Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Henry I of Champagne

Henry I of Champagne (d. 1181), known as "the Liberal", was count of Champagne from 1152 to 1181.

He was the eldest son of count Thibaut II of Champagne (who was also count Thibaut II of Blois). On his father's death Henry chose to take Champagne, leaving the family's older holdings (including Blois, Chartres, Sancerre, and Chateaudun) to his younger brothers. At the time this may have been surprising, for the other territories were richer and better developed. Henry must have have forseen the economic possibilities of Champagne, and it is during his rule that the county achieved its high place as one of the richest and strongest of the French principalities.

Henry established orderly rule over the nobles of Champagne, and could fairly reliably count on the aid of some 2,000 vassals, which just by itself made him a power few in France could equal. This order in turn made Champagne a safe place for merchants to gather, and under the count's protection the Champagne Fairs became a central part of long-distance trade and finance in medieval Europe.

In addition, the count's court in Troyes became a renowned literary center.

Henry married Marie of Champagne, daughter of Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was succeeded by their eldest son Henry II of Champagne. After Henry II became king of Jerusalem, the younger son Thibaut III became count.

Preceded by:
Thibaut II
Count of Champagne Succeeded by:
Henry II
Marie (regent)