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Henry IV of France

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Henry IV (December 13, 1553May 14, 1610) was King of France from 1589 to 1610 and (as Henry III) King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty in France. His parents were Queen Jeanne III and King Antoine of Navarre.[1]

As a Huguenot, Henry was involved in the Wars of Religion before ascending the throne in 1589. Before his coronation as king of France at Chartres, he changed his faith from Calvinism to Catholicism and, in 1598, he enacted the Edict of Nantes, which guaranteed religious liberties to the Protestants and thereby effectively ended the civil war. One of the most popular French kings, both during and after his reign, Henry showed great care for the welfare of his subjects and displayed an unusual religious tolerance for the time. He was assassinated by a fanatical Catholic, François Ravaillac.[2]

Henry was nicknamed Henry the Great (Henri le Grand), and in France is also called le bon roi Henri ("the good king Henry") or le Vert galant ("the Green gallant"), a reference to both his dashing character and his attractiveness to women. In English he is most often referred to as Henry of Navarre. He also gave his name to the Henry IV style of architecture, which he patronised. He is the eponymous subject of the royal anthem of France, "Marche Henri IV".

Part of this article consists of modified text from Metapedia, page http:en.metapedia.org/wiki/Henry IV of France and/or Wikipedia, page http:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry IV of France, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.


  1. de La Croix, René, Duc de Castries, The Lives of the Kings & Queens of France, (Alfred A. Knopf:New York, 1979), 175.
  2. Baird, Henry M., The Huguenots and Henry of Navarre, Vol. 2, (Charles Scribner's Sons:New York, 1886), 486.