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Area/Ruler: France: Henri II
Reigned: 1547 AD - 1559 AD
Denomination: AR Douzain aux croissants
Mint: Crémieu
Date of Issue: 1551
Obverse: Crowned shield with three fleur de lys, crown and crescent to each side. "+HENRICUS DEI G. FRANCORVM REX P." Mint mark: Couronnelle below shield.
Reverse: Intertwined cross with fleur de lys at ends. Two crowns and two "H" between. "+SIT NOMEN D. BENEDICTVM .1551.P"
Weight: 2.3 gms
Diameter: 25.9 mm
Comment: "P" at the end of obverse and reverse legends = mintmaster, Pierre De Luan (1551-1552)

Henri II

Henry II (de Valois) of France (1519-1559), King of France from 1st April 1547, the second son of Francis I. In 1533, as Duke of Orléans, he married 14-year-old Catherine de'Medici, by whom he had seven surviving children, three of whom became kings of France (Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III). He became heir in 1536 at the death of his elder brother, the dauphin Francis. He was crowned King on July 25th 1547 in the cathedral at Reims. In alliance with Scotland he declared war on England and captured Boulogne (1550) and Calais (1558). He renewed the struggle against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (Charles I of Spain), allying himself with the German Protestants despite his own strong Catholicism. War continued under Charles's son King Philip II of Spain, who was allied with Mary Tudor of England, until the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559) ended French pretensions in Italy. At home he initiated the persecution of Huguenots, severely punishing them, by burning them alive or cutting out their tongues for speaking their Protestant beliefs. On July 1st 1559, during a jousting match to celebrate a peace treaty with his enemies, the Hapsburgs of Austria and to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth to King Philip II of Spain, King Henry's eye was pierced by a sliver that penetrated the brain, from the shattered lance of Gabriel Montgomery, captain of the King's Scottish Guard. He suffered terribly, passing away on July 10th 1559 and was buried in a cadaver tomb in Saint Denis Basilica.

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