Mary of Burgundy

Last updated

Mary
Mary of burgundy pocher.jpg
Portrait, attributed to Michael Pacher, c.1490
Duchess of Burgundy
Reign5 January 1477–27 March 1482
Predecessor Charles the Bold
Successor Philip the Handsome
Born13 February 1457
Brussels, Brabant, Burgundian Netherlands
Died27 March 1482(1482-03-27) (aged 25)
Wijnendale Castle, Flanders, Burgundian Netherlands
Burial
Bruges, Flanders
Spouse
Issue Philip I of Castile
Margaret, Duchess of Savoy
House Valois-Burgundy
Father Charles the Bold
Mother Isabella of Bourbon
Religion Roman Catholicism
Engraving of Mary of Burgundy Emanuel van Meteren Historie ppn 051504510 MG 8649 Maria van Valoys.tif
Engraving of Mary of Burgundy

Mary (French : Marie; Dutch : Maria; 13 February 1457 – 27 March 1482), 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.

Contents

As the only child of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Isabella of Bourbon, she inherited the Burgundian lands upon the death of her father in the Battle of Nancy on 5 January 1477. [1] She spent most of her reign defending her birthright; in order to counter Louis XI's appetite for her lands, she married Maximilian of Habsburg, who long after her death became Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor. The marriage was a turning point in European politics, leading to a French–Habsburg rivalry that would endure for centuries. Owing to the great prosperity of many of her territories, Mary was often referred to as Mary the Rich.

Early years

Mary of Burgundy was born in Brussels at the ducal castle of Coudenberg, to Charles the Bold, then known as the Count of Charolais, and his wife Isabella of Bourbon. Her birth, according to the court chronicler Georges Chastellain, was attended by a clap of thunder ringing from the otherwise clear twilight sky. Her godfather was Louis, Dauphin of France, in exile in Burgundy at that time; he named her for his mother Marie of Anjou. Reactions to the child were mixed: the baby's grandfather, Duke Philip the Good, was unimpressed, and "chose not to attend the [baptism] as it was only for a girl", whereas her grandmother Isabella of Portugal was delighted at the birth of a granddaughter. [2] Her illegitimate aunt Anne was assigned to be responsible for Mary's education and assigned Jeanne de Clito to be her governess, Jeanne remained a constant friend to Mary later in life and was one of her most constant companions.

Heiress presumptive

Philip the Good died in 1467 and Mary's father assumed control of the Burgundian State. Since her father had no living sons at the time of his accession, Mary became his heir presumptive. Her father controlled a vast and wealthy domain made up of the Duchy of Burgundy, the Free County of Burgundy, and the majority of the Low Countries. As a result, her hand in marriage was eagerly sought by a number of princes. The first proposal was received by her father when she was only five years old, in this case to marry the future King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Later she was approached by Charles, Duke of Berry; his older brother, King Louis XI of France, was intensely annoyed by Charles's move and attempted to prevent the necessary papal dispensation for consanguinity.

Flanders, double briquet, struck under Mary of Burgundy in 1478 Maria van Bourgondie dubbel vuurijzer 1478 Vlaanderen.jpg
Flanders, double briquet, struck under Mary of Burgundy in 1478

As soon as Louis succeeded in producing a male heir who survived infancy, the future King Charles VIII of France, Louis wanted him to be the one to marry Mary, even though he was thirteen years younger than Mary was. Nicholas I, Duke of Lorraine, was a few years older than Mary and controlled a duchy that lay alongside Burgundian territory, but his plan to combine his domain with hers was ended by his death in battle in 1473.

Reign

Mary assumed the rule of her father's domains upon his defeat in battle and death on 5 January 1477. King Louis XI of France seized the opportunity to attempt to take possession of the Duchy of Burgundy proper and also the regions of Franche-Comté, Picardy and Artois.

The king was anxious that Mary should marry his son Charles and thus secure the inheritance of the Low Countries for his heirs, by force of arms if necessary. Burgundy, fearing French military power, sent an embassy to France to negotiate a marriage between Mary and the six-year-old Dauphin (later King Charles VIII), but returned home without a betrothal; the French king's demands of cession of territories to the French crown were deemed unacceptable. [3]

The Great Privilege

Mary was compelled to sign a charter of rights known as the Great Privilege in Ghent on 10 February 1477 on the occasion of her formal recognition as her father's heir (the "Joyous Entry"). Under this agreement, the provinces and towns of Flanders, Brabant, Hainaut, and Holland recovered all the local and communal rights that had been abolished by the decrees of the dukes of Burgundy in their efforts to create a centralised state on the French model out of their disparate holdings in the Low Countries. In particular, the Parliament of Mechelen (established formally by Charles the Bold in 1470) was abolished and replaced with the pre-existing authority of the Parliament of Paris, which was considered an amenable counterweight to the encroaching centralisation undertaken by both Charles the Bold and Philip the Good. The duchess also had to undertake not to declare war, make peace, or raise taxes without the consent of these provinces and towns and only to employ native residents in official posts.

Such was the hatred of the people for the old regime that in spite of the duchess's entreaties, two of her father's most influential councilors, the Chancellor Hugonet and the Sire d'Humbercourt, were executed in Ghent after it was discovered that they were in correspondence with the king of France.

Marriage

Marriage of Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian of Austria Marriage of Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian of Austria.jpg
Marriage of Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian of Austria

Mary soon made her choice among the many suitors for her hand by selecting Archduke Maximilian of Austria, the future Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, who became her co-ruler. [4] The marriage took place at Ghent on 19 August 1477. [5] Mary's marriage into the House of Habsburg initiated two centuries of contention between France and the Habsburgs, a struggle that climaxed with the War of the Spanish Succession in the years 1701–1714.

In the Netherlands, affairs now went more smoothly; the French aggression was temporarily checked, and internal peace was in large measure restored.

Death and legacy

In 1482, a falcon hunt in the woods near Wijnendale Castle was organised by Adolph of Cleves, Lord of Ravenstein, who lived in the castle. Mary loved riding and was hunting with Maximilian and knights of the court when her horse tripped, threw her in a ditch, and then landed on top of her, breaking her back. She died several weeks later on 27 March from internal injuries, having made a detailed will. She was buried in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges on 3 April, 1482.

Her two-year-old daughter, Margaret of Austria, was sent in vain to France, to marry the Dauphin, in an attempt to please Louis XI and persuade him not to invade the territories owned by Mary.

Louis was swift to re-engage hostilities with Maximilian and forced him to agree to the Treaty of Arras of 1482, by which Franche-Comté and Artois passed for a time to French rule, only to be recovered by the Treaty of Senlis of 1493, which established peace in the Low Countries. Mary's marriage into the House of Habsburg proved to be a disaster for France because the Burgundian inheritance later brought it into conflict with Spain and the Holy Roman Empire.

Family

Mary's tomb effigy in the Church of Our Lady, Bruges Grafmarg.JPG
Mary's tomb effigy in the Church of Our Lady, Bruges

Mary's son Philip succeeded to her dominions under the guardianship of his father.

Her children were as follows:

Ancestry

Titles

Mary and Maximilian Kaiser-maximilian-und-maria-von-burgund 1-920x1035.jpg
Mary and Maximilian


See also

Related Research Articles

Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor 16th century Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria

Maximilian I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1508 until his death. He was never crowned by the pope, as the journey to Rome was always too risky. He was instead proclaimed emperor elect by Pope Julius II at Trent, thus breaking the long tradition of requiring a papal coronation for the adoption of the imperial title. Maximilian was the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eleanor of Portugal. He ruled jointly with his father for the last ten years of the latter's reign, from c. 1483 to his father's death in 1493.

Philip the Bold Duke of Burgundy

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, Philip was the founder of the Burgundian branch of the House of Valois. His vast collection of territories made him the undisputed premier peer of the kingdom of France and made his successors formidable subjects, and later rivals, of the kings of France.

Philibert II, Duke of Savoy Duke of Savoy

Philibert II, nicknamed the Handsome or the Good, was the Duke of Savoy from 1497 until his death.

Margaret of York Duchess consort of Burgundy

Margaret of York —also by marriage known as Margaret of Burgundy—was Duchess of Burgundy as the third wife of Charles the Bold and acted as a protector of the Burgundian State after his death. She was a daughter of Richard, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, and the sister of two kings of England, Edward IV and Richard III. She was born at Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire, in the Kingdom of England, and she died at Mechelen in the Low Countries.

Philip I of Castile King of Castile

Philip the Handsome, also called the Fair, was Duke of Burgundy from 1482 to 1506 and the first member of the house of Habsburg to be King of Castile.

Charles the Bold 15th-century Duke of Burgundy

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

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).

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).

René II, Duke of Lorraine Duke of Lorraine

René II was Count of Vaudémont from 1470, Duke of Lorraine from 1473, and Duke of Bar from 1483 to 1508. He claimed the crown of the Kingdom of Naples and the County of Provence as the Duke of Calabria 1480–1493 and as King of Naples and Jerusalem 1493–1508. He succeeded his uncle John of Vaudémont as Count of Harcourt in 1473, exchanging it for the county of Aumale in 1495. He succeeded as Count of Guise in 1504.

County of Artois countship

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)

The Treaty of Arras was signed at Arras on 23 December 1482 by King Louis XI of France and Archduke Maximilian I of Habsburg as heir of the Burgundian Netherlands in the course of the Burgundian succession crisis.

House of Valois-Burgundy noble family

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.

Treaty of Senlis

The Treaty of Senlis concerning the Burgundian succession was signed at Senlis, Oise in May 1493 between Maximilian I of Habsburg and King Charles VIII of France.

Habsburg Netherlands Historical region in the Low Countries, 1482–1581

Habsburg Netherlands, also referred to as Belgica or Flanders, is the collective name of Holy Roman Empire fiefs in the Low Countries held by the House of Habsburg. The rule began in 1482, when the last Valois-Burgundy ruler of the Netherlands, Mary, married Maximilian I of Austria. Their grandson, Emperor Charles V, was born in the Habsburg Netherlands and made Brussels one of his capitals.

Burgundian inheritance in the Low Countries

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.

Flemish revolts against Maximilian of Austria

In the period 1482–1492, the cities of the County of Flanders revolted twice against Archduke Maximilian of Austria, who ruled the county as regent for his son, Philip the Handsome. The revolts were rooted in the cities' desire to maintain the autonomy that they had wrested from Philip's mother and predecessor, Mary of Burgundy, which Maximilian threatened to curtail. Both revolts were ultimately unsuccessful.

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.

Burgundian State Historical government in what is now France 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. It developed in the Late Middle Ages under the rule of the dukes of Burgundy from the French House of Valois, which was composed of 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.

References

Sources


Mary of Burgundy
Cadet branch of the House of Valois
Born: 13 February 1457 Died: 27 March 1482
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles the Bold
Duchess of Brabant, Limburg,
Lothier, Luxemburg and Guelders;
Margravine of Namur;
Countess Palatine of Burgundy;
Countess of Artois, Flanders,
Charolais, Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland and Zutphen

5 January 1477 – 27 March 1482
with Maximilian since 19 August 1477
Succeeded by
Philip the Handsome