Burgundian Circle


Burgundian Circle

The Burgundian Circle ( _de. Burgundischer Reichskreis) was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire. It was created in 1512.

In addition to the Franche Comté (Free County of Burgundy), the circle roughly covered the Low Countries, i.e. the areas known as the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and two northern districts of France (Artois, Nord).

The Seventeen Provinces were originally united as a personal union by the Dukes of Burgundy of the House of Valois. They later fell to the Austrian (temporarily Spanish) House of Habsburg.

The circle's territorial scope was reduced considerably in the 17th century with the secession of the Seven United Provinces in 1581 and the annexation of the Free County of Burgundy to France in 1678.

The occupation and subsequent annexation of German territory to the west of the Rhine by revolutionary France in the 1790s effectively brought an end to the circle's existence.

Composition

The circle was made up of the following territories:

# the Margraviate of Antwerp, held by the Dukes of Brabant.
# the County of Artois, annexed by France in 1659.
# the Imperial City of Besançon, annexed by France in 1678.
# the Duchy of Brabant.
# the Free County of Burgundy, annexed by France in 1678.
# the County of Drenthe, which seceded to form part of the United Provinces from 1579.
# the County of Flanders.
# the Lordship of West-Frisia, which seceded to form part of the United Provinces from 1579.
# the Lordship of Groningen, which
# the Duchy of Guelders, which, with the exception of Upper Guelders, seceded to form part of the United Provinces from 1579.
# the County of Hainaut.
# the County of Holland, which seceded to form part of the United Provinces from 1579.
# the Duchy of Limburg, held by the Dukes of Brabant.
# the Duchy of Luxembourg.
# the Lordship of Mechelen, held by the Dukes of Brabant.
# the County of Namur.
# the Lordship of Overijssel, which seceded to form part of the United Provinces from 1579.
# Prince-Bishopric, and later Lordship of Utrecht, which seceded to form part of the United Provinces from 1579.
# the County of Zeeland, held by the Counts of Holland; seceded to form part of the United Provinces from 1579.
# the County of Zutphen, held by the Dukes of Guelders; seceded to form part of the United Provinces from 1579.

History

The Seventeen Provinces originated from the Burgundian Netherlands. The dukes of Burgundy systematically became the lord of different provinces. Mary I of Valois, duchess of Burgundy was the last of the House of Burgundy.

When she married Maximilian I of Habsburg, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the provinces were inherited by the House of Habsburg in 1482 . His grandson and successor Charles V of Habsburg, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and duke of Burgundy eventially united all seventeen provinces under his rule, the last one being the duchy of Guelders, in 1543.

Most of these provinces were fiefs under the Holy Roman Empire, of which Charles himself became Emperor. Two provinces, the county of Flanders and county of Artois, were originally French fiefs, but sovereignty was ceded to the Empire in the Treaty of Cambrai in 1529.

The Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 determined that the Provinces should remain united in the future and inherited by the same monarch. Therefore, Charles V introduced the title of "Heer der Nederlanden" (Lord of the Netherlands). Only he and his son ever used this title.

After Charles V's abdication in 1556, his realms became divided between his son, Philip II of Habsburg, king of Spain, and his brother, Ferdinand I. The Seventeen Provinces went to his son, the king of Spain.

Conflicts between Philip II and his Dutch subjects led to the Eighty Years' War, which started in 1568. The seven northern provinces gained their independence as a republic called the Seven United Provinces. They were:

# the Lordship of Groningen and of the Ommelanden
# the Lordship of Friesland
# the Lordship of Overijssel
# the duchy of Guelders (except its upper quarter) and the county of Zutphen
# the prince-bishopric, later lordship of Utrecht
# the county of Holland
# the county of Zeeland

The southern provinces, Flanders, Brabant, Namur, Hainaut, Luxembourg a.o., were restored to Spanish rule thanks to the military and political talent of the Duke of Parma, especially at the siege of Antwerp (1584-1585). Hence, these Provinces became known as the Spanish Netherlands or Southern Netherlands.

The northern Seven United Provinces kept parts of Limburg, Brabant and Flanders during and after the Eighty Years' War ("see Generality Lands"), which was ended with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.

Artois, and parts of Flanders and Hainaut were ceded to France in the course of the 17th and 18th century.

See also

* Seventeen Provinces
* Burgundian Netherlands
* Governors of the Habsburg Netherlands

External links

* [http://www.wazamar.org/Nederlanden/zeventien-prov.htm Map of the Seventeen Provinces] (1555)

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