Richard the Lionheart

Richard I also known as Richard the Lionheart was the King of England during the late 12th century. He held many titles throughout his life including Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine, and Gascony.

Richard the Lionheart

He was instrumental in leading the Third Crusade against Islam. He is most remembered for his battle victories against Muslim leader Saladin.

Early life

Richard the Lionheart was born in 1157 C.E. at Oxford, England. He was the third son of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was beloved by his mother throughout his childhood years. He was well educated and liked to write poetry. He was also schooled extensively in military tactics.

King Richard I's Great Seal of 1189

In 1170 C.E. King Henry II wanted to redistribute his kingdom to his three sons. His older brother was Henry the Young King who was crowned Titular of King of England in 1170 C.E. At the age of 16 years old Richard the Lionheart was in command of his own forces and put down a revolt in Poitou.

The Great Revolt

Henry the Young King became agitated at his father’s role in ruling England. He decided to go to France to form an alliance with Louis VII the King of France. Henry the Young King also recruited Richard the Lionheart and his other brother John to fight against their father.

After meeting with King Louis VII, Richard the Lionheart was made a vassal of Louis VII. The three brothers then fought against their father Henry II.

Their revolt was unsuccessful. Richard the Lionheart sought forgiveness from his father. He was rewarded with the title of Duke of Aquitaine. In 1183 C.E.

Henry the Young King passed away and Richard the Lionheart became the heir apparent to the English throne.

There was still tension between Henry II and Richard the Lionheart. Henry II had ordered Richard the Lionheart to give up his title of Duke of Aquitaine to his brother John. Richard the Lionheart refused his father and sought help from Philip II the son of King Louis VII.

Together their army crushed Henry II near Ballans, France. In 1189 C.E. Henry II died and Richard the Lionheart assumed the throne.

During his reign

Soon after taking the throne there was considerable violence towards Jews. Richard the Lionheart began the Third Crusade with his friend Philip II of France. Together they collected funds and soldiers in order to march on Islam.

In 1190 C.E. they began their military campaign. First their troops occupied Sicily and conquered Cypress in 1191 C.E. During the same year he marched toward the Holy Land. He secured numerous victories over Muslim leader Saladin at Arsuf and Acre.

Richard the Lionheart tried to enter Jerusalem but was pushed back by Saladin’s forces. At this point Philip II went back to France and Richard the Lionheart signed a three year truce with Saladin.

On his way back to England he was kidnapped by the Duke of Austria in 1192 C.E. In 1193 C.E. Richard the Lionheart was then given to Henry VI who was the Holy Roman Emperor. After paying a large tribute Richard the Lionheart was released in 1194 C.E.

He returned to England which had been placed in control of his brother with the help of Philip II. He regained power but for the next several years Richard the Lionheart struggled in bringing his reign back to order.

Richard the Lionheart passed away in 1199 C.E. He had been shot by an archer of his own army who wanted revenge for the killing of his family. On his death bed Richard the Lionheart gave forgiveness to his assassin. He was succeeded by John Lackland.

Important facts about Richard the Lionheart

  • Richard the Lionheart was born in 1157 C.E. in Oxford, England. His father was Henry II the King of England. His mother was Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was the middle of three sons.
  • He was well educated as a child and liked to write poetry. He was also trained in military tactics.
  • Richard the Lionheart was placed in command of his own army at 16 years old. He crushed a revolt in Poitou with his army.
  • Richard the Lionheart went to France with his brother Henry the Young King to form an alliance with King Louis VII of France in 1173 C.E.
  • The two brothers started an unsuccessful revolt against their father Henry II. When the revolt failed, Richard the Lionheart asked forgiveness from his father.
  • In 1189 C.E. he revolted again but this time with the help of Philip II the son of King Louis VII of France. The revolt was successful and Richard the Lionheart was crowned King of England after his father’s death.
  • He led successful military campaigns during the Third Crusade with Philip II against Muslim leader Saladin.
  • When Richard the Lionheart returned home, his kingdom was fractured by Philip II and his brother. He spent the remainder years trying to regain control of England.


  1. Who was the father of Richard the Lionheart?

King Henry II of England

  1. What Muslim leader did Richard the Lionheart defeat many times during the Third Crusade?


  1. Who did Richard the Lionheart form an alliance with to revolt against his father I 1189 C.E.?

Philip II of France

  1. At what age was Richard the Lionheart given his first command of an army?

16 years old