Burgundian State

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Burgundian State
Bandera de Borgona.svg
Bandera cruz de Borgona 3.svg
Above: Ducal banner
Below: Cross of Burgundy
Armoires des derniers ducs de Bourgogne.png
Coat of arms
Karte Haus Burgund 4 EN.png
The Burgundian State at its greatest extent, under Charles the Bold
Status Personal union
Common languages Latin, Middle French, Middle Dutch
Roman Catholicism
Duke of Burgundy  
Philip the Bold
John the Fearless
Philip the Good
Charles the Bold
Mary of Burgundy
Legislature States General of the Netherlands and Estates of Burgundy
Historical era Late Middle Ages
 Accession to Flanders
30 January 1384
21 September 1435
5 January 1477
  Mary's death
27 March 1482
 Creation of the Burgundian Circle
Succeeded by
Habsburg Monarchy Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg
Kingdom of France Royal Flag of France.svg
Holy Roman Empire Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with Arms (1437-1493).svg

The Burgundian State [1] (French : État bourguignon; Dutch : Bourgondische Rijk) is a concept coined by historians to describe the vast complex of territories that is also referred to as Valois Burgundy. [2]


It developed in the Late Middle Ages under the rule of the Dukes of Burgundy from the French House of Valois and was composed of both French and Imperial fiefs (ducal and comital Burgundy and the Burgundian Netherlands). That territorial construction outlasted the properly 'Burgundian' dynasty and the loss of the Duchy of Burgundy itself. As such, it must not be confused with that sole fief.

It is regarded as one of the major powers in Europe of the 15th century and the early 16th century. The Dukes of Burgundy were among the wealthiest and the most powerful princes in Europe and were sometimes called "Grand Dukes of the West". [3] Including the thriving regions of Flanders and Brabant, the Burgundian State was a major centre of trade and commerce and a focal point of courtly culture that set the fashion for European royal houses and their court. [4] It nearly turned into a kingdom of its own right, but Charles the Bold's early death at the Battle of Nancy put an end to his Lotharingian dream and his legacy passed to the House of Habsburg through the marriage of his daughter Mary to Maximilian of Austria. Meanwhile Picardy and the Duchy of Burgundy were conquered by the King of France.

The partition of the Burgundian heritage marked the beginning of the centuries-long French–Habsburg rivalry and played a pivotal role in European politics long after Burgundy had lost its role as an independent political identity. With the abdication of Emperor Charles V in 1555, the Burgundian Netherlands passed to the Spanish Empire of King Philip II. During the Dutch Revolt, or the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648), the northern provinces of the Low Countries gained their independence from Spanish rule and formed the Dutch Republic (now the Netherlands). The southern provinces remained under Spanish rule until the 18th century and became known as the Spanish Netherlands, or Southern Netherlands (corresponding roughly to present day Belgium, Luxembourg and northern Hauts-de-France).

Historical concept

The notion of a "Burgundian State" was coined in the 19th century by the Belgian historian Henri Pirenne in his Histoire de Belgique to describe what he saw as the precursor of the Belgian State. [5] In his nationalist view, the Dukes of Burgundy were the creators of a Burgundian or Belgian nation. Johan Huizinga reused the concept out of convenience at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1999, Bertrand Schnerb  [ fr ] popularised the expression in France with a monograph named The Burgundian State. [1]

That use is, however, controversial among historians. [6] Though he used it, Huizinga noted that the "Burgundian State" was a creation of modern historiography and was not an entity that its contemporaries recognised. [7] Many historians, especially historians of law, Belgian and Dutch historians, argue that legally speaking, the lands of the dukes formed a collection of princely estates, rather than an actual state. As such, they call those lands "Valois Burgundy", "Burgundian states", "Great Principality of Burgundy", [8] "Burgundian Union" [9] or "Burgundian Commonwealth". [10]

Indeed, the Burgundian State remained a personal union of territories under the remote authority of the duke. The provinces shared no common legislation, although the dukes created common institutions. At the time, there was no name to describe the territorial complex otherwise than "the lands and estates of the duke of Burgundy". The last dukes of the Valois dynasty, however, tried to rally the various populations around symbols such as the Cross of Burgundy and the Order of the Golden Fleece. Under Charles the Bold, who wanted to create a kingdom of his own, propaganda insisted that the Belgae were the common ancestors for all of his lands. The Leo Belgicus appeared after that to symbolise the unity of the Low Countries.

Furthermore, the Burgundian State was not a sovereign state. The dukes of Burgundy were vassals of the king of France and the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, even if they acted as sovereigns. The authority of the emperor was highly hypothetical, but in most of their French fiefs, for instance, their judgements could be challenged before the Parliament of Paris. Charles the Bold created the Parliament of Mechelen to avoid this.

Following Johan Huizinga, Marc Boone and Wim Blockmans ironically concluded that a true Burgundian State existed only from the loss of the duchy of Burgundy and the extinction of the Burgundian dynasty to the Dutch Revolt. [7] [11]



Anonymous portrait of Duke Philip the Bold 16th-century unknown painters - Philip the Bold - WGA23677.jpg
Anonymous portrait of Duke Philip the Bold

After the death of Duke Philip I of Burgundy in 1361, the Duchy was integrated to the royal domain of King John II of France. He later decided to give it as a fief to his youngest son, known as Philip the Bold, who was officially recognized as Duke of Burgundy and First Peer of France on 2 June 1364.

The same year, Edmund of Langley, son of Edward III of England, became engaged to Margaret of Flanders, daughter of the Count Louis II of Flanders and heiress to Flanders, Artois, Rethel, Nevers and the Free County of Burgundy. King Charles V of France could not let this marriage happen. Since Edmund and Margaret were cousins, they needed a papal dispensation to marry, which Pope Urban V refused them because of lobbying by Charles, who wanted to marry Margaret to his younger brother, Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. The Count of Flanders, eager for an alliance, agreed to marry his daughter and heir presumptive to Philip.

The marriage took place on 19 June 1369 in Ghent, and from then Philip was closely associated to the reign of his father-in-law, helping him to crush the Flemish at the Battle of Roosebeke. Louis of Flanders died soon after, on 30 January 1384: Philip became Count consort of Flanders, Artois, Rethel, Nevers and Burgundy. Peace was officially restored in Flanders by the Peace of Tournai in 1385. Also in 1385, the offices of Chancellor of Burgundy and of Chancellor of Flanders were merged, and in 1386 two Chamber of Accounts were created: the first one in Lille for his northern possessions, the other one in Dijon for his southern possessions. These were the first step in the centralization of power. [1]

He carried out an ambitious matrimonial policy turned to the east: his first son John married Margaret of Bavaria, and his daughters Margaret and Catherine of Burgundy married, respectively, William, Count of Hainaut, Holland and Zeeland, and Leopold IV, Duke of Austria. His last son Anthony married Jeanne of Saint-Pol, daughter of Waleran III of Luxembourg.

From French vassals to rivals of the Valois Kings

Portrait of Duke John the Fearless, after Jean Malouel John II, Duke of Burgundy.jpg
Portrait of Duke John the Fearless, after Jean Malouel

During the reigns of Philip the Bold and his son John the Fearless, loyalty to the king of France remained strong, and serving the kingdom was a significant duty. During the minority of his nephew, King Charles VI, Philip took part in the "government of the uncles": he was regent alongside his brothers Louis I, Duke of Anjou, and John, Duke of Berry, and Louis II, Duke of Bourbon. Charles VI took power for himself in 1388, aged 19, only to give it back four years later, when he showed his first signs of madness. From then, the King was considered mad and the Duke of Burgundy effectively had power, although Louis I, Duke of Orléans, gained more and more power and Philip's influence diminished. [12]

Philip died in 1404 and John the Fearless succeeded him. His main goal was to regain power over the regency by excluding Louis of Orléans. Louis was very unpopular: he wanted to resume war with the English and was rumoured to have had an affair with Queen Isabeau. Both men were constantly hampering each other, until John finally decided to kill his enemy. Louis of Orléans was murdered on 23 November 1407 in the streets of Paris. It was the beginning of the Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War. The Duke of Burgundy was in power until 1413, when the Armagnacs took Paris. When Henry V of England resumed the war, John of Burgundy remained neutral and avoided the French defeat at Agincourt. He took Paris back in 1418 and had control over the King, but Charles, the Dauphin of France, an Armagnac partisan, escaped. He later took the lead of the Armagnac party. In 1419, parleys took place: the Armagnac and the Burgundian parties were close to find peace at last, but on 10 September 1419, during a parley between the Duke and the Dauphin on the bridge at Montereau, John the Fearless was murdered in turn.

Seeking revenge, the new 23-year-old duke of Burgundy, Philip, later known as Philip the Good, agreed to ally with the English. As regent, he made King Charles sign the Treaty of Troyes, which disinherited his son in favor of Henry V of England, who was to marry Catherine of Valois, uniting the Houses of France and England. But Henry died in August 1422, followed two months later by Charles. Henry VI, King of France and England, was just a baby, and the regency was assumed by John, Duke of Bedford. The Anglo-Burgundian alliance won many major victories, and controlled a large part of France. However, Joan of Arc came and changed the course of the war, allowing Charles VII of France to be crowned in Reims on July 1429. Joan of Arc was later captured by the Burgundians and handed over to the English.

In 1435, the Congress of Arras took place and ended in a reconciliation between Burgundy and France. Duke Philip the Good recognized Charles VII as King of France, and Charles recognized the Burgundian territorial acquisitions. Philip was personally exempted from pledging homage to the King.

Territorial expansion

Portrait of Duke Philip the Good, after Rogier van der Weyden Philip the good.jpg
Portrait of Duke Philip the Good, after Rogier van der Weyden

After 1435, Philip the Good was no longer interested in the French affairs, and ruled his own territories as their sovereign.

Philip managed to considerably expand the Burgundian State in the Low Countries. In 1421, he bought the County of Namur from the impoverished Marquis of Namur, inheriting it outright in 1429. In 1430, he inherited the Margraviate of Antwerp and the Duchies of Brabant, Limburg and Luxembourg, succeeding his cousin Philip, son of Anthony of Burgundy. He also took advantage of a succession crisis to make himself the heir of Jacqueline of Hainaut — at the time of her death, in 1433, he seized her Counties of Hainaut, Holland and Zeeland. Finally, in 1441 he bought from his aunt Elizabeth of Görlitz the Duchy of Luxembourg. The Low Countries were at last united, becoming the Burgundian Netherlands.

Under his rule, the court of Burgundy found its apex. A great patron, he made it a major artistic center. Burgundian celebrations and banquets enjoyed international reputation. Philip himself was a renowned prince within the Christendom, especially for his repeated calls for Crusade, such as during the Feast of the Pheasant. In 1430, he created the prestigious Order of the Golden Fleece. [13]

However, the growing centralisation of power under the House of Burgundy did not please the Flemish cities, proud of their autonomy and liberties. Duke Philip had to suppress the Bruges Rebellion of 1436–1438, and then the Revolt of Ghent of 1449–1453. Both times, Burgundian forces were able to count on the support of the other Flemish towns. After those two events, urban liberties were severely damaged. Burgundian domination only increased.

More opposition came in the Wars of Liège: a series of three rebellions led by the Principality of Liège, refusing the Burgundian protectorate and Louis de Bourbon, nephew of Philip the Good, as their Prince-Bishop. Three times the rebels were defeated, until Charles the Bold sacked and destroyed the town in 1468.

At the end of Philip's long reign, under the influence of the House of Croÿ the Duke got closer to King Louis XI of France, whom he hosted when he was opposed to his father. Louis bought back the towns of Picardy, which displeased Charles, count of Charolais, the Duke's son and heir. He joined a noble revolt against the King, the League of the Public Weal, whereupon the King returned the towns to Burgundy.

The dream of a revived Burgundian kingdom

Portrait of Duke Charles the Bold by Rogier van der Weyden Charles the Bold 1460.jpg
Portrait of Duke Charles the Bold by Rogier van der Weyden

Philip the Good nurtured the ambition to elevate the Burgundian State to the status of a sovereign kingdom within the framework of the Holy Roman Empire, which included a nominal Kingdom of Italy and a more substantial Kingdom of Bohemia, and in the past had also incorporated the ancient Kingdom of Burgundy that however had lost any materiality by the late 14th century. Philip viewed Burgundian kingship as a long-term aim which needed careful preparation. In 1447, he held talks to that effect with Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, but the latter only proposed kingship on behalf of Brabant or Frisia, both options too narrow to suit Philip's vision. In 1454, Philip traveled to Regensburg with intent to negotiate Burgundy's status, but Frederick did not attend the meeting and no progress was made. [14] :419

Charles, known as "Charles the Bold", [nb 1] succeeded his father Philip the Good in 1467, after having been his lieutenant for two years. An ambitious and ruthless character, he wished to rule over a territorially continuous and independent kingdom, reminiscent of the old Lotharingia, but also of the Kingdoms of Burgundy and of Gallia Belgica.

By the Treaty of Péronne of October 1468, Louis XI of France withdrew the French lands of the Duke of Burgundy from the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Paris. But he later opposed this agreement, and declared war on the duke in December 1470. According to the noncompliance clause of the treaty, Duke Charles declared himself and his lands forever freed of the French crown.

In the same time, he encouraged a resumption of the Hundred Years' War. He supported King Edward IV of York, marrying his sister, and had him land in Calais in the summer of 1475. Presenting himself without a whole army, he failed to convince Edward, who had to deal with the King of France, resulting in the Treaty of Picquigny.

Charles also got closer to the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg. In November 1473, the two met at Trier and negotiated the marriage of Charles's daughter Marie to Frederick's son Maximilian. During that encounter, Frederick considered having Charles elected as King of the Romans and the next Emperor, then pivoted to reviving the Kingdom of Burgundy, which would have included all Burgundian State's lands within the Empire plus the Duchies of Lorraine, Savoy and Clèves and the Bishoprics of Utrecht, Liège, Toul and Verdun. The date of 25 November 1473 was set for Charles' coronation, and a crown and scepter were prepared. [14] :496-497 The Emperor, however, abruptly ended the negotiations by fleeing by night with his son. [15]

Charles continued to expand the Burgundian State by buying Brisgau and Sundgau from Sigismund, Archduke of Austria in 1469, then conquering the Duchy of Guelders and the County of Zutphen. Finally, in 1475, he conquered the Duchy of Lorraine, ruling at last over a vast continuous territory going from Charolais to Friesland. He proclaimed his wish to make the Lorrainer city of Nancy the capital of his kingdom.[ citation needed ]

Charles was obsessed with kingship, which could have given his lands the unity they lacked. He always dressed very richly, and, faced with the King of France or the Emperor, presented himself as their equal. He made himself a golden hat, of which an Italian observer of the time said that "it seemed like a king's crown". [15]

Valois Burgundy's territorial appetite frightened the Swiss Confederacy, leading to the Burgundian Wars (1474–1477). Charles the Bold's armies suffered two large defeats in 1476, at Grandson and Morat. The Duke of Lorraine took advantage of that and took Nancy back. With a weakened army, Duke Charles persevered and wanted to besiege Nancy as quickly as possible. The union of the Swiss and Lorrainer armies defeated the Burgundians during the battle of 5 January 1477, in which Charles the Bold was killed.

The House of Burgundy-Habsburg

Maximilian of Austria and Mary of Burgundy with their son Philip the Handsome and his sons Ferdinand I and Charles V and his son-in-law Louis II of Hungary, by Bernhard Strigel Bernhard Strigel - Emperor Maximilian I with His Family - Google Art Project.jpg
Maximilian of Austria and Mary of Burgundy with their son Philip the Handsome and his sons Ferdinand I and Charles V and his son-in-law Louis II of Hungary, by Bernhard Strigel

After Charles's death, Louis XI didn't wait long to invade Burgundy, Artois and Flanders. To protect herself, Mary, Charles's sole heir, summoned the States General of the Netherlands. Unhappy with the previous duke's actions, she had to grant them the Great Privilege, which suppressed several centralized institutions, reestablished many local and communal rights, and increased the power of the States General. They encouraged her to marry Maximilian of Austria. The marriage eventually took place in Ghent on 19 August 1477. The coming of Maximilian as duke cheered the troops, and turned the tables on the King of France who had been taking advantage of the death of his opponent. The French were defeated at the Battle of Guinegate in 1479, after which they negotiated a truce. However, the unexpected death of Mary in 1482, from a horse riding accident, weakened Maximilian's position, as he had to cope with difficulties being accepted as the rightful regent for his son Philip, aged three.

The Treaty of Arras, signed on December 1482, planned to marry Mary and Maximilian's daughter, Margaret, to the Dauphin Charles, aged 12. The Burgundy-Habsburgs kept Flanders (and the rest of the Netherlands, which was imperial), while France won the Duchy of Burgundy, Artois and Picardy, and soon the County of Burgundy as the dowry of Margaret. But the Dauphin, after having been crowned as Charles VIII, instead married Anne of Brittany, who was already married by proxy to Maximilian. By the Treaty of Senlis of 1493, the French king gave back Artois, Charolais and the County of Burgundy. Later, by the Treaty of Cambrai of 1529, King Francis I of France definitively gave up French sovereignty over Artois and Flanders; in return, Emperor Charles V gave up on his claim to the Duchy of Burgundy.

Maximilian I as King of the Romans, surrounded by the coat of arms of the Burgundian provinces, wall fresco at the Vocklabruck City Tower, 1502 Vocklabruck Unterer-Stadtturm Maximilian.jpg
Maximilian I as King of the Romans, surrounded by the coat of arms of the Burgundian provinces, wall fresco at the Vöcklabruck City Tower, 1502

In 1512, the Burgundian Circle was created as an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire, bringing together Franche-Comté and the Burgundian inheritance in the Low Countries. During the Guelders Wars, the following territories were added to the Burgundian states: Friesland, and Frisia, Utrecht, Overijssel, Groningen, the County of Zutphen, and the Duchy of Guelders. In 1549, Charles V issued the Pragmatic Sanction and organized the Burgundian Low Countries in Seventeen Provinces. Following the Dutch Revolt, those territories were divided between the Spanish Netherlands and the United Provinces. Franche-Comté was ceded by Spain to France in the Treaty of Nijmegen (1678). Following the War of the Spanish succession, the Habsburg Netherlands passed to Austria and remained in Austrian hands until the French conquest of the late 18th century. The Bourbon Restoration did not re-establish the Burgundian state, with the former Burgundian territories remaining divided between France, the Netherlands and, following the Belgian Revolution, modern-day Belgium.


Chapter of the Order of the Golden Fleece presided over by Charles the Bold in Valenciennes, 1473 Assembly of the Order of the Golden Fleece presided over by Charles the Bold.jpg
Chapter of the Order of the Golden Fleece presided over by Charles the Bold in Valenciennes, 1473

The Court

The Court of Burgundy was itinerant. There was no such thing as a capital, although some towns could have claimed it. Dijon was the traditional capital of the Dukes of Burgundy, and it was there Philip the Bold founded the Palace of the Dukes and the Chartreuse of Champmol, which was meant to be a burial place for the dynasty. But Philip the Good and his successors preferred to stay in the Netherlands, in towns such as Brussels, Ghent, Bruges, Lille, Arras and Hesdin.

Around the Duke was his hôtel, the household having in charge the daily life of the Court, following the French model.

The wealthy Court of Burgundy displayed unprecedented splendor, culminating in the sumptuous wedding of Charles the Bold and Margaret of York, "the wedding of the century", still celebrated in Bruges nowadays every five years.

Another time for celebrations were the chapters of the Order of the Golden Fleece, were members of the order reunited. The order, who promoted chivalry and Christianity, was very influent in Europe.

The Burgundian Court was also a major artistic center. The illustrated manuscripts of the dukes were well renowned, with illuminators such as Jean Miélot, Willem Vrelant, Loyset Liédet or Lieven van Lathem. The Early Netherlandish painting appeared thanks to the patronage of the duke of Burgundy: among the most famous of those "Flemish primitives" were Robert Campin, Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden and Petrus Christus. In music, the composers of the Burgundian School were the leading composers in the mid-15th century Europe, such as Guillaume Du Fay, Gilles Binchois and Antoine Busnois.


Jan van Eyck, The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin, c. 1435 Jan van Eyck The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin.jpg
Jan van Eyck, The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin, c. 1435

Burgundian territories were roughly divided into two parts: Burgundy (Duchy and County) to the South; and the Netherlands to the North. The States General of the Netherlands were summoned for the first time on 9 January 1464 in Bruges, with representatives of the three estates from 16 or 17 provinces – giving its name to the Seventeen Provinces.

One institution was gaining power: the Chancery. The chancellor of Burgundy was getting a political role, becoming a chief minister for the dukes. Nicolas Rolin was a well-known figure, a recognized patron and the right-hand man of Philip the Good for more than forty years. Guillaume Hugonet succeeded him, and was a spokesman for Charles the Bold: he would always express the Duke's political views (of himself as an absolute ruler) by addressing the towns or the States General.


Burgundian army assembled soldiers from all the provinces. It relied on feudal duties, until Charles the Bold decided to modernize it by creating compagnies d'ordonnance, i.e. a regular army, based on the French model.


Session of the Parliament of Mechelen presided over by Charles the Bold. 17th century drawing after a 15th-century original Great Council of Burgundy under Charles the Bold.png
Session of the Parliament of Mechelen presided over by Charles the Bold. 17th century drawing after a 15th-century original

Philip the Bold created a Parliament in Beaune, and around the duke was a judicial Grand Conseil, itinerant and under the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Paris, until 1471.

In December 1473, Charles the Bold created a new Parliament in Mechelen, being a sovereign court receiving appeals from subjects from all the Burgundian Netherlands. It was abolished by Mary's Great Privilege of 1477, only to be reestablished by her son Philip the Handsome under the name of "Great Council of Mechelen".

Financial system

The Chambres des Comptes (Chambers of Accounts) were major elements of the centralization of power and of the modern financial system set up by the dukes. Philip the Bold created Chambers in Lille and Dijon; Philip the Good in Brussels and The Hague. Charles the Bold created in 1474 a unique Chamber for the Burgundian Netherlands, in Mechelen, like the Parliament. Mechelen became the capital of the Northern Burgundian administration. The city had the benefit of being an independent lordship, so neither Flanders, Brabant or Holland would be privileged by this choice.

The taxes were indirect. The towns refused direct taxes, but nonetheless the taxes only increased and were becoming more and more direct. Under Charles the Bold, the military campaigns were expensive and military aids were often demanded, until 1475 and the granting of an aid of 500,000 crowns by the States General of the Netherlands.

Symbols of Valois Burgundy

A wooden Cross of Burgundy with firesteel, sparks and the Golden Fleece Cross of Burgundy-Proper.svg
A wooden Cross of Burgundy with firesteel, sparks and the Golden Fleece

The dynasty

16th-century unknown painters - Philip the Bold - WGA23677.jpg Philip the Bold
(Philippe le Hardi)
(Filips de Stoute)
15 January 13426 September 1363 – 27 April 1404Younger son of John II of France. Appointed duke of Burgundy in 1363. Married Margaret of Flanders in 1369. Arms of the Duke of Burgundy (1364-1404).svg
John II, Duke of Burgundy.jpg John the Fearless
(Jean sans Peur)
(Jan zonder Vrees)
28 May 137127 April 1404 – 10 September 1419Eldest son of Philip the Bold. Murdered at Montereau in 1419. Arms of the Duke of Burgundy (1404-1430).svg
Philip the good.jpg Philip the Good
(Philippe le Bon)
(Filips de Goede)
31 July 139610 September 1419 – 15 June 1467Eldest son of John the Fearless. Arms of the Duke of Burgundy since 1430.svg
Charles the Bold 1460.jpg Charles the Bold
(Charles le Téméraire)
(Karel de Stoute)
21 November 143315 June 1467 – 5 January 1477Only legitimate son of Philip the Good. Killed at the battle of Nancy, leading to the War of the Burgundian Succession. Arms of the Duke of Burgundy since 1430.svg
Mary of burgundy pocher.jpg Mary of Burgundy
(Marie de Bourgogne)
(Maria van Bourgondië)
13 February 14575 January 1477 – 27 March 1482Only child of Charles the Bold. Married Maximilian of Austria in 1477. Arms of the Duke of Burgundy since 1430.svg
16e eeuw onbekend schilder - Filips de Schone, Aartshertog van Oostenrijk, Hertog van Bourgondie.jpg Philip the Handsome
(Philippe le Beau)
(Filips de Schone)
22 July 147827 March 1482 – 25 September 1506Eldest son of Duchess Mary. His father Maximilian is regent until 1494 (the regency is disputed in Flanders). Married Joanna of Castille in 1496 and became King consort of Castille. Arms of Philip IV of Burgundy.svg
Barend van Orley - Portrait of Charles V - Google Art Project.jpg Charles V
(Charles Quint)
(Karel V)
24 February 150025 September 1506 – 25 October 1555Eldest son of Philip the Handsome. His aunt Margaret is regent until 1515, by Emperor Maximilian's will. Elected Emperor of the Romans in 1519. Became King of Germany, of Spain and of Italy. Inescutcheon of the Or Shield Arms of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.svg


  1. In France, he is nowadays known as Charles le Téméraire, meaning "Charles the Rash".

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">County of Artois</span>

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Burgundian Netherlands</span> The Netherlands from 1384 to 1482

In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands or the Burgundian Age is the period between 1384 and 1482, during which a growing part of the Low Countries was ruled by the Dukes of Burgundy. Within their Burgundian State, which itself belonged partly to the Holy Roman Empire and partly to the Kingdom of France, the dukes united these lowlands into a political union that went beyond a personal union as it gained central institutions for the first time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Treaty of Arras (1482)</span> 1482 treaty between the Holy Roman Empire and France

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Burgundian Circle</span> Imperial circle of the Holy Roman Empire

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. For most of its history, its lands were coterminous with the holdings of the Spanish Habsburgs in the Empire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Burgundian (party)</span> French political allegiance

The Burgundian party was a political allegiance against France that formed during the latter half of the Hundred Years' War. The term "Burgundians" refers to the supporters of the Duke of Burgundy, John the Fearless, that formed after the assassination of Louis I, Duke of Orléans. Their opposition to the Armagnac party, the supporters of Charles, Duke of Orléans, led to a civil war in the early 15th century, itself part of the larger Hundred Years' War.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">House of Valois-Burgundy</span>

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Treaty of Senlis</span> 1493 treaty between Austria and France

The Treaty of Senlis concerning the Burgundian succession was signed at Senlis, Oise on 23 May 1493 between Maximilian I of Habsburg and his son Philip "the Handsome", Archduke of Austria, and King Charles VIII of France.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Habsburg Netherlands</span> Entire period of Habsburg rule in the Low Countries (1482-1797)

Habsburg Netherlands was the Renaissance period fiefs in the Low Countries held by the Holy Roman Empire's House of Habsburg. The rule began in 1482, when the last Valois-Burgundy ruler of the Netherlands, Mary, wife of Maximilian I of Austria, died. Their grandson, Emperor Charles V, was born in the Habsburg Netherlands and made Brussels one of his capitals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War</span> French dynastic war from 1407 to 1435

The Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War was a conflict between two cadet branches of the French royal family – the House of Orléans and the House of Burgundy from 1407 to 1435. It began during a lull in the Hundred Years' War against the English and overlapped with the Western Schism of the papacy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Burgundian inheritance in the Low Countries</span>

The Burgundian inheritance in the Low Countries consisted of numerous fiefs held by the Dukes of Burgundy in modern-day Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and in parts of France and Germany. The Duke of Burgundy was originally a member of the House of Valois-Burgundy and later 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, while retaining Charolais and the Free County of Burgundy, 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 the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs under Philip II of Spain, whose rule was contested by the Dutch revolt, and fragmented into the Spanish Netherlands and the Dutch republic. Following the War of the Spanish succession, the Habsburg Netherlands passed to Austria and remained in Austrian hands until the French conquest of the late 18th century. The Bourbon Restoration did not re-establish the Burgundian states, with the former Burgundian territories remaining divided between France, the Netherlands and, following the Belgian Revolution, modern-day Belgium.


  1. 1 2 3 B. Schnerb, L'État bourguignon, 1999
  2. R. Vaughan, Valois Burgundy, 1975
  3. E. Doudet, "Le surnom du prince : la construction de la mémoire historique par un Rhétoriqueur", Questes, no 2, 2002, pp. 6–7
  4. A. van Oosterwijk, Staging the Court of Burgundy (Studies in Medieval and Early Renaissance Art History), 2013
  5. For an English account, H. Pirenne, "The Formation and Constitution of the Burgundian State (Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries)", The American Historical Review, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Apr. 1909), pp. 477–502
  6. Jean-Marie Cauchies, "État bourguignon ou États bourguignons? De la singularité d’un pluriel", in: P.C.M. Hoppenbrouwers, Antheun Janse et Robert Stein, Power and Persuasion, Essays on the Art of State Building in Honour of W.P. Blockmans, 2010, pp. 49–58
  7. 1 2 Marc Boone, "Yet another failed state?", in: Peter Arnade (ed.), Rereading Huizinga: Autumn of the Middle Ages, a Century Later, 2019.
  8. E. Lecuppre-Desjardin, "Burgundian History: a mirror of European venture?", 2017
  9. R. Stein, Magnanimous Dukes and Rising States: The Unification of the Burgundian Netherlands, 1380–1480, 2017
  10. J. Boulton, "The Order of the Golden Fleece and the Creation of Burgundian National Identity", in: The Ideology of Burgundy: The Promotion of National Consciousness, 1364–1565, 2006
  11. Wim Blockmans and Walter Prevenier, The Promised Lands. The Low Countries Under Burgundian Rule, 1369–1530, 1999
  12. J. B. Henneman, Olivier de Clisson and Political Society in France Under Charles V and Charles VI, 1996
  13. R. Vaughan, Philip the Good: The Apogee of Burgundy, 1970
  14. 1 2 Bart Van Loo (2020). les Téméraires : Quand la Bourgogne défiait l'Europe. Paris: Flammarion.
  15. 1 2 R. Vaughan, Charles the Bold: The Last Valois Duke of Burgundy, 1973