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Synopsis

Richard I (8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199) was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period. He was known as Richard Cœur de Lion, or Richard the Lionheart, even before his accession, because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior.[1] The Saracens called him Melek-Ric or Malek al-Inkitar – King of England.

By the age of sixteen, Richard commanded his own army, putting down rebellions in Poitou against his father, King Henry II. Richard was a central Christian commander during the Third Crusade, leading the campaign after the departure of Philip II of France and scoring considerable victories against his Muslim counterpart, Saladin, although he did not reconquer Jerusalem.

Speaking only langue d'oïl and langue d'oc and spending very little time in England (he lived in his Duchy of Aquitaine in the southwest of France, preferring to use his kingdom as a source of revenue to support his armies), he was seen as a pious hero by his subjects.[6] He remains one of the few Kings of England remembered by his epithet, rather than regnal number, and is an enduring iconic figure in England and France.[7]

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