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Artois (Traditional province, France)

Last modified: 2021-06-19 by ivan sache
Keywords: artois |
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Flag of Artois - Image by Pierre Gay, 15 December 2002

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History of Artois

Artois was originally known as pagus atrebatensis. It was a a part of the County of Flanders, ruled by the house founded by Baldwin, son-in-law of Charles the Bald, King of Francia Occidentalis. In 1180, Count of Flanders Philippe of Alsace gave Artois as a dowry to his niece Isabelle of Hainaut, who married King of France Philip II Augustus. Their son Louis was granted Artois as his appanage. When Louis was crowned King of France as Louis VIII the Lion in 1223, Artois was incorporated to the royal domain. At that time, Artois included the seigniories of Arras, Bapaume, Aire, Saint-Omer, Lens and Hesdin, as well as the governments of Boulenois and Ternois.

In 1237, King of France Louis IX (st. Louis) gave Artois as his appanage to his brother Robert. Artois was subsequently ruled by Capetian counts and countesses (Robert I, Robert II, Mahaut and Joan) and later by the dukes of the first house of Burgundy (Eudes IV, Philip of Rouvres).

In 1382, Count of Flanders Louis of Male received Artois by marriage. His daughter married Duke of Burgundy Philip the Bold, and Artois was ruled by the house of Burgundy from 1384 to 1477. The marriage of Mary of Burgundy with Maximilian of Austria offered Artois to the house of Austria. King of France Louis XI reincorporated Artois to France, but Charles VIII had to give it back (Treaty of Senlis, 1493). However, Artois remained under French suzereignty until 1526 (Treaty of Madrid). The Treaty of Cambrai (the Ladies' Peace, 1529) confirmed the Spanish-Austrian rule.

In 1640, France reconquered Artois, which was incorporated to the kingdom by the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659), confirmed by the Treaty of Nijmegen (1678), which added the towns of Aire and Saint-Omer to the French possessions.

Louis XV gave the title of Count of Artois to his grandson Charles-Philippe (1757-1836), the youngest brother of Louis XVI. The Count of Artois was crowned as Charles X after the death of his brother Louis XVIII in 1824. His ultraconservative and authoritarian rule caused the revolution of July 1830. Charles X abdicated on 2 August and died in exile in Görz, then in Austria, now divided between Italy (Gorizia) and Slovenia (Nova Gorica).

Ivan Sache, 15 December 2002

Flag of Artois

The flag of Artois is a banner of the arms, "Azure semy of fleur-de-lis or a label gules of three points each charged with three castles of the second", assigned to the province by Jacques Meurgey in his Notice historique sur les blasons des anciennes provinces de France (Historical note on the coats of arms of the ancient French provinces, 1941).

These are the arms of the County of Artois, designed by the first apanagist Robert I, who added a red label (for the youngest branch) as a mark of cadency to the arms of France ancient. The castles recalls Robert's mother, Blanche of Castile. Each castle is traditionally said to represent one of the nine seigniories which constituted then the County of Artois, an explanation rejected by Meurgey, who states that the number of castles does not have any specific meaning.

Ivan Sache, 14 June 2009

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