|John the Fearless|
Copy of an original from c. 1415 by Rogier van der Weyden
|Duke of Burgundy|
|Reign||27 April 1404 – 10 September 1419|
|Born||28 May 1371|
Ducal palace, Dijon, Burgundy
|Died||10 September 1419 (aged 48)|
|Father||Philip the Bold|
|Mother||Margaret III of Flanders|
John the Fearless (French : Jean sans Peur ; Dutch : Jan zonder Vrees; 28 May 1371 – 10 September 1419) was a scion of the French royal family who ruled the Burgundian State from 1404 until his death in 1419. He played a key role in French national affairs during the early 15th century, particularly in the struggles to rule the country for the mentally ill King Charles VI, his cousin, and the Hundred Years' War with England. A rash, ruthless and unscrupulous politician, John murdered the King's brother, the Duke of Orléans, in an attempt to gain control of the government, which led to the eruption of the Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War in France and in turn culminated in his own assassination in 1419.
The involvement of Charles, the heir to the French throne, in his assassination, prompted John's son and successor Philip to seek an alliance with the English, thereby bringing the Hundred Years' War to its final phase.
| Dukes of Burgundy-|
House of Valois, Burgundian Branch
|John the Good|
|Philip the Bold|
|John the Fearless|
|Philip the Good|
|Charles the Bold|
|Mary of Burgundy|
John was born in Dijon on 28 May 1371 to Philip II "the Bold," Duke of Burgundy, and Margaret III, Countess of Flanders. On the death of his maternal grandfather Louis II, Count of Flanders, in 1384, he received the title Count of Nevers, which he bore until his father’s death in 1404, [ citation needed ]when he ceded it to his brother Philip.
In 1385, [ citation needed ] John married Margaret of Bavaria, daughter of Albrecht of Bavaria, Count of Holland and Hainaut, while at the same time his sister Margaret of Burgundy married Albrecht's son William in order to consolidate John's position in the Low Countries. The marriage took place after John cancelled his engagement to his first cousin, Catherine of France, a daughter of King Charles V of France, who was only a child at the time.[ citation needed ]a double wedding for the Burgundian family took place in Cambrai.
Before his accession to the Duchy of Burgundy, John was one of the principal leaders of the French forces sent to aid King Sigismund of Hungary in his war against Sultan Bayezid I. John fought in the Battle of Nicopolis of 25 September 1396 with such enthusiasm and bravery that he was given the cognomen Fearless (Sans-Peur). Despite his personal bravery, his impetuous leadership ended in disaster for the European expedition.He was captured and did not recover his liberty until the next year after an enormous ransom was paid.
John was invested as Duke of Burgundy in 1404 upon the death of his father Philip the Bold and almost immediately entered into open conflict with Louis, Duke of Orléans, the younger brother of the increasingly disturbed King Charles VI of France. Both men attempted to fill the power vacuum left by the demented king.
John played a game of marriages by exchanging his daughter Margaret of Burgundy for Michelle of Valois, who would marry his heir, Philip the Good. For her part, Margaret was married to Louis, Duke of Guyenne, the heir to the French throne from 1401 until his death in 1415. For all his concentration on aristocratic politics, John nonetheless did not overlook the importance of the middle class of merchants and tradesmen or the University of Paris.
Louis tried to gain the favour of the wife of Charles VI, Queen Isabeau of France, and may have become her lover. After his son-in-law, the Dauphin Louis, was successively kidnapped and recovered by both parties, the Duke of Burgundy managed to gain appointment by royal decree — during one of the King's "absent" periods when mental illness manifested itself — as guardian of the Dauphin and the King's children. This did not improve relations between John and the Duke of Orléans. Soon the two rivals descended into making open threats.[ citation needed ] Their uncle, John, Duke of Berry, secured a vow of solemn reconciliation on 20 November 1407, but only three days later, on 23 November 1407, Louis was brutally assassinated in the streets of Paris. The order, no one doubted, had come from the Duke of Burgundy, who shortly admitted to the deed and declared it to be a justifiable act of "tyrannicide". According to Thomas Walsingham, Orléans had simply received his just deserts as he had been "taking his pleasure with whores, harlots, incest" and had committed adultery with the wife of an unnamed knight who had taken his revenge by killing him under the protection of the Duke of Burgundy.[ citation needed ] After an escape from Paris and a few skirmishes against the Orléans party, John managed to recover the King's favour. In the treaty of Chartres, signed on 9 March 1409, the King absolved the Duke of Burgundy of the crime, and he and Louis' son Charles pledged a reconciliation. A later edict renewed John's guardianship of the Dauphin.
He moved further closer to securing the Regency for himself when he had Jean de Montagu, Grand Master of France and the King's long standing favorite and administrator aligned with the Orleanists, arrested during another one of Charles' manic episodes, and after an expedited summary trial carried out by the Burgundian-aligned politicians, Montagu was beheaded at the Gibbet of Montfaucon on 17 October 1409.
Even with the Orléans dispute resolved in his favour, John did not lead a tranquil life. Charles, the son and heir of the murdered Duke of Orleans, was only 14 at the time of his father's death and was forced to depend heavily on allies to support his claims for the property that had been confiscated from him by the Duke of Burgundy. Chief among these allies was his father-in-law Bernard VII, Count of Armagnac. Because of this alliance, their faction became known as the Armagnacs in opposition to the Burgundians. With peace between the factions solemnly sworn in 1410, John returned to Burgundy and Bernard remained in Paris, where he reportedly shared the Queen's bed. The Armagnac party was not content with its level of political power, and after a series of riots and attacks against the citizens, John was recalled to the capital, then sent back to Burgundy in 1413. At this time, King Henry V of England invaded French territory and threatened to attack Paris. During the peace negotiations with the Armagnacs, Henry was also in contact with John, who was keen to wrest control of France away from King Charles VI. Despite this, he continued to be wary of forming an alliance with the English for fear of destroying his immense popularity with the common people of France. When Henry demanded Burgundy's support for his claim to be the rightful King of France, John backed away and decided to ally himself with the Armagnacs.[ citation needed ] Although he talked of helping his sovereign, his troops took no part in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, although two of his brothers, Antoine, Duke of Brabant, and Philip II, Count of Nevers, died fighting for France during the battle.
Two years later, with the rivalry between Burgundians and Armagnacs at an all-time high because of the shattering defeat at Agincourt, John's troops set about the task of capturing Paris.[ citation needed ] On 30 May 1418, he did capture the city, but not before the new Dauphin, the future Charles VII of France, had escaped. John then installed himself in Paris and made himself protector of the King. Although not an open ally of the English, John did nothing to prevent the surrender of Rouen in 1419. With the whole of northern France in English hands and Paris occupied by Burgundy, the Dauphin tried to bring about a reconciliation with John. They met in July and swore peace on the bridge of Pouilly, near Melun. On the grounds that peace was not sufficiently assured by the meeting at Pouilly, a fresh interview was proposed by the Dauphin to take place on 10 September 1419 on the bridge at Montereau. John of Burgundy was present with his escort for what he considered a diplomatic meeting. He was, however, assassinated by the Dauphin's companions. He was later buried in Dijon. His successor Philip the Good formed an alliance with the English.
|Ancestors of John the Fearless|
John and his wife Margaret, who married in 1385, had:
John and his mistress Agnes de Croy, daughter of Jean I de Croÿ, had the following child:
John and his mistress Marguerite de Borsele had the following children:
Philip the Bold was Duke of Burgundy and jure uxoris Count of Flanders, Artois and Burgundy. The fourth and youngest son of King John II of France and his wife, Bonne of Luxembourg.
Charles VII, called the Victorious or the Well-Served, was King of France from 1422 to his death in 1461.
Charles VI, called the Beloved and later the Mad, was King of France for 42 years, from 1380 until his death in 1422. He is known for his mental illness and psychotic episodes which plagued him throughout his life. Charles's reign would see his army crushed at the Battle of Agincourt, leading to the signing of the Treaty of Troyes, which made his future son-in-law Henry V of England his regent and heir to the throne of France. However, Henry would die shortly before Charles, which gave the House of Valois the chance to continue the fight against the English, leading to their eventual victory and the end of the Hundred Years' War in 1453.
Philip the Good was Duke of Burgundy from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty, to which all the 15th-century kings of France belonged. During his reign, the Burgundian State reached the apex of its prosperity and prestige and became a leading center of the arts. Philip is known in history for his administrative reforms, his patronage of Flemish artists such as Jan van Eyck and Franco-Flemish composers such as Gilles Binchois, and the capture of Joan of Arc. In political affairs, he alternated between alliances with the English and the French in an attempt to improve his dynasty's position. As ruler of Flanders, Brabant, Limburg, Artois, Hainaut, Holland, Luxembourg, Zeeland, Friesland and Namur, he played an important role in the history of the Low Countries.
Charles II, called the Bold was the Duke of Lorraine from 1390 to his death and Constable of France from 1418 to 1425. Charles was the elder son of John I, Duke of Lorraine, and Sophie, daughter of Eberhard II, Count of Württemberg.
Isabeau of Bavaria was queen of France between 1385 and 1422. She was born into the House of Wittelsbach as the eldest daughter of Duke Stephen III of Bavaria-Ingolstadt and Taddea Visconti of Milan. At age 15 or 16, Isabeau was sent to the young King Charles VI of France; the couple wed three days after their first meeting.
The Armagnac faction was prominent in French politics and warfare during the Hundred Years' War. It was allied with the supporters of Charles, Duke of Orléans against John the Fearless after Charles' father Louis of Orléans was killed on a Paris street on the orders of the Duke of Burgundy on 23 November 1407.
Bernard VII, Count of Armagnac was Count of Armagnac and Constable of France. He was the son of John II and Jeanne de Périgord. He succeeded in Armagnac at the death of his brother, John III, in 1391. After prolonged fighting, he also became Count of Comminges in 1412.
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.
The Congress of Arras was a diplomatic congregation established at Arras in the summer of 1435 during the Hundred Years' War, between representatives of England, France, and Burgundy. Toward the close of the Hundred Years' War, both the Congress and the subsequent Treaty of Arras represented diplomatic failures for England and major successes for France.
John II of Luxembourg, Count of Ligny was a French nobleman and soldier, a younger son of John of Luxembourg, Lord of Beauvoir, and Marguerite of Enghien. His older brother Peter received his mother's fiefs, including the County of Brienne, while John received Beaurevoir. He married Jeanne de Béthune, Viscountess of Meaux, widow of Robert of Bar, on 23 November 1418, and became step-father to Jeanne de Bar, Countess of Marle and Soissons. He and Jeanne de Béthune had no children.
Louis was the eighth of twelve children of King Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. He was their third son and the second to hold the titles Dauphin of Viennois and Duke of Guyenne, inheriting them in 1401, at the death of his older brother, Charles (1392–1401).
Margaret of Nevers, also known as Margaret of Burgundy, was Dauphine of France and Duchess of Guyenne as the daughter-in-law of King Charles VI of France. A pawn in the dynastic struggles between her family and in-laws during the Hundred Years' War, Margaret was twice envisaged to become Queen of France.
Margaret of Bavaria,, was Duchess of Burgundy by marriage to John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. She was the regent of the Burgundian Low countries during the absence of her spouse in 1404–1419 and the regent in French Burgundy during the absence of her son in 1419–1423. She became most known for her successful defense of French Burgundy against John IV, Count of Armagnac in 1419.
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.
Tanneguy III du Châtel was a Breton knight who fought in the Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War and the Hundred Years' War. A member of the Armagnac party, he became a leading adviser of King Charles VII of France, and was one of the murderers of Duke John the Fearless of Burgundy in 1419.
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.
John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, was assassinated on the bridge at Montereau on 10 September 1419 during a parley with the French dauphin, by Tanneguy du Chastel and Jean Louvet, the dauphin's close counsellors.
Olivier was Count of Penthièvre and Lord of Avesnes from 1404 until his death.
The Burgundian State is a concept coined by historians to describe the vast complex of territories that is also referred to as Valois Burgundy. 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. 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.
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John the Fearless
Cadet branch of the House of ValoisBorn: 28 May 1371 Died: 10 September 1419
Philip the Bold
| Duke of Burgundy |
Philip the Good
| Count of Charolais |
Margaret III & II
|Count of Artois and Flanders |
Count Palatine of Burgundy
| Count of Nevers |