VII (of France) (1403-1461),
king of France (1422-1461), born in Paris.
He was the eldest surviving son of King Charles VI. When his father died in 1422, the French throne did not pass to Charles but to the infant King Henry VI of England, who was his nephew. The English inheritance had been stipulated by the Treaty of Troyes (1420), which ended a phase of the Hundred Years' War. Northern France was thereafter ruled by John of Lancaster, regent for Henry, and southern France was governed by Charles, who was called the Dauphin. During the next six years, the English, strengthened by an alliance with Philip the Good, the powerful duke of Burgundy, scored several major military victories. The tide of the war changed when Joan of Arc lifted the siege of Orléans and won the Battle of Patay in the spring of 1429. Charles was crowned king of France on July 17, 1429, in Reims Cathedral. In 1435, when Duke Philip abandoned the English cause and formed an alliance with Charles, a French victory seemed inevitable. The king entered Paris in 1436. In the following years the English lost all their French possessions except Calais. The last battle of the Hundred Years' War, a disastrous defeat for the English, was fought at Castillon (now in Gironde Department) on July 17, 1453. Charles was not a strong monarch, but he instituted sound fiscal policies, encouraged trade, and succeeded in introducing important military reforms establishing in his kingdom ordinances concerning men-at-arms and infantry. He realized how necessary it was to have his own army to win the enemyand it is this aspect of the King that is greatly praised by Machiavelli.