Burgundy ( ; ) is a region
historically situated in modern-day France and Switzerland.
Burgundy was inhabited in turn by Celts
), and in the 4th century assigned
by Romans to the Burgundians
, a Germanic
people, who settled there and
established their own kingdom. This Burgundian kingdom was
conquered in the 6th century by the Franks
who continued the kingdom of Burgundy under their own rule.
Later, the region was divided between the Duchy of Burgundy
(west of Burgundy) and
the County of Burgundy
Burgundy). The Duchy of Burgundy is the more famous of the two, and
the one which reached historical fame. Later, the Duchy of
Burgundy became the French province of Burgundy, while the County
of Burgundy became the French province of Franche-Comté, literally meaning free
modern-day administrative région of Bourgogne comprises most of the former Duchy of
were one of the Germanic peoples
who filled the power vacuum
left by the collapse
the western half of the Roman Empire
In A.D. 411, they crossed the Rhine and
established a kingdom at Worms.
repeated clashes between the Romans and Huns,
the Burgundian kingdom eventually occupied what is today the
borderlands between Switzerland, France, and Italy.
534, the Franks
, the last Burgundian king, and absorbed the
territory into their growing empire.
Burgundy's modern existence is rooted in the dissolution of the
. When the dynastic
succession was settled in the 880s, there were four Burgundies:
Kingdom of Upper Burgundy around
- the Kingdom of Lower Burgundy in
- the Duchy of Burgundy west of
- the County of Burgundy east
of the Saône
The two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Burgundy were reunited in 937
and absorbed into the Holy Roman
in 1032, as the Kingdom of
.The Duchy of Burgundy was annexed by the French throne in
County of Burgundy remained loosely associated with the Holy Roman Empire (intermittently
independent, whence the name "Franche-Comté"), and finally incorporated into France in 1678,
with the Treaties of
Middle Ages, Burgundy was the seat of
some of the most important Western churches and monasteries, among them Cluny, Citeaux, and
Territory of the Duchy of Burgundy
) in 1477 marked in yellow.
During the Hundred Years' War
King John II of France
duchy to his younger son, rather than leaving it to his successor
on the throne. The duchy soon became a major rival to the
French throne, because the Dukes of Burgundy succeeded in
assembling an empire stretching from Switzerland to the North
Sea, mostly by marriage.
territories consisted of a number of fiefdoms on both sides of the
(then largely symbolic) border between the Kingdom of France and
the Holy Roman Empire
economic heartland was in the Low
, particularly Flanders
. The court in Dijon outshone the
French court by far, both economically and culturally.
Belgium and in the south of the Netherlands, a 'Burgundian lifestyle' still means 'enjoyment of
life, good food, and extravagant spectacle'.
In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, Burgundy provided a
power base for the rise of the Habsburgs
after Maximilian of
had married into the ducal family. In 1477 at the
battle of Nancy
during the Burgundian Wars
the last duke Charles the Bold
was killed in battle and
Burgundy itself taken back by France. After the death of
his daughter Mary her husband
Maximilian moved the court first to Mechelen and later to the
palace at Coudenberg, Brussels, and from there ruled the remnants of the empire,
the Low Countries (Burgundian
Netherlands) and Franche-Comté, then still an imperial fief.
territory was ceded to France in the Treaty of Nijmegen
point: Haut-Folin (901m) in the Morvan.
Burgundy joins the Rivers Yonne and Saône, allowing barges to navigate from the north
to south of France.
Construction began in 1765 and was
completed in 1832. At the summit there is a tunnel 3.333 kilometers
long in a straight line. The canal is 400 kilometers long, with a
total 209 locks and crosses two counties of Burgundy, the Yonne and
Cote d'Or. The canal is now mostly used for riverboat tourism; Dijon, the most
important city along the canal, has a harbor.
Burgundy is one of France's main wine
areas. It is well known for both its red
wines, mostly made from Pinot Noir
grapes, respectively, although other
grape varieties can be found, including Gamay
, and Sauvignon Blanc
region is divided into the Côte-d'Or, where the most expensive and prized Burgundies are
found, and Beaujolais, Chablis, the Côte
Chalonnaise and Mâcon.
The reputation and quality of the top wines, together with the fact
that they are often produced in tiny quantities, has led to high
demand and high prices, with some Burgundies ranking among the most
expensive wines in the world.
Famous Burgundian dishes include coq au
, beef bourguignon