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Assassination of Louis I, Duke of Orléans

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Title: Assassination of Louis I, Duke of Orléans  
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Subject: Charles, Duke of Orléans, Louis I, Duke of Orléans, Armagnac (party), Bernard VII, Count of Armagnac, Burgundian (party), Hundred Years' War, Assassination of John the Fearless
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Assassination of Louis I, Duke of Orléans

The assassination of Louis I, Duke of Orléans took place on November 23, 1407 in Paris, France.


Under the reign of Charles V, French generals like Bertrand du Guesclin had steadily regained ground previously lost to the English in the Hundred Years' War. At the same time England was suffering from serious political disturbances and border threats at home. These two factors led to a truce being declared in 1389. The Hundred Years' War was paused. During the reign of Charles V of France, the English begun to reconquest territory taken by valiant captains (as Bertrand du Guesclin), and faced serious political unrest.

The new king of France, Charles VI, had sunk into madness, and by 1392 France was being ruled by a regency council composed of the grandees of the kingdom and presided over by Queen Isabeau.[1] With the death of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, the power shifted away from his son, John the Fearless, in the hands of the king's brother, Louis of Orléans, who was rumoured to have had a relationship with the queen.[1] Louis had the Burgundians expelled from the council and took the lion's share of the royal treasury, which he used to break up the Duke of Burgundy's territorial possessions of Flanders and the Duchy of Burgundy by purchasing the Duchy of Luxembourg.

Trapped and weakened, John the Fearless decided he must kill his rival.


On November 23, 1407, the Duke of Orleans went to visit Queen Isabeau, who had given birth a little earlier, at the Hôtel Barbette on the Rue Vieille-du-Temple, in Paris.[1][2]

Thomas de Courteheuse informed him that King Charles VI awaited his urgent presence at the Hôtel Saint-Paul.

Upon his departure, he was stabbed by about fifteen masked thugs[1] led by Raoulet d'Anquetonville, who was a henchman of the Duke of Burgundy.[2] The valets and guards that escorted him were unable to protect him. The Duke of Burgundy had the support of the Parisian and University populations, which he had known how to win over by promising the establishment of an ordinance like that of 1357.[3] Able to seize power, he could publicly confess to the assassination. Far from hiding it, John the Fearless had a eulogy of tyrannicide written by the theologian Jean Petit, an academic at the Sorbonne.[2]


In order to appease the combatants following the assassination, Charles VI, king of France, called the Duke of Burgundy and the children of the deceased to Chartres on February 28, 1409. He also charged Count William IV of Hainaut, the brother-in-law of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy to ensure, at the head of 400 men-at-arms and 100 archers, the protection of each of the delegations during their trip and to fight on the side of the attacked party if hostilities were to occur.[4]

On April 15, 1410, in Gien, during the nuptials of Charles, Duke of Orléans, the son of the assassinated duke, and Bonne of Armagnac, the powerful men of the kingdom present joined forces against the Duke of Burgundy. The Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War that ensued went on for thirty years, until the signing of the Treaty of Arras. John the Fearless was himself assassinated by the Armagnacs in 1419.


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