The Lion Louis VIII, king of France, son of Philip Augustus, born in 1187, died at Mont-pensier in Auvergne, Nov. 8, 1226. Before his accession he went to England by invitation of the barons hostile to King John, but after a struggle against that king and his successor Henry III. (1216-'17) was obliged to abandon the contest. He was crowned, with his queen Blanche of Castile, at Rheims, in August, 1223, amid general rejoicings. Refusing the demand of Henry III. of England for the restoration of Normandy, he raised an army to drive the English from the land, and conquered the country N. of the Garonne; but at the instance of Pope Honorius III., and receiving 30,000 marks of silver from Henry, he granted in 1225 a truce of four years. He now intervened in Flanders between Jeanne, who reigned as queen, and a pretender who claimed to be her father Count Baldwin, who had been imprisoned by the king of Bulgaria, and was supposed to have been murdered. Louis took him prisoner and hung him, and established the influence of France in Flanders. He now led a crusade against the Albigenses, besieged Avignon, and took it in 1226 after a siege of three months. But weakened by sickness in his army and the desertion of many of his lords, he left garrisons to hold his posts and hastened home.

He died on the march, poisoned, according to some, by the count of Champagne.