The Burgundian Netherlands at the end of Charles the Bold's reign (1477)
|Status||Personal union of Imperial and French fiefs|
|Common languages||Dutch, Low Saxon, West Frisian, Walloon, Luxembourgish, French|
|Legislature||States General of the Netherlands|
|Historical era||Late Middle Ages|
|History of the Low Countries|
Gallia Belgica (55 BC – 5th c. AD)
Germania Inferior (83 – 5th c.)
|Saxons|| Salian Franks |
| Frisian Kingdom |
|Frankish Kingdom (481–843)—Carolingian Empire (800–843)|
|Middle Francia (843–855)|| West|
| Kingdom of Lotharingia (855– 959)|
Duchy of Lower Lorraine (959–)
Burgundian Netherlands (1384–1482)
Habsburg Netherlands (1482–1795)
(Seventeen Provinces after 1543)
United States of Belgium
Batavian Republic (1795–1806)
Kingdom of Holland (1806–1810)
associated with French First Republic (1795–1804)
part of First French Empire (1804–1815)
Princip. of the Netherlands (1813–1815)
|United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1830)|
Gr D. L.
Kingdom of the Netherlands (1839–)
Kingdom of Belgium (1830–)
| Gr D. of|
In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands (French : Pays-Bas bourguignons, Dutch : Bourgondische Nederlanden, Luxembourgish : Burgundeschen Nidderlanden, Walloon : Bas Payis borguignons) were a number of Imperial and French fiefs ruled in personal union by the House of Valois-Burgundy in the period from 1384 to 1482 and later their Habsburg heirs. They constituted the Northern part of the Burgundian State. The area comprised the major parts of present-day Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Hauts-de-France.
A fair share (but not most) of these territories were inherited by the Burgundian dukes, a younger branch of the French royal House of Valois in 1384, upon the death of Count Louis II of Flanders. His heiress, Margaret III of Flanders in 1369 had married Philip the Bold, youngest son of King John II of France and the first of the Valois dukes of Burgundy at Dijon, who thus inherited the County of Flanders. The Flemish comital House of Dampierre had been French vassals, who held territory around the affluent cities of Bruges and Ghent, but also adjacent lands in former Lower Lorraine east of the Scheldt river ("Imperial Flanders") including the exclave of Mechelen, which were a fief of the Holy Roman Empire, and furthermore the neighbouring French County of Artois. Together they initiated an era of Burgundian governance in the Low Countries.
The Dampierre legacy further comprised the French counties of Rethel in northern Champagne and Nevers west of Burgundy proper, both held by Philip's younger son Philip II from 1407, as well as the County of Burgundy (Franche-Comté) east of it, an Imperial fief which had been part of the former Kingdom of Arles.
In the following decades, the Burgundian dukes expanded their territories in the Low Countries by the acquisition of several Imperial States: Duke Philip the Good purchased the County of Namur in 1421, inherited the Duchies of Brabant and Limburg in 1430, and seized the Counties of Hainaut, Holland and Zeeland in 1432, and the Duchy of Luxembourg in 1441. His son, the last Burgundian duke Charles the Bold, in 1473 annexed the Duchy of Guelders, which had been pawned by late Arnold of Egmond.
The Valois era would last until 1477, when Duke Charles the Bold died at the Battle of Nancy leaving no male heir. The territorial Duchy of Burgundy reverted to the French crown according to Salic law, and King Louis XI of France also seized the French portion of the Burgundian possessions in the Low Countries. The Imperial fiefs passed to the Austrian House of Habsburg through Charles' daughter Mary of Burgundy and her husband Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg, son of Emperor Frederick III. Maximilian however regarded the Burgundian Netherlands including Flanders and Artois as the undivided domains of his wife and himself and marched against the French. The conflict culminated at the Battle of Guinegate in 1479. Though Maximilian was victorious, he was only able to gain the County of Flanders according to the 1482 Treaty of Arras after his wife Mary had suddenly died, while France retained Artois.
In her testament, Mary of Burgundy had bequested the Burgundian heritage to her and Maximilian's son, Philip the Handsome. His father, dissatisfied with the terms of the Arras agreement, continued to contest the seized French territories. In 1493, King Charles VIII of France according to the Treaty of Senlis finally renounced Artois, which together with Flanders was incorporated into the Imperial Seventeen Provinces under the rule of Philip.
The population of the main provinces of the Low Countries in 1477.
|Province||Population in total||% rural||% urban||Province total as % of Netherlands total|
The Burgundian dukes who ruled the Burgundian territories were:
House of Valois, territorial Dukes of Burgundy
House of Valois, titular Duchess of Burgundy
House of Habsburg, titular Dukes of Burgundy (see Habsburg Netherlands)
The sheer burden of variety of bishoprics and independent cities, the intensely local partisanship, the various taxation systems, weights and measures, internal customs barriers, fiercely defended local rights were all hindrances to a "good Valois". Attempts at enlarging personal control by the dukes resulted in revolts among the independent towns (sometimes supported by independent local nobles) and bloody military suppression in response. An increasingly modernized central government, with a bureaucracy of clerks, allowed the dukes to become celebrated art patrons and establish a glamorous court life that gave rise to conventions of behavior that lasted for centuries. Philip the Good (1419–1467) extended his personal control to the southeast; bringing Brussels, Namur, and Liège under his control. He channeled the traditional independence of the cities through such mechanisms as the first Estates-General, and consolidating of the region's economy.
The first Estates General of the Burgundian territories met in the City Hall of Bruges on 9 January 1464. It included delegates from the Duchy of Brabant, the County of Flanders, Lille, Douai and Orchies, the County of Artois, the County of Hainaut, the County of Holland, the County of Zeeland, the County of Namur, the Lordship of Mechelen, and the Boulonnais.Up to 1464, the Duke only maintained ties with each of the provincial States separately. In principle, the provincial Estates were composed of representatives of the three traditional estates: clergy, nobility and the Third Estate, but the exact composition and influence of each estate (within the provincial Estates) could differ. Convening an Estates General in which all provincial Estates were represented was part of Philip the Good's policy of centralisation.
From 1441, Philip based his ducal court in Brussels, but Bruges was the world center of commerce, though by the 1480s the inevitable silting of its harbor was bringing its economic hegemony to a close. Philip was a great patron of illuminated manuscripts and court painting reached new highs: Robert Campin, the famous Van Eyck brothers, and Rogier Van der Weyden
In 1491 and 1492, the peasants revolted in some areas. They were suppressed by Maximilian's forces under the command of Duke Albert of Saxony at a battle at Heemskerk.
In the present-day Netherlands, inhabitants of the culturally Catholic area of Meierij van 's-Hertogenbosch are considered by the other Dutch to have a Burgundian character, meaning that they are supposed to be companionable people who like to party exuberantly.[ citation needed ]
The Seventeen Provinces were the Imperial states of the Habsburg Netherlands in the 16th century. They roughly covered the Low Countries, i.e. what is now the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and most of the French departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais (Artois). Also within this area were semi-independent fiefdoms, mainly ecclesiastical ones, such as Liège, Cambrai and Stavelot-Malmedy.
Mary, Duchess of Burgundy, reigned over the Burgundian State, now mainly in France and the Low Countries, from 1477 until her death in a riding accident at the age of 25.
Duke of Burgundy was a title used by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy, from its establishment in 843 to its annexation by France in 1477, and later by Habsburg sovereigns of the Low Countries (1482-1556).
The Free County of Burgundy was a medieval county of the Holy Roman Empire, within the modern region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, whose name is still reminiscent of the title of its count: Freigraf. It should not be confused with the more westerly Duchy of Burgundy, a fiefdom of Francia since 843.
The Duchy of Burgundy emerged in the 9th century as one of the successors of the ancient Kingdom of the Burgundians, which after its conquest in 532 had formed a constituent part of the Frankish Empire. Upon the 9th-century partitions, the French remnants of the Burgundian kingdom were reduced to a ducal rank by King Robert II of France in 1004. Robert II's son and heir, King Henry I of France, inherited the duchy but ceded it to his younger brother Robert in 1032. Other portions had passed to the Imperial Kingdom of Arles and the County of Burgundy (Franche-Comté).
The County of Hainaut, sometimes given the spelling Hainault, was a historical lordship within the medieval Holy Roman Empire with its capital eventually established at Mons, and named after the river Haine, both now in Belgium. Besides Mons, it included the city of Valenciennes, now in France. It consisted of what is now the Belgian province of Hainaut and the eastern part of the French département of Nord.
Charolais is a historic region of France, named after the central town of Charolles, and located in today's Saône-et-Loire département, in Burgundy.
The County of Artois was a historic province of the Kingdom of France, held by the Dukes of Burgundy from 1384 until 1477/82, and a state of the Holy Roman Empire from 1493 until 1659.
Spanish Netherlands was the name for the Habsburg Netherlands ruled by the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs from 1556 to 1714. They were a collection of States of the Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries held in personal union by the Spanish Crown. This region comprised most of the modern states of Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as parts of northern France, southern Netherlands, and western Germany with the capital being Brussels.
The Treaty of Arras was signed at Arras on 23 December 1482 by King Louis XI of France and Archduke Maximilian I of Habsburg as heir of the Burgundian Netherlands in the course of the Burgundian succession crisis.
The Burgundian Circle was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire created in 1512 and significantly enlarged in 1548. In addition to the Free County of Burgundy, the Burgundian Circle roughly covered the Low Countries, i.e., the areas now known as the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and adjacent parts in the French administrative region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
The Duchy of Luxemburg was a state of the Holy Roman Empire, the ancestral homeland of the noble House of Luxembourg. The House of Luxembourg, now Duke of Limburg, became one of the most important political forces in the 14th century, competing against the House of Habsburg for supremacy in Central Europe. They would be the heirs to the Přemyslid dynasty in the Kingdom of Bohemia, succeeding the Kingdom of Hungary and contributing four Holy Roman Emperors until their own line of male heirs came to an end and the House of Habsburg got the pieces that the two Houses had originally agreed upon in the Treaty of Brünn in 1364.
The House of Valois-Burgundy, or the Younger House of Burgundy, was a noble French family deriving from the royal House of Valois. It is distinct from the Capetian House of Burgundy, descendants of King Robert II of France, though both houses stem from the Capetian dynasty. They ruled the Duchy of Burgundy from 1363 to 1482 and later came to rule vast lands including Artois, Flanders, Luxembourg, Hainault, the county palatine of Burgundy (Franche-Comté), and other lands through marriage, forming what is now known as the Burgundian State.
The Treaty of Senlis concerning the Burgundian succession was signed at Senlis, Oise in May 1493 between Maximilian I of Habsburg and King Charles VIII of France.
Habsburg Netherlands, also referred to as Belgica or Flanders, is the collective name of Holy Roman Empire fiefs in the Low Countries held by the House of Habsburg. The rule began in 1482, when the last Valois-Burgundy ruler of the Netherlands, Mary, married Maximilian I of Austria. Their grandson, Emperor Charles V, was born in the Habsburg Netherlands and made Brussels one of his capitals.
The Great Privilege was an instrument signed by Mary of Burgundy on 11 February 1477 which reconfirmed a number of privileges to the States General of the Netherlands. Under this agreement, the provinces and towns of Flanders, Brabant, Hainaut, and Holland recovered all the local and communal rights which had been abolished by the decrees of the preceding dukes of Burgundy Charles the Bold and Philip the Good in their efforts to create a centralised state on the French model out of their separate holdings in the Low Countries.
The Burgundian inheritance in the Low Countries consisted of numerous fiefs held by the Dukes of Burgundy in modern-day Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The Duke of Burgundy was a member of the House of Valois-Burgundy and, after 1482, of the House of Habsburg. Given that the Dukes of Burgundy lost Burgundy proper to the Kingdom of France in 1477, and were never able to recover it, they moved their court to the Low Countries. The Burgundian Low Countries were ultimately expanded to include Seventeen Provinces under Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. The Burgundian inheritance then passed to Philip II of Spain, whose rule was contested by the Dutch revolt.
In the period 1482–1492, the cities of the County of Flanders revolted twice against Archduke Maximilian of Austria, who ruled the county as regent for his son, Philip the Handsome. The revolts were rooted in the cities' desire to maintain the autonomy that they had wrested from Philip's mother and predecessor, Mary of Burgundy, which Maximilian threatened to curtail. Both revolts were ultimately unsuccessful.
The War of the Burgundian Succession took place from 1477 to 1482, immediately following the Burgundian Wars. At stake was the partition of the Burgundian hereditary lands between the Kingdom of France and the House of Habsburg, after Duke Charles the Bold had perished in the Battle of Nancy on 5 January 1477.
The Burgundian State, is a concept coined by historians to describe the vast complex of territories also referred to as Valois Burgundy that developed in the Late Middle Ages under the rule of the dukes of Burgundy from the French House of Valois, composed of French and imperial fiefs. This territorial construction outlasted the properly 'Burgundian' dynasty and the loss of the Duchy of Burgundy itself. As such, it must not be confused with this sole fief.