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Kingdom of Burgundy: Wikis

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The "First Kingdom" of the Burgundians
Burgundy as part of the Frankish Empire between 534 and 843

Burgundy is a region of Western Europe which has existed as a political entity in a number of forms with very different boundaries. Two of these entities have been called the Kingdom of Burgundy, and a third Kingdom of Burgundy was very nearly created.

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First and second Kingdoms of Burgundy

  • The territory ruled by the Kings of the Burgundians (an East Germanic tribe) between the late 4th century and the 530s, when the Burgundians were conquered by the Franks, is sometimes called the First Kingdom of Burgundy.
  • The second Kingdom of Burgundy, also called the Kingdom of Arles (alternatively spelled as Kingdom of Arelat), existed from 933 to 1378. It occupied some of the lands of the former kingdom of Middle Francia, the central slice created by the three way division of the Frankish Empire by the Treaty of Verdun (843). It was created by the unification of Upper Burgundy (which was centred in what is now western Switzerland, and included some neighbouring territories now in France and Italy), and Lower Burgundy (which covered a large part of what is now the south eastern corner of France). This second Kingdom of Burgundy was absorbed into the Holy Roman Empire under Conrad II in 1032, as the Kingdom of Arles. It was one of the three kingdoms within the medieval Empire, the others being the Kingdom of Germany and the Kingdom of Italy. The Kingdom of Burgundy or Arles gradually lost its territorial integrity, and it ceased to exist in 1378, when the remnants were absorbed by France.

Other entities called Burgundy

The Duchy of Burgundy was a feudal fief within the Kingdom of France. It roughly conforms to the modern French region of Bourgogne.

The Free County of Burgundy was an entity within the Holy Roman Empire from 867 to 1678, since when it has been the French region (originally province) of Franche-Comté.

The Burgundian lands, and the failed proposal to create a third Kingdom of Burgundy

The House of Burgundy was a dynasty that ruled the Duchy of Burgundy from 1032 to 1361, and the Free County of Burgundy from 1330, when the wife of Eudes IV inherited it from her mother, until 1361. It did not rule the Kingdom of Burgundy.

From 1361 to 1477 both the Duchy of Burgundy and the Free County of Burgundy were ruled by a cadet branch of the House of Valois (see Dukes of Burgundy). By the mid-15th century this dynasty also ruled most of the provinces in the Low Countries, making it one of the most powerful ruling houses in Western Europe. The territories of the House of Valois-Burgundy in the Low Countries were never part of Burgundy proper, but the combined territories of the ruling house are sometimes referred to as the Burgundian Lands or the Burgundian Netherlands. However all of these lands were notionally held by the House of Valois-Burgundy as feudal vassals of either the King of France or the Holy Roman Emperor. Duke Charles the Bold conceived the project of combining his territories into a kingdom of Burgundy with himself as its fully independent monarch, and even persuaded the Emperor Frederick to assent to crown him king at Trier. The ceremony, however, did not take place owing to the Emperor's precipitate flight by night (September 1473), occasioned by his displeasure at the Duke's attitude.

See also


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