Richard was Plantagenet king of England from 1377 to 1399 and was usurped by Henry IV.
Richard was born on 6 January 1367 in Bordeaux, the son of Edward, the Black Prince and grandson of Edward III. Richard's father died in 1376 and his grandfather the following year, making Richard king at the age of 10. The country was ruled largely by his uncle, John of Gaunt. The first crisis of Richard's reign was the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. The young king bravely rode out to meet the rebels, who were led by Wat Tyler. Tyler was killed and the revolt crushed.
As Richard began to take control of government himself, he built a group of unpopular favourites. His request for money to fight in France prompted parliament to demand the dismissal of these favourites. Richard's refusal provoked parliament into impeaching his chancellor, the Earl of Suffolk, and creating a commission to oversee the king's activities. When Richard declared these measures treasonable, parliament and his opponents retaliated in 1388 by outlawing his closest friends, some of whom were executed. Richard appeared defeated and submitted to the demands of the five 'Lords Appellant'.
For eight years Richard worked in apparent harmony with Gaunt and the Lords Appellant. Yet he was waiting for revenge. He gradually formed a second, stronger royalist party. In 1397, he arrested and tried three of the appellants. Arundel was convicted of treason and executed, Warwick was banished and Gloucester imprisoned and murdered. Richard was granted revenues for life and the powers of parliament were delegated to a committee.
In September 1398, a quarrel between two former appellants, Gaunt's son Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, gave the king another opportunity for revenge and he banished them both. When Gaunt died in February 1399, Richard confiscated the vast Lancastrian estates, which would have passed to Bolingbroke. In May, Richard left to campaign in Ireland.
Bolingbroke invaded England and rallied both noble and popular support. Returning to England in August, Richard surrendered without a fight. In September, he abdicated and Bolingbroke ascended the throne as Henry IV. In October, Richard was imprisoned in Pontefract Castle, where he died four months later.
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