In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands (French: Pays-Bas Bourguignons, Dutch: Bourgondische Nederlanden, Luxembourgish: Burgundeschen Nidderlanden, Walloon: Bas Payis borguignons) 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. The area comprised large parts of present-day Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as Luxembourg and parts of northern France.
Burgundian possessions in the Low Countries in 1477, known as pays de par deça (land over here), that under Habsburg rule developed in pays d'embas (lands down here).
|Status||Personal union of Imperial and French fiefs|
|Common languages||Dutch, Low Saxon, West Frisian, Walloon, Luxembourgish, French|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|ISO 3166 code||NL|
A fair share (but not most) of these territories were inherited by the Burgundian dukes, a younger branch of the French royal House of Valois in 1384, upon the death of Count Louis II of Flanders. His heiress, Margaret III of Flanders in 1369 had married Philip the Bold, youngest son of King John II of France and the first of the Valois dukes of Burgundy at Dijon, who thus inherited the County of Flanders. The Flemish comital House of Dampierre had been French vassals, who held territory around the affluent cities of Bruges and Ghent, but also adjacent lands in former Lower Lorraine east of the Scheldt river ("Imperial Flanders") including the exclave of Mechelen, which were a fief of the Holy Roman Empire, and furthermore the neighbouring French County of Artois. Together they initiated an era of Burgundian governance in the Low Countries.
The Dampierre legacy further comprised the French counties of Rethel in northern Champagne and Nevers west of Burgundy proper, both held by Philip's younger son Philip II from 1407, as well as the County of Burgundy (Franche-Comté) east of it, an Imperial fief which had been part of the former Kingdom of Arles.
In the following decades, the Burgundian dukes expanded their territories in the Low Countries by the acquisition of several Imperial States: Duke Philip the Good purchased the County of Namur in 1421, inherited the Duchies of Brabant and Limburg in 1430, and seized the Counties of Hainaut, Holland and Zeeland in 1432, and the Duchy of Luxembourg in 1441. His son, the last Burgundian duke Charles the Bold, in 1473 annexed the Duchy of Guelders, which had been pawned by late Arnold of Egmond.
The Valois era would last until 1477, when Duke Charles the Bold died at the Battle of Nancy leaving no male heir. The territorial Duchy of Burgundy reverted to the French crown according to Salic law, and King Louis XI of France also seized the French portion of the Burgundian possessions in the Low Countries. The Imperial fiefs passed to the Austrian House of Habsburg through Charles' daughter Mary of Burgundy and her husband Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg, son of Emperor Frederick III. Maximilian however regarded the Burgundian Netherlands including Flanders and Artois as the undivided domains of his wife and himself and marched against the French. The conflict culminated at the Battle of Guinegate in 1479. Though Maximilian was victorious, he was only able to gain the County of Flanders according to the 1482 Treaty of Arras after his wife Mary had suddenly died, while France retained Artois.
In her testament, Mary of Burgundy had bequested the Burgundian heritage to her and Maximilian's son, Philip the Handsome. His father, dissatisfied with the terms of the Arras agreement, continued to campaign the seized French territories. In 1493, King Charles VIII of France according to the Treaty of Senlis finally renounced Artois, which together with Flanders was incorporated into the Imperial Seventeen Provinces under the rule of Philip.
The Burgundian dukes who ruled the Burgundian territories were:
House of Valois, territorial Dukes of Burgundy
House of Valois, titular Duchess of Burgundy
House of Habsburg, titular Dukes of Burgundy (see Habsburg Netherlands)
The sheer burden of variety of bishoprics and independent cities, the intensely local partisanship, the various taxation systems, weights and measures, internal customs barriers, fiercely defended local rights were all hindrances to a "good Valois". Attempts at enlarging personal control by the dukes resulted in revolts among the independent towns (sometimes supported by independent local nobles) and bloody military suppression in response. An increasingly modernized central government, with a bureaucracy of clerks, allowed the dukes to become celebrated art patrons and establish a glamorous court life that gave rise to conventions of behavior that lasted for centuries. Philip the Good (1419–1467) extended his personal control to the southeast; bringing Brussels, Namur, and Liège under his control. He channeled the traditional independence of the cities through such mechanisms as the first Estates-General, and consolidating of the region's economy.
The first Estates General of the Burgundian territories met in the City Hall of Bruges on 9 January 1464. It included delegates from the Duchy of Brabant, the County of Flanders, Lille, Douai and Orchies, the County of Artois, the County of Hainaut, the County of Holland, the County of Zeeland, the County of Namur, the Lordship of Mechelen, and the Boulonnais. Up to 1464, the Duke only maintained ties with each of the provincial States separately. In principle, the provincial Estates were composed of representatives of the three traditional estates: clergy, nobility and the Third Estate, but the exact composition and influence of each estate (within the provincial Estates) could differ. Convening an Estates General in which all provincial Estates were represented was part of Philip the Good's policy of centralisation.
From 1441, Philip based his ducal court in Brussels, but Bruges was the world center of commerce, though by the 1480s the inevitable silting of its harbor was bringing its economic hegemony to a close. Philip was a great patron of illuminated manuscripts and court painting reached new highs: Robert Campin, the famous Van Eyck brothers, and Rogier Van der Weyden
In the present-day Netherlands, inhabitants of the culturally Catholic area of Meierij van 's-Hertogenbosch are considered by the other Dutch to have a Burgundian character, meaning that they are supposed to be companionable people who like to party exuberantly.
Admiral of Flanders (1383–1483) and Admiral of the Netherlands (1485–1573) was a title in the medieval Low Countries for the commander of the war fleet.
The title of admiral (from the Arab emir-al-bahr), for naval commanders of ships which protected commercial convoys against piracy, already existed temporary in the different parts of the Low Countries before, but was first made permanent in Flanders by Louis II of Flanders in 1383.
When the Burgundians gained control of the Low Countries, they also created a permanent position of admiral for the rest of the Burgundian Netherlands in 1446.
After the failed Flemish revolt against Maximilian of Austria (1482–1485), both positions were united and Philip of Cleves was appointed as first Admiral of the Netherlands.
With the start of the Dutch Revolt in 1568 and the defeat and imprisonment of the last Admiral Maximilien de Hénin-Liétard in the Battle on the Zuiderzee against the rebels, the position was abolished.Battle of Gavere
The Battle of Gavere was fought near Semmerzake in the County of Flanders (now Belgium) on July 23, 1453, between an army under the Philip the Good of Burgundy and the rebelling city of Ghent. The battle ended the Revolt of Ghent.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 (later to be Emperor) Maximilian of Habsburg. This battle was the first in which the innovative Swiss pike square formation was first employed by a power that was not natively Swiss.Council of Brabant
The Council of Brabant was the highest law court in the historic Duchy of Brabant. It was presided over by the Chancellor of Brabant. One of its functions was to determine that new legislation was not contrary to the rights and liberties established in the Joyous Entry.
The Belgian Federal Parliament now sits in the building that was designed in the late 18th century by Gilles-Barnabé Guimard as the Palace of the Council of Brabant.County of Burgundy
The Free County of Burgundy (French: Franche Comté de Bourgogne; German: Freigrafschaft Burgund) was a medieval county (from 982 to 1678) of the Holy Roman Empire, within the modern region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, whose very name is still reminiscent of the title of its count: Freigraf ('free count', denoting imperial immediacy, 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, a fiefdom of Francia since 843.County of Flanders
The County of Flanders (Dutch: Graafschap Vlaanderen, French: Comté de Flandre) was a historic territory in the Low Countries.
From 862 onwards the Counts of Flanders were one of the original twelve peers of the Kingdom of France. For centuries their estates around the cities of Ghent, Bruges and Ypres formed one of the most affluent regions in Europe.
Up to 1477, the area under French suzerainty was located west of the Scheldt River and was called "Royal Flanders" (Dutch: Kroon-Vlaanderen, French: Flandre royale). Aside from this the Counts of Flanders from the 11th century on also held land east of the river as a fief of the Holy Roman Empire, an area called "Imperial Flanders" (Rijks-Vlaanderen or Flandre impériale). Part of the Burgundian Netherlands from 1384, the county was finally removed from French to Imperial control after the Peace of Madrid in 1526 and the Peace of Ladies in 1529.
In 1795 the remaining territory within the Austrian Netherlands was incorporated by the French First Republic and passed to the newly established United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815. The former County of Flanders, except for French Flanders, is the only part of the medieval French kingdom that is not part of modern-day France.County of Namur
Namur (Dutch: Namen) was a county of the Carolingian and later Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries. Its territories largely correspond with the present-day Belgian arrondissement Namur plus the northwestern part of the arrondissement Dinant, both part of the modern province of Namur, and previously part of the French Republican department of Sambre-et-Meuse.Flemish painting
Flemish painting flourished from the early 15th century until the 17th century, gradually becoming distinct from the painting of the rest of the Low Countries, especially the modern Netherlands. In the early period, up to about 1520, the painting of the whole area is (especially in the Anglophone world) typically considered as a whole, as Early Netherlandish painting. This was dominated by the Flemish south, but painters from the north were also important. Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, of which Antwerp became the centre, covers the period up to about 1580 or later, by the end of which the north and south Netherlands had become politically separated. Flemish Baroque painting was especially important in the first half of the 17th century, dominated by Rubens.
In theory the term does not refer to modern Flanders but to the County of Flanders and neighbouring areas of the Low Countries such as the Tournaisis and Duchy of Brabant. However this distinction, well understood in modern Belgium, has always been disregarded by most foreign observers and writers. Flanders delivered the leading painters in Northern Europe and attracted many promising young painters from other countries. These painters were invited to work at foreign courts and had a Europe-wide influence. Since the end of the Napoleonic era, Flemish painters have again been contributing to a reputation that had been set by the Old Masters.The Franco-Flemish School of musical composition flourished beginning at about the same time.Great Privilege
The Great Privilege was an instrument signed by Mary of Burgundy on 11 February 1477 which reconfirmed a number of privileges to the States General of the Netherlands. Under this agreement, the provinces and towns of Flanders, Brabant, Hainaut, and Holland recovered all the local and communal rights which had been abolished by the decrees of the preceding dukes of Burgundy Charles the Bold and Philip the Good in their efforts to create a centralised state on the French model out of their separate holdings in the Low Countries.Guelders
Guelders or Gueldres (Dutch: Gelre, German: Geldern) is a historical county, later duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the Low Countries.Habsburg Netherlands
Habsburg Netherlands (Dutch: Habsburgse Nederlanden; French: Pays-Bas des Habsbourg), also referred to as Flanders during the early modern period, 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 after the death of the Valois-Burgundy duke Charles the Bold the Burgundian Netherlands fell to the Habsburg dynasty by the marriage of Charles's daughter Mary of Burgundy to Archduke Maximilian I of Austria. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor was born in the Habsburg Netherlands and made the Low Countries (primarily Brussels) the core of his "empire on which the sun never sets".Becoming the Seventeen Provinces in 1549, they were held by the Spanish Empire from 1556, and are therefore also known as the Spanish Netherlands from that time on. In 1581, the Seven United Provinces seceded to form the Dutch Republic; the remaining Spanish Southern Netherlands eventually passed on to Habsburg Austria. Finally, the Austrian Netherlands were annexed by the French First Republic in 1795.Hook and Cod wars
The Hook and Cod wars (Dutch: Hoekse en Kabeljauwse twisten) comprise a series of wars and battles in the County of Holland between 1350 and 1490. Most of these wars were fought over the title of count of Holland, but some have argued that the underlying reason was because of the power struggle of the bourgeois in the cities against the ruling nobility.
The Cod faction generally consisted of the more progressive cities of Holland. The Hook faction consisted for a large part of the conservative noblemen.
The origin of the name "Cod" is uncertain, but is most likely a case of reappropriation. Perhaps it derives from the arms of Bavaria, that look like the scales of a fish. The Hook refers to the hooked stick that is used to catch cod. Another possible explanation is that as a cod grows it tends to eat more, growing even bigger and eating even more, thus encapsulating how the noblemen perhaps saw the expanding middle classes of the time.John the Fearless
John the Fearless (French: Jean sans Peur ; Dutch: Jan zonder Vrees; 28 May 1371 – 10 September 1419) was Duke of Burgundy (the second of the Valois dynasty) as John I from 1404 until his death. A scion of the royal house of France, he played an important role in French affairs during the early 15th century, in particular the struggles to rule the country for the mentally ill King Charles VI (his first cousin) and the Hundred Years' War with England. His rash, unscrupulous, and violent political dealings contributed to the eruption of the Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War in France, and culminated in his 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.Mary of Burgundy
Mary (French: Marie; Dutch: Maria; 13 February 1457 – 27 March 1482), Duchess of Burgundy, reigned over many of the territories of the Duchy of Burgundy, now mainly in France and the Low Countries, from 1477 until her death. As the only child of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Isabella of Bourbon, she inherited the duchy upon the death of her father in the Battle of Nancy on 5 January 1477. Owing to the great prosperity of many of her territories, Mary was often referred to as Mary the Rich.Old University of Leuven
The Old University of Leuven (or of Louvain) is the name historians give to the university, or studium generale, founded in Leuven, Brabant (then part of the Burgundian Netherlands, now part of Belgium), in 1425. The university was closed in 1797, a week after the cession to the French Republic of the Austrian Netherlands and the principality of Liège (jointly the future Belgium) by the Treaty of Campo Formio.
The name was in medieval Latin Studium generale Lovaniense or Universitas Studii Lovaniensis, in humanistical Latin Academia Lovaniensis, and most usually, Universitas Lovaniensis, in Dutch Universiteyt Loven and also Hooge School van Loven.It is commonly referred to as the University of Leuven or University of Louvain, sometimes with the qualification "old" to distinguish it from the Catholic University of Leuven (established 1835 in Leuven). This might also refer to a short-lived but historically important State University of Leuven, 1817–1835. The immediate official and legal successor and inheritor of the old University, under the laws in force in 1797, was the École centrale de Bruxelles, which itself closed down in 1802.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the University of Leuven was until its closure a great centre of Jansenism in Europe, with professors such as Cornelius Jansen, Petrus Stockmans, Johannes van Neercassel, Josse Le Plat and especially Zeger Bernhard van Espen and his famous disciple Johann Nikolaus von Hontheim under the pseudonym Febronius. To shake off this reputation, the faculty of theology thrice declared its adherence to the papal condemnation of Jansenist beliefs in the papal bull Unigenitus (1713).Philip the Good
Philip the Good (French: Philippe le Bon; Dutch: Filips de Goede; 31 July 1396 – 15 June 1467) was Duke of Burgundy as Philip III 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, Burgundy 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, Zeeland, Friesland and Namur, he played an important role in the history of the Low Countries.Revolt of Ghent (1449–53)
The revolt of Ghent was a rebellion by the city of Ghent against the Duchy of Burgundy. It lasted from 1449 to 1453. The rebellion was eventually suppressed by the Burgundians.Timeline of Burgundian and Habsburg acquisitions in the Low Countries
Around the 13th and early 14th century, various Dutch cities became so important that they started playing a major role in the political and economical affairs of their respective fiefs.
At the same time, the political system of relatively petty lords was ending, and stronger rulers (with actual power over larger territories) started to emerge.
In the case of the Dutch, these two developments resulted in the political unification of all Dutch fiefs within a supra-regional state. This process started in the 14th century, with the Flemish cities gaining previously unseen powers over their county.
When Louis II, Count of Flanders, died without a male heir, these cities (Bruges, Ypres, and Ghent) arranged a marriage between his daughter and the Duke of Burgundy. By doing this, they set in motion a chain of events eventually leading to the Burgundian and, in 1482, the Habsburg Netherlands.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.
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