County of Artois

County Of Artois

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County of Artois

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Description:
The County of Artois (, ) was an historic province of the Kingdom of France, held by the Dukes of Burgundy from 1384 until 1477/82, and a state of the Holy Roman Empire from 1493 until 1659.

Present Artois lies in northern France, on the border with Belgium. Its territory has an area of around 4000 km² and a population of about one million. Its principal cities are Arras (Atrecht), Calais (Kales), Boulogne-sur-Mer (Bonen), Saint-Omer (Sint-Omaars), Lens and Béthune. It forms the interior of the French département Pas-de-Calais.

History

Artois originally was a Carolingian lordship (comitatus) established in West Francia. In Roman times, Artois had been situated in the Roman provinces of Belgica and Germania Inferior and inhabited by Celtic tribes, until Germanic peoples replaced them as the Roman Empire waned. The lordship was established by the counts Odalric and Ecfrid of Artois, its territories from 898 on were integrated into the County of Flanders by Count Baldwin II, completed by his son and successor Count Arnulf I.

A new territorial principality of Artois was established in 1180 by the division of the county of Flanders as a dowry given by the Flemish count Philip of Alsace to his niece Isabelle of Hainaut at the time of her marriage to King Philip II of France. Upon Isabelle's death in 1190 it was claimed as a reverted fief by the French crown, which however met with strong opposition by Flanders. After the French crown prince Louis VIII the Lion,...
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