|John the Fearless|
|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, Countess of Flanders|
John I (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.
John played an important role in the development of gunpowder artillery in European warfare, making extensive and successful use of it in his military campaigns.
John was born in Dijon on 28 May 1371 to Duke Philip the Bold of Burgundy and Countess Margaret III of Flanders. On the death of his maternal grandfather Count Louis II of Flanders in 1384, he received the County of Nevers.
In 1385, [ citation needed ] John married Margaret, daughter of Count Albert I of Holland, while at the same time his sister Margaret married Albert'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, 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 inherited the Duchy of Burgundy in 1404 upon the death of his father and the counties of Burgundy, Flanders, and Artois on his mother's death in 1405. He almost immediately entered into open conflict with Duke Louis I 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. 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. 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. Following this, his son and successor Philip the Good formed an alliance with the English, which would prolong the Hundred Years' War for decades and cause incalculable damage to France and its subjects.
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:
|Ancestors of John the Fearless|
The Capetian 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.
Philip II the Bold was Duke of Burgundy and jure uxoris Count of Flanders, Artois and Burgundy. He was the fourth and youngest son of King John II of France and 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, nicknamed the Beloved and later the Mad, was King of France from 1380 until his death in 1422. He is known for his mental illness and psychotic episodes that plagued him throughout his life.
Philip III was Duke of Burgundy from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty, to which all 15th-century kings of France belonged. During his reign, the Burgundian State reached the apex of its prosperity and prestige, and became a leading centre of the arts. Philip is known historically for his administrative reforms, his patronage of Flemish artists such as van Eyck and Franco-Flemish composers such as Gilles Binchois, and perhaps most significantly the seizure of Joan of Arc, whom Philip ransomed to the English after his soldiers captured her, resulting in her trial and eventual execution. In political affairs, he alternated between alliances with the English and the French in an attempt to improve his dynasty's powerbase. Additionally, 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.
Margaret III was a ruling Countess of Flanders, Countess of Artois, and Countess of Auvergne and Boulogne between 1384 and 1405. She was the last Countess of Flanders of the House of Dampierre.
Isabeau of Bavaria was Queen of France from 1385 to 1422. She was born into the House of Wittelsbach as the only daughter of Duke Stephen III of Bavaria-Ingolstadt and Taddea Visconti of Milan. At age 15 or 16, Isabeau was sent to France to marry the young King Charles VI; the couple wed three days after their first meeting.
Michelle of France, also called Michelle of Valois, was Duchess consort of Burgundy as the first wife of Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, called "Philip the Good". She was born a princess of France as the daughter of Charles VI, King of France and Isabeau of Bavaria.
Yolande of Aragon was Duchess of Anjou and Countess of Provence by marriage, who acted as regent of Provence during the minority of her son. She was a daughter of John I of Aragon and his wife Violant of Bar. Yolande played a crucial role in the struggles between France and England, influencing events such as the financing of Joan of Arc's army in 1429 that helped tip the balance in favour of the French. She was also known as Yolanda de Aragón and Violant d'Aragó. Tradition holds that she commissioned the famous Rohan Hours.
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, Count of Armagnac, 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 in the early 15th century, itself part of the larger Hundred Years' War.
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 regarded as the future Queen of France at two separate times, as a result of her two marriages: first to the Dauphin and second to the Duke of Brittany.
Margaret of Bavaria was Duchess of Burgundy by marriage to John the Fearless. 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 the Duchy of Burgundy against Count John IV 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.
The Burgundian State is a concept coined by historians to describe the vast complex of territories that is also referred to as Valois Burgundy.