Empire of Henri [Henry] II d'Anjou

The Dominions of Henri II d'Anjou, after he assumed the title of king of England in 1154 described the 'Angevin Empire' at its height. However, this 'empire' had considerable limits, much as did the German Empire which lay to the east of the small, French kingdom emerging between the two so-called 'empires'. The formation of this 'Angevin Empire' is explained at a webpage on the Angevin dynasties [link to which is given at the bottom of this page]. This page explains the composition of the 'empire'.

For some time before Henri II, the comtes de Anjou held claim to the adjoing counties of Maine and Touraine. The duchy of Normandy [Normandie] was actually acquired by conquest, even though Henri's mother had some claim to the duchy as heiress to the Norman duke-king of England Henry I. Henri, comte d'Anjou was actually recognized as duc de Normandy prior to 1151. Later in 1151, upon the death of his father, comte Geoffroi IV d'Anjou, Henri inherited Anjou, Maine, and Touraine.

The vast and rich duchy of 'Aquitaine' [an expression used to cover the the regions of Poitou, Gascony, and Guienne, the latter being a considerbably reduced province of the Ancient Aquitaine] came to Henri by his 1152 marriage to the heiress, Eleanor d'Aquitaine. The perceived southwestern limits of this ancient region, particularly the province of Toulouse, were disputed. Henri II was never able to secure undisputed claim to that particular province.

The crown of England was also obtained by military campaign, which led to a treaty. Like Normandy, Henri perceived a right to the crown through his mother, who had been put aside by Stephen de Blois in assuming the English throne (1135-1154). In 1153, due to military circumstances and the death of his only son and heir, Stephen was forced to agree to Henri d'Anjou's succession. Henri II d'Anjou became Henry II of England (1154-1189),

The duchy of Brittany was acquired by Henri in 1169, but was lost to his heirs in 1213. It remained an independent duchy until incorporated into the French crown by marriage in 1514. Wales, Scotland, and eastern Ireland were dependencies that came with the assumption of the Anglo-Norman throne of England. However, these regions were not fully incorporated into the English kingdom. Their status was much like that of Brittany in France. Wales, Scotland, and Brittany were regions heavily populated by descendants of the early Celts. Though their chiefs [taking at times the titles of 'kings' or 'dukes'] were often 'subdued' by English and French monarchs, these regions fiercely held off being fully incorporated into either the English or French kingdoms. Wales was not conquered by England until 1277-1283. Scotland was a dependency of England 1296-1306, and then effectively 'conquered' by Edward III, king of England (1327-1377). Henri II was granted the title of 'king of Ireland' in 1172, but a series of subsequent English monarchs [and one 'Lord Protector'] conducted campaigns in Ireland attempting to secure the claim well into the modern era.

Dismemberment of the Angevin Empire.
Henri II d'Anjou's personal calim to the lands of his 'Angevin Empire' lasted through the succession of his son, Richard I 'Coeur de Lion' [the Lionhart], king of England (1189-1199). However, the 'empire' began to be dismembered during the following reign of Henri's younger son, John 'Lackland', king of England (1199-1216). John I would lose to the French king, Philippe II 'Auguste' (1180-1223), the very hart of the 'empire' -- Anjou in France, and thereby bring an end to the particular Angevin line of his family They became the Plantagenet line of the English monarchy [See webpage on the Angevin Dynasties, link is given at bottom of this page].
This dismemberment of the remarkable Angevin Empire is covered in more detail in webpages on the War of Bouvines (1202-1214), the Saintonge War (1242), the Battle of Castillon (1453). Links to these pages are given below. The last battle was essentially the end of the Hundred Years' War, which many historians view as a desperate attempt of the English Plantagenets (and their Lancaster cousin) to regain the great Angevin Empire of Henri II.


A description of the Angevin dynasties is at the following webpage:


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