County of Artois

The County of Artois (French: comté d'Artois, Dutch: graafschap Artesië) was a historic province of the Kingdom of France, held by the Dukes of Burgundy from 1384 until 1477/82, and a state of the Holy Roman Empire from 1493 until 1659.

County of Artois
Comté d'Artois (fr)
Graafschap Artesië (nl)
Comitatus Artesiae  (Latin)
Coat of arms
County of Artois (1350)
StatusFiefdom of France, then
State of the Holy Roman Empire (1493–1659)
CapitalArras (Atrecht)
Common languagesOld Dutch, Middle Dutch, French
GovernmentFeudal County
Count of Artois 
Robert I (first)
John the Fearless (last)
Historical eraMiddle Ages
 To France as dowry
28 April 1180
 Count Robert I
 Part of Burgundy
 Passed to Habsburg
    Burgundian Circle
5 November 1659
21 September 1792
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of France
Kingdom of France
Burgundian Netherlands
Today part ofFrance
Blaeu: Artesia Comitatus, 1645

Present Artois lies in northern France, on the border with Belgium. Its territory has an area of around 4000 km² and a population of about one million. Its principal cities are Arras (Atrecht), Calais (Kales), Boulogne-sur-Mer (Bonen), Saint-Omer (Sint-Omaars), Lens and Béthune. It forms the interior of the French département Pas-de-Calais.

Originally a feudal county itself, Artois was annexed by the county of Flanders. It came to France in 1180 as a dowry of a Flemish princess, Isabelle of Hainaut, and was again made a separate county in 1237 for Robert, a grandson of Isabelle. Through inheritance, Artois came under the rule of the dukes of Burgundy in 1384. At the death of the fourth duke, Charles the Bold, Artois was inherited by the Habsburgs and passed to the dynasty's Spanish line. After the religious revolts of 1566 in the Netherlands, Artois briefly entered the Dutch Revolt in 1576, participating in the Pacification of Ghent until it formed the Union of Arras in 1579.

After the Union, Artois and Hainaut (Dutch: Henegouwen) reached a separate agreement with Philip II of Spain. Artois remained with the Spanish Netherlands until it was conquered by the French during the Thirty Years War. The annexation was acknowledged during the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, and it became a French province. Artois had already been largely French-speaking, but it was part of the Southern Netherlands until the French annexation.

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