County of Flanders


July 5, 2022

The county of Flanders was a Carolingian pagus, then one of the principalities of the kingdom of France, particularly involved in the conflicts between France and England, and between France and the Empire, at the borders and the influence fiercely contested from its creation in the 9th century until 1384, the date of the death of Count Louis de Male. The county was owned by the house of Flanders from 863 until the death of the last countess, Marguerite of Constantinople, in 1280, then by the house of Dampierre, before passing to the house of Valois-Bourgogne in 1384, which will be a major center of gravity within the Burgundian state. It was finally detached from the kingdom of France by the Treaty of Madrid (1526) in favor of the Habsburgs of Spain. Louis XIV reconquers part of it from the Spaniards. The county definitively ceased to exist in 1795 following the conquest of the Austrian Netherlands by the French. The territory of this county corresponds approximately to the current Belgian provinces of West Flanders and East Flanders, to the west of the province of Hainaut (districts of Tournai and Mouscron), plus the part of the province of Antwerp located to the west. west of the Scheldt, Zeeland Flanders and the historic region of French Flanders (region of Lille, Dunkirk, Hazebrouck, Douai, etc.).


The multiple possessions of the counts of Flanders exceed the original pagus of Flanders. The territory of the county of Flanders corresponds only very partially to the territory of the current Belgian Flemish region. It was located geographically further west and the current provinces of Flemish Brabant, Antwerp and Limburg were not part of it. The County of Flanders is crossed by the linguistic border between the Thiois dialect (Bruges, Ghent, Ypres, Dunkirk) and Vulgar Latin (Tournai, Lille, Douai). Historic Flanders covers: Belgium, with: two of the five Flemish provinces of Belgium and part of a third: West Flanders (Bruges), East Flanders (Ghent), and, in the province of Antwerp, the current merged municipality of Zwijndrecht (Zwijndrecht and Burcht) and the district of Anvers-Rive-gauche; Romanesque Flanders: historical Tournaisis and the region of Mouscron (which was part of Courtraisis) which were attached to the province of Hainaut; France, with French Flanders made up of two regions whose territories were annexed by France after the siege of Lille by Louis XIV: the Flemish-speaking Westhoek, in the northwestern part of the French department of the North, made up of Blootland or Plaine maritime (Dunkirk) and inner Flanders or Heart of Flanders with Houtland (Hazebrouck) and Plaine de la Lys ( Armentieres); Romanesque Flanders (Lille, Douai), a region of Flemish culture and Picardy expression, called, under the Ancien Régime, Walloon Flanders (Walloon means Romanesque) or Gallicante Flanders, or even Gallican Flanders. the Netherlands, with Zeeland Flanders (in Dutch Zeeuws-Vlaanderen), a small landlocked region between the Western Scheldt and Belgium, in the south of the province of Zeeland. The counts of Flanders seized the pagus Atrebatensis ( Artois) to the south, but it escaped them in 1191. The county of Artois (1237), Capetian prerogative, was again part of the possessions of the count of Flanders Louis II in 1382, by inheritance, but was acquired from France in 1659 after many devastating wars.


Roman period and early Middle Ages (before 866)

In Roman times, the territory of the county of Flanders, which was part of Belgian Gaul, was occupied by the Morins, the Menapians, by part of the Nervii and to the south the Atrebates. These peoples opposed a strong resistance to Julius Caesar; the Nervians supported the revolt of the Eburones in 54 BC. J.-C., before submitting completely to the Roma