Philip VI, king of France

Philip VI, 1293–1350, king of France (1328–50), son of Charles of Valois and grandson of King Philip III. He succeeded his cousin Charles IV, invoking the Salic law to set aside both Charles's daughter and King Edward III of England, the son of Charles's sister. He was the first French king of the house of Valois. By the victory of Cassel, Philip reinstated the count of Flanders, whom he supported against the rebellious Flemings. After 1337, Philip's reign was dominated by the opening phases of the Hundred Years War with England. In 1340 the French fleet was destroyed at Sluis. The following year Philip intervened in the succession conflict in Brittany (see Breton Succession, War of the) on behalf of his nephew Charles of Blois; Edward III landed in Britanny to aid Charles's rival John of Montfort. Philip and Edward signed a three-year truce in 1343, but it lasted only two years. Edward invaded Normandy and defeated (1346) Philip at Crécy. In 1347 the English captured Calais, which they held for nearly two centuries. To finance the war Philip resorted to extraordinary sources of revenue, including the sale of privileges to provincial assemblies, a general salt tax (gabelle), loans, and the debasement of the coinage. Late in his reign France was ravaged by the Black Death (see plague). Philip added Montpellier and the Dauphiné to the royal domain. His son, John II, succeeded him.

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