31.07.

1451: Jacques Coeur, One of the Richest European Entrepreneurs, Arrested

1451: Jacques Coeur, One of the Richest European Entrepreneurs, Arrested
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 31 July 1451
  • After the sudden death of the king's beautiful mistress Agnès Sorel, who died at the age of 28, Jacques Coeur was accused of poisoning Agnès. He was arrested, and lost all his property.

A famous scandal occurred in medieval France on this day in 1451.

Namley, King Charles VII ordered the arrest of Jacques  Coeur – one of the richest and most powerful people in France.

This merchant from the city of Bourges was probably one of the richest people in Europe. He was importing products (silk, brocades, carpets, spices, etc.) from Asia to France. Jacques Coeur used his commercial fleet, and could compete with the powerful Italian city-states.

His arrest was scandalous because Jacques Coeur had been one of the king’s closest associates. Before his arrest, Charles VII appointed Jacques the head of the Royal Mint, even though he was not of noble origin.

Jacques was responsible for the French monetary system, which wasn’t functioning well due to the British occupation of the country (St. Jeanne d’Arc helped Charles VII save the country form the British, and to regain the royal dynasty’s power over the French territory).

Jacques even received a noble title due to his work, and his son was appointed Archbishop of Bourges. Jacques built a magnificent palace, which was one of the most valuable architectural works in France. As a merchant, Jacques gained something akin to a monopoly, and had many enemies.

After the sudden death of the king’s beautiful mistress Agnès Sorel, who died at the age of 28, Jacques Coeur was accused of  poisoning Agnès. He was arrested, and lost all his property. Jacques spent three years in prison before he managed to escape to Rome.

The Pope allegedly received Jacques. After that, he was appointed captain of a fleet sent to fight against the Ottoman Turks, but was taken ill at the Greek island of Chios, and died there. The French king felt sorry for the injustice which had been committed, and wanted to provide compensation fot  Jacques’s descendants.

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