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Henry II

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Henry II belonged to the Plantagenet Dynasty. Born in 1133, he ascended to the throne in 1154 and died in 1189. He was preceded as monarch by Stephen and was succeeded by Richard I.

Henry was the eldest child of Matilda, daughter of Henry I, and Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou. He succeeded Stephen as king in 1154. From his father and mother, he inherited, Anjou, Touraine, Normandy, and Maine. From his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine, the divorced queen of Louis VII, he secured Poitou, Perigord, Limousin, and Gascony.

Henry revoked Stephen's grants of crown lands, destroyed the "adulterine" castles built by the barons, expelled all mercenaries, and abolished the "fiscal" earldoms.

In 1170, the Inquest of Sheriffs was followed by the dismissal of most sheriffs. The barons rose with the kings own sons, but the rebellion was crushed, and Henry issues assizes the further checked the baronial power. During his reign, the jury system was developed.

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