- Philippe II, King Of France, known as Philip Augustus, was the first great king
of the Capetian dynasty. A clever statesman, he not only expanded the kingdom
of France, but also made the monarchy powerful.
Philip came to the throne when his father, Louis VII, died in 1180. His first
triumph was adding Picardy to his kingdom. This region was promised him as a
dowry, but he had to force his father-in-law to give it up.
Philip then determined to gain the English possessions in France for himself.
To weaken England's power, he encouraged the sons of the English king, Henry II,
to revolt against their father. Henry's oldest son, Richard the Lion-Hearted,
took the English throne in 1189, and he and went together on the Third Crusade.
But Philip soon returned home and began to make trouble for the absent Richard.
In 1194, Richard returned and began a war against Philip, but was killed in
battle in 1199. Richard's brother, King John, went to war with Philip in 1202.
Philip took advantage of John's mistakes and successfully conquered most of the
English holdings in France. John kept only the southern part of Aquitaine, or
Guienne. Philip's victory at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214 established his
hold on the conquered regions.
Philip then held greater powers than any of his strongest barons, and he
carried out a series of governmental reforms. These reforms laid the basis for
the later rule of the French kings.
Divorced 14 July 1193 and June 1196
"The World Book Encyclopedia", 1968, p P328-329.