On this day in 1462 Louis XII of France was born.
Louis XII was a monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 1498 to 1515 and King of Naples from 1501 to 1504.
The son of Charles, Duke of Orléans, and Maria of Cleves, he succeeded his cousin Charles VIII in 1498.
When Louis XII became king in 1498, he had his marriage with Joan annulled by Pope Alexander VI and instead married Anne of Brittany, the widow of his cousin Charles VIII.
This marriage allowed Louis to reinforce the personal Union of Brittany and France.
Louis persevered in the Italian Wars, initiating a second Italian campaign for the control of the Kingdom of Naples.
Louis conquered the Duchy of Milan in 1500 and pushed forward to the Kingdom of Naples, which fell to him in 1501.
Proclaimed King of Naples, Louis faced a new coalition gathered by Ferdinand II of Aragon and was forced to cede Naples to Spain in 1504.
Louis XII did not encroach on the power of local governments or the privileges of the nobility, in opposition with the long tradition of the French kings to impose an absolute monarchy in France.
A popular king, Louis was proclaimed “Father of the People” in 1506 by the Estates-General of Tours for his reduction of the tax known as taille, legal reforms, and civil peace within France.
Louis XII died in 1515 without a male heir. He was succeeded by his cousin Francis from the Angoulême cadet branch of the House of Valois.