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Bourbonnais (Traditional province, France)

Last modified: 2003-07-05 by ivan sache
Keywords: bourbonnais | bourbon | fleur-de-lys (yellow) |
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[Bourbonnais]by Pierre Gay

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History of Bourbonnais

Bourbonnais was initially called the Borbonensis Ager. The Latin word ager, which gave agriculture and agronomy, designated a cultivated field.

In the Xth century, Adhémar (or Aymard), a lieutnant of the Duke of Aquitaine, founded the first House of Bourbon, which extincted in 1218. Adhémar ceded his own land in Souvigny to the monks of the abbey of Cluny. The tombs of the saint abbeys Mayeul and Odilon attracted a lot of pilgrims in Souvigny, which bacame the heart of a wealthy state.

The Second House of Bourbon lasted until 1272, when Béatrix, the last Bourbon heir, brought Bourbonnais as her dowry to Robert, Count of Clermont, the sixth son of King of France Louis IX (Saint Louis).

Robert, founder of the third House of Bourbon, was recognized Lord of Bourbon in 1283. In 1327, Louis I the Great, Robert's son, was given the Duchy of Bourbon as his apanage. In the XIVth century, Duke Louis II made of Souvigny the princely necropolis.

Charles (1490-1527) was the ninth and last Duke of Bourbon. Bourbonnais was then the last feudal state able to challenge the royal power. Charles fought bravely in the battles of Agnadel (1509) and Marignan (1515) and was appointed Constable by King François I. When Queen Mother Louise de Savoie demanded Bourbonnais as her legacy, the Constable was contacted by Emperor Charles V and signed a secrete treaty with him. When the treaty was reveled, the Constable fled to Franche-Comté and later to Italy, where he was appointed Lieutenant-General of the imperial army. He contributed to the victory of Pavia (1525), during which François I was captured, and attempted to conquer Milanais. He died in 1527 during the seizure of Rome. Bourbonnais, along with Auvergne and all the other possessions of the Constable, was confiscated and incorporated to the royal domain in 1531.

The Bourbon yougest branch (Marche) received the title of Vendôme. Antoine de Bourbon was crowned King of Navarre in 1555, and Henri IV King of France (and Navarre) in 1589. Henri IV's son was Louis XIII, who had himself two sons. The elder son, Louis XIV, was the root of the French branch, which extinceted with the Count of Chambord in 1883; of the Spanish branch, divided in several smaller branches, among which the Royal branches of Spain and of the Two-Sicilies and the Ducal branch of Parma. The younger branch, from the younger son, Philippe, Duke of Orléans, reached the throne of France with Louis-Philippe in 1830, and was the root of the branches of Orléans, Orléans-Bragance (the Brazilian Imperial House), and Montpensier (whose members are Infantes of Spain).

Charles de Bourbon (1523-1590), Cardinal and Archbishop of Rouen, was proclaimed King of France as Charles X by the Holy League (Sainte Ligue) in 1589. The League fought against the royal power from 1576 to 1594. It was led in Paris by Henri I, Duke of Guise, and grouped ultra-catholic princes. The assassination of Guise in Blois in 1588 caused a widespread rebellion against King Henri III. The League could not remained united after Henri III's assassination in 1589. Paris accepted Henri IV as King in 1594 and most provincial leaders of the League rallied the King between 1594 and 1598.

Ironically, the National Assembly of the French Republic gathers in the Palais-Bourbon in Paris. The palace, located on the left bank of the Seine and facing the Concorde Square, was built in 1722 for the Duchess of Bourbon, and modified and increased in the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries.

Ivan Sache, 19 December 2002

Description of the flag

The banner of arms of Bourbonnais is:

D'azur semé de fleurs de lys d'or au bâton de gueules brochant sur le tout (GASO)

In English:

Azure semy de lis or a bend gules (Brian Timms)

These arms were those of the Count of Clermont, and were later used by his son Louis I, the first Duke of the third House of Bourbon.

Ivan Sache, 19 December 2002