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Flag of Bourgogne.svg
Arms of the Duke of Burgundy (1364-1404).svg
Bourgogne in France.svg
Coordinates: 47°00′N4°30′E / 47.000°N 4.500°E / 47.000; 4.500 Coordinates: 47°00′N4°30′E / 47.000°N 4.500°E / 47.000; 4.500
CountryFlag of France.svg France
Dissolved1 January 2016
Prefecture Dijon
   President François Patriat (PS)
  Total31,582 km2 (12,194 sq mi)
  Density52/km2 (130/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 code FR-D
GDP  (2012)[ citation needed ] Ranked 16th
Total€42.7 billion (US$55.0 bn)
Per capita€25,996 (US$33,436)
NUTS Region FR2
Website www.xn--rgion-bourgogne-bnb.fr (archive)

Burgundy ( /ˈbɜːrɡəndi/ ; French: Bourgogne [buʁɡɔɲ] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) is a historical territory and former administrative region and province of east-central France. The province was once home to the Dukes of Burgundy from the early 11th until the late 15th century. The capital of Dijon was one of the great European centres of art and science, a place of tremendous wealth and power, and Western Monasticism. [1] In early Modern Europe, Burgundy was a focal point of courtly culture that set the fashion for European royal houses and their court. [2] The Duchy of Burgundy was a key in the transformation of the Middle Ages toward early modern Europe.


Upon the 9th-century partitions of the Kingdom of Burgundy, the lands and remnants partitioned to the Kingdom of France were reduced to a ducal rank by King Robert II of France in 1004. The House of Burgundy, a cadet branch of the House of Capet, ruled over a territory that roughly conformed to the borders and territories of the modern administrative region of Burgundy. Upon the extinction of the Burgundian male line the duchy reverted to the King of France and the House of Valois. Following the marriage of Philip of Valois and Margaret III of Flanders, the Duchy of Burgundy was absorbed into the Burgundian State alongside parts of the Low Countries which would become collectively known as the Burgundian Netherlands. Upon further acquisitions of the County of Burgundy, Holland, and Luxembourg, the House of Valois-Burgundy came into possession of numerous French and imperial fiefs stretching from the western Alps to the North Sea, in some ways reminiscent of the Middle Frankish realm of Lotharingia.

The Burgundian State, [3] in its own right, was one of the largest ducal territories that existed at the time of the emergence of Early Modern Europe. It was regarded as one of the major powers 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". [4] Through its possessions the Burgundian State was a major European centre of trade and commerce.

The extinction of the dynasty led to the absorption of the duchy itself into the French crown lands by King Louis XI, while the bulk of the Burgundian possessions in the Low Countries passed to Duke Charles the Bold's daughter, Mary, and her Habsburg descendants. Thus 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.


It is named for the Burgundians, an East Germanic people who moved westwards beyond the Rhine during the late Roman period. [5] The name Burgundy has historically denoted numerous political entities. It first 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.

Since the inception of the French departmental system in 1790, Burgundy has referred to the geographic area comprising the four departments of Côte-d'Or, Saône-et-Loire, Yonne, and Nièvre. [6]


The Vix Krater, a Greek wine-mixing vessel found in the Vix Grave Chatillon-sur-Seine - Musee du Pays chatillonnais - Cratere de Vix - 012 (cropped).jpg
The Vix Krater, a Greek wine-mixing vessel found in the Vix Grave
Coat of arms of the second Duchy of Burgundy and later of the province Arms of the Duke of Burgundy (1364-1404).svg
Coat of arms of the second Duchy of Burgundy and later of the province

The first recorded inhabitants of the area, that was to become Burgundy, were various tribes of Gallic Celts; the most prominent of which were the semi-republican Aedui, who were eventually incorporated into the Roman Empire following the Gaulish defeat in the Battle of Alesia. [7] Gallo-Roman culture flourished during the Roman period.

During the 4th century, the Burgundians, a Germanic people who may have originated on the Baltic island of Bornholm, settled in the western Alps. They founded the Kingdom of the Burgundians, which was conquered in the 6th century by another Germanic tribe, the Franks. [8]

Map of France showing Burgundy and provincial boundaries in 1789 Burgundy province.png
Map of France showing Burgundy and provincial boundaries in 1789

Under Frankish dominion, the Kingdom of Burgundy continued for several centuries.

Later, the region was divided between the Duchy of Burgundy (to the west) and the Free County of Burgundy (to the east). The Duchy of Burgundy is the better-known of the two, later becoming the French province of Burgundy, while the County of Burgundy became the French province of Franche-Comté.

Burgundy's modern existence is rooted in the dissolution of the Frankish Empire. In the 880s, there were four Burgundies: the duchy, the county, and the kingdoms of Upper Burgundy and Lower Burgundy.

During the Middle Ages, Burgundy was home to some of the most important Western churches and monasteries, including those of Cluny, Cîteaux, and Vézelay. Cluny, founded in 910, exerted a strong influence in Europe for centuries. The first Cistercian abbey was founded in 1098 in Cîteaux. Over the next century, hundreds of Cistercian abbeys were founded throughout Europe, in a large part due to the charisma and influence of Bernard of Clairvaux. The Abbey of Fontenay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is today the best-preserved Cistercian abbey in Burgundy. The Abbey of Vézelay, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is still a starting point for pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela. [9] Cluny was almost totally destroyed during the French Revolution. [10]

During the Hundred Years' War, King John II of France gave the duchy to his youngest son, Philip the Bold. The duchy soon became a major rival to the crown. The court in Dijon outshone the French court both economically and culturally. Phillip the Bold's grandson Philip the Good acquired Namur, Hainaut, Brabant, and Holland in modern Belgium and the Netherlands. In 1477, at the battle of Nancy during the Burgundian Wars, the last duke Charles the Bold was killed in battle, and the Duchy itself was annexed by France and became a province. However, the northern part of the empire was taken by the Austrian Habsburgs. [11]

With the French Revolution in the end of the 18th century, the administrative units of the provinces disappeared, but were reconstituted as regions during the Fifth Republic in the 1970s. The modern-day administrative region comprises most of the former duchy.

In 2016, Burgundy and the historical region of Franche-Comté merged for administrative purposes into the new region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. [12]


Map of Burgundy Carte de la Bourgogne (Relief).svg
Map of Burgundy

The region of Burgundy is both larger than the old Duchy of Burgundy and smaller than the area ruled by the Dukes of Burgundy, from the modern Netherlands to the border of Auvergne. Today, Burgundy is made up of the old provinces:

Major communities

Dijon, Place Francois-Rude Place du Bareuzai.jpg
Dijon, Place François-Rude


The climate of this region is essentially oceanic (Cfb in Köppen classification), with a continental influence (sometimes called a "half-continental climate").[ citation needed ]


The regional council of Burgundy was the legislative assembly of the region, until its merger to form the regional council of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.


Chardonnay vineyards in the south of Cote de Beaune surrounding the town of Meursault Meursault,Burgundy.jpg
Chardonnay vineyards in the south of Côte de Beaune surrounding the town of Meursault
Chateau de La Clayette Chateau de la Clayette vu de la rive du lac.jpg
Château de La Clayette
Poem in Burgundian dialect Evaireman de lai peste.png
Poem in Burgundian dialect

Burgundy is one of France's main wine-producing areas. It is well known for both its red and white wines, mostly made from Pinot noir and Chardonnay grapes, respectively, although other grape varieties can be found, including Gamay, Aligote, Pinot blanc, and Sauvignon blanc. The region is divided into the Côte-d'Or, where the most expensive and prized Burgundies are found, and Beaujolais, Chablis, the Côte Chalonnaise and Mâcon. The reputation and quality of the top wines, together with the fact that they are often produced in small quantities, has led to high demand and high prices, with some Burgundies ranking among the most expensive wines in the world. [13]

With regard to cuisine, the region is famous for Dijon mustard, Charolais beef, Bresse chicken, the Burgundian dishes coq au vin and beef bourguignon, and époisses cheese. [14]

Tourist sites of Burgundy include the Rock of Solutré, the Hospices de Beaune, the Ducal Palace in Dijon, and many Renaissance and mediaeval châteaus, castles, churches and abbeys. [15]

Earlier, the southeastern part of Burgundy was heavily industrial, with coal mines near Montceau-les-Mines and iron foundries and crystal works in Le Creusot. These industries declined in the second half of the twentieth century.

The local dialect is known as Burgundian (Bourguignon); it is an Oïl language similar to Standard French but with some Franco-Provençal and Dutch influence. [16] [17] [18]

Notable people

Related Research Articles

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

The history of Burgundy stretches back to the times when the region was inhabited in turn by Celts, Romans (Gallo-Romans), and in the 5th century, the Roman allies the Burgundians, a Germanic people perhaps originating in Bornholm, who settled there and established the Kingdom of the Burgundians.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Franche-Comté</span> Region of France

Franche-Comté is a cultural and historical region of eastern France. It is composed of the modern departments of Doubs, Jura, Haute-Saône and the Territoire de Belfort. In 2016, its population was 1,180,397.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Côte-d'Or</span> Department of France in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Côte-d'Or is a département in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region of Northeastern France. In 2019, it had a population of 534,124. Its prefecture is Dijon and subprefectures are Beaune and Montbard.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yonne</span> Department in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Yonne is a department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in France. It is named after the river Yonne, which flows through it, in the country's north-central part. One of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté's eight constituent departments, it is located in its northwestern part, bordering Île-de-France. It was created in 1790 during the French Revolution. Its prefecture is Auxerre, with subprefectures in Avallon and Sens. Its INSEE and postcode number is 89.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dijon</span> Prefecture Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Dijon is the prefecture of the Côte-d'Or department and of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in eastern France. As of 2017 the commune had a population of 156,920.

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 Holy Roman Emperors and Kings of Spain from the House of Habsburg who claimed Burgundy proper and ruled the Burgundian inheritance in the Low Countries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">County of Burgundy</span> Medieval county of the Holy Roman Empire (982-1678)

The Free County of Burgundy or Franche-Comté was a medieval county of the Holy Roman Empire, predecessor to the modern region of Franche-Comté. The name franc(he) comté derives from the title of its count, franc comte, in German Freigraf 'free count', denoting imperial immediacy. It should not be confused with the more westerly Duchy of Burgundy, a fiefdom of France since 843.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Duchy of Burgundy</span> 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 Burgundy-Arles, including the County of Burgundy (Franche-Comté).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Auxerre</span> Prefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Auxerre is the capital of the Yonne department and the fourth-largest city in Burgundy. Auxerre's population today is about 35,000; the urban area comprises roughly 113,000 inhabitants. Residents of Auxerre are referred to as Auxerrois.

<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">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.

Kingdom of Burgundy was a name given to various states located in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. The historical Burgundy correlates with the border area of France, Italy and Switzerland and includes the major modern cities of Geneva and Lyon.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charolles</span> Subprefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Charolles is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté in eastern France. Since 2004 is Charolles part of the Charolais-Brionnais Country.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Upper Burgundy</span> Frankish kingdom from 888 to 933

The Kingdom of Upper Burgundy was a Frankish dominion established in 888 by the Welf king Rudolph I of Burgundy on the territory of former Middle Francia. It grew out of the Carolingian margraviate of Transjurane Burgundy southeast of ('beyond') the Jura Mountains together with the adjacent County of Burgundy (Franche-Comté) in the northwest. The adjective 'upper' refers to its location further up the Rhône river, as distinct from Lower Burgundy and also from the Duchy of Burgundy west of the Saône river. Upper Burgundy was reunited with the Kingdom of Lower Burgundy in 933 to form the Kingdom of Burgundy, later known as Kingdom of Arles or Arelat.

Burgundy is a former region of France. The name was from various states that were sometime outside the current borders.

<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">Burgundian language (Oïl)</span> Oïl language of Burgundy, France

The Burgundian language, also known by French names Bourguignon-morvandiau,Bourguignon, and Morvandiau, is an Oïl language spoken in Burgundy and particularly in the Morvan area of the region.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bourgogne-Franche-Comté</span> Administrative region of France

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté is a region in Eastern France created by the 2014 territorial reform of French regions, from a merger of Burgundy and Franche-Comté. The new region came into existence on 1 January 2016, after the regional elections of December 2015, electing 100 members to the Regional Council of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Dijon, France.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Burgundian State</span> 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.


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  9. "Burgundy". Paris Digest. 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  10. "Cluny, The second Rome". Interkultur Paris. 21 March 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  11. "The Duchy of Burgundy, Medieval Powerhouse | eHISTORY". ehistory.osu.edu. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  12. "LOI n° 2015-29 du 16 janvier 2015 relative à la délimitation des régions, aux élections régionales et départementales et modifiant le calendrier électoral". Legifrance (in French). Secrétariat général du Gouvernement. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  13. "Bourgogne". 15 January 2016.
  14. "Visit Burgundy, a Land of Adventure". us.france.fr.
  15. "Visit Burgundy, a Land of Adventure". us.france.fr.
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  17. "4th Workship on Sound Change: Accepted Abstracts" (PDF). University of Edinburgh. 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
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Further reading