Upper Burgundy

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Burgundy about 900
  Upper Burgundy, est. 888 (Transjurania + Cty Burgundy)
  Lower Burgundy, est. 879
Burgundy about 1000
  Upper Burgundy
  German stem duchy of Swabia (Alemannia)

Upper Burgundy (also Transjurane Burgundy Bourgogne transjurane, also Transjurania) is the part of Burgundy north of the Jura mountains, that together with the western County of Burgundy from 888 formed the Kingdom of Upper Burgundy, encompassing both sides of the Jura mountains range. The adjective "upper" refers to its location further up the Rhone Valley as distinct from Lower Burgundy (Cisjurania) and also from the Duchy of Burgundy west of the Saône river. Upper Burgundy was reunited with the Kingdom of Lower Burgundy in 933 (see Kingdom of Burgundy), and merged into the Kingdom of Arles (Arelat).

Its area corresponds largely to western Switzerland (the parts west of the Brünig-Napf-Reuss line, including the Romandy, the cantons of Berne, Aargau and Valais) and French région of Franche-Comté, as well as adjacent parts of French départements Haute-Savoie and Ain, and the Aosta Valley which is now in Italy.


Transjurania originally was a duchy of the Carolingian Empire and part of Middle Francia under Emperor Lothair I after the partition by the 843 Treaty of Verdun. Upon Emperor Lothair's death in 855, his son Lothar II subsumed his portion of Upper Burgundy into his Kingdom of Lotharingia and when his brother Charles of Provence died in 863, also gained some northern districts of the deceased's kingdom. Transjurania was then ruled by Hucbert, a scion of the Bosonid dynasty, the younger son of Count Boso the Elder of Arles, and through his sister Teutberga brother-in-law to Lothair II. Hucbert however fell out of favour after Lothair II divorced Teutberga, was defeated at the Battle of Orbe in 864 and replaced by Count Conrad II of Auxerre from the Elder House of Welf, who from 866 ruled Transjurania as a margrave. When Lothair II died in 869, his realm was divided between his uncles Charles the Bald and Louis the German by the 870 Treaty of Meerssen.

Emperor Charles the Fat, son of Louis the German, by 884 had once again reunited all Carolingian territories, except for the Lower Burgundian Kingdom of Provence established by Boso in 879. When Charles was deposed and died in 888, the nobles and leading clergy of Upper Burgundy assembled at St Maurice and elected Count Rudolph of Auxerre, son of Margrave Conrad II from the House of Welf, as king.

  • Rudolph I, King of Upper Burgundy (888–912)

At first, Rudolph tried to reunite the Lotharingian realm of Lothair II, but strong opposition by Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia, King of East Francia, and his son Zwentibold forced him to focus on his territory of Transjurania and the western Franche-Comté. After his death in 912, his widow Guilla (Willa) married Hugh of Arles, King of Lower Burgundy.

  • Rudolph II King of Upper Burgundy (912–933), King of Burgundy (933–937)

Rudolph II in 922 campaigned in the Kingdom of Italy, defeated Berengar of Friuli and was crowned Italian king. His rule was however contested by insurgent nobles, they summoned his stepfather Hugh of Arles, who expelled Rudolph and gained the Iron Crown of Lombardy at Pavia in 926. In 933 Rudolph finally ceded all claims to Italy in favour of Hugh and in return gained the Lower Burgundian kingdom, thus reuniting the two territories. Under the rule of Rudolph's descendants from the Elder House of Welf

The Burgundian kingdom became known as the Kingdom of Arles, which upon the extinction of the line in 1032 was incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire as a third kingdom after Germany and Italy, with the Kings of Germany and Holy Roman Emperors assuming the title of a King of Burgundy.

See also[edit]