Duke of Burgundy

Duke of Burgundy (French: duc de Bourgogne) was a title used by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy, from its establishmemt in 843 to its annexation by France in 1477, and later by Habsburg sovereigns of the Low Countries (1482-1556).

Duchy of Burgundy

Creation date880
PeeragePeerage of France
First holderRichard the Justiciar
Last holder
Extinction date
  • 5 January 1477 (fief)
  • 22 March 1761 (courtesy title)

The Duchy of Burgundy a small portion of traditional lands of Burgundians west of river Saône which in 843 was allotted to Charles the Bald's kingdom of West Franks. Under the Ancien Régime, the Duke of Burgundy was the premier lay peer of the kingdom of France. Beginning with Robert II of France, the title was held by the Capetians, the French royal family. It was granted to Robert's younger son, Robert, who founded the House of Burgundy. When the senior line of the House of Burgundy became extinct, it was inherited by John II of France through proximity of blood. John granted the duchy as an appanage for his younger son, Philip the Bold. The Valois Dukes of Burgundy became dangerous rivals to the senior line of the House of Valois.

When the male line of the Valois Dukes of Burgundy became extinct in 1477, the Duchy of Burgundy was confiscated by Louis XI of France. The title Duke of Burgundy passed to Habsburg monarchs via marriage. The Habsburgs used it to have a claim on Burgundy proper and to rule their Burgundian Inheritance. Today, the title is used by the House of Bourbon as a revived courtesy title.

List of Dukes of Burgundy

Bosonid dynasty (880–956)

The first margrave (marchio), later duke (dux), of Burgundy was Richard of the House of Ardennes, whose duchy was created from the merging of several regional counties of the kingdom of Provence which had belonged to his brother Boso.

His descendants and their relatives by marriage ruled the duchy until its annexation over a century later by the French crown, their suzerain.

Robertian dynasty (956–1002)

House of Ivrea (1002–1004)

House of Capet (1004–1032)

In 1004, Burgundy was annexed by the king, of the House of Capet. Otto William continued to rule what would come to be called the Free County of Burgundy. His descendants formed another House of Ivrea.

  • Robert (1004–1016) (also king of the Franks as Robert II)
  • Henry (1016–1032) (also king of the Franks as Henry I)

House of Burgundy (1032–1361)

Robert, son of Robert II of France, received the Duchy as a peace settlement, having disputed the succession to the throne of France with his brother Henry.

Picture Name Birth Became Duke Ruled until Death Notes Arms
Robert I the Old
(Robert Ier le Vieux)
1011103221 March 1076Younger son of Robert II of France.
Hugh I
(Hugues Ier)
105721 March 1076107929 August 1093Eldest son of Henry of Burgundy, grandson of Robert I. Abdicated in favour of his younger brother, Odo.
Odo I Borel the Red
(Eudes Ier Borel le Roux)
1058107923 March 1103Younger brother of Hugh I.
Hugh II
(Hugues II)
108423 March 11031143Son of Odo I
Odo II
(Eudes II)
1118114327 June/27 September 1162Eldest son of Hugh II
Hugh III
(Hugues III)
114227 June/27 September 116225 August 1192Eldest son of Odo II
(Eudes III)
116625 August 11926 July 1218Eldest son of Hugh III
Hugh IV
(Hugues IV)
9 March 12136 July 121827 October 1271Eldest son of Odo III
Robert II
(Robert II)
124827 October 127121 March 1306Eldest surviving son of Hugh IV.
Hugh V
(Hugues V)
128221 March 13069 May 1315Eldest son of Robert II.
Odo IV
(Eudes IV)
12959 May 13153 April 1350Younger brother of Hugh V.
Philip I of Rouvres
(Philippe Ier de Rouvres)
13463 April 135021 November 1361Grandson of Odo IV.

House of Valois-Burgundy (1363–1482)

John II of France, the second Valois king, successfully claimed the Duchy after the death of Philip, the last Capet duke. John then passed the duchy to his youngest son Philip as an apanage.

Picture Name Birth Became Duke Ruled until Death Notes Arms
Philip II the Bold
(Philippe II le Hardi)
15 January 13426 September 136327 April 1404Youngest son of John the Good
John I the Fearless
(Jean I sans Peur)
28 May 137127 April 140410 September 1419Eldest son of Philip the Bold
Philip III the Good
(Philippe III le Bon)
31 July 139610 September 141915 June 1467Eldest son of John the Fearless
Charles I the Bold
(Charles Ier le Téméraire)
21 November 143315 June 14675 January 1477Eldest son of Philip the Good
Mary the Rich13 February 14575 January 147727 March 1482Only daughter of Charles the Bold

House of Habsburg (1482–1700)

In 1477, the territory of the Duchy of Burgundy was annexed by France. In the same year, Mary married Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, giving the Habsburgs control of the remainder of the Burgundian Inheritance.

Although the territory of the Duchy of Burgundy itself remained in the hands of France, the Habsburgs remained in control of the title of Duke of Burgundy and the other parts of the Burgundian inheritance, notably the Low Countries and the Free County of Burgundy in the Holy Roman Empire. They often used the term Burgundy to refer to it (e.g. in the name of the Imperial Circle it was grouped into), until the late 18th century, when the Austrian Netherlands were lost to French Republic. The Habsburgs also continued to claim Burgundy proper until the Treaty of Cambrai in 1529, when they surrendered their claim in exchange for French recognition of Imperial sovereignty over Flanders and Artois.

Picture Name Birth Became Duke Ruled until Death Notes Arms
Philip IV the Handsome
(Philippe IV le Beau)
22 July 147822 February 148225 September 1506Eldest son of Duchess Mary by Maximilian of Habsburg
Charles II24 February 150025 September 150616 January 155621 September 1558Eldest son of Philip the Handsome. Also Charles I of Aragon and Castile, and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V

House of Bourbon, claimants of the title (1682–1713)

House of Habsburg (1713–1918)

House of Bourbon, revived title (1975–present)

See also

Further reading

  • Calmette, Joseph. Doreen Weightman, trans. The Golden Age of Burgundy; the Magnificent Dukes and Their Courts. New York: W.W. Norton, 1962.
  • Chaumé, Maurice. Les Origines du Duché de Bourgogne. 2v. in 4 parts. Dijon: Jobard, 1925 (Darmstadt: npub, 1977).
  • Michael, Nicholas. Armies of Medieval Burgundy 1364–1477. London: Osprey, 1983. ISBN 0-85045-518-9.
  • Vaughan, Richard. Valois Burgundy. London: Allen Lane, 1975. ISBN 0-7139-0924-2.
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