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Summary Article: Burgundy
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Ancient kingdom in the valleys of the rivers Rhône and Saône in eastern France and southwestern Germany, partly corresponding with modern-day Burgundy. Settled by the Teutonic Burgundi around AD 443, and brought under Frankish control in AD 534, Burgundy played a central role in the medieval history of northwestern Europe.

It was divided among various groups between the 9th and 11th centuries AD, splitting into a duchy in the west (equivalent to the modern region), controlled by French Carolingians, while the rest became a county in the Holy Roman Empire. The duchy was acquired by the Capetian king Robert the Pious in 1002, and until 1361 it was the most important and loyal fiefdom in the realm.

Duchy and county were reunited in 1384, and in the 15th century this wealthy region was the glittering capital of European court culture. The duchy was incorporated into France on the death of Duke Charles the Bold in 1477.

Division With the partition of the Frankish kingdom in AD 561, Burgundy became a separate Merovingian kingdom. After the Treaty of Verdun in AD 843, it was divided between the Carolingian Western and Middle Kingdoms. Boso, Count of Vienne, proclaimed himself king of all Burgundy in AD 877, but the French held Burgundy west of the Saône, which became the duchy of Burgundy.

The kingdom Upper (Transjurane) Burgundy became independent under Rudolf I of the German Welf family in AD 888, leaving Boso and his descendants Lower Burgundy (modern Provence). However, these two parts were reunited by Rudolf II in AD 912, and the kingdom was incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire under Conrad II in 1033. The emperors were unable to exert full authority in this largely French-speaking region, and the counts of Mâcon emerged as the dominant local power. Renaud III of Mâcon succeeded in gaining recognition as the ‘free count’ or franc comte of an autonomous Upper Burgundy in 1156, giving the region its modern name of Franche-Comte. The heavily indebted franc comte Otto IV ceded his county to Philip IV of France in treaties in 1291 and 1295.

The duchy Meanwhile, the duchy, under the Capetian dynasty, built a strong feudal administration with flourishing towns and trade and influential religious houses such as Cluny and Citeaux. With the death of the last Capetian duke, Philip of Rouvre in 1361, the duchy went to the Valois king John II, franc comte to the court of Flanders. Under the Valois dukes came acquisitions of Hainault in 1428, Brabant and Limburg in 1430, and Luxembourg in 1443. The economically advanced Netherlands brought the duchy great wealth, and it was here that the new Burgundy had its centre, rather than in its ancient southern territories.

Expansion and redivision A feud with the duke of Orléans and his Armagnac supporters resulted in the assassination of John the Fearless in 1477 and entangled Burgundy in the Hundred Years' War as an English ally until the Treaty of Arras brought reconciliation with the French and added Holland and Picardy to the duchy. Charles the Bold conquered Lorraine in 1475 to connect the northern and southern parts of the duchy. After his death in 1477, the old duchy's Nevers, Rethel, and Picardy were annexed by France, but Franche-Comte, Luxembourg, Limburg, and the Netherlands went to the Habsburg Maximilian I, who was married to Charles's daughter Mary. French claims to these lands caused a series of conflicts from 1493 until the Treaty of Nijmegen (1678).


Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing for Archaeology: Burgundy, France

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