Henry IV Assassinated

14 May
François Ravaillac, assassin of King Henry IV,...

François Ravaillac, assassin of King Henry IV, brandishing his dagger, in a 17th-century engraving (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this blog so far, several stories have described the terrible tortures and massacres inflicted by the Indians. An impression might be given that Indian torture and cruelty was unique, but this was far from being the case. So-called civilized people could be just as barbarous.

WARNING: The following is a graphic story of torture. If you don’t want to read about the gore, I very highly suggest you don’t read the following paragraph!

On May 14, 1610, King Henry IV of France was assassinated by François Ravaillac, a religious fanatic. Ravaillac was put in prison, tortured by red-hot pincers, and had his leg crushed. While thousands of people, including princes and leaders of France, lined the streets or watched from windows, Ravaillac was drawn from the prison in a scavenger’s cart and taken to the Place de Grève. Boiling lead was poured into his wounds, and then his body was torn apart by four white horses pulling in opposite directions. The people in the crowd scrambled to pick up pieces of his flesh. The house where he was born was burned to the ground, and his mother and father were exiled from France.

Champlain was in Paris at the time and was glad that the Indians had not seen what had happened. He had often told them that the French killed, yes, but did not torture their enemies.

Henry IV’s death was a serious loss to Champlain. He had made Champlain a royal geographer, and granted trading monopolies to Chauvin, Chaste, and de Monts. Just before he was assassinated, Champlain had given him a belt of porcupine quills, the head of a garfish, and two little birds, scarlet tanagers. The King was greatly pleased, and listened to Champlain’s stories about Canada. Now no one in authority in France took any interest in Canada and the fur trade had got out of control. Unauthorized traders rushed to Canada and obtained furs by plying the Indians with brandy. The situation became so bad that some of the Indian chiefs prohibited their braves from taking their furs to the French.

Champlain had to find someone to take control in France, and finally persuaded Charles de Bourbon, a prince who ranked next to the king. He was already governor of Normandy and Dauphine from which he drew substantial revenue, but he agreed to become lieutenant-general for the king in Canada, provided that he was paid a salary, plus a share of the profits from the fur trade. It was a hard bargain, but Champlain was pleased because the prince made him a lieutenant of France. This position gave him authority to control the traders on the St. Lawrence River. Champlain was told to make Quebec his capital.

Do you still want to read more about this? Well, I suggest clicking your way to Versailles and More blog; has a great article; and G.W. Leibniz also has a great article; The Telegraph from the UK has a news story about finding the King’s remains; then there’s Cool Stuff in Paris shows what you would see as a tourist at the spot where the assassination took place!


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21 responses to “Henry IV Assassinated

  1. Argus

    May 17, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    “Champlain was in Paris at the time and was glad that the Indians had not seen what had happened. He had often told them that the French killed, yes, but did not torture their enemies.”

    I remember being brought up to the credo that the US of A doesn’t torture its enemies either … you know, for quite a long time I actually believed it?

    • tkmorin

      May 17, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      … and what a disappointment it is when we realize the truth, eh? Sorta like finding out there is no Santa Clause. Well, maybe not like that, but it’s still disappointing!
      Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!
      ps I love the dog that’s your “icon” 🙂

      • Argus

        May 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm

        Being English myself it was the second shoe to fall, after that I wised up … dog was a wonderful friend/companion/soul mate, a British Bull Terrier. I got that snap at the precise moment he found me during a game of ‘hide-and-bark’.

        • tkmorin

          May 18, 2013 at 5:48 pm

          That sounds delightful! Great memories, I can tell. 🙂

  2. Professor VJ Duke

    May 16, 2013 at 8:06 am

    That was somewhat brutal, but history usually is. Reminds me of a book that was written by Dumas: ‘The Black Tulip.’ It was quite brutal in the beginning. I do believe it was documenting real history too.

    • tkmorin

      May 16, 2013 at 9:07 am

      I’ll check that out, thank you! 🙂

  3. seeker

    May 14, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I once heard that it was the white men who showed how to scalp a head and that’s how Indian’s learned to be “head hunters”. If you did not include the guts and glory, then it won’t be such an effective story. Thank you for another history.

    • tkmorin

      May 16, 2013 at 9:09 am

      I remember reading that too, but I can’t remember from what source. I’ll try to find it again, though. Thank you, P!

      • seeker

        May 16, 2013 at 9:27 am

        Happy hunting.

        • tkmorin

          May 16, 2013 at 9:28 am

          Heehee … You know that’s the kind of challenge I like! 🙂

  4. hermitsdoor

    May 14, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    And we get grossed out with a YouTube video of a (alledged) Syrian officer tearing out the (alledged) heart and entrials of a (alledged) soldier and eating them. Times were tough back when Henry IV was around.

    • tkmorin

      May 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      heehee … you are so right!!! 🙂

  5. createdbyrcw

    May 14, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Interesting timing for this piece…I had just watched the French film of Henri of Navarre (Henri IV) on Netflix and (Spoiler Alert) they didn’t include anything about what happened to the assassin.

    A decent to good movie…interesting story.

    Thanks for adding to the colour a little with this anecdote!

    • tkmorin

      May 14, 2013 at 11:06 am

      What’s the name of the film? I might see if I can get a hold of it .. Thanks for the visit and the comment!! 🙂

      • createdbyrcw

        May 14, 2013 at 11:18 am

        Henry of Navarre (2009)

        Here is the YouTube trailer:

  6. Terry Irving

    May 14, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Reblogged this on Hey Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite!.

  7. L. Marie

    May 14, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Thanks for the warning! My goodness. Graphic as you said. I love Shakespeare’s Henry IV and V, so this post is fascinating. The ugly aftermath of assassination.

  8. superduque777

    May 14, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Very good study.

    • tkmorin

      May 14, 2013 at 9:02 am

      Thank you! I’m curious, did you skip the “warned” paragraph, or skip it?

      Thanks for dropping in! 🙂

      • superduque777

        May 14, 2013 at 9:08 am

        Reallity is always harder than warning…
        Good job.


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