John the Fearless

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John the Fearless,

1371–1419, duke of Burgundy (1404–19); son of Philip the BoldPhilip the Bold,
1342–1404, duke of Burgundy (1363–1404); a younger son of King John II of France. He fought (1356) at Poitiers and shared his father's captivity in England. He was first made duke of Touraine (1360) and then duke of Burgundy.
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. He fought against the Turks at NikopolNikopol
, town (1993 pop. 4,897), N Bulgaria, a port on the Danube River bordering Romania. Farming, viticulture, and fishing are the chief occupations. Founded in 629 by Byzantine emperor Heraclius, Nikopol (then Nicopolis) became a flourishing trade and cultural center of the
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 in 1396 and was a prisoner for a year until he was ransomed. He continued his father's feud with Louis, duc d'OrléansOrléans, Louis, duc d'
, 1372–1407, brother of King Charles VI of France, whose chief counselor he was from 1388 to 1392. After 1392, when Charles VI suffered his first attack of insanity, Louis became involved in a long struggle for control with his uncle, Philip
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, brother of King Charles VI, and became popular by advocating governmental reforms. In 1407 he had Louis assassinated; he was forced to leave Paris but later returned and obtained control of the French government. Rivalry between his party and the supporters of Orléans led to open civil war in 1411 (see Armagnacs and BurgundiansArmagnacs and Burgundians,
opposing factions that fought to control France in the early 15th cent. The rivalry for power between Louis d'Orléans, brother of the recurrently insane King Charles VI, and his cousin John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy, led to Louis's murder
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). In 1413, John was again forced to flee Paris as a result of a reaction against the violence of his supporters, the CabochiensCabochiens
, popular faction in Paris in the early 15th cent. Composed largely of small tradespeople and members of the butchers' and skinners' guilds, it was named after one of the leaders, Simon Lecoustellier, called Caboche, a skinner.
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. He did not aid the government, now under Armagnac control, against the English invaders under King Henry V, and in 1418 he took advantage of French defeats to seize Paris and the king. John negotiated both with Henry V and with the dauphin (later King Charles VII), who now led the Armagnacs. At a meeting in Montereau with the dauphin, John was assassinated (1419). He was succeeded by his son, Philip the Good.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

John the Fearless


(Jean sans Peur). Born May 28, 1371, in Dijon; died Sept. 10, 1419, in Montereau. Duke of Burgundy from 1404.

John the Fearless was head of the Burgundian feudal faction. In 1407, during the rule of Charles VI, the feebleminded king of France (1380–1422), he organized the assassination of his rival, Louis, Duke of Orleans, head of the Armagnacs, in the struggle for power. He subsequently took a leading role in the ruling of France. He tried to make use of the Cabochien movement in his war against the Armagnacs but betrayed it at a decisive moment and in 1413 was forced from power by the Armagnacs. During the resumption of the Hundred Years’ War, John entered into a secret alliance with the king of England, Henry V, in October 1416. In 1419, John seized Paris, but, becoming alarmed by the military successes of the English, who threatened the city, he began to seek a rapprochement with the French king. During his negotiations with the dauphin (the future King Charles VII), John was killed by one of the dauphin’s followers.


Pecquet de Haut-Jussé, B.-A. La France gouvernée par Jean sans Peur. Paris, 1959.
David, H. Du Nouveau sur Jean sans Peur. Dijon, 1959.
Vaughan, R. John the Fearless. London, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.