My report is on Richard I, byname Richard the Lion-Hearted. He was born September 8, 1157 in Oxford, England. He died on April 6, 1199 in Chalus, England. His knightly manner and his prowess in the Third Crusade(1189-92) made him a popular king in his own time, as well as the hero of countless romantic legends. He has been viewed less kindly by more recent historians and scholars.
Richard was the third son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and he was given the duchy of Aquitaine, his mother’s inheritance, at the age of 11 and was enthroned as duke at Poitiers in 1172. Richard possessed precocious political and military ability, he won fame for his knightly prowess, and quickly learned how to control the turbulent aristocracy of Poitou and Gascony. Like all Henry II’s legitimate sons, Richard had no filial piety, foresight, or sense of responsibility. He joined his brothers in the great
rebellion(1173-74)against his father, who invaded Aquistaine twice before Richard submitted and received pardon. Thereafter, Richard was occupied with suppressing baronial revolts in his own duchy. His harshness infuriated the Gascons, who revolted in 1183 and called in the help of the “Young King” Henry and his brother, Geoffrey of Brittany, in an effort to drive Richard from his duchy altogether. Alarmed at the threatened disintegration of his empire, Henry II brought the feudal host of his continental lands to Richard’s aid, but the younger Henry died suddenly(June 11, 1183)and the uprising collapsed. Richard was now heir to England, and to Normandy and Anjou, and his father wished him to yield Aquitaine to his youngest brother, John. But Richard,
a true southerner, would not surrender the duchy in which he had grown up.
Richard received Normandy on July 20, and the English throne on September 30. Richard, unlike Philip, had only one ambition, to lead the crusade prompted by Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem in 1187. He had no conception of planning for the future of the English monarchy, and put up everything for sale to buy arms for the crusade. Yet he had not become king to preside over the dismemberment of the Angevin Empire. He broke
with Philip and didn’t neglect Angevin defenses on the Continent. Open war was averted only because Philip also took the cross. Richard dipped deep into his father’s treasure and sold sheriffdoms and other offices. With all this, he raised a formidable fleet and an army, and in 1190 he departed for the Holy Land, traveling through Sicily.
Richard found the Sicilians hostile, and took Messina by storm(October 4). To prevent the German Emperor Henry VI from ruling their country, the Sicilians had elected the native, Tancred of Lecce, who had imprisoned the late king’s wife, Joan of England(Richard’s sister), and denied her possession of her dower. By the Treaty of Messina, Richard obtained for Joan her release and her dower, acknowledged Tancred as king of