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Biography of Henry II


Index

Henry II. Born in 1133. Grandson of Henry I, and son of Matilda and Geoffrey Plantagenet. Came to the throne in 1154, having married Eleanor of Aquitaine (divorced wife of Louis VII), and acquired by the marriage Guienne and Poitou. Put down private war and jurisdictions, and subdued the last great feudal rising, which was aided by William the Lion, of Scotland, whom he compelled to do homage. Was engaged in a long quarrel with Becket as representative of the immunity of clerks from civil jurisdiction, and sanctioned the first expedition against Ireland; afterwards accepted the kingdom. His last years were much troubled by wars with his sons. The most important enactments of his reign were the Assizes of Clarendon and Northampton, and the Assizes of arms, besides the grant of charters to towns. He was the most powerful prince of his time, was offered the imperial throne, and possessed by various titles the greater part of France. Died 1189.