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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[clarification needed]. Aymar lived during the reign of Charles the Simple, who in 913 gave him some fiefs on the Allier River in which would become Bourbonnais. He acquired the castle of Bourbon (today Bourbon-l'Archambault). Almost all early lords took the name d'Archambaud, after the palace, but later the family became known as 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. Mathilde 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. The House of Burgundy then acquired Bourbonnais.
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). Thus began the long-lasting House of Bourbon, which would provide kings of France from Henry IV to Louis-Phillipe in 1848, when France abolished its monarchy.
The Bourbons had concluded an alliance with the royal power. They had put their forces at the service of the king, thus benefitting from the geographic position of Bourbonnais, located between the royal fidemesne 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 king Charles (le Bel) elevated Boubonnais to the status of a duchy.
Shields and Armorial Bearings