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(Free) County of Burgundy
Top: Flag with arms adopted in 16th century
Bottom: Flag of the county ruled by Habsburgs, who claimed themselves as dukes of Burgundy
Duchy (left) and County (right) of Burgundy in the 14th century
|Status||Part of Upper Burgundy and|
the Kingdom of Burgundy-Arles,
then state of the Holy Roman Empire
• Joined Burgundian
The Free County of Burgundy or Franche-Comté (French : Franche Comté de Bourgogne; German : Freigrafschaft Burgund), was a medieval county (from 982 to 1678) 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.
The area once formed part of the Kingdom of the Burgundians, which had been annexed by the Franks in 534 and incorporated into the Kingdom of the Franks. The Empire was partitioned in 843 by the Treaty of Verdun, with the area west of the Saône river being allotted to West Francia as the French Duchy of Burgundy, while the southern and eastern parts of the former Burgundian kingdom fell to Middle Francia under Emperor Lothair I. This Middle Frankish part became the two independent entities of southern Lower Burgundy in 879 and northern Upper Burgundy under King Rudolph I in 888. The County of Burgundy formed the western part of the latter.
In 933, with the collapse of the Carolingian Empire, both Lower and Upper Burgundy were re-united under King Rudolph II as the Kingdom of Arles (Arelat), which itself collapsed among feudal anarchy with the extinction of his line in 1032. The Arelat then passed to the Holy Roman Empire when it was inherited by Emperor Conrad II of the Salian dynasty, while the Duchy of Burgundy was re-installed by a cadet branch of the French Capetian dynasty.
In 982, Otto-William, son of Adalbert of Lombardy, Count at Mâcon in the Duchy of Burgundy, received the County of Burgundy from his mother, Gerberga of Dijon. He thereby became the progenitor of the comital Anscarid dynasty, a collateral branch of the Bosonid dukes of Burgundy, descending from Hugh the Black, a 10th-century brother of Duke Rudolph, and from Hugh's brother-in-law Gilbert. In 1002, Otto-William also claimed the Duchy of Burgundy upon the death of his stepfather Duke Henry I. However, the duchy was seized as a reverted fief by King Robert II of France two years later, and he was only able to maintain rule over the Arelat county with his residence at Dole. The development of commercial routes across the Jura and the development of salt mines assured the prosperity of the county, and its towns preserved their freedom and neutrality in feudal conflicts.
At the end of the 11th century Conrad's son Emperor Henry III elevated the Archbishop of Besançon to the dignity of an archchancellor and conferred upon Besançon the rank of a Reichsstadt (imperial city) under the Emperor's direct patronage. Guy of Burgundy, brother of Renaud II, later became pope and negotiated the Concordat of Worms with Emperor Henry V. In the 12th century, Imperial protection allowed for the development of Besançon, but in 1127, after the assassination of William III, his cousin Renaud III shook off the Imperial yoke. Burgundy was from then on called Franche-Comté, the "free county."
Emperor Frederick Barbarossa re-established imperial influence, took prisoner the brother of Count William IV and extended his influence by marrying William IV's niece and heir, Beatrice I, the daughter of Renaud III, when William IV died. Upon Emperor Frederick's death in 1190, his younger son Otto I, received the county of Burgundy and assumed the rare (unique?) title of an archcount. He was succeeded by his daughter, Beatrice II, and her husband Otto I, Duke of Merania; they were in turn followed by their son, Otto III, Count of Burgundy, and their daughter, Adelaide.
The Counts Palatine for many years had to share power with the greater feudal families of the county, notably with the family of Chalon, which was descended from the Stephen III, count of Auxonne, grandson of William IV and Beatrice of Thiern, the heir of the county of Chalon. The authority of the counts was re-established only by the marriage of Hugh of Chalon with Adelaide, the sister and heiress. However, this did not prevent a younger son, John of Chalon-Arlay, from taking control of the vassal states.
Otto IV, son of Hugh and Adelaide, was the last of the feudal counts of Burgundy. He married first the daughter of the Count of Bar but the marriage was childless. His second marriage was to the grandniece of King Louis IX of France, Countess Mahaut of Artois. This marriage brought the county under French influence. The daughters of Otto IV and Mahaut, Joan II and Blanche, married respectively Philip V and Charles IV of France, sons of King Philip IV. Jeanne became Queen of France after having been involved in the Tour de Nesle Affair. In that same affair, Blanche was found guilty of adultery and was imprisoned for the rest of her life.
After quarreling with his barons, and after a new revolt against the French carried out by John of Chalon-Arlay, Otto IV ceded the county to his daughter as a dowry and designated the King of France as administrator of the dowry in 1295. By marrying their daughter and heir Joan, Duke Odo IV of Burgundy reunited the duchy and the county under his rule, followed by his grandson Duke Philip I. The personal union was again broken after Philip had died without heirs in 1361, when the Duchy of Burgundy was seized as a reverted fief by King John II of France, while the Imperial county was inherited by Philip's great aunt Margaret I, a granddaughter of Count Otto IV. In 1382, she bequeathed her estates to her son Count Louis II of Flanders.
Louis II died in 1384 leaving no male heirs, and the County of Burgundy formed part of the immense dowry of his daughter Margaret, which in 1405 was inherited by her son, the Burgundian duke John the Fearless. The county and the duchy were again ruled in personal union by his descendants from the House of Valois-Burgundy until the death of Duke Charles the Bold at the 1477 Battle of Nancy. His cousin King Louis XI of France immediately occupied the county, but Archduke Maximilian I of Habsburg, took an opposition to this action, as he was the husband of Charles' daughter Mary the Rich. Though defeated at the 1479 Battle of Guinegate, the French retained the county until Louis' successor King Charles VIII of France, wishing to be free of conflicts over the county in order to intervene in Naples, again ceded it to Emperor Maximilian and his son Philip I of Castile by the 1493 Treaty of Senlis.
With the Netherlands, the County of Burgundy was held by Habsburg Spain until it was finally incorporated into France by the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678.
The House of Valois was a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. They succeeded the House of Capet to the French throne, and were the royal house of France from 1328 to 1589. Junior members of the family founded cadet branches in Orléans, Anjou, Burgundy, and Alençon.
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 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).
Philip of Rouvres was the Count of Burgundy and Count of Artois from 1347, Duke of Burgundy from 1349, and Count of Auvergne and Boulogne from 1360. He was the only son of Philip, heir to the Duchy of Burgundy, and Joan I, heiress of Auvergne and Boulogne.
Margaret III was the last countess of Flanders of the House of Dampierre, as well as countess of Artois, Burgundy, and Rethel. By marriage she was duchess of Burgundy.
The County of Savoy was a State of the Holy Roman Empire which emerged, along with the free communes of Switzerland, from the collapse of the Burgundian Kingdom in the 11th century. It was the cradle of the future Savoyard state.
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.
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.
Louis II, also known as Louis of Male, a member of the House of Dampierre, was count of Flanders, Nevers and Rethel from 1346 as well as count of Artois and Burgundy from 1382 until his death.
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.
The Kingdom of Burgundy, known from the 12th century as Kingdom of Arles, also referred to in various context as Arelat, Kingdom of Arles and Vienne, or Kingdom of Burgundy-Provence, was a realm established in 933 by the merger of the kingdoms of Upper and Lower Burgundy under King Rudolf II. It was incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire in 1033 and from then on was one of the empire's three constituent realms, together with the Kingdom of Germany and the Kingdom of Italy. By the mid-13th century at the latest, however, it had lost its concrete political relevance.
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.
Otto I was Count of Burgundy from 1190 to his death and briefly Count of Luxembourg from 1196 to 1197. He was the fourth son of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, by his second wife Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy, daughter of Count Renaud III.
The Anscarids or the House of Ivrea were a medieval Frankish dynasty of Burgundian origin which rose to prominence in Italy in the tenth century, even briefly holding the Italian throne. The main branch ruled the County of Burgundy from the eleventh to fourteenth centuries and it was one of their members who first declared himself a count palatine. The cadet Castilian branch of Ivrea ruled the Kingdom of Galicia from 1111 and the Kingdoms of Castile and León from 1126 until 1369. The House of Trastámara, which ruled in Castile, Aragon, Naples, and Navarre at various points between the late 14th and early 16th centuries, was an illegitimate cadet branch of that family.
Otto III, a member of the House of Andechs, was the count of Burgundy from 1231 and the last duke of Merania from 1234 until his death.
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 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, and fragmented into the Spanish Netherlands and the Dutch republic.
The Burgundian State is a concept coined by historians to describe the vast complex of territories that is also referred to as Valois Burgundy.