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Northern Europe: British Isles; Scandinavia; the Netherlands; France. page 5

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Louis XI. (1461-1483), son of Charles VII., was one of the most crafty and perfidious politicians of his time, but he wrought great good for his country in the consolidation of her power. The power of the Church was reduced, and her privileges were curtailed. Appeals to Rome were forbidden, and the rights of the Galilean (French) Church were defined. The strength of the great feudal barons was brought down. After the battle of Montl'hery, in 1465, against a league composed of the dukes of Brittany, Lorraine, and other nobles, a treaty gave great advantages to Louis. On the death of Charles the Bold of Burgundy, his duchy was annexed to France, and the extinction of the house of Anjou in 1480 added Anjou, Provence, Maine, and Lorraine to the dominions of Louis. Several powerful nobles were executed on various charges. By immoral means, the feudal power which had served its time, and was now only harmful to peace, order, and sound government, was destroyed, and the power of the bourgeoisie, or citizens of towns, was enhanced by the sanction of free election of magistrates, the granting of command of the local watch, and other privileges. Industry and trade were greatly encouraged, and with Louis XI. the mediaeval system in France almost came to an end. His son and successor, Charles VIII. (1483-1498), was but 13 years of age, and the administration was in the hands of his eldest sister, Anne de Beaujeu, a lady of great ability. A rebellion, headed by the dukes of Orleans, Bourbon, and Brittany, utterly failed in 1488, and the marriage of the king with Anne, the duchess of Brittany, in 1491, added the last great feudal territory to his dominions. His invasion of Italy is related elsewhere. His death occurred by accident in 1498 at the castle of Amboise, as he was planning great administrative reforms for the country.

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Pictures for Northern Europe: British Isles; Scandinavia; the Netherlands; France. page 5

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