Count of boulogne

County of Boulogne
Comté de Boulogne
896–1501

Coat of arms

Capital Boulogne
Government Monarchy
Historical era Middle Ages
 -  Established by Charlemagne 896
 -  Annexed by Kingdom of France 1501

The County of Boulogne is a historical region of France centred on the city of Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Boulogne was situated in the Roman provinces of Belgica and inhabited by Celtic tribes, until Germanic peoples replaced them and ended roman imperial rule. This area was part of the French province of Artois, until the 15th century when it was annexed by the province of Picardy. It is now a part of the present-day French département of Pas-de-Calais.

History

The city of Boulogne-sur-Mer became the centre of the county of Boulogne in the 9th century. The founder of the dynasty of the counts of Boulogne seems to have been Hernequin of Boulogne, the son of Ragnhart. Records are not clear until the 11th century.

Boulogne later became influential in the history of England, when Eustace II of Boulogne accompanied William the Conqueror's invasion in 1066.

Boulogne was also a major participant in the First Crusade; Eustace III of Boulogne's brothers, Godfrey of Bouillon and Baldwin of Bouillon, both became kings of Jerusalem, and Eustace himself was offered but declined the title.

Count Renaud of Boulogne joined the imperial side at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214, and was defeated by Philip II of France.

Boulogne passed under nominal royal control in 1223 when it was given to Philip II's son Philip Hurepel(the Bristling).[1] Hurepel revolted against Blanche of Castile when Louis VIII of France died in 1226. When Philip Hurepel died in 1235, Matilda continued to reign and in 1238 was married to Alphonse, second son of King Alfonso II of Portugal, and younger brother of King Sancho II of Portugal. Having become Afonso II of Portugal in 1248 and renounced his title of Count of Boulogne, Alfonse divorced her in 1253 due to her barrenness in favour of Beatrice of Castile.

Nevertheless Matilda and Philip did have a son Alberic, and a daughter Joan who both survived. Alberic reportedly renounced his rights and went to England, for unknown reasons. Apparently he survived his mother and died in 1284, but presumably did not leave issue. Joan was married in 1236 to Gaucher de Châtillon, Count of Mortain (d. 1251). She predeceased her mother in 1252, and presumably left no surviving issue.

Consequently, after Matilda, her county of Boulogne then passed to Matilda's niece, Adelaide of Brabant and her husband William X of Auvergne.

Bertrand V de la Tour succeeded to the counties of Auvergne and of Boulogne in 1437. Through his son Bertrand VI de la Tour the County of Boulogne passed to his grandson, the last medieval count of Boulogne: Jean III de la Tour d'Auvergne. By his marriage to Jeanne of Bourbon-Vendôme, he left two daughters:

On the death of Jean III de la Tour d'Auvergne in 1501, Anne inherited the title Countess of Boulogne however at her death the title passed to Madeleine's daughter Catherine de Medici since Madeleine herself had died in 1519. Catherine became Queen of France in 1549 and the title passed to the French crown.

Boulogne was attacked numerous times during the Hundred Years' War and occupied numerous time by the English - the last time from 1544-1550. In 1550 the Peace of Boulogne ended the war between England and France and France bought back Boulogne for 400,000 crowns. (see also the Siege of Boulogne).

References

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