Grand dukes of the west: the growth of Valois Burgundy
LE3 .A278 2016
Bachelor of Arts
History & Classics
During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the Valois dukes of Burgundy managed to create for themselves one the most impressive dominions in Europe. Its first ruler, Philip the Bold, was given the duchy of Burgundy by his father, king John II of France, on September 6, 1363. Philip laid the foundation for the future expansion of Burgundy through his marriage to the Countess of Flanders. He also acted as regent of France during Charles VI’s youth and subsequent mental illness. Philip’s position at the court allowed him to divert considerable funds to his personal holdings. Philip’s son, John the Fearless, attempted to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he was unable to exert similar power at the French court due to the ongoing civil war. During his reign John made numerous enemies within France and was eventually himself assassinated by orders of the dauphin. This murder shifted the allegiance of John’s heir, Philip the Good, who turned to the English for an alliance and cut ties with France. Philip spent considerable time in expanding the Burgundian realm and as a result he was soon capable of negotiating over being crowned king, a possibility that could be granted by the Holy Roman Emperor. Although he was not successful in elevating Burgundy to a kingdom, Philip had considerably enhanced Burgundian power. His son Charles the Bold continued along a similar path, but with a more militaristic approach. His hostile attitude gained him numerous enemies and towards the end of his reign he was involved in several conflicts that eventually cost him his life on January 5, 1477, leaving Burgundy without a direct male heir, dividing it between France and the emerging Habsburg dynasty. This thesis shows how the ambitions of the four dukes allowed them to establish a powerful realm, which was eventually destroyed by this same ambition.
The author grants permission to the University Librarian at Acadia University to reproduce, loan or distribute copies of my thesis in microform, paper or electronic formats on a non-profit basis. The author retains the copyright of the thesis.