (“The Accursed Kings”), a French historical novel series written by Maurice Druon. Georges Ser played Louis in the 1972 French miniseries based on the novel series. Guillaume Depardieu played Louis in the 2005 adaptation of the series.
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