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|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (February 2013)|
Bourbonnais (French pronunciation: [buʁbɔnɛ]; Occitan: Borbonés / Barbonés) was a historic province in the centre of France that corresponded to the modern département of Allier, along with part of the département of Cher. Its capital was Moulins.
The title of the ruler of Bourbonnais between 913 and 1327 was Sire de Bourbon (or Seigneur de Bourbon).
The first lord of Bourbonnais known by name was Adhémar (or Aymon I of Bourbon). Aymon's father was Aymar (894-953), sire of Souvigny, his only son with Ermengarde. Aymar lived during the reign of Charles the Simple, who in 913 gave him some fiefs on the Allier River in which was to become Bourbonnais. He acquired the castle of Bourbon (today Bourbon-l'Archambault). Almost all initial lords took the name d'Archambaud, taken from the palace, but later the name to the family became the House of Bourbon.
The first House of Bourbon ended in 1196 with the death of Archambault VII, who had only one heiress, Mathilde of Bourbon, who married Guy II of Dampierre, who added Montlucon to the possessions of the lords of Bourbon, extending to the River Cher during the 11th and 12th centuries.
The second house of Bourbon started in 1218 with Archambault VIII, son of Guy II and Mahaut, and brother of William II of Dampierre. He was followed by his son Archambaut IX, who died in Cyprus in 1249 during a crusade. Bourbonnais was then acquired by the House of Burgundy.
In 1272, Beatrice of Burgundy (1258-1310), Lady of Bourbon, married Robert de France (1256-1318), Count of Clermont, son of king Louis IX (Saint-Louis). It was the beginning of the long-lasting House of Bourbon, providing kings of France from Henry IV through Louis-Phillipe in 1848, when monarchy was abolished in France.
The Bourbons had concluded an alliance with the royal capacity. They had put their forces at the service of the king, thus benefitting from the geographic position of Bourbonnais, located between the royal field and the duchies of Aquitaine and Auvergne. This alliance, as well as the marriage of Béatrix de Bourgogne and Robert de France, aided the rise and prosperity of the province. In 1327, it was set up as a duchy-peerage by king Charles (le Bel).
Shields and Armorial Bearings