burgundy countship otto king besancon
FRANCHE COMTE, from 1674 till the great Revolution one of the provinces of France, was bounded on the E. by the principality of Montbeliard or Mompelgard and Switzerland, S. by Bresse, Bugey, and Gex, N. by Lorraine, and W. by the duchy of Burgundy and Champagne. It lay to the west of the Jura, and included the valley of the upper Saone and the greater part of the valley of the Doubs. In earlier history it is usually called the countship of Burgundy or Upper Burgundy ; in later French history, on the other hand, it is frequently mentioned as the count-ship (la Comte) par excellence. The countship probably took its rise in the 10th century as a fief of the kingdom of Burgundy, which was dependent on the empire. It was held in the beginning of the 11th by Otto William, the warlike son of the king of the Lombards ; his son and successor Reinhold or Reiman(' I. ventured to refuse his homage to his suzerain Henry III., and his example was followed about a century afterwards by Reinhold III., who took up a position of independence against the emperor Lothar. In neither case was the attempt to throw off the yoke permitted to succeed, but on the latter occasion at least the prestige of the countship was improved, and according to one theory the honourable title of Free Countship (Freigrafschaft) was then acquired. AfterLotlhar's death Reinhold again refused homage to the emperor Conrad, and though the emperor consequently bestowed his countship on Conrad of Ziihringen, Reinhold was still in actual possession at his death in 1148. His daughter and heiress Beatrii was married to Frederick Barbarossa in 1156; and on her decease in 1185 Frederick bestowed the countship on his third son Otto, and raised Besancon to the rank of a free imperial city. Otto's daughter Beatrix married Duke Otto of Meran, and was succeeded first by their son Otto and afterwards by their daughter Alix. Otto, the son of Alit, offended the emperor Rudolph I., and his city Besancon was consequently besieged by the imperial troops in 1289; but it made a successful defence, and peace was soon afterwards concluded. A treaty was made with Philip the Fair of France, by which Otto's daughter Johanna was to marry Philip of Poitiers the king's second son, and the suzerainty of France was to be recognized by Franche Comte. The marriage took place in due course in 1307, and the importance attached by the king to Ids claims on Franche Comte is shown by the leniency with which the charges against the princess Johanna or Jeanne were enforced when her sisters-in-law were degraded and imprisoned and their paramours tortured and executed. On Philip's death in 1322 the countship passed to Otto IV. duke of Burgundy, and it was successively held by Philip de louvre, Margaret of France, Louis de Male, and Charles the Bold. On Charles's death, Louis XI. of France claimed the protectorate "for the good of the country and the lady of Burgundy, and in favour of the marriage of the dauphin with that lady." By feudal law the countship still held of the empire, being a German and a female fief ; but the states accepted the French protection (February 1477), and the claims of Maximilian were appeased by the promise of the hand of Charles of France for his daughter Margaret. In April, however, a rebellion broke out ; the emperor recalled the people to their allegiance, and the Swiss hastened to support the popular cause. The French were constrained to withdraw ; but in 1479 the Sire de Chaumont invaded the country, captured DUle in spite of a vigorous defence, in which the students of the university displayed a desperate but resultless valour, and forced the people to submit. Besancon, the free imperial city, recognized the French king on the same conditions which it had demanded from the dukes of Burgundy, and promised to pay over half the product of its taxes. The parliament of Dole was transferred to Salins, and the university to Besancon. When Charles VIII, refused to marry Maximilian's daughter, the people of Franche Comte rose in revolt, and the king relinquished his claims by the treaty of Senlis, May 23, 1493. Along with the rest of the domains of the house of Burgundy the eountship was bestowed on Philip, Maximilian's son, and passed to the crown of Spain. As a Spanish territory its position was a peculiar and isolated one ; and it was consequently treated with great leniency by the Spanish Government. It paid a "gratuitous gift" of not more than 200,000 livres every three years, and furnished very few soldiers to the royal army. Under the nominal authority of the governor-general of the Low Countries, it was praetically"governed by the parliament of Dole and a governor chosen from the ranks of its own nobility. In 1668 Louis XIV. cast his eyes on the province, and Conde effected its conquest in fifteen days. On the 14th of February the king swore at Dole to preserve the liberties of the town and province as count palatine of Burgundy, and the parliament issued an edict against those who refused to submit to his authority. By the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, which almost immediately followed, Franche Comte was restored to Spain ; but in 1674 Louis made a new invasion. Besancon was taken after a length. ened siege, at which Vauban and the king were both personally present ; Dole shared the same fate ; and by the 4th of July the whole country was again in the hands of the French. To celebrate the conquest the triumphal arch of the Saint Martin sate at Paris was erected. The countship now became a French province ; its gratuitous donation became a regular impost, which was soon after increased in amount ; and the chief authority was placed in the hands of a governor-general. Instead of three great bailiwicks, as formerly, there were four : - Amont, Aval, Besancon, and Dole - their chief towns being Vesoul, Salins, Besancon, and Dole. See Clerc, Histoire de la franclte Comte.