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County of Burgundy

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The Free County of Burgundy , was a medieval count
Count
A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

y (from 982 to 1678), within the traditional province and modern French region Franche-Comté
Franche-Comté
Franche-Comté the former "Free County" of Burgundy, as distinct from the neighbouring Duchy, is an administrative region and a traditional province of eastern France...

, whose very French name is still reminiscent of the unusual title of its count: Freigraf
Freigraf
Freigraf is a title of Germany nobility. It is derived from the German words frei and the feudal title graf . It can be used in two different contexts:...

 ('free count', or franc comte in French, hence the term franc(he) comté for his feudal principality). It should not be confused with the more westerly Duchy of Burgundy
Duchy of Burgundy
The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

 (Bourgogne), a fiefdom of France
France in the Middle Ages
France in the Middle Ages covers an area roughly corresponding to modern day France, from the death of Louis the Pious in 840 to the middle of the 15th century...

 since 843.

History

see also Franche-Comté
Franche-Comté
Franche-Comté the former "Free County" of Burgundy, as distinct from the neighbouring Duchy, is an administrative region and a traditional province of eastern France...


The area once belonged to the old Kingdom of Burgundy
Kingdom of Burgundy
Burgundy is a historic region in Western Europe that has existed as a political entity in a number of forms with very different boundaries. Two of these entities - the first around the 6th century, the second around the 11th century - have been called the Kingdom of Burgundy; a third was very...

, that had been subdued by the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 in 543 and incorporated into the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire is a historiographical term which has been used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty in the Early Middle Ages. This dynasty is seen as the founders of France and Germany, and its beginning date is based on the crowning of Charlemagne, or Charles the...

. In the course of the Empire's partition by the 843 Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun
The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty between the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne, which divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms...

, the area west of the Saône
Saône
The Saône is a river of eastern France. It is a right tributary of the River Rhône. Rising at Vioménil in the Vosges department, it joins the Rhône in Lyon....

 river was 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
Middle Francia
Middle Francia was an ephemeral Frankish kingdom created by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, which divided the Carolingian Empire among the sons of Louis the Pious...

 under Emperor Lothair I
Lothair I
Lothair I or Lothar I was the Emperor of the Romans , co-ruling with his father until 840, and the King of Bavaria , Italy and Middle Francia...

. This Middle Frankish part was refounded as the two independent entities of southern Lower
Lower Burgundy
Lower Burgundy was a historical kingdom in what is now southeastern France, so-called because it was lower down the Rhone Valley than Upper Burgundy. Lower Burgundy is sometimes called the Kingdom of Arelat or the Kingdom of Cisjurane Burgundy...

 in 879 and northern Upper Burgundy
Upper Burgundy
Upper Burgundy is the part of Burgundy east of the Jura mountains, that together with the western County of Burgundy from 868 formed the Kingdom of Upper Burgundy, encompassing both sides of the Jura mountains range...

 under King Rudolph I
Rudolph I of Burgundy
Rudolph I was King of Burgundy from his election in 888 until his death.Rudolph belonged to the elder Welf family and was the son of Conrad, Count of Auxerre, from whom he inherited the lay abbacy of St Maurice en Valais, making him the most powerful magnate in Upper Burgundy - present-day...

 in 888, of which the County of Burgundy formed the western part.

At the time of the collapse of the Carolingian Empire both Lower and Upper Burgundy were re-united in 933 as the Kingdom of Arles
Kingdom of Arles
The Kingdom of Arles or Second Kingdom of Burgundy of the High Middle Ages was a Frankish dominion established in 933 from lands of the early medieval Kingdom of Burgundy at Arles...

 (Arelat) under King Rudolph II
Rudolph II of Burgundy
Rudolph II was king of Upper Burgundy , Lower Burgundy , and Italy . He was the son of Rudolph I, king of Upper Burgundy, and it is presumed that his mother was his father's known wife, Guilla of Provence...

 which itself collapsed among feudal anarchy with the extinction of the line in 1032. The Arelat then passed under the control of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 when it was inherited by Emperor Conrad II
Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
Conrad II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1027 until his death.The son of a mid-level nobleman in Franconia, Count Henry of Speyer and Adelaide of Alsace, he inherited the titles of count of Speyer and of Worms as an infant when Henry died at age twenty...

 of the Salian dynasty
Salian dynasty
The Salian dynasty was a dynasty in the High Middle Ages of four German Kings , also known as the Frankish dynasty after the family's origin and role as dukes of Franconia...

, while the Duchy of Burgundy
Duchy of Burgundy
The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

 was re-installed by a cadet branch of the French Capetian dynasty
Capetian dynasty
The Capetian dynasty , also known as the House of France, is the largest and oldest European royal house, consisting of the descendants of King Hugh Capet of France in the male line. Hugh Capet himself was a cognatic descendant of the Carolingians and the Merovingians, earlier rulers of France...

.

In 982 Otto-William, son of Adalbert of Lombardy, Count at Mâcon
Mâcon
Mâcon is a small city in central France. It is prefecture of the Saône-et-Loire department, in the region of Bourgogne, and the capital of the Mâconnais district. Mâcon is home to over 35,000 residents, called Mâconnais.-Geography:...

 in the Duchy of Burgundy, received the County of Burgundy from the hands of his mother Gerberga of Dijon. He thereby became the progenitor of the comital Anscarid
Anscarids
The Anscarids or Anscarii 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. They also ruled the County of Burgundy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries and it was one of their...

 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 son-in-law Gilbert. Otto-William also inherited the Duchy of Burgundy upon the death of his stepfather Duke Henry I, nevertheless as the duchy was seized as a reverted fief by King Robert II of France
Robert II of France
Robert II , called the Pious or the Wise , was King of France from 996 until his death. The second reigning member of the House of Capet, he was born in Orléans to Hugh Capet and Adelaide of Aquitaine....

 two years later he only was able to maintain the rule over the Arelat county with his residence at Dole
Dole, Jura
Dole is a commune in the Jura department in the Franche-Comté region in eastern France, of which it is a subprefecture ....

. The development of commercial routes across the Jura
Jura mountains
The Jura Mountains are a small mountain range located north of the Alps, separating the Rhine and Rhone rivers and forming part of the watershed of each...

 and the development of salt
Salt
In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

 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
Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry III , called the Black or the Pious, was a member of the Salian Dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors...

 elevated the Archbishop of Besançon to the dignity of an archchancellor
Archchancellor
An archchancellor or chief chancellor was a title given to the highest dignitary of the Holy Roman Empire, and also used occasionally during the Middle Ages to denote an official who supervised the work of chancellors or notaries....

 and conferred upon Besançon the rank of a Reichsstadt
Free Imperial City of Besançon
The Imperial City of Besançon was a self-governing city that was part of the Holy Roman Empire.From 1184 until 1654 the City of Besançon was a free imperial city as shown by the coat of arms until today and called Bisanz. At first it was governed by the archbishop of Besançon, although later most...

(imperial city) under the Emperor's direct patronage. Guy of Burgundy, brother of Renaud II, later became pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 and negotiated the Concordat of Worms
Concordat of Worms
The Concordat of Worms, sometimes called the Pactum Calixtinum by papal historians, was an agreement between Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V on September 23, 1122 near the city of Worms...

 with Emperor Henry V
Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry V was King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor , the fourth and last ruler of the Salian dynasty. Henry's reign coincided with the final phase of the great Investiture Controversy, which had pitted pope against emperor...

. 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
Renaud III, Count of Burgundy
Renaud III , son of Stephen I and Beatrix of Lorraine, was the count of Burgundy between 1127 and 1148. Previously, he had been the count of Mâcon since his father's death in 1102, with his brother, William of Vienne....

 shook off the Imperial yoke. Burgundy was from then on called "Franche-Comté," the "free county."

Emperor Frederick Barbarossa
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick I Barbarossa was a German Holy Roman Emperor. He was elected King of Germany at Frankfurt on 4 March 1152 and crowned in Aachen on 9 March, crowned King of Italy in Pavia in 1155, and finally crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Adrian IV, on 18 June 1155, and two years later in 1157 the term...

 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
Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy
Beatrice of Burgundy was the only daughter of Renaud III, Count of Burgundy and Agatha of Lorraine. She was the second wife and Empress of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor. Her maternal grandparents were Simon I, Duke of Lorraine and his wife Adelaide of Leuven. Beatrice was active at the...

, the daughter of Renaud III, when William IV died. Upon Emperor Frederick's death in 1190, his younger son Otto I
Otto I, Count of Burgundy
Otto I was Count of Burgundy from 1190 to his death and briefly Count of Luxembourg from 1196 to 1197...

, received the county of Burgundy and assumed the rare (unique?) title of an archcount. He was succeeded by his daughter, Beatrice II
Beatrice II, Countess of Burgundy
Beatrice II, Countess of Burgundy was Countess of Burgundy and Duchess consort of Merania. She was a member of the Swabian Hohenstaufen dynasty, the daughter of Count Otto I of Burgundy and Margaret of Blois, thereby a granddaughter of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.She was born in 1191, younger...

, and her husband Otto I
Otto I, Duke of Merania
Otto I was Duke of Andechs and Merania and was born, in 1180, to Berthold IV von Dießen, Duke of Andechs and Merania, and Agnes of Rochlitz. He was also Otto II, Count Palatine of Burgundy by his marriage to Beatrice II of Burgundy....

, Duke of Merania; they were in turn followed by their son, Otto III, Count of Burgundy, and their daughter, Adelaide
Adelaide, Countess Palatine of Burgundy
Adelaide was countess palatine of Burgundy from 1248 until her death. She was also Countess of Savoy and Bresse through her marriage in 1267 to Philip I, Count of Savoy....

.

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
Auxonne
Auxonne is a commune in the Côte-d'Or department in Bourgogne in eastern France.Auxonne is one of the sites of the defensive structures of Vauban, clearly seen from the train bridge as it enters the Auxonne SNCF train station on the Dijon - Besançon train line. It also was home to the Artillery...

, 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
Adelaide, Countess Palatine of Burgundy
Adelaide was countess palatine of Burgundy from 1248 until her death. She was also Countess of Savoy and Bresse through her marriage in 1267 to Philip I, Count of Savoy....

, 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
Otto IV, Count of Burgundy
Otto IV, Count of Burgundy was the son of Hugh de Chalon and Adelaide, Countess Palatine of Burgundy. By his mother, he was a grandson of Countess Beatrice II of Burgundy. By his father, he was descended from another branch of the Counts of Burgundy.Upon his father's death in 1266/1267, he became...

, son of Hugh and Adelaide, was the last of the feudal counts of Burgundy. He married first the daughter of the Count of Bar, then the grandniece of King Louis IX of France
Louis IX of France
Louis IX , commonly Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. He was also styled Louis II, Count of Artois from 1226 to 1237. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was an eighth-generation descendant of Hugh Capet, and thus a member of the House of Capet, and the son of Louis VIII and...

, Countess Mahaut of Artois. This marriage brought the county under French influence. The daughters of Otto IV and Mahaut, Jeanne and Blanche, married respectively Philip V of France
Philip V of France
Philip the Tall was King of France as Philip V and, as Philip II, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne. He reigned from 1316 to his death and was the penultimate monarch of the House of Capet. Considered a wise and politically astute ruler, Philip took the throne under questionable...

 and Charles IV of France
Charles IV of France
Charles IV, known as the Fair , was the King of France and of Navarre and Count of Champagne from 1322 to his death: he was the last French king of the senior Capetian lineage....

, sons of King Philip IV
Philip IV of France
Philip the Fair was, as Philip IV, King of France from 1285 until his death. He was the husband of Joan I of Navarre, by virtue of which he was, as Philip I, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne from 1284 to 1305.-Youth:A member of the House of Capet, Philip was born at the Palace of...

. Jeanne became Queen of France after having been one of the heroines in the Tour de Nesle Affair
Tour de Nesle Affair
The Tour de Nesle Affair was a scandal amongst the French royal family in 1314, during which the three daughters-in-law of King Philip IV of France were accused of adultery, the accusations apparently started by Philip's only daughter, Isabella. The Tour de Nesle was the name of the tower in Paris...

. In that same affair Blanche was found guilty of adultery and was imprisoned for the rest of her life. These events are retold in the historical novel The Accursed Kings by Maurice Druon
Maurice Druon
Maurice Druon was a French novelist and a member of the Académie française.Born in Paris, France, Druon was the nephew of the writer Joseph Kessel, with whom he translated the Chant des Partisans, a French Resistance anthem of World War II, with music and words originally by Anna Marly.In 1948...

.

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 Eudes IV of Burgundy reunited the duchy and the county under his rule, followed by his grandson Duke Philip I
Philip I, Duke of Burgundy
Philip I of Burgundy, also Philip II of Palatine Burgundy, Philip III of Artois, Philip III of Boulogne and Auvergne, nicknamed Philip of Rouvres was Duke of Burgundy from 1350 until his death. Philip was the only son of Philip of Burgundy, heir to the Duchy of Burgundy, and Joanna I, Countess of...

. 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
John II of France
John II , called John the Good , was the King of France from 1350 until his death. He was the second sovereign of the House of Valois and is perhaps best remembered as the king who was vanquished at the Battle of Poitiers and taken as a captive to England.The son of Philip VI and Joan the Lame,...

, while the Imperial county was inherited by Philip's aunt Margaret I, a granddaughter of Count Otto IV. In 1382 she bequested her estates to her son Count Louis II of Flanders
Louis II of Flanders
Louis II of Flanders , also Louis III of Artois and Louis I of Palatine Burgundy, known as Louis of Male, was the son of Louis I of Flanders and Margaret I of Burgundy, and Count of Flanders.On his father's death at the Battle of Crécy in 1346, he inherited the counties of Flanders, Nevers, and...

.

As Louis II left no male heirs, the County of Burgundy was part of the immense dowry of his daughter Margaret
Margaret III, Countess of Flanders
Margaret of Dampierre was Countess of Flanders , Countess of Artois and Countess Palatine of Burgundy and twice Duchess consort of Burgundy...

, which in 1405 was inherited by her husband, 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
House of Valois-Burgundy
The term "Valois Dukes of Burgundy" is employed to refer to the dynasty which began after John II of France granted the Duchy of Burgundy to his youngest son, Philip the Bold...

 until the death of Duke Charles the Bold at the 1477 Battle of Nancy
Battle of Nancy
The Battle of Nancy was the final and decisive battle of the Burgundian Wars, fought outside the walls of Nancy on 5 January 1477 between Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and René II, Duke of Lorraine...

. His cousin King Louis XI of France
Louis XI of France
Louis XI , called the Prudent , was the King of France from 1461 to 1483. He was the son of Charles VII of France and Mary of Anjou, a member of the House of Valois....

 immediately occupied the county, fiercely opposed by Archduke Maximilian I of Habsburg
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...

, the husband of Charles' daughter Mary the Rich
Mary of Burgundy
Mary of Burgundy ruled the Burgundian territories in Low Countries and was suo jure Duchess of Burgundy from 1477 until her death...

. Though defeated at the 1479 Battle of Guinegate
Battle of Guinegate (1479)
The First Battle of Guinegate took place on August 7, 1479. French troops of King Louis XI were defeated by the Burgundians led by Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg...

, the French retained the county, until Louis' successor King Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...

, wishing to be free of conflicts over the county in order to intervene in Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

, again ceded it to Emperor Maximilian and his son Philip I of Castile
Philip I of Castile
Philip I , known as Philip the Handsome or the Fair, was the first Habsburg King of Castile...

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

. With the Netherlands
Habsburg Netherlands
The Habsburg Netherlands was a geo-political entity covering the whole of the Low Countries from 1482 to 1556/1581 and solely the Southern Netherlands from 1581 to 1794...

 the County of Burgundy was held by Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

 until it was finally incorporated into France by the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678.

See also

  • List of counts of Burgundy
  • Kingdom of Burgundy
    Kingdom of Burgundy
    Burgundy is a historic region in Western Europe that has existed as a political entity in a number of forms with very different boundaries. Two of these entities - the first around the 6th century, the second around the 11th century - have been called the Kingdom of Burgundy; a third was very...

  • Kings of Burgundy
  • Duchy of Burgundy
    Duchy of Burgundy
    The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

  • Duke of Burgundy
    Duke of Burgundy
    Duke of Burgundy was a title borne by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy, a small portion of traditional lands of Burgundians west of river Saône which in 843 was allotted to Charles the Bald's kingdom of West Franks...

  • Dukes of Burgundy family tree
    Dukes of Burgundy family tree
    This is a family tree of the Dukes of Burgundy, from the 9th century to 1482.Image:BurgundyDukes.pngrect 174 129 324 169 Richard of Autunrect 407 138 521 166 rect 90 189 184 214 Rainier II of Hainautrect 219 189 271 213...


External links