Philip VI, of Valois, the first king of France of the house of Valois, born in 1293, died at Nogent-le-Roi, near Chartres, Aug. 22, 1350. He was the son of Charles of Valois, brother of Philip the Fair, and during the reign of Philip the Long headed an unsuccessful expedition against the Ghibelline party in Lombardy. On the death of Charles the Fair in 1328 without a male heir, though his widow was pregnant, Philip was intrusted with the regency. When the queen was delivered of a daughter, who by the Salic law was excluded from the throne, the right to the succession became a matter of dispute; but at last it was settled on Philip, who was crowned at Rheims, May 29, 1328. The same year he undertook an expedition against the Flemings, whom he defeated with considerable loss, and took the city of Cassel. The next few years were occupied in the civil administration of France, regulating the currency, settling disputed boundaries, and especially in determining the claims of Robert, count of Beaumont, to Artois. The assistance which Philip rendered in 1337 to David Bruce, king of Scotland, irritated Edward III. of England, who claimed to be the heir of the French throne; and a war broke out in 1339, Edward having formed an alliance with the Flemish burghers under Jacob van Artevelde. This war, which lasted through the reign of Philip, proved most disastrous to the French. In 1342 Philip issued an ordinance making salt a government monopoly.
In August, 1346, he was defeated at Crecy by Edward III., who took Calais the next year. In 1348 the ravages of the plague prevented a general renewal of the war. Philip was somewhat compensated for his losses both from war and disease by the addition to the French dominions of the province of Dauphine. In 1350 he espoused the princess Blanche of Navarre, but soon after died. He was succeeded by his son John the Good.