In 743 the Merovingians were formally replaced by Pépin the Short and the line of the Carolingians, the de facto rulers of the state for several generations, who were named for Pépin's father Charles Martel. Pépin's son was Charlemagne (Charles the Great) who became Emperor and controlled a vast region of Europe. Charlemagne's son was Louis the Pious; after his death the kingdom of the Franks was divided amongst his children. The western portion, eventually called the Kingdom of France, went to Charles the Bald. (See Kings of Germany and Holy Roman Emperors for other descendants of Charlemagne.)
As the Carolingian dynasty waned, France was ruled by the Counts of Paris starting with Odo in 888. His line led to Hugues Capet, who began the Capetian dynasty late in the 10th century. After the main Capetian line became extinct the throne was taken over by the Valois branch of the family, though claims by the English king Edward III led to the Hundred Years War in 1339. In 1589 the Valois dynasty was succeeded by the Bourbon kings, who ruled until being forcefully removed by the French Revolution, though they were later reinstated for a time.
France had two emperors in the 19th century: Napoleon and later his nephew Napoleon III.