|French and Imperial fiefdom|
Burgundian possessions in the Low Countries in 1477, known as "Pays d'Embas" (lands down here).
|Languages||Dutch, Low Saxon, Frisian, Walloon, Luxembourgish, French|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands (French: Pays-Bas Bourguignons, Dutch: Bourgondische Nederlanden, Luxembourgish: Burgundeschen Nidderlanden, Walloon: Bas Payis bourguignons) were a number of Imperial and French fiefs ruled in personal union by the House of Valois-Burgundy and their Habsburg heirs in the period from 1384 to 1482. The area comprised large parts of present-day Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as Luxembourg and parts of northern France.
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
- Philip the Bold (1384–1404), son of King John II of France, by his wife Margaret III of Flanders
- John the Fearless (1404–1419), son
- Philip the Good (1419–1467), son
- Charles the Bold (1467–1477), son
House of Valois, titular Duchess of Burgundy
House of Habsburg, titular Dukes of Burgundy (see Habsburg Netherlands)
- Philip the Handsome (1482–1506), Mary's son; Maximilian I, his father, as regent (1482–1493)
- Charles V (1506–1555), Philip's son; Margaret of Austria, regent (1507–1515) and (1519–1530)
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
Social and economic
- Roman foederati
- The Chamavi merged into the confederation of the Franks; the Tubanti merged into the confederation of the Saxons.
- Roman foederati
- Roman foederati
- Part of East Francia after 939, divided in Upper Lorraine (as part of West Francia) and Lower Lorraine (as part of East Francia) in 959.
- Lower Lorraine — also referred to as Lothier — disintegrated into several smaller independent territories and only the title of a "Duke of Lothier" remained, held by Brabant.
- Lordship of Frisia and Lordship of Groningen (including the Ommelanden) after 1524 and 1536 respectively.
- Including County of Zeeland, that was ruled by neighboring County of Holland and County of Flanders (until 1432).
- Utrecht included Lordship of Overijssel (until 1528), County of Drenthe (until 1528) and County of Zutphen (until 1182).
- Duchy of Brabant included since 1288 also the Duchy of Limburg (now part of the Belgian Province of Liège) and the "Overmaas" lands Dalhem, Valkenburg and Herzogenrath (now part of the Dutch Province of Limburg).
- The county, later duchy, of Guelders consisted of four quarters, as they were separated by rivers: situated upstream Upper Quarter (the present day northern half of the Dutch province of Limburg), spatially separated from the three downstream Lower Quarters: County of Zutphen (after 1182), Veluwe Quarter and Nijmegen Quarter. The three lower quarters emerged from the historic gau Hamaland (named after the Chamavi tribe), and formed the present day province of Gelderland. Guelders did not include the Cleves enclave Huissen and the independent counties of Buren and Culemborg, that were much later seceded to the province of Gelderland.
- Including County of Artois (part of Flanders until 1237) and Tournaisis.
- Throughout the Middle Ages, the bishopric was further expanded with the Duchy of Bouillon in 1096 (ceded to France in 1678), the acquisition of the county of Loon in 1366 and the county of Horne in 1568. The Lordship of Mechelen was also part of the Prince-Bishopric of Liège.
- The name Seventeen Provinces came in use after the Habsburg emperor Charles V had re-acquired the Duchy of Guelders, and an continuous territory arose.
- Wim Blockmans, "De samenstelling van de staten van de Bourgondische landsheerlijkheden omstreeks 1464", Standen en Landen 47 (1968), pp. 57-112.
- Henk van Nierop (2009). Treason in the Northern Quarter: War, Terror, and the Rule of Law in the Dutch Revolt. Princeton U.P. p. 25.
- Panofsky, Erwin (1947). Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- Prevenier, W.; Blockmans, W. (1986). The Burgundian Netherlands. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-30611-6.
- Metropolitan Museum: "Burgundian Netherlands: Court Life
- Metropolitan Museum: "Burgundian Netherlands: Private Life