Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy under Henri IV.

Henri IV., King of NAVARRE, was the legitimate candidate to the throne since the death of Henri III. in 1589; in 1594 he was crowned at Reims. An ex-Huguenot, he reconciled the Huguenots by signing the EDICT OF NANTES, a measure which was aimed at restoring internal peace.
Navarre, i.e. the part to the north of the Pyrenees, not occupied by Spanish troops, was held in DYNASTIC UNION with France by Henri and his successors, until it was annexed by France during the French Revolution.
In 1598, the TREATY OF VERVINS was signed between France, Spain and Savoy, confirming the PEACE OF CATEAU-CAMBRESIS of 1559 and ending hostilities between France and Spain (which had been at war since 1590). The treaty was all the more significant, as it was signed after the Edict of Nantes, thus indicating Spain's acceptance of Henri's religious policy.
In 1600, Henri IV. married MARIE DE MEDICI, daughter of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, after his first marriage to MARGUERITE DE VALOIS (Margot), sister of then king Charles IX. (1572) was annulled by the pope in 1599 on the grounds of coercion.
Henri's foreign policy was anti-Habsburg; France financially supported the Dutch Republic in her struggle against Spain. In 1600 France declared war on SAVOY over the town of SALUZZO, a French enclave seized by Savoy (a Spanish ally) in 1588. In 1601, Savoy ceded BRESSE, BUGEY, VALROMEY, GEX and CHATEAU-DAUPHIN, territories located on the west bank of the Rhone, to France, while France ceded her claim on Saluzzo.
At the time of his assassination in 1610, Henri IV. planned to interfere in the JULICH-KLEVE-BERG-MARK-RAVENSBERG SUCCESSION CONFLICT (the dynasty had ended in 1609) and send an army to help the Duke of Savoy, now a French ally, to conquer MILAN from the Spanish.

In 1599, Henri IV. commissioned PIERRE CHARIVIA with establishing French settlements in North America, particularly on the St. Lawrence River. In 1608, SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN founded QUEBEC, the first French settlement in what was to become NEW FRANCE.

Biography of Henri IV., from Apercu Historique de l¡¯epoque de Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
Huguenot and Protestant Reformed Chronology, from Pierre Chastain Family Association
Personal and Political Aspects in the Correspondence of Henri IV, by B.C. Weber and G.D. de Rocher
Timeline French Foreign Policy 1574-1610, from France Diplomatie
DOCUMENTS Map : Europe in 1600, from euratlas.com

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 9th 2004

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