Francis II, Duke of Brittany
Francis II of Brittany (in Breton
Breton language
Breton is a Celtic language spoken in Brittany , France. Breton is a Brythonic language, descended from the Celtic British language brought from Great Britain to Armorica by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages. Like the other Brythonic languages, Welsh and Cornish, it is classified as...

 Frañsez II, in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 François II) (23 June 1433 – 9 September 1488) was Duke of Brittany
Duke of Brittany
The Duchy of Brittany was a medieval tribal and feudal state covering the northwestern peninsula of Europe,bordered by the Alantic Ocean on the west and the English Channel to the north with less definitive borders of the Loire River to the south and Normandy to the east...

 from 1458 to his death. He was the son of Richard of Brittany and the grandson of the late Duke John V
John V, Duke of Brittany
John V the Conqueror KG was Duke of Brittany and Count of Montfort, from 1345 until his death.-Numbering:...

. Francis' life was characterised by conflicts with King Louis XI of France
Louis XI of France
Louis XI , called the Prudent , was the King of France from 1461 to 1483. He was the son of Charles VII of France and Mary of Anjou, a member of the House of Valois....

 (War of the Public Weal) and with his son King Charles VIII
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...


Francis II was married twice, first to his cousin Margaret of Brittany, first daughter of Duke Francis I
Francis I, Duke of Brittany
Francis I , was duke of Brittany, count of Montfort and titular earl of Richmond, from 1442 to his death. He was son of Duke John VI and Joan of France.He first married, at Nantes in 1431, Yolande of Anjou Francis I (in Breton Fransez I, in French François I) (Vannes/Gwened, May 14, 1414 –...

, then to Margaret of Foix
Margaret of Foix
Margaret of Foix, , was, by marriage, Duchess of Brittany from 1474 to 1486.She was the daughter of Queen Eleanor of Navarre and of Gaston IV, Count of Foix ....

, princess of Navarre
Navarre , officially the Chartered Community of Navarre is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France...

. Only one daughter, Anne of Brittany, from his second marriage, survived to adulthood. Francis also had three bastard children with Antoinette de Maignelais
Antoinette de Maignelais
Antoinette de Maignelais was the chief mistress of Charles VII of France from 1450 until his death. The Baroness of Villequier by marriage, she replaced her cousin Agnès Sorel as the king's favourite mistress after Sorel's sudden death in 1450...

, who had been the mistress of Charles VII of France
Charles VII of France
Charles VII , called the Victorious or the Well-Served , was King of France from 1422 to his death, though he was initially opposed by Henry VI of England, whose Regent, the Duke of Bedford, ruled much of France including the capital, Paris...


During the minority of Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...

, Francis II, anxious to maintain his duchy's independence, aligned himself with the Duke of Orléans
Louis XII of France
Louis proved to be a popular king. At the end of his reign the crown deficit was no greater than it had been when he succeeded Charles VIII in 1498, despite several expensive military campaigns in Italy. His fiscal reforms of 1504 and 1508 tightened and improved procedures for the collection of taxes...

 and the count of Angoulême
-Main sights:In place of its ancient fortifications, Angoulême is encircled by boulevards above the old city walls, known as the Remparts, from which fine views may be obtained in all directions. Within the town the streets are often narrow. Apart from the cathedral and the hôtel de ville, the...

 against the regency of Anne of France
Anne of France
Anne of France was the eldest daughter of Louis XI of France and his second wife, Charlotte of Savoy. Anne was the sister of King Charles VIII of France, for whom she acted as regent during his minority; and of Joan of France, who was briefly queen consort to Louis XII...

, who had been pursuing the same underhand politics as her father towards Brittany. In intervening in the politics of his neighbour France, however, he neglected his own realm. His corrupt and oppressive prime minister, Guillaume Chauvin, was overthrown by treasurer general Pierre Landais
Pierre Landais
Pierre Landais was a Breton politician who became the principal adviser and chief minister to Francis II, Duke of Brittany. Francis left Landais in control of the affairs of the duchy, producing resentment among local barons, who finally secured the overthrow of Landais' régime...

. But a large part of the nobility, bribed and supported by Anne and Charles, who were eager to subjugate Brittany, performed a coup d'état against Landais, who was eventually hanged. As protector of the Lancastrian
House of Lancaster
The House of Lancaster was a branch of the royal House of Plantagenet. It was one of the opposing factions involved in the Wars of the Roses, an intermittent civil war which affected England and Wales during the 15th century...

 exile, it is possible that Francis willed his Honour of Richmond
Richmondshire is a local government district of North Yorkshire, England. It covers a large northern area of the Yorkshire Dales including Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, Wensleydale and Coverdale, with the prominent Scots' Dyke and Scotch Corner along the centre. Teesdale lies to the north...

 to Henry Tudor
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

, who styled himself Earl of Richmond
Earl of Richmond
The now-extinct title of Earl of Richmond was created many times in the Peerage of England. The earldom of Richmond was held by various Bretons, Normans, the royal families of Plantagenet, Capet, Savoy, Tudor and Stuart.-History:...

, although that remains an unrecorded issue between them and little would be gained for his vulnerable heiress in such lesser status. (History has shown that those with conflicting claims to titles can work as temporary allies, such as the many cooperations between monarchs of England and France, despite their many wars.) Without assistance from Brittany's traditional allies, the English, who were embroiled in the Wars of the Roses
Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic civil wars for the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York...

, Francis saw his duchy ravaged in what is known as the Mad War
Mad War
The Mad War , also known as the War of the Public Weal, was a late Medieval conflict between a coalition of feudal lords and the French monarchy. It occurred during the regency of Anne of Beaujeu in the period after the death of Louis XI and before the majority of the young king Charles VIII...

(La Guerre Folle).

Nevertheless, in 1486, the Estates of Brittany confirmed the succession of Brittany on Francis' daughter Anne, to assure independence from France. The Treaty of Chateaubriant, signed in 1487 with France, reaffirmed Brittany's independence, but the French continued to harass the duchy. Francis then allied with Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...

, against France; however, Brittany was defeated 28 July in the Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier
Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier (1488)
The Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier took place on July 28, 1488, between the forces of king Charles VIII of France, and those of Francis II, Duke of Brittany and his allies. The defeat of the latter signalled the end to the "guerre folle" , a feudal conflict in which French aristocrats revolted...

. A few days later, on 10 August, Francis was forced to sign the Treaty of Verger. Under the terms of the treaty, the duke was compelled to submit himself and his duchy as a vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

 of the king of France. Francis II died shortly afterwards, following a fall from his horse during a leisurely ride. After his death, Charles VIII invaded Brittany and forced the heiress Anne to marry him, thus gaining control of the duchy.

Francis' tomb
Tomb of Francis II, Duke of Brittany
The tomb of Francis II, Duke of Brittany is a monument located in Nantes, in the Cathedral of St. Peter. The project was commissioned by Anne of Brittany, Queen of France, who was the daughter of Francis and his second wife Margaret of Foix, who is also depicted beside Francis. The tomb was...

, commissioned by Anne, is an important early example of Renaissance sculpture in France. It was designed by Jean Perréal
Jean Perréal
Jean Perréal -- sometimes called Peréal, Johannes Parisienus or Jean De Paris -- was a successful portraitist for French Royalty in the first half of the 16th Century, as well as an architect, sculptor and limner of illuminated manuscripts...

 and Michel Colombe
Michel Colombe
Michel Colombe was a French sculptor whose work bridged the late Gothic and Renaissance styles.Born in Bourges into a family of artisans, he was active in Tours. Colombe's surviving works all date from his old age. He created the gisant figures of the two deceased children of Charles VIII of...



See also

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