King Louis

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The name Louis is the most popular name borne by Kings of France - and of various other European rulers, mostly of relatively minor territories and before the 16th century. (You may also like to see AWE's pages on the differences between Lewes, Lewis and Louis‎, Saint Louis and the name Louis.)

There were eighteen fully legitimate Kings of France, who are the subjects of this list. There were also a Louis XIX who may have ruled for 20 minutes, and Napoleon III, a nephew of Napoleon I, elected President in 1848, and taking the throne by a coup d'état in 1851-2, who is often called Louis-Napoleon in English historiography

Name dynasty dates of
birth & death
nickname regnal dates notes
Louis I
& H.R. Emperor
Carolingian 778-840 'The Pious' (also
'Fair'; 'Debonair'
deposed 833-834
Sole surviving son of Charlemagne .
Louis II Carolingian 846-79 'the Stammerer' (le Bègue 877-9 King of Aquitaine and later West Francia (~ France)
Louis III Carolingian 863 or 865-882 879-882 2nd s. of Louis II; K of W. Francia
Louis IV Carolingian 921-54 d'Outremer, Transmarinus
(~ 'from overseas')
936-54 Succeeded after a childhood in safety in England
Louis V Carolingian 967-87 le Fainéant ('the Sluggard') 979-87 Last Carolingian K. of France
Louis VI Capetian 1081-1137 le Gros or le Batailleur
('the Fat' or 'the Fighter')
1108-37 Warrior who strengthened royal power
Louis VII Capetian 1120-80 le jeune 'the Young' 1137-80) 2nd s. of Louis VI
Louis VIII Capetian 1187-1226 'the Lion' 1223-6 Fought a Crusade against the Albigensians
also crowned K. Louis I of England (barons' revolt vs John)
Louis IX Capetian 1214-70 Saint Louis 1226-70 s. of Louis VIII; patron of arts; builder of Sainte-Chapelle
to house Crown of Thorns & fragment of True Cross relics
Louis X Capetian 1289-1316 le Hutin (~ 'the Quarreller',
'Headstrong' 'Stubborn'
Louis XI Valois 1423-83 'the Prudent' (or
l'universelle aragne
(~ the universal spider')
1461-83 detractors called him 'spider' for his intrigues
Louis XII Valois 1462-1515 'Father of the people' 1498-1515 nicknamed for his reduction of taxes
Louis XIII Bourbon 1601-1643 'the Just' 1610-1643 Ruled largely through Cardinal Richelieu; strengthened catholicism in France, reduced the power of the aristocracy and strengthened France against Spain
Louis XIV Bourbon 1638-1715 'the Great'
le roi soleil
(~ 'Sun-King')
1643-1715 s. of Louis XIII. The greatest of all the modern French kings
Louis XV Bourbon 1710-74 le bien aimé
(~ 'the Well beloved'
1715-74 grandson of Louis XIV; a disappointing king, whose fiscal exactions may have hastened the French revolution
Louis XVI Bourbon 1754-93 1774-92 The king guillotined in the French Revolution, along with his wife, Marie Antoinette
Louis XVII Bourbon 1785-95 - - son of Louis XVI, king in name only; died in prison during the Revolution
Louis XVIII Bourbon 1755-1824 le Désiré (~ the desired') 1814-24)
(intermission for the 'Hundred Days'
grandson of Louis XV
[Louis XIX Bourbon 1775-1844 Louis Antoine of France, Duke of Angoulême 02/08/1830 -
s. of Charles X
last Dauphin of France (1824-1830)
Reigned for twenty minutes, then the legitimist pretender as Louis XIX of France and Navarre.
Emperor Napoleon III, often named by English authors Louis Napoleon Bonaparte 1808-1873 1852-1870 Both the first titular president and the last monarch of France.