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Burgundy is a region in the east of France, which rose to prominence during the Hundred Years War. From the late fourteenth to early fifteenth centuries it became one of the major cultural centres of Europe. The region is also famous for its wines, in particular its reds.

Unrelated to the medieval Burgundy, The Shire of Burgandy (note spelling difference) is a regional group in the modern reenactment organization The Adrian Empire.


Burgundy was part of the kingdom of Charlemagne. On his death it was allotted to to Charles the Bald as part of the kingdom of West Franks, which was to become France. The following centuries saw the power of the French crown alternately wax and wain in Burgundy. In the time of Phillip the Bold the Duchy of Burgundy was for all intents and purposes independent.

Tracking the history of Burgundy is complicated by the fact the the Duchy of Burgundy and the Kingdom of Burgundy are different things, the former of which survived, more or less, into the modern age while the latter dissappeared into France, Switzerland and Italy. The Kingdom of Burgundy (or Kingdom of Arles, or Burgundy Arelate - many names seem to have been used over the years) was the area East of the Rhone, including the Counties of Savoy, Provence and Burgundy.

Kingdom of Burgundy

Also known as Kingdom of Arles or The Arelate, in Latin regnum Burgundiae, regnum Arelatense.

The area south of the Rhine and east of the Rhone was settled in the last days of the Roman Empire by the Germanic tribe of Burgundians. From that point the land seems to have been moved around and passed from hand to hand for quite a while, although maintaining a certain continuity of language and culture, perhaps aided by it's predominantly alpine geography. The rules of the Kingdom of Burgundy seem to have been genetically incapable of resisting the temptation to get involved in Italy and Italian politics and war (culminating with the House of Savoy eventually becoming the Royal House of Italy.

This, perhaps, explains why the Kingdom split into Upper and Lower Burgundy and the Duchy of Burgundy was lost to West Francia, never to return.

In any case, the two Kingdoms were united in the early 10th Century by Conrad the Peaceful. About a hundred years later, the Kingdom was absorbed whole hog by the Holy Roman Empire under Conrad II the Salian of East Francia.

Duchy of Burgundy

The Duchy of Burgundy rose to prominence in the early 15th century when John the Fearless began political manouveuring to fill the power vacuum left by the unbalanced King of France, Charles VI. Subsequent Dukes were able to act autonomously of France, and the Duchy became a centre for high fashion, such as music, dance and costume. By the end of the 15th century however Burgundian power had waned and the Duchy was effectively reabsorbed into the French kingdom.

See Also

See Also