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An apanage or appanage is the grant of an estate, titles, offices, or other things of value to the younger male children of a sovereign, who under the system of primogeniture would otherwise have no inheritance. The system was widespread in much of Europe.

The system of appanage has greatly influenced the territorial construction of Francemarker and the German states in particular and explains the flag of many provinces of France. By extension, appanage also describes the funds given by the state to certain royal families, for instance the annual income given to the Danish Royal Family. For the Mongols, khubi (share) refers to appanage in the Middle ages.

Etymology

Late Latin *appanaticum, from appanare or adpanare 'to give bread' (panis), a pars pro toto for food and other necessities, hence for a "subsistence" income, notably in kind, as from assigned land.

The original appanage: in France

History of the French appanage

An appanage was a concession of a fief by the sovereign to his younger sons, while the eldest son became king on the death of his father. Appanages were considered as part of the inheritance transmitted to the puisne (French puis, "later," + né, "born [masc.]") sons; the word Juveigneur (from the Latin comparartive iuvenior, 'younger [masc.]'; in Brittany's customary law only the youngest brother) was specifically used for the royal princes holding an appanage. These lands could not be sold, neither hypothetically nor as a dowry, and returned to the royal domain on the extinction of the princely line. Daughters were excluded from the system: a now-archaic interpretation of salic law generally prohibited daughters from inheriting land and also from acceding to the throne.

The appanage system was used to sweeten the pill of the primogeniture to avoid civil war among throne contenders or the division of the kingdom among princes of royal blood. It was used in this way in 843, by the Treaty of Verdun, when Louis the Pious divided his empire between his sons Lothair and Louis the German. This division was a source of antagonism between Francemarker and Germanymarker, less so in France, since the treaty was imposed on Lothair by Louis.

Hugh Capet was elected King of France on the death of Louis V in 987. The royal line of France from 987 to 1328 broke entirely away from the Merovingian and Carolingian custom of dividing the kingdom among all the sons. The eldest son alone became King and received the royal domain except for the appanages. Most of the Capetians endeavored to add to the royal domain by the incorporation of additional fiefs, large or small, and thus gradually obtained the direct lordship over almost all of France.

King Charles V tried to remove the appanage system, but in vain. Provinces conceded in appanage tended to become de facto independent and the authority of the king was recognized there reluctantly. Theoretically appanages could be reincorporated into the royal domain but only if the last lord had no male heirs. Kings tried as much as possible to rid themselves of the most powerful appanages: for example, Francis I confiscated the Bourbonnais, the last appanage of any importance then, after the treason in 1523 of his commander in chief, Charles III, Duke of Bourbon, the 'constable of Bourbon' (died 1527 in the service of Emperor Charles V).

The first article of the Edict of Moulins (1566) declared that the royal domain (defined in the second article as all the land controlled by the crown for more than ten years) could not be alienated, except in two cases: by interlocking, in the case of financial emergency, with a perpetual option to repurchase the land; and to form an appanage, which must return to the crown in its original state on the extinction of the male line. The apanagist (incumbent) therefore could not separate himself from his appanage in any way.

  • After Charles V of France, a clear distinction had to be made between titles given as names to children in France, and true appanages. At their birth the French princes received a title independent of an appanage. Thus, the Duke of Anjou, son of Louis XIV, never possessed Anjou and never received any revenue from this province. The king waited until the prince had reached adulthood and was about to marry before endowing him with an appanage. The goal of the appanage was to provide him with a sufficient income to maintain his noble rank. The fief given in appanage could be the same as the title given to the prince, but this was not necessarily the case. Only seven appanages were given from 1515 to 1789.


  • Appanages were abolished in 1792 before the proclamation of the Republic. The youngest princes from then on were to receive a grant of money but no territory.
  • Appanages were reestablished under the first French empire by Napoleon Bonaparte and confirmed by the Bourbon restoration-king Louis XVIII. The last of the appanges, the OrlĂ©anais, was reincorporated to the French crown when the Duke of Orleans, Louis-Philippe, became king of the French in 1830.


  • The word apanage is still used in French figuratively, in a non-historic sense: “to have appanage over something” is used, often in an ironic and negative sense, to claim exclusive possession over something. For example, “cows have appanage over prions.”


List of major French appanages



Although Napoleon restored the idea of apanage in 1810 for his sons, none were ever granted, nor were any new apanages created by the restoration monarchs.

Western feudal Appanages outside France

English and British appanages

Englishmarker and Britishmarker monarchs frequently granted appanages to younger sons of the monarch. Most famously, the Houses of York and Lancaster, whose feuding over the succession to the English throne after the end of the main line of the House of Plantagenet caused the Wars of the Roses, were both established when the Duchies of York and Lancaster were given as appanages for Edmund of Langley and John of Gaunt, the younger sons of King Edward III.

True appanages have not existed in England since the accession of the House of Tudor in 1485. Titles have continued to be granted to junior members of the royal family, but without associated grants of land directly connected with those titles, or any territorial rights over the places named in the titles.

Kingdom of Jerusalem

In the only crusader state of equal rank in protocol to the states of Western Europe, the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Jaffa and Ascalon was often granted as an appanage.

Equivalents outside Western Europe

The practice is certainly not unique to western feudalism
  • The principalities of European Russia had a similar practice; an apanage given to a younger male of the royal family was called an udel. The frequency and importance of the custom was particularly important between the mid 13th and the mid 15th centuries; some historians refer to this era as "the appanage period."
  • In the Indian subcontinent, the jagir (a type of fief) was often thus assigned to individual junior relatives of the ruling house of a princely state, but not as a customary right of birth, though in practice usually hereditarily held, and not only to them but also to commoners, normally as an essentially meritocratic grant of land and taxation rights (guaranteeing a 'fitting' income, in itself bringing social sway, in the primary way in a mainly agricultural society), or even as part of a deal.
  • The Senior most female in the Travancore Royal Family held the estate of Attingalmarker, also known as the Sreepadam Estate in appanage for life. All the income derived from this 15,000 acre estate was the private property of the Senior Maharani, alternatively known as the Senior Rani of Attingal (Attingal Mootha Thampuran).


Appanage system of the Mongol Empire and Mongolian monarchs

The royal family of the Mongol Empire owned the largest appanages in the world because of their largest-land empire. In 1206, Genghis Khan gave large lands with people as share to his family and loyal companions, of whom most were people of common origin. Shares of booty were distributed much more widely. Empresses, princesses and meritorious servants, as well as children of concubines, all received full shares including war prisoners. For example, Kublai called 2 siege engineers from the Ilkhanate in Middle East, then under the rule of his nephew Abagha. After the Mongol conquest in 1238, the port cities in Crimeamarker paid the Jochids custom duties and the revenues were divided among all Chingisid princes in Mongol Empire accordance with the appanage system. As loyal allies, the Kublaids in East Asia and the Ilkahnids in Persia sent clerics, doctors, artisans, scholars, engineers and administrators to and received revenues from the appanages in each other's khanates.

The Great Khan Mongke divided up shares or appanages in Persiamarker and made redistribution in Central Asia in 1251-1256. Although Chagatai Khanate was the smallest in its size, Chagatai Khans owned Kat and Khivamarker towns in Khorazm, few cities and villages in Shanximarker and Iranmarker in spite of their nomadic grounds in Central Asia. First Ilkhan Hulegu owned 25,000 households of silk-workers in China, valleys in Tibet as well as pastures, animals, men in Mongolia. His descendant Ghazan of Persia sent envoys with precious gifts to the Great Khan Temur Khan to request his great-grandfather's shares in the Great Yuanmarker in 1298. It is claimed that Ghazan received his shares that were not sent since the time of Mongke Khan.

The appanage holders demanded excessive revenues and freed themselves from taxes. Ogedei decreed that nobles could appoint darughachi and judges in the appanages instead of direct distribution without the permission of Great Khan thanks to genius Khitan minister Yelu Chucai. Kublai Khan continued Ogedei's regulations somehow, however, both Guyuk and Mongke restricted the autonomy of the appanages before. Ghazan also prohibited any misfeasence of appanage holders in Ilkhanate and Yuan councillor Temuder restricted Mongol nobles' excessive rights on the appanages in China and Mongolia. Kublai's successor Temur abolished imperial son in law Goryeomarker King Chungnyeol's 358 departments which caused financial pressures to Korean people, though, Mongols gave them some autonomy.

The appanage system was severely affected beginning with the civil strife in the Mongol Empire in 1260-1304. Nevertheless, this system survived. For example, Abagha of the Ilkhanate allowed Mongke Temur of the Golden Horde to collect revenues from silk-workshops in northern Persia in 1270 and Baraq of the Chagatai Khanate sent his Muslim vizier to Ilkhanate, ostensibly to investigate his appanages there (The vizier's main mission was to spy on the Ilkhanids in fact) in 1269. After a peace treaty declared among Mongol Khans: Temur, Duwa, Chapar, Tokhta and Oljeitu in 1304, the system began to see a recovery. During the reign of Tugh Temur, Yuan court received a third of revenues of the cities of Mawarannahr under Chagatai Khans while Chagatai elites such as Eljigidey, Duwa Temur, Tarmashirin were given lavish presents and sharing in the Yuan Dynasty's patronage of Buddhist temples. Tugh Temur was also given some Russian captives by Chagatai prince Changshi as well as Kublai's future khatun Chabi had servant Ahmad Fanakati from Ferghanamarker valley before her marriage. In 1326, Golden Horde started sending tributes to Great Khans of Yuan Dynasty again. By 1339, Ozbeg and his successors had received annually 24 thousand ding in paper currency from their Chinese appanages in Shanxi, Cheli and Hunanmarker. H.H.Howorth noted that Ozbeg's envoy required his master's shares from the Yuan court, the headquarter of the Mongol world, for the establishment of new post stations in 1336. This communication ceased only with the break up, succession struggles and rebellions of Mongol Khanates.

After the fall of the Mongol Empire in 1368, the Mongols continued the tradition of appanage system. The Mongoliansmarker were divided into districts ruled by hereditary noblemen. The units in such systems were called Tumen and Otog in Post-imperial Mongolia. However, the Oirats called their appanage unit ulus or anggi. Appanages were called banners (Khoshuu) under the Qing Dynastymarker.

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