Burgundian Wars

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Burgundian Wars
Diebold Schilling, Battle of Morat (2), 1476.jpg
The battle of Morat, from Diebold Schilling's Berne Chronicle
Date1474–1477
Location
Lorraine and northwest Switzerland
Result Franco-Swiss victory
Territorial
changes
Extinction of Valois Burgundy and division between Valois France and Habsburg heirs
Belligerents
Commanders and leaders
Arms of Philippe le Bon.svg Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy  

The Burgundian Wars (1474–1477) were a conflict between the Burgundian State and the Old Swiss Confederacy and its allies. Open war broke out in 1474, and the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, was defeated three times on the battlefield in the following years and was killed at the Battle of Nancy in 1477. The Duchy of Burgundy and several other Burgundian lands then became part of France, and the Burgundian Netherlands and Franche-Comté were inherited by Charles's daughter Mary of Burgundy and eventually passed to the House of Habsburg upon her death because of her marriage to Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor.

Contents

Background

Territories of the house of Valois-Burgundy during the reign of Charles the Bold Karte Haus Burgund 4 EN.png
Territories of the house of Valois-Burgundy during the reign of Charles the Bold

The dukes of Burgundy had succeeded, over a period of about 100 years, in establishing their rule as a strong force between the Holy Roman Empire and France. Their possessions included, besides their original territories of the Franche-Comté and the Duchy of Burgundy, the economically-strong regions of Flanders and Brabant as well as Luxembourg.

The dukes of Burgundy generally pursued an aggressive expansionist politics, especially in Alsace and Lorraine, seeking to unite their northern and southern possessions geographically. Having already been in conflict with the French king (Burgundy had sided with the English in the Hundred Years' War but then the Yorkists in the Wars of the Roses, when Henry VI sided with France), Charles's advances along the Rhine brought him into conflict with the Habsburgs, especially Emperor Frederick III.

Conflict

Charles the Bold, a contemporary portrait by Rogier van der Weyden Charles the Bold 1460.jpg
Charles the Bold, a contemporary portrait by Rogier van der Weyden

Initially in 1469, Duke Sigismund of Habsburg of Austria pawned his possessions in the Alsace in the Treaty of Saint-Omer as a fiefdom to the Duke of Burgundy for a loan or sum of 50,000 florins, as well as an alliance, Charles the Bold, to have them better protected from the expansion of the Eidgenossen (or Old Swiss Confederacy).[ citation needed ] Charles' involvement west of the Rhine gave him no reason to attack the confederates, as Sigismund had wanted, but his embargo politics against the cities of Basel, Strasbourg and Mulhouse , directed by his reeve Peter von Hagenbach , prompted these to turn to Bern for help. Charles' expansionist strategy suffered a first setback in his politics when his attack on the Archbishopric of Cologne failed after the unsuccessful Siege of Neuss (1474–75).

In the second phase, Sigismund sought to achieve a peace agreement with the Swiss confederates, which eventually was concluded in Konstanz in 1474 (later called the Ewige Richtung or Perpetual Accord). He wanted to buy back his Alsace possessions from Charles, who refused. Shortly afterwards, von Hagenbach was captured and executed by decapitation in Alsace, and the Swiss, united with the Alsace cities and Sigismund of Habsburg in an anti-Burgundian league, conquered part of the Burgundian Jura (Franche-Comté) when they won the Battle of Héricourt in November 1474. Louis XI of France joined the coalition by the Treaty of Andernach in December. [1] The next year, Bernese forces conquered and ravaged Vaud , which belonged to the Duchy of Savoy, who was allied with Charles the Bold. In the Valais , the independent republics of the Sieben Zenden, with the help of Bernese and other confederate forces, drove the Savoyards out of the lower Valais after a victory in the Battle on the Planta in November 1475. In 1476, Charles retaliated and marched to Grandson, which belonged to Pierre de Romont of Savoy but had recently been taken by the Swiss, where he had the garrison hanged or drowned in the lake, despite its capitulation. When the Swiss confederate forces arrived a few days later, he was defeated in the Battle of Grandson and was forced to flee the battlefield, leaving behind his artillery and many provisions and valuables. Having rallied his army, he was dealt a devastating blow by the confederates at the Battle of Morat. Charles the Bold raised a new army, but fell in the Battle of Nancy in 1477 in which the Swiss fought alongside an army of René II, Duke of Lorraine.

Aftermath

Burgundian territories (orange/yellow) and limits of France (red) after the Burgundian War. Map France 1477-en.svg
Burgundian territories (orange/yellow) and limits of France (red) after the Burgundian War.

With the death of Charles the Bold, the Valois dynasty of the dukes of Burgundy died out. The northern territories of the dukes of Burgundy became a possession of the Habsburgs, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria, who would later become Holy Roman Emperor, married Charles's only daughter, Mary of Burgundy. The duchy proper reverted to the crown of France under king Louis XI. The Franche-Comté initially also became French but was ceded to Maximilian's son Philip in 1493 by Charles VIII at the Treaty of Senlis in an attempt to bribe the emperor to remain neutral during Charles's planned invasion of Italy.

The victories of the Eidgenossen (Swiss Confederation) over what was one of the most powerful military forces in Europe gained it a reputation of being nearly invincible,[ citation needed ] and the Burgundian Wars marked the beginning of the rise of Swiss mercenaries on the battlefields of Europe.[ citation needed ] Inside the Confederacy itself, however, the outcome of the war led to internal conflict; the city cantons insisted on having the lion's share of the proceeds since they had supplied the most troops. The country cantons resented that, and the Dreizehn Orte disputes almost led to war. They were settled by the Stanser Verkommnis of 1481.

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

History of Burgundy

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Sigismund, Archduke of Austria

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Charles the Bold 15th-century Duke of Burgundy

Charles, nicknamed the Bold, was the Duke of Burgundy from 1467 to 1477.

Mary of Burgundy 15th-century Duchess of Burgundy

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.

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County of Burgundy

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Duchy of Burgundy Vassal territory of France, 918–1482

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).

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Growth of the Old Swiss Confederacy

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County of Artois

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.

Burgundian Netherlands The Netherlands from 1384 to 1482

In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands 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.

Treaty of Arras (1482)

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Swabian War War between the Old Swiss Confederacy and the House of Habsburg; Swiss victory

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Burgundian Circle

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House of Valois-Burgundy

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.

Burgundian inheritance in the Low Countries

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War of the Burgundian Succession

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.

County of Ferrette

The County of Ferrette was a feudal jurisdiction in Alsace in the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It roughly corresponds with the Sundgau and comprised the lordships of Ferrette (Pfirt), Altkirch, Thann, Belfort, Rougemont and others. These territories were not contiguous, but formed a patchwork of jurisdictions under the Holy Roman Empire.

Burgundian State Historical government in what is now France, Belgium and the Netherlands

The Burgundian State is a concept coined by historians to describe the vast complex of territories that is also referred to as Valois Burgundy.

References

  1. Beck, Sanderson. "France in the Renaissance 1453–1517". san.beck.org.