Charles VIII (30 June 1470 – 7 April 1498), known as Charles the Affable, was King of France from 1483 to his death.

In 1492, Charles offered to fund an expedition headed by Christopher Columbus, but the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze convinced Columbus to work for Isabella I of Castile, knowing that Charles would not be able to support the expedition.[1] In order to secure Naples for France, Charles invaded Italy in 1494. His forces marched across the peninsula with little opposition, subduing Florence and forcing its leader, Piero de' Medici, to flee. As a result, the city came under the control of the insane friar Girolamo Savonarola. Charles moved on to Naples, taking it with ease. He was then crowned King of Naples.[2]

The swift French advance caused Pope Alexander VI to form the Holy League with the Holy Roman Empire, Aragon, the Duchy of Milan and the Republic of Venice. The League expelled Charles from Italy, although France would maintain a presence on the peninsula for decades.[3] Following his death, Charles was succeeded by his cousin, Louis XII.[4]