Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Built for defence purposes on a promontory overlooking the Loire River, the château began its life in the 12th century. Expanded and improved over time, in the mid 1400’s, it was seized by King Charles VII, after its owner was convicted of plotting the assassination of the king. Once in Royal hands, the château became a favourite of French kings during the 15th and 16th centuries, some using it to house their wife and children while they lived with their mistresses in another château.
King François I was raised at Amboise and during the first few years of his reign, the château would reach the pinnacle of its glory. As a guest of King François I, Leonardo da Vinci came to Château Amboise and would live and work in the nearby Clos Lucé where he is buried.
King Henri II and his wife, Catherine de Medici, raised their children in Château Amboise along with Mary Stuart, the child Queen of Scotland who had been promised in marriage to the future French King François II.
At the beginning of the 17th century, the huge château would be all but abandoned when the property passed into the hands of the brother of the Bourbon King Louis XIII. After being taken back by the Crown, it was turned into a State prison and eventually sold to a wealthy noble who planned to restore it. During the French Revolution, a great deal more destruction was done, and an engineering assessment commissioned by Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte in the early 1800’s resulted in a great deal of the château having to be demolished.
King Louis-Philippe began restoring it during his reign but with his abdication, the château was confiscated by the government in 1848. In 1873 Louis-Philippe’s heirs were given control of the property and a major effort to repair it was made. However, during the invasion by the Nazis in 1940 the château was damaged further.
Today, the descendants of King Louis-Philippe repair and maintain the château through a foundation.
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