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Henry IV 

Henry IV is firstly king of Navarre from 1572, then king of France in 1589.  From his accession he has to re-conquer the kingdom of France.  In fact, having changed his religion three times during his youth, he is trying to convince the Protestants, and the Catholics call his commitment into question.  Overall some three quarters of the French do not accept his authority.  It is in this context of the retaking of power that Henry IV embarks on a campaign in the autumn of 1589 to re-conquer Normandy, an ardent fiefdom in the league.   At the head of a large contingent mainly from Germany, Switzerland and England he easily re-takes a certain number of Normandy towns, but Falaise resists.  Henry decides to take the château, which, owing to a knock-on effect, brings about the fall of the town, but this is a mistake.  The Château itself suffers the attack of well-placed artillery that, using 400 canon shots, overcame the opposing resistance in the medieval fortifications.  The defenders of the league, poorly trained, will be beaten by the King's professional soldiers.  The town, however, will not fall so easily, with house-to-house fighting taking place.  Eventually after some rough attacks the inhabitants of Falaise receive spectacular punishment.  This battle of winter 1589-1590, conducted “as an example” will be the last military assault undergone by the Château de Falaise.  Henry later obtains clemency for the town.  It is not before 1594 that he ultimately conquers the league, having in the meantime renounced Protestantism.  By signing the Edict of Nantes in 1598 establishing peace between Catholics and Protestants, he put an end to decades of civil war.  He dies in 1610, assassinated by François Ravaillac, a catholic fanatic.

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