Louis IX of France, also known as Saint Louis, was King of France.
Louis IX was born on 25, April 1214 in Poissy, France, to his father Louis VIII and mother Blanche of Castile. His father was king at the time, and his mother too came from a monarch family. Since his elder three siblings died at an early age, Louis who was the fourth born became the heir to his father’s throne. It is said that he either had seven or eight siblings.
There has not been mention of King Louis ever having undergone formal education. He, however, received valuable lessons from his mother in religious education. Here, she taught him to be faithful and to love God, to respect the wishes of the people, and to love the people whom he was to lead. His mother also appointed teachers who took her son through the dos and don’ts of a king.
He never attended school or even college. He learnt through watching his father, but not so much because his father died when he was a young boy.
Louis started his career as a young boy, when his father Louis VIII of France had died, though he did not officially start his duties until 1235 when he had matured. His mother though still played a big part in his leadership and was de facto the ruler of the counrty. During all his life she had a huge influence on him, that he would often consult her. Louis carried his duties with diligence and respect for the poor. His compassionate and generous ways saw him give gifts to poor people and even though many people saw it not right for a king to do so, he went ahead and washed the feet of poor people.
During his reign, he never discriminated against anyone regardless of their standing in society. When he started projects for example when he was building the abbey at Royaumont building, he would be there personally to help carry out the duties that needed to be done. Louis oversaw the construction of hospitals and homes which would be used by the needy people.
As he executed his work, he made it a point to himself to give a hearing to the poor more than he would to the rich. He held the Christian values and went on two crusades, in his mid-30s in 1248 (Seventh Crusade), and then again in his mid-50s in 1270 (Eighth Crusade).
In 1248 Louis decided that his obligations as a son of the Church outweighed those of his throne, and he left his kingdom for a disastrous six-year adventure. Louis and his followers landed in Egypt on 5 June 1249 and began his first crusade with the rapid capture of the port of Damietta. On 6 April 1250 Louis lost his army at the Battle of Al Mansurah and was captured by the Egyptians. His release was eventually negotiated in return for a ransom of 400,000 livres tournois (at the time France's annual revenue was only about 1,250,000 livres tournois) and the surrender of the city of Damietta.
Following his release from Egyptian captivity, Louis spent four years in the Latin kingdoms of Acre, Caesarea, and Jaffa, using his wealth to assist the Crusaders in rebuilding their defences and conducting diplomacy with the Islamic powers of Syria and Egypt. In the spring of 1254 he and his army returned to France.
In 1258, Louis and James I of Aragon signed the Treaty of Corbeil, under which Louis renounced his feudal overlordship over the County of Barcelona and Roussillon, which was held by the King of Aragon. James in turn renounced his feudal overlordship over several counties in southern France including Provence and Languedoc. In 1259 Louis signed the Treaty of Paris, by which Henry III of England was confirmed in his possession of territories in southwestern France and Louis received the provinces of Anjou, Normandy (Normandie), Poitou, Maine, and Touraine.
In a parliament held at Paris, 24 March 1267, Louis and his three sons took the cross. On hearing the reports of the missionaries, Louis resolved to land at Tunis, and he ordered his younger brother, Charles of Anjou, to join him there. The crusaders, among whom was Prince Edward of England, landed at Carthage 17 July 1270, but disease broke out in the camp.
Louis died at Tunis on 25 August 1270, in an epidemic of dysentery that swept through his army.
Louis was and still is famous for his strong addictive Christian values. These he held passionately close to his heart. He encouraged the teaching of the Bible among the people of his kingdom. He practiced what he learned from the Bible. He banned all vices that were not allowed by the Bible. His leadership was guided by the Bible. His Christian beliefs grew strong each day.
Louis’ vision for the world was that everybody lives in peace and harmony. He desired to see a world where the people were equal, and that the living conditions were favorable to all.
"A son cannot refuse to obey his father."
Louis had a pleasant personality. He was described as a man who had a big golden heart, was energetic and ever ready to take responsibility where the need arose. Though at some point he is said to have been quick tempered, he made all efforts to control it. He was jovial and sacrificed much of his time, making himself available to listen to people’s problems and work out solutions. He was very humble and interacted with people from all walks of life. Whenever conflicts arose, Louis is said to have been firm yet kind. He did not delight in seeing people suffer.
He has been described as a good looking, full of joy blonde prince of tall stature, who was most of the time seen with a crown on his head. It is also believed that he battled with gluttony.
On 27 May 1234, Louis married Margaret of Provence (1221 – 21 December 1295). He enjoyed her company, and was pleased to show her the many public works he was making in Paris, both for its defense and for its health.