Alternate History

France (Knightfall)

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Kingdom of France
Royaume de France
Timeline: Knightfall
OTL equivalent: France

Karel2Holy West Francia
1621 - 1627
Successor State
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Grand Royal Coat of Arms of France.svg
Munjoie Saint Denis!
(and largest city)
48°51.4′N 2°21.05′E / 48.8567°N 2.35083°E / 48.8567; 2.35083
Other cities Lyon, Toulouse, Rheims
Official languages French
Regional Languages Langues d'oïl, Langues d'oc
Ethnic groups  Frankish, Occitan
Demonym French
Government Feudal Monarchy
 -  King
Legislature Conseil du Roi
(Empowered with legislative abilities in 1254)
 -  Treaty of Verdun August 10, 843 
 -  Règlement Royale Mid- 1300s 
 -  TBD census TBD 
The Kingdom of France (French: Royaume de France), also known as France, was a former kingdom in Western Europe. From its capital in Paris, France was the largest united realm prior to the arrival of the Mongols in 1___.

Dating back to the empire of Charlemagne, France was led by central monarchs who relied on a vassal system stretching from Aquitaine in the southwest to 


Human history of France began with the arrival of Neanderthal man hundreds of millennia ago, spans to the barbaric period of the Gauls, includes the conquest by Julius Caesar, incorporates the Frankish kingdoms following the fall of Rome. From there, it extends into the history of the Kingdom itself, with the early history, the Mongol invasion of Europe, wars with England, and finally fracturing. 

Ancient History (Prehistory - 486)

The arrival of Neanderthal man in France has been traced back as far as to 400,000 BC, with Homo sapiens entering the country in 43,000 BC. Soon after the arrival of humans, Neanderthals died out due to intense competition. France is home to a number of important prehistoric human sites, including the famed Lascaux caves, which are estimated to be 17,300 years old.

The first civilizaiton to arrive in France was that of the Greeks in about 600 BC, who established colonial control over the French coast of the Mediterranean Sea. At about the same time, Celtic tribes began to push into France in a trend that continued until the Celts dominated the region by 200 BC.

Julius Caesar Bust

Julius Caeser, conquerer of Gaul

The Celts and the neighboring Belgae tribes were collectively know as Gauls by the Romans, and these early tribes founded such cities as Paris, Tolouse, and Bordeaux. Gaulish support for Carthage led to Rome taking large parts of Provence; Julius Caesar would conquer the whole of province in 52 BC.

Centuries of Roman domination led to a cultural conversion from Celtic to Gallo-Roman culture. Many important French cities were built during this period, including Lyon and Narbonne. There was also migration of Germanic peoples (notably the Franks and the Alemanni). Towards the end of the Roman empire, the various tribes of Gaul were used to fight each other with the desire of ensuring Roman domination. It was at this time that the Romans abandoned Gaul, leaving the Visigoths in control of the south, the Burgundians in the east, and the Franks in the north, with the remaining Romans fleeing into Brittany.

Frankish Kingdom (486 - 843)


A Portrait of Clovis I

In 486, Clovis I, a Salian Frankish king, won an important battle at Soissons, giving him the best claim to being the ruler of the Frankish people. He continued to win in combat and, in 496, he and his lords converted to Catholicism. With a new moral authority, he waged war against "heretic" Arian Visigoths to his south and conquered Aquitaine.

Following Clovis' death, his kingdom was split up into four different realms based out of Paris, Orléans, Rheims, and Soissons. When a Muslim invasion was repulsed by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732, his Carolignian dynasty was greatly uplifted and united the kingdoms.

Charles Martel's grandson, Charlemagne consolidated control over France and then conquered parts of Italy, Germany, and Spain. Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III in Rome for his successes, a title that would evolve into the Holy Roman Emperor.

After Charlemagne's kingdom folded into three distinct realms, the title of Emperor would stop being attached to France and was passed on to Germany. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 created the Kingdom of France (originally called the Kingdom of the West Franks).

Early Kingdom (843 - 1165)

Charles the Bald, the man who inheritted West Francia, would go on to consolidate his rule and then was the first European monarch to be annointed by the Catholic church as the King of a nation. The Carolignians continued to hold onto the monarchy until Viking raids reached as far as Paris in 885, when a rival dynasty was formed by brothers Odo of Paris and Robert I. The Robertian line and the Carolignian line would then rotate between monarchs, with the Robertians gaining a significant advantage.


Seal of Hugh Capet, first Capetian King of France

In 987, Hugh Capet, a Robertian, became the first king of the new Capetian dynasty that would last until the fall of the Kingdom. The early Capetian dynasty ruled as both King of France and Count of Paris, the most important French city. As King, the dynastic rulers were in charge of religious and nation-wide affair, but as Count, they managed Île-de-France, the fief of the dynasty, and tried to expand political power internally.

Under King Philip I, a number of French nobles and vassals undertook the First Crusade. During the reign of his grandson, Louis VI (1108-1137), royal power was projected heavily unto vassals, who had give many taxes and troop levies to the King in Paris. His son, Louis VII, married Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1137 to cement control over one of his largest vassals; she would later divorce him, have the marriage annulled, and marry Henry II of England, making the King of England the most powerful vassal of the French kingdom as well as a geopolitical rival and equal.

Immediate Background (1165 - 1243)

France 1154-en
The realms under Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine became collectively known as the "Angevin Empire," a union that would persist effectively until 1214. In 1180, Philip II was coronated king of France, and from there he worked with Henry II's son (Richard Lionheart) to overthrow the King of England; ultimately, the Revolt of 1173 failed but Henry II was left much weaker politically.

Richard Lionheart and Philip II, who originally got along well, went on the Third Crusade and their relationship broke down. Richard died putting down a vassal rebellion that had be instigated by Philip II in 1199.

Richard's son, John Lackland, was the primary claimant to the titles that had been erstwhile held by the Lionheart, but most of his French domains refused to accept John due to different inheritance laws. As such, John was only able to be crowned King of England and Duke of Normandy, while rival claimants seized most of his French lands. Philip II seized all of the remnants of John's empire (excluding Guyenne, which was still held by his mother) when his vassal refused to come to court in Paris.

Pope Innocent III then organized a coalition against Philip II on behalf of his preferred Holy Roman Emperor; Lackland, not wanting to lose his entire empire, quickly joined. At the Battle of Bouvines in Flanders in 1214, Philip II defeated the Papal coalition of England and the Holy Roman Empire, immensely boosting French power at home and in geopolitics. After ensuring complete dominance in southern France durng the Albihensian Crusade, Philip II was the most powerful French king as compared to all of his predecessors.

After Philip II's death, King Louis VIII was coronated in 1226, at the age of twelve. His mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled as his regent, maintaining power until Louis could rule in his own right. When King Henry III of England refused to acknowledge the overlordship of Louis VIII in Aquitaine, the brief Saintonge War of 1242 resulted in a stunning French victory; British possession of Aquitaine remained simply due to Louis' dynastic sensibilities. Ironically, Henry III and Louis VI would end up becoming close friends and often engaged in friendly competition later in their lives.

Mongol Invasion of Europe (1243 - )

Following the Saintonge War of 1242 and during the continued Mongol Invasion of Europe, Pope Innocent IV called the First Council of Lyon


The governmental system of the Kingdom of France is largely based upon the manorial, feudal system that dominated Western Europe in the Middle Ages. The balance of power between the King and his vassals was often contested and the cause of a number of conflicts.

Ultimately, through the accumulation of a large number of royal holdings, kings have been able to maintain the ultimate authority over the realm in most cases. The exception is the Duchy of Aquitaine, which is held by the Plantagenet dynasty, and therefore is loyal to the King of England over the French king.


Conseil du Roi


The history of vassals within the Kingdom of France is an intricate one. At the start of the Kingdom, the King operated as both King and Count of Île-de-France. Many of the French vassals would go on to become kings in their own right and attain greater power elsewhere. In this regard, the early French Kingdom is analogous to the Holy Roman Empire's status.

During the reign of Louis VI, however, royal power picked up substantially. This trend was continued with the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII, but quickly ended when Eleanor divorced Louis VII in favor of Henry II of England. At this juncture in time, a vassal actually challenged the King for control over the crown and all of France.

Following the Battle of Bouvines and the utter failure of King John of England's reign as well as teh Albigensian Crusade, the Crown became the dominant force in France. This trend would continue until...

The peerage of the Kingdom of France was established by Louis VII during the first peak of royal control. The vassals to the Crown are (listed in order of precedence):

  • Ecclesiastical vassals
    • Archbishopric-Duchy of Reims
    • Bishopric-Duchy of Laon
    • Bishopric-Duchy of Langres
    • Bishopric-County of Beauvais
    • Bishopric-County of Châlons
    • Bishopric-County of Noyon
  • Lay vassals
    • Duchy of Normandy (Absorbed into Royal fief in 1204)
    • Duchy of Aquitaine (or Duchy of Guyenne)
    • Duchy of Burgundy
    • County of Flanders
    • County of Champagne
    • County of Toulouse

Ecclesiastical vassals did not have an actual fief to govern; instead, the vassal rules over an episcopal see. All of these sees are located near Rheims, except for Langres, which is in Champagne.




Navy blurb goes here





Still quite fragmented: Breton, Occitan, Metropolitan, Orleanaise, etc.


Language isn't (never will be?) united


Roman Catholic;

Medeival Inquisition for the Cathar heretics





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