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Armagnacs and Burgundians

Armagnacs and Burgundians, opposing factions that fought to control France in the early 15th cent. The rivalry for power between Louis d'Orléans, brother of the recurrently insane King Charles VI, and his cousin John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy, led to Louis's murder in 1407. In the conflicts that followed, the partisans of Charles d'Orléans, son of Louis, were led by Charles's father-in-law, Bernard VII, count of Armagnac, after whom they were named. The followers of the duke of Burgundy, or Burgundians, were allied with members of the lower classes, notably the Cabochiens, who were particularly strong in Paris. Open civil war between the two groups broke out in 1411. John the Fearless at first held control of the government, but in 1413 the Cabochiens were ousted by another Parisian faction and John was forced to flee the city. The Armagnacs came into power and conducted the defense of France against King Henry V of England, who invaded the kingdom in 1415. John gave tacit approval to the invasion. The conflict between Armagnacs and Burgundians thus became part of the Hundred Years War. John took advantage of French defeats to return to Paris and seize the king (1418); in the ensuing massacre of the Armagnacs, Bernard VII and numerous followers were killed. Subsequently John attempted to negotiate with Charles VI's son, the young dauphin (later King Charles VII). During the negotiations John was assassinated (1419). His son and successor, Philip the Good of Burgundy, immediately concluded a treaty with the English (see Troyes, Treaty of), by which he recognized the succession to the French throne of Henry V. This alliance remained in force until 1435 when Philip signed the Treaty of Arras with Charles VII. Although the terms Armagnacs and Burgundians ceased to have their original meanings, the struggle between the French crown and Burgundy continued until the death (1477) of Charles the Bold of Burgundy.

See study by C. A. Armstrong (1983).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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