Angevin Possessions in France 1144–66

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Map Code: Ax02168

The Angevin Empire was ruled over by England’s King Henry II, of the House of Plantagenet. He was the son of the Empress Matilda, who had a claim to the English throne, and was married to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. After he died she married Geoffrey of Anjou, Henry II’s father, who named his son Duke of Normandy in 1150, uniting Normandy and Anjou. Henry also inherited the county of Maine from his father, In 1152 Henry made an important dynastic alliance when he married Eleanor of Aquitaine, who brought not only Aquitaine, but also Poitou, Gascony and Auvergne, which she had acquired after her marriage to King Louis VII of France was annulled. As a result Henry II, on his coronation as king of England in 1154, ruled over Normandy, Anjou, Maine, Aquitaine and Poitou. His desire for territorial possession and increased power, backed by his strong army, led him to turn his attention to the acquisition of Brittany. But his life was blighted by his rebellious sons, two of whom were eventually imprisoned. On Henry’s death in 1189, his eldest son Richard acquired the whole Angevin Empire, which he ruled for a decade. The enormous wealth and territories of the Angevins inevitably led them into conflict with the kings of France, the Capetians, to whom they owed feudal homage.

 

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