Burgundian State

The Burgundian State[1] (French: État bourguignon; Dutch: Bourgondische Rijk) is a concept coined by historians to describe the vast complex of territories that is also referred to as Valois Burgundy.[2]

Burgundian State
Above: Ducal banner
Below: Cross of Burgundy
Coat of arms
The Burgundian State at its greatest extent, under Charles the Bold
StatusPersonal union
Common languagesLatin, Middle French, Middle Dutch
Roman Catholicism
Duke of Burgundy 
Philip the Bold
John the Fearless
Philip the Good
Charles the Bold
Mary of Burgundy
Philip the Handsome
Charles V
LegislatureStates General of the Netherlands and Estates of Burgundy
Historical eraLate Middle Ages
 Accession to Flanders
30 January 1384
21 September 1435
5 January 1477
 Mary's death
27 March 1482
 Creation of the Burgundian Circle
Succeeded by
Habsburg Monarchy
Kingdom of France

It developed in the Late Middle Ages under the rule of the Dukes of Burgundy from the French House of Valois and was composed of both French and imperial fiefs (ducal and comital Burgundy and the Burgundian Netherlands). That territorial construction outlasted the properly 'Burgundian' dynasty and the loss of the Duchy of Burgundy itself. As such, it must not be confused with that sole fief.

It is regarded as one of the major powers of the 15th century and the early 16th century. The Dukes of Burgundy were among the wealthiest and the most powerful princes in Europe and were sometimes called "Grand Dukes of the West".[3] Including the thriving regions of Flanders and Brabant, the Burgundian State was a major centre of trade and commerce and a focal point of courtly culture that set the fashion for European royal houses and their court.[4] It nearly turned into a kingdom of its own right, but Charles the Bold's early death at the Battle of Nancy put an end to his Lotharingian dream and his legacy passed to the House of Habsburg through the marriage of his daughter Mary to Maximilian of Austria. Meanwhile Picardy and the Duchy of Burgundy were conquered by the King of France.

The partition of the Burgundian heritage marked the beginning of the centuries-long French–Habsburg rivalry and played a pivotal role in European politics long after Burgundy had lost its role as an independent political identity. With the abdication of Emperor Charles V in 1555, the Burgundian Netherlands passed to the Spanish Empire of King Philip II. During the Dutch Revolt, or the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648), the northern provinces of the Low Countries gained their independence from Spanish rule and formed the Dutch Republic (now the Netherlands). The southern provinces remained under Spanish rule until the 18th century and became known as the Spanish Netherlands, or Southern Netherlands (corresponding roughly to present day Belgium, Luxembourg and northern Hauts-de-France).

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