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The Duchy of Burgundy existed from 1032 as a successor of an ancient and prestigious patrimony and a large division of the lands of the Kingdom of the Burgundians. The duchy roughly conforms to the borders and territories of the modern region of Burgundy, but its dukes came to own considerable possession of numerous French and Imperial fiefs further north in the Low Countries collectively known as the Burgundian Netherlands. In its own right, it was one of the larger ducal territories that existed at the time of the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe, reminiscent of the Middle Frankish realm of Lotharingia.

The French remnants of the Burgundian kingdom were demoted to a ducal rank by King Robert II of France in 1004 and in 1032 awarded to the House of Burgundy as a cadet branch inheritance via Salic law – other portions had passed to the Imperial Kingdom of Arles and the Free County of Burgundy. From 1363 the duchy was ruled by a succession of the Valois Burgundy dukes. Their extinction with the death of Charles the Bold in the 1477 Battle of Nancy led to the absorption of the duchy itself into the French crown lands by King Louis XI, while the Burgundian possessions in the Low Countries passed to the Habsburg Archduke Maximilian I of Austria by his marriage with Charles' daughter Mary the Rich.

Even in its diminished size as it existed in the Early Modern Period, the Burgundian heritage that was divided between two heirs played a pivotal role in Europe's politics long after it lost its role as an independent political identity, due to marriages and wars over the territories between princes who were related to its former rulers. With the abdication of the Habsburg emperor Charles V (Charles I as King of Spain) in 1556, the Burgundian Netherlands passed to the Spanish Empire of King Philip II. During the Dutch Revolt or Eighty Years War (1568–1648), the northern provinces of the Low Countries gained their independence from Spanish rule and formed the Dutch Republic (today the Netherlands), while the southern provinces remained under Spanish rule and were known as the Spanish Netherlands or Southern Netherlands (corresponding roughly to present day Belgium, Luxembourg, and the areas in France corresponding to the Nord department and part of the Pas-de-Calais department).

Philip III[]


Philip the Good was Duke of Burgundy as Philip III from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty (the then Royal family of France). During his reign Burgundy reached the apex of its prosperity and prestige and became a leading center of the arts. Philip is known in history for his administrative reforms, patronage of Flemish artists such as Jan van Eyck, of Franco-Flemish composers such as Gilles Binchois, and the capture of Joan of Arc. During his reign he alternated between English and French alliances in an attempt to improve his dynasty's position. Moreover, as ruler of Flanders, Brabant, Limburg, Artois, Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland, Friesland and Namur, he played an important role in the history of the Low Countries.

Unique Components[]


A herald, or, more correctly, a herald of arms, is an officer of arms. Heralds have been employed by kings and large landowners, principally as messengers and ambassadors. Heralds were required to organise, announce and referee the contestants at a tournament. The science of heraldry became increasingly important and further regulated over the years, and in several countries around the world it is still overseen by heralds. Thus the primary job of a herald today is to be an expert in coats of arms. In the United Kingdom heralds are still called upon at times to read proclamations publicly; for which they still wear tabards emblazoned with the royal coat of arms.

Cloth Hall[]

A cloth hall or linen hall is a historic building located in the centre of the main marketplace of a European town. Cloth halls contained trading stalls, particularly for the selling of cloth but also leather, wax, salt, and exotic imports such as spices and silk. They were prominent from mediaeval times until the 17th century.