Early Capetian France c. 1000

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Map Code: Ax00909

The achievements of Hugh Capet, king of the Franks (a dominion, at the time roughly half the size of Berkshire, England), are hugely magnified by hindsight; his precarious dynasty in a minuscule principality somehow endured for over 300 years, by which time the kingdom of France had become a great European power. Hugh became duke of France at 15, only to see his inheritance plundered by neighbouring Blois and Anjou, before he was mature enough to resist. He became a shrewd political operator, forming alliances with the Holy Roman Emperor and Archbishop of Reims. When the throne fell vacant in 987, he had garnered enough respect and powerful friends to be elected king. He achieved little of great note in his nine-year reign, but worked tirelessly at the consolidation and augmentation of his piecemeal realm. Most significantly, he moved the centre of French power to Paris, and secured his son’s succession.

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