John II

John II (John the Good), 1319–64, king of France (1350–64), son and successor of King Philip VI. An inept ruler, he began his reign by executing the constable of France (whose office he gave to his favorite, Charles de La Cerda) and by appointing dishonest and unpopular advisers. Because of a general economic crisis, he subsequently debased the coinage for the expenses of the Hundred Years War between France and England. His quarrels with his ambitious son-in-law, Charles II of Navarre, lasted throughout his reign. John was captured (1356) by the English at the battle of Poitiers. During his captivity, the dauphin (later King Charles V) acted as regent and dealt with several rebellions, such as the Jacquerie. In 1360, by the Treaty of Brétigny, John was released in exchange for a ransom and hostages. In 1364 one of the hostages escaped, and John saved his honor by returning to England, where he died.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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