John II of France

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John II (16 April 1319 – 8 April 1364), called John the Good (French: Jean le Bon), was the King of France from 1350 until his death. He was the second sovereign of the House of Valois and is perhaps best remembered as the king who was vanquished at the Battle of Poitiers and taken as a captive to England.

The son of Philip VI and Joan the Lame, John became the Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, and Duke of Normandy in 1332. He was created Count of Poitiers in 1344, Duke of Aquitaine in 1345, and Duke of Burgundy (as John I) from 1361 to 1363. By his marriage to Joanna I, Countess of Auvergne and Boulogne, he became jure uxoris Count of Auvergne and Boulogne from 1350 to 1360.

John succeeded his father in 1350 and was crowned at Notre-Dame de Reims. As king, John surrounded himself with poor administrators, preferring to enjoy the good life his wealth as king brought. Later in his reign, he took over more of the administration himself.


Early life

John was nine years old when his father had himself crowned as Philip VI of France. His ascent to the throne was unexpected, and because all female descendants of his uncle Philip the Fair were passed over, it was also disputed. The new king had to consolidate his power in order to protect his throne from rival claimants. Philip therefore decided to marry off his son John—then thirteen years old—quickly to form a strong matrimonial alliance, at the same time conferring upon him the title of Duke of Normandy.

Thought was initially given to a marriage with Eleanor, sister of the King of England, but instead Philip invited John of Luxembourg, King of Bohemia, to Fontainebleau. Bohemia had aspirations towards Lombardy and needed French diplomatic support. A treaty was drawn up. The military clauses stipulated that in the event of war Bohemia would support the French army with four hundred infantrymen. The political clauses ensured that the Lombard crown would not be disputed if the King of Bohemia managed to obtain it. Philip selected Bonne of Bohemia as a wife for his son as she was closer to child-bearing age (16 years), and the dowry was fixed at 120,000 florins.

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