County of Flanders

Margravate, later County of Flanders

Graafschap Vlaanderen (nl)
Comté de Flandre (fr)
Comitatus Flandriae (la)
862–1794
County of Flanders, 1350, in relation to the Low Countries and the Holy Roman Empire. The county was located where the border between France and the Holy Roman Empire met the North Sea.
County of Flanders, 1350, in relation to the Low Countries and the Holy Roman Empire. The county was located where the border between France and the Holy Roman Empire met the North Sea.
StatusFrench fiefdom
CapitalBruges, later Ghent and Lille
Common languagesOld Frisian, Old Dutch, Middle Dutch, Dutch, Flemish, Old French, Middle French, Picard
Religion
Roman Catholic
Dutch Reformed
GovernmentFeudal monarchy
Count of Flanders 
• 918–958/962–965
Arnulf I
• 1405–1419
John the Fearless
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• Fief granted to Count Baldwin I
862
• Acquired by Duke Philip the Bold
1384
• Merged with the Duchy of Burgundy to become Burgundian Netherlands
1405
Preceded by
Succeeded by
West Francia
Burgundian Netherlands

The County of Flanders (Dutch: Graafschap Vlaanderen, French: Comté de Flandre) was a historic territory in the Low Countries.

From 862 onwards the Counts of Flanders were among the original twelve peers of the Kingdom of France. For centuries their estates around the cities of Ghent, Bruges and Ypres formed one of the most affluent regions in Europe.

Up to 1477, the area under French suzerainty was located west of the Scheldt River and was called "Royal Flanders" (Dutch: Kroon-Vlaanderen, French: Flandre royale). Aside from this the Counts of Flanders from the 11th century onward also held land east of the river as a fief of the Holy Roman Empire, an area called "Imperial Flanders" (Rijks-Vlaanderen or Flandre impériale). Part of the Burgundian Netherlands from 1384, the county was finally removed from French to Imperial control after the Peace of Madrid in 1526 and the Peace of the Ladies in 1529.

In 1795 the remaining territory within the Austrian Netherlands was incorporated by the French First Republic and passed to the newly established United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815. The former County of Flanders, except for French Flanders, is the only part of the medieval French kingdom that is not part of modern-day France.

Etymology

Flanders and Flemish (Dutch: Vlaanderen, Vlaams) are likely derived from the Frisian *flāndra and *flāmisk (in Old Frisian flamsk), the roots of which are Germanic *flaumaz meaning "overflow, flooding". The coastal area of Flanders was flooded twice per day from the 3rd century to the 8th century by the North Sea at the time when the coast was frequently visited by Frisian (cattle) traders and probably largely inhabited by Frisians.

The Flemish people are first mentioned in the biography of Saint Eligius (ca. 590–660), the Vita sancti Eligii. This work was written before 684, but only known since 725. This work mentions the "Flanderenses", who lived in "Flandris."

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