County of Flanders

County Of Flanders

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County of Flanders

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The County of Flanders (, ) was one of the territories constituting the Low Countries. The county existed from 862 to 1795. It was one of the original secular fiefs of France and for centuries was one of the most affluent regions in Europe.

The area under the French crown was located completely west of the Scheldt river and was called "Royal Flanders" (Kroon-Vlaanderen). This fief was finally removed from French control after the Peace of Madrid in 1526 and the Peace of Ladies in 1529. Aside from this the count of Flanders also held land east of the Scheldt river from the 11th century on, as a fief of the Holy Roman Empire; this area was called "Imperial Flanders" (Rijks-Vlaanderen). Except for French Flanders, Flanders is the only part of the medieval French kingdom that is not part of modern day France.


Flanders and Flemish (Dutch: Vlaanderen and Vlaams) ultimately go back to unattested Frisian *flāndra and *flāmisk (seen in Old Frisian flamsk ‘Fleming’), the roots of which are Germanic *flaumaz meaning "overflow, flooding". This etymology is appropriate since the coastal area of Flanders was flooded twice per day from the 3rd century to the 8th century by the North Sea at a time when the coast was 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...
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