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Duchy of Burgundy

Updated: Aug 2, 2021


The Duchy of Burgundy was similar to a modern-day state in France and Germany. The Duchy arose in about the early 900’s. After the collapse of the Kingdom of the Burgundians, it was officially part of the Frankish Empire. The Duchy of Burgundy along with the County of Burgundy (Franche'-Conte) emerged from the remnants of the Frankish Empire. So, the brother of King Henry I of France, Robert, founded the House of Burgundy a cadet branch of Capet dynasty. Upon the death of King Phillip I, the Duchy of Burgundy reverted to John II of France and part of the House of Valois.


This Duchy was important because it acted similar to a “buffer” state between France and the Roman Empire. During the period of Valois Burgundy, the Duchy expanded into the Low Countries and controlled part of the Netherlands. The last Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, fought against Lorraine in the Burgundian Wars and was killed in the Battle of Nancy by a Swiss halberdier (halberd is a pole-like weapon that was used from the 14th to 16th centuries). When he was killed, Burgundy was absorbed into France by King Louis XI. The Burgundian possessions in the Low Countries went to the daughter of Charles the Bold, Mary of Burgundy.


A Swiss halberd like the one one shown below is the type of weapons used in the 14th-16th centuries in the Battle of Nancy where Charles the Bold was defeated.


Below is the Duchy of Burgundy flag. Notice all the rectangles it has.


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