Charles V of France

Charles V (21 January 1338 – 16 September 1380), called the Wise (French: le Sage; Latin: Sapiens), was King of France from 1364 to his death in 1380. His reign marked an early high point for France during the Hundred Years' War, with his armies recovering much of the territory held by the English, and successfully reversed the military losses of his predecessors.

Charles V
Contemporary effigy of Charles the Wise aged 27, by André Beauneveu, in the Basilica of Saint-Denis[1]
King of France
Reign8 April 1364 – 16 September 1380
Coronation19 May 1364
PredecessorJohn II
SuccessorCharles VI
Born21 January 1338
Vincennes, France
Died16 September 1380(1380-09-16) (aged 42)
Beauté-sur-Marne, France
Burial26 September 1380
Spouse
(m. 1350; died 1378)
Issue
more...
HouseValois
FatherJohn II of France
MotherBonne of Bohemia
ReligionRoman Catholic
Charles V, dit le Sage, roi de France (1838) by Gillot Saint-Evre

Charles became regent of France when his father John II was captured by the English at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. To pay for the defense of the kingdom, Charles raised taxes. As a result, he faced hostility from the nobility, led by Charles the Bad, King of Navarre; the opposition of the French bourgeoisie, which was channeled through the Estates-General led by Étienne Marcel; and with a peasant revolt known as the Jacquerie. Charles overcame all of these rebellions, but in order to liberate his father, he had to conclude the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360, in which he abandoned large portions of south-western France to Edward III of England and agreed to pay a huge ransom.

Charles became king in 1364. With the help of talented advisers, his skillful management of the kingdom allowed him to replenish the royal treasury and to restore the prestige of the House of Valois. He established the first permanent army paid with regular wages, which liberated the French populace from the companies of routiers who regularly plundered the country when not employed. Led by Bertrand du Guesclin, the French Army was able to turn the tide of the Hundred Years' War to Charles' advantage, and by the end of Charles' reign, they had reconquered almost all the territories ceded to the English in 1360. Furthermore, the French fleet, led by Jean de Vienne, managed to attack the English coast for the first time since the beginning of the Hundred Years' War.

Charles V died in 1380. He was succeeded by his son Charles VI, whose disastrous reign allowed the English to regain control of large parts of France.