Charles the Bold

Also found in: Wikipedia.

Charles the Bold

Charles the Bold, 1433–77, last reigning duke of Burgundy (1467–77), son and successor of Philip the Good. As the count of Charolais before his accession, he opposed the growing power of King Louis XI of France by joining (1465) the League of Public Weal. In 1468 he had Louis arrested during their interview at Péronne and compelled him to help in subduing Liège, where Louis had incited a revolt. Charles allied himself with England by his marriage (1468) to Margaret, the sister of King Edward IV. Master of the Low Countries, Charles ruled Burgundy, Flanders, Artois, Brabant, Luxembourg, Holland, Zeeland, Friesland, and Hainaut; he dreamed of reestablishing the kingdom of Lotharingia. He needed Alsace, Lorraine, and a royal title to achieve his goal. In 1473 he met Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III at Trier to arrange a marriage between his daughter Mary and Frederick's son, the future Maximilian I; Charles was to have been crowned king of Lotharingia. However, the emperor broke off negotiations; the marriage took place (1477) only after Charles's death. Meanwhile, Charles continued to conquer the lands that separated his possessions. His struggles with the Alsatian towns and his occupation (1473) of Lorraine alienated the Swiss cantons, which were allied with France. In 1474 war broke out between Charles and the Swiss. Charles's English ally, Edward IV, invaded France (1475), but accepted a bribe from Louis XI and ceased hostilities. Charles was routed (1476) by the Swiss at Grandson and Morat. Early in 1477, at Nancy, Charles was defeated utterly and killed by the Swiss and the Lorrainers. His heiress, Mary of Burgundy, lost part of her possessions to France, the rest passing to the Hapsburgs through her marriage with Maximilian. Once powerful Burgundy ceased to exist as a state. Charles, who earned his surname by his impetuous gallantry, was a capable, though harsh, ruler; however, his achievements were short-lived.


See the chronicles of Philippe de Comines; biography by R. Vaughan (1974); J. L. A. Calmette, The Golden Age of Burgundy (tr. 1962); S. Marti et al., ed, Splendour of the Burgundian Court: Charles the Bold (1433–1477) (2009).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Charles the Bold


(Charles Le Téméraire). Born Nov. 10, 1433, in Dijon; died Jan. 5, 1477, near Nancy. Count of Charoláis, duke of Burgundy (from 1467). Son of Philip the Good.

Charles the Bold strove to unify his fragmented holdings and turn Burgundy into a large and powerful state. On a number of occasions (1452–, 1465, 1467, 1468) he suppressed with merciless cruelty the uprisings of the Dutch cities that had become part of the Burgundian state. He was the most dangerous and powerful enemy of Louis XI, who was energetically carrying out the centralization and territorial unification of France. The struggle between the two sovereigns was almost continual. Even while Charles’ father was still alive, he was the actual leader of the coalition against Louis XI (the League of the Public Weal). He forced the French king to cede him cities on the Somme (the treaties of 1465 of Conflans and St. Maur). To secure the support of King Edward IV of England, he married Edward’s sister Margaret. He attempted to seize Alsace (part of which he had received from Sigismund of Tirol, a Hapsburg, in 1469 as a guarantee) and Lorraine (a number of fortresses were transferred to him from Duke Rene II in 1473). However, he lost his allies (including the English king) and was left isolated through the adroitness of Louis XI, who relied on diplomatic negotiations and bribes. In the Burgundian Wars of 1474–77 (waged against Charles by Switzerland and Lorraine, secretly supported and subsidized by France), Charles was betrayed by mercenaries bribed by Louis XI and died in battle at Nancy.


Néret, J. A. Le Téméraire: Charles de Bourgogne. Paris, 1952.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
He married, first, Mary, daughter of Charles the Bold; after her death, Bianca Sforza; and thus became involved in Italian politics.
Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon, Archbishop and Comte of Lyon, Primate of the Gauls, was allied both to Louis XI., through his brother, Pierre, Seigneur de Beaujeu, who had married the king's eldest daughter, and to Charles the Bold through his mother, Agnes of Burgundy.
In exchange for a share of the profits, Charles the Bold agreed to keep out all nonpapal alum.
WHO was the father of Charles the Bold, the last Duke of Burgundy?
They comprise groat and half-groat coins from the reigns of the two monarchs, plus nine Charles the Bold coins from the 1460s.
In 1468 the Burgundians, under Charles the Bold, destroyed Liege, but they recognized the importance of its ecclesiastical institutions and its patron saint, sparing the city's churches.
Apparently, a battle had been fought there around 1476 between the German speaking Swiss Confederation, and the French speaking Duke of Burgundy, 'Charles the Bold'.
Set beside the above are other interesting essays rather narrower in range: Else Marie Wiberg Pedersen on the thirteenth-century works of Beatrice of Nazareth and Margarete Porete, and Andrew Taylor on devotional reading at the Burgundian court of Margaret of York, sister of Edward IV and wife of Charles the Bold. Others are more restricted in focus, for example, John Thompson's essay based on the now familiar Belfast "Geographies of Orthodoxy" project on Middle English pseudo-Bonaventuran lives of Christ.
The Prayer Book of Charles the Bold; a study of a Flemish masterpiece from the Burgundian Court.
This is a field that still offers extraordinary treasures, and here was everything from one of the oldest English books surviving in private hands--a Gospel of St Luke of around 1120-40--to the fabulous and extraordinarily tiny Korner Hours, thought to have been made for Charles the Bold or a member of his immediate family around 1475-80 and illuminated by two of the most significant artists of the middle ages, Simon Marmion and the so-called Master of Mary of Burgundy.
Featuring items from the museum's own collection of Flemish primitive masterpieces as well as artefacts from museums across the world, this exhibition devoted to Charles the Bold (1433-77) explores the pomp and pageantry of medieval Burgundy.