Capetians, or House of Capet, the royal family of France from 987 to 1328. The Capetians followed the Carolingian dynasty. They were succeeded by the Valois and Bourbon branches of the family. Thus, after the Carolingians, all French monarchs except the Bonapartes were descended from the first Capetian monarch—Hugh, Duke of France. Hugh was also a lay abbot. The family name came from his abbot's cape of gray wool, called a capet .
Hugh Capet was elected king by the French nobles in 987, when the death of Louis V, the last Carolingian king, left the throne of France vacant. At that time each of the provinces had its own ruler. The king had no power of general taxation, no national army, and no authority to enforce national laws. By 1328, when their rule ended, the Capetians had welded this group of independent feudal domains into a strong, unified nation.