Frankish and French Kings

The Franks were a collection of Germanic tribes who settled in Roman territory in the 4th century. They were accepted as foederati (allies) by the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate. Unity of all the Franks was achieved by Clovis in the early 6th century. Clovis was a descendent of the semi-legendary king Merovech, for whom the Merovingian dynasty was named.

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.

Frankish and French Kings Chronologically

Frankish and French Kings by Frequency of Name

Frankish and French Kings Alphabetically (Grouped by Name)