Philip II of France
Maine, Touraine, Anjou, Brittany, and all of Normandy from King John of England. His decisive victory at the Battle of Bouvines over King John and a coalition of forces that included Otto IV of Germany ended the immediate threat of challenges to this expansion (1214) and left Philippe as the most powerful monarch in all of Europe.
He reorganized the government, bringing to the country a financial stability which permitted a sharp increase in prosperity. His reign was popular with ordinary people when he checked the power the nobles and passed some of it on to the growing middle class his reign had created.
King Philippe would play a significant role in one of the greatest centuries of innovation in construction and in education. With Paris as his capital, he had the main thoroughfares paved, built a central market, Les Halles, continued the construction begun in 1163 of the Gothic Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, constructed the Louvre as a fortress and gave a charter to the University of Paris (the Sorbonne) in 1200. Under his guidance, Paris became the first city of teachers the medieval world had known.
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