Years ruled: 1422 - 1461
Son of: Charles VII
Children: Louis XI Charles VII is considered by many to be the one the most important French monarchs. During his reign he started the process of reunifying the country into a national whole. Prior to this period, warfare with England and the rise of independent principalities in the land of France had created a fractured society. Charles first experienced power when he acted as regent for his insane father in 1418. Two years later, his father signed the Treaty of Troyes declaring Henry V as the heir to the French crown bypassing Charles. Regardless, in 1422 Charles declared himself ruler however his control was limited to the area South of the river Loire (the English controlled North of the river.) In 1429, he was persuaded by Joan of Arc to send a force under to Joan to relieve the town of Orleans from siege by the English. The French defeated the English and Charles was crowned again at Rheims as a symbol of a new French unity. Over the next 20 years French forces finally expelled the English from France (except for Calais).