Facts and Events
Clovis (Latin Chlodovechus; reconstructed Frankish Chlodowig; c. 466 – c. 511) was the first king of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a group of royal chieftains to rule by a single king and ensuring that the kingship was passed down to his heirs. He is considered the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled the Franks for the next two centuries.
Clovis was the son of Childeric I, a Merovingian king of the Salian Franks, and Basina, Queen of Thuringia, and he succeeded his father in 481, at the age of fifteen. He conquered the remaining rump state of the Western Roman Empire at the Battle of Soissons (486), and by his death in 511 he had conquered much of the northern and western parts of what had formerly been Roman Gaul.
Clovis is important in the historiography of France as "the first king of what would become France". His name, a Germanic name composed of the elements hlod "fame" and wig "combat", is the origin of the later French given name Louis, borne by 18 kings of France.
Clovis is also extremely significant due to his conversion to Catholicism in 496, largely at the behest of his wife, Clotilde, who would later be venerated as a saint for this act. The adoption of Catholicism by Clovis led to a widespread conversion to Christianity among the Frankish peoples, installing Catholicism all across modern-day France and Germany, and leading Charlemagne's alliance with the pope and birth of the early Holy Roman Empire.