Francis I

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Francis I,

1708–65, Holy Roman emperor (1745–65), duke of Lorraine (1729–37) as Francis Stephen, grand duke of Tuscany (1737–65), husband of Archduchess Maria TheresaMaria Theresa
, 1717–80, Austrian archduchess, queen of Bohemia and Hungary (1740–80), consort of Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and dowager empress after the accession (1765) of her son, Joseph II.
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. He succeeded his father in Lorraine, but agreed (1735) to cede his duchy to Stanislaus IStanislaus I,
1677–1766, king of Poland (1704–1709, 1733–35) and duke of Lorraine (1735–66). He was born Stanislaus Leszczynski. Early in the Northern War (1700–1721), Charles XII of Sweden overran Poland and expelled King Augustus II.
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 of Poland to end the War of the Polish Succession (see Polish Succession, War of thePolish Succession, War of the,
1733–35. On the death (1733) of Augustus II of Poland, Stanislaus I sought to reascend the Polish throne. He was supported by his son-in-law, Louis XV of France.
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); in exchange he received the right of succession to Tuscany. In 1736 he married Maria Theresa, heiress to all Hapsburg lands. Francis succeeded (1737) the last Medici ruler of Tuscany and carried out several long-needed reforms. In 1740, Maria Theresa acceded to her inheritance, which was immediately contested in the War of the Austrian Succession (see Austrian Succession, War of theAustrian Succession, War of the,
1740–48, general European war. Causes of the War

The war broke out when, on the strength of the pragmatic sanction of 1713, the Austrian archduchess Maria Theresa succeeded her father, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, as ruler
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; 1740–48) by an alliance under Frederick IIFrederick II
or Frederick the Great,
1712–86, king of Prussia (1740–86), son and successor of Frederick William I. Early Life

Frederick's coarse and tyrannical father despised the prince, who showed a taste for French art and literature and no
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 of Prussia. The election (Sept., 1745) of Francis to succeed Charles VIICharles VII,
1697–1745, Holy Roman emperor (1742–45) and, as Charles Albert, elector of Bavaria (1726–45). Having married a daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I, he refused to recognize the pragmatic sanction of 1713 by which Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI
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 as emperor was recognized by Frederick in the Treaty of Dresden (Dec., 1745) with Maria Theresa. Francis I governed little; the real rulers were Maria Theresa and chancellor KaunitzKaunitz, Wenzel Anton, Fürst von
, 1711–94, Austrian statesman. He distinguished himself as a negotiator of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) and was (1750–53) ambassador to Paris.
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. Founder of the house of Hapsburg-Lorraine, Francis was succeeded as Holy Roman emperor by his eldest son, Joseph II, and as grand duke of Tuscany by his younger son, Leopold (later Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II).

Francis I,

1494–1547, king of France (1515–47), known as Francis of Angoulême before he succeeded his cousin and father-in-law, King Louis XII.

Wars with the Holy Roman Emperor

Francis resumed the Italian WarsItalian Wars,
1494–1559, series of regional wars brought on by the efforts of the great European powers to control the small independent states of Italy. Renaissance Italy was split into numerous rival states, most of which sought foreign alliances to increase their
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, beginning his reign with the recovery of Milan through the brilliant victory at Marignano (1515). A candidate for the Holy Roman emperor's crown (1519), he was defeated by Charles VCharles V,
1500–1558, Holy Roman emperor (1519–58) and, as Charles I, king of Spain (1516–56); son of Philip I and Joanna of Castile, grandson of Ferdinand II of Aragón, Isabella of Castile, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and Mary of Burgundy.
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, king of Spain, whose supremacy in Europe Francis was to contest in four wars. In 1520 Francis tried to secure the support of King Henry VIII of England against the emperor in the interview on the Field of the Cloth of GoldField of the Cloth of Gold,
locality between Guines and Ardres, not far from Calais, in France, where in 1520 Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France met for the purpose of arranging an alliance.
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Although no agreement was reached with the English king, Francis began his first war against the emperor (1521–25). He was defeated at La Bicocca (1522) and at Pavia (1525), where he was captured. Francis regained his freedom by consenting to the Treaty of Madrid (1526); he renounced his claims in Italy, agreed to surrender Burgundy to Charles, and abandoned his suzerainty over Flanders and Artois. Resolved to violate a treaty signed under duress, Francis created the League of Cognac (1526) with Pope Clement VII, Henry VIII, Venice, and Florence, and commenced his second war (1527–29) against Charles. It ended, unfavorably for Francis, with the Treaty of Cambrai (see Cambrai, Treaty ofCambrai, Treaty of,
called the Ladies' Peace,
treaty negotiated and signed in 1529 by Louise of Savoy, representing her son Francis I of France, and Margaret of Austria, representing her nephew Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
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), which left Burgundy to France but otherwise duplicated the Treaty of Madrid.

Francis fulfilled the treaty's terms until 1535, when the death of the duke of Milan, Francisco Sforza, opened the question of the Milanese succession. In a third attempt to regain Milan, Francis invaded (1536) Italy. Charles retaliated by invading Provence, and in 1538 a 10-year truce was arranged at Nice. In 1542 with the support of the Ottoman sultan Sulayman ISulayman I
or Sulayman the Magnificent,
1494–1566, Ottoman sultan (1520–66), son and successor of Selim I. He is known as Sulayman II when considered as a successor of King Solomon of the Bible and Qur'an.
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, Francis for the fourth time attacked the emperor, who allied himself (1543) with Henry VIII. Their invasion of France resulted (1544) in the Treaty of Crépy, in which Francis relinquished his claims to Naples, Flanders, and Artois. Peace with England (1546) confirmed the loss of Boulogne.

The French Renaissance

Despite Francis's military failures, his reign saw domestic glory in the fullest development of the French Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci, Benvenuto Cellini, and Andrea del Sarto worked at his court. Francis and his sister, Margaret of NavarreMargaret of Navarre
or Margaret of Angoulême
, 1492–1549, queen consort of Navarre; sister of King Francis I of France. After the death of her first husband she married (1527) Henri d'Albret, king of Navarre; their daughter was Jeanne d'Albret.
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, were the patrons of François RabelaisRabelais, François
, c.1490–1553, French writer and physician, one of the great comic geniuses in world literature. His father, a lawyer, owned several estates, including "La Devinière," near Chinon, the presumed birthplace of Rabelais.
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, Clément MarotMarot, Clément
, 1496?–1544, French court poet. His graceful rondeaux, ballades and epigrams won him the patronage of Francis I and Margaret of Navarre. Marot was imprisoned for Reformationist heresy in 1526 and based his superb allegorical satire Enfer
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, and Guillaume BudéBudé, Guillaume
, 1467–1540, French humanist, b. Paris. Budé, known also by the Latinized form of his name, Budaeus, was a towering figure of the Renaissance. He was secretary to Louis XII, coming to power and prestige under Francis I.
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; Francis also founded the Collège de FranceCollège de France
, institution of higher learning founded in Paris, France, in 1529 by Francis I at the instigation of Guillaume Budé. It was founded to encourage humanistic studies and has always been independent of any university and free from supervision.
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. The most permanent monuments of Francis's reign are the châteaus of the Loire, notably Chambord, and the royal residence at FontainebleauFontainebleau
, town (1990 pop. 18,037), Seine-et-Marne dept., N France, SE of Paris. It is a favorite spring and autumn resort and was long a royal residence, chiefly because of the excellent hunting in the vast Forest of Fontainebleau.
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Other Aspects of Francis's Reign

The king also had some notable political achievements, including a concordatconcordat
, formal agreement, specifically between the pope, in his spiritual capacity, and the temporal authority of a state. Its juridical status is now generally accepted as being a contract between church and state and as such it is a treaty governed by international laws.
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 with the papacy and an alliance with Switzerland (both in 1516). Jacques CartierCartier, Jacques
, 1491–1557, French navigator, first explorer of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and discoverer of the St. Lawrence River. He made three voyages to the region, the first two (1534, 1535–36) directly at the command of King Francis I and the third
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, exploring the coast of North America for Francis, established French interest in Canada. In domestic affairs, Francis expanded the absolutism of the monarchy. Government affairs were dominated by successive personal favorites, including Anne, duc de MontmorencyMontmorency, Anne, duc de
, 1493?–1567, constable of France. He was made a marshal (1522) by Francis I, was captured with Francis at Pavia (1525), helped negotiate (1526) Francis's release, and soon after the king's return received the governorship of Languedoc, which
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, and Francis's mistresses. Louise of SavoyLouise of Savoy, duchesse d'Angoulême
, 1476–1531, regent of France; daughter of Duke Philip II of Savoy and mother of King Francis I of France and Margaret, queen of Navarre. During Francis's absence in the Italian Wars, she acted as regent.
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, the king's mother, was also influential. Francis's persecution of the WaldensesWaldenses
or Waldensians,
Protestant religious group of medieval origin, called in French Vaudois. They originated in the late 12th cent. as the Poor Men of Lyons, a band organized by Peter Waldo, a wealthy merchant of Lyons, who gave away his property (c.
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 (1545), his ruinous expenditures for foreign wars, and the prodigality of his court foreshadowed some aspects of the reign of King Louis XIV. Francis I was succeeded by his son, Henry II.


See biographies by F. Hackett (1935, repr. 1968) and D. Seward (1973).

Francis I,

emperor of Austria: see Francis IIFrancis II,
1768–1835, last Holy Roman emperor (1792–1806), first emperor of Austria as Francis I (1804–35), king of Bohemia and of Hungary (1792–1835).
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, Holy Roman emperor.

Francis I,

1777–1830, king of the Two Sicilies (1825–30), son and successor of Ferdinand I. He continued the ruthless and reactionary policy of his father, and his court was notorious for waste and corruption. He was succeeded by his son Ferdinand II.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Francis I


Born Feb. 12, 1768, in Florence; died Mar. 2, 1835, in Vienna. Austrian ruler from 1792; emperor of Austria from 1804. Member of the Hapsburg-Lorraine dynasty. Last Holy Roman emperor (as Francis II; 1792–1806).

Francis helped organize monarchist coalitions against France during the revolutionary and Napoleonic periods. In 1810, however, he gave his daughter Marie Louise in marriage to Napoleon. He played an important role in the formation of the Holy Alliance. Francis’ domestic policies, especially after 1815, were aimed at strengthening the clerical-feudal police regime.

Francis I


Born Sept. 12, 1494, in Cognac; died Mar. 31, 1547, in Rambouillet. French king from 1515. Member of the Valois dynasty.

Francis’ policies were aimed at transforming France into an absolute monarchy. He made the Royal Council the chief administrative body of the state, introduced general vicegerents in the provinces, supervised the activities of the governors, and limited the power of the parlements. In 1532 he annexed Brittany. Francis greatly increased taxes and eliminated the distinction between state taxes and royal revenue. In 1539 he issued the Edict of Villers Cotterets, which prohibited strikes and abolished workers’ “companionships.”

In 1516, Francis concluded the Concordat of Bologna with Pope Leo X. Edicts issued in 1535 and 1540 mandated the persecution of Calvinists as heretics. The king organized the mass extermination of the Waldenses in 1545.

In the Italian Wars of 1494–1559, Francis at first met with success; he gained a victory at Marignano in 1515 and captured Milan. In 1525, however, he was defeated by the army of Emperor Charles V near Pavia. Francis was captured and taken to Madrid, where he was forced to sign the humiliating Treaty of Madrid in 1526. Upon his return to France later that year, he formed the League of Cognac with Pope Clement VII, Venice, and the duke of Milan. Francis resumed military operations in 1527 and continued fighting until 1529. In 1535 or 1536 he signed an advantageous treaty—known as the Capitulations—with Turkey.

A great patron of the arts, Francis brought many Italian architects and artists to France. In 1530 he established the humanistic lecteurs royaux, (royal scholars), an institution that in the late 18th century developed into the Collège de France. Francis, however, persecuted radical thinkers, such as the humanist Etienne Dolet, who was burned at the stake in 1546.


Paris, P. Etudes sur François I, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1885.
Terrasse, C. François I, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1945–49.
Levis-Mirepoix, A. François I., Paris, 1953.
Bailly, A. François I. Paris, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Francis I

1. 1494--1547, king of France (1515--47). His reign was dominated by his rivalry with Emperor Charles V for the control of Italy. He was a noted patron of the arts and learning
2. 1708--65, duke of Lorraine (1729--37), grand duke of Tuscany (1737--65), and Holy Roman Emperor (1745--65). His marriage (1736) to Maria Theresa led to the War of the Austrian Succession (1740--48)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in classic literature ?
"You have suffered a great deal, sir?" said Franz inquiringly.
"Everything," answered Franz, -- "your voice, your look, your pallid complexion, and even the life you lead."
"Because," replied Franz, "you seem to me like a man who, persecuted by society, has a fearful account to settle with it."
The supper appeared to have been supplied solely for Franz, for the unknown scarcely touched one or two dishes of the splendid banquet to which his guest did ample justice.
"But," replied Franz, "this ambrosia, no doubt, in passing through mortal hands has lost its heavenly appellation and assumed a human name; in vulgar phrase, what may you term this composition, for which, to tell the truth, I do not feel any particular desire?"
Franz did not disturb him whilst he absorbed his favorite sweetmeat, but when he had finished, he inquired, -- "What, then, is this precious stuff?"
"Do you know," said Franz, "I have a very great inclination to judge for myself of the truth or exaggeration of your eulogies."
Franz's only reply was to take a teaspoonful of the marvellous preparation, about as much in quantity as his host had eaten, and lift it to his mouth.
Let us now go into the adjoining chamber, which is your apartment, and Ali will bring us coffee and pipes." They both arose, and while he who called himself Sinbad -- and whom we have occasionally named so, that we might, like his guest, have some title by which to distinguish him -- gave some orders to the servant, Franz entered still another apartment.
"I will take it in the Turkish style," replied Franz.
"Ma foi," said Franz, "it would be the easiest thing in the world; for I feel eagle's wings springing out at my shoulders, and with those wings I could make a tour of the world in four and twenty hours."
As to Franz a strange transformation had taken place in him.