Louis I, Duke of Anjou

Louis I
Loísd'Anjau.jpg
15th-century portrait of Louis
Duke of Anjou
Reign1360–1384
SuccessorLouis II
Born23 July 1339
Château de Vincennes
Died20 September 1384(1384-09-20) (aged 45)
Bisceglie
SpouseMarie of Blois
IssueLouis II of Naples
Charles, Prince of Taranto
HouseValois-Anjou
FatherJohn II of France
MotherBonne of Bohemia
Louis I of Naples.

Louis I (23 July 1339 – 20 September 1384) was the second son of John II of France and Bonne of Bohemia.[1] Born at the Château de Vincennes, Louis was the founder of the Angevin branch of the French royal house. His father appointed him Count of Anjou and Count of Maine in 1356, and then raised him to the title Duke of Anjou in 1360 and Duke of Touraine in 1370.

In 1382, as the adopted son of Joanna I of Naples, he succeeded to the counties of Provence and Forcalquier. He also inherited from her a claim to the kingdoms of Naples and Jerusalem. He was already a veteran of the Hundred Years' War against the English when he led an army into Italy to claim his Neapolitan inheritance. He died on the march and his claims and titles fell to his son and namesake, Louis II, who succeeded in ruling Naples for a time.

Hundred Years' War

Louis was present at the Battle of Poitiers (1356), in the battalion commanded by his brother Charles, the Dauphin. They hardly fought and the whole group escaped in the middle of the confrontation. Although humiliating, their flight allowed them to avoid capture by the English, who won the battle decisively. King John II and Louis' younger brother Philip were not so fortunate and were captured by the English, commanded by Edward, the Black Prince. Their ransom and peace conditions between France and England were agreed in the Treaty of Brétigny, signed in 1360. Amongst the complicated items of the treaty was a clause that determined the surrender of 40 high-born hostages as guarantee for the payment of the king's ransom. Louis, already Duke of Anjou, was in this group and sailed to England in October 1360. However, France was not in good economic condition and further installments of the debt were delayed. As consequence, Louis was in English custody for much more than the expected six months. He tried to negotiate his freedom in a private negotiation with Edward III of England and, when this failed, decided to escape. On his return to France, he met his father's disapproval for his unknightly behavior. John II considered himself dishonored and this, combined with the fact that his ransom payments agreed to in the Treaty of Brétigny were in arrears, caused John to return to captivity in England to redeem his honor.

From 1380 to 1382 Louis served as regent for his nephew, King Charles VI of France.

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