Charles the Bold

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Charles the Bold (or Charles the Rash) (French: Charles le Téméraire)[1] (10 November 1433 – 5 January 1477), baptised Charles Martin, was Duke of Burgundy from 1467 to 1477. Known as Charles the Terrible to his enemies,[2] he was the last Valois Duke of Burgundy and his early death was a pivotal, if under-recognised, moment in European history.

After his death, his domains began an inevitable slide towards division between France and the Habsburgs (who through marriage to his heiress Mary of Burgundy became his heirs). Neither side was satisfied with the results and the disintegration of the Burgundian state was a factor in most major wars in Western Europe for over two centuries.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Charles the Bold was born in Dijon, the son of Philip the Good and Isabel of Portugal. In his father's lifetime (1433–1467) he bore the title of Count of Charolais; afterwards, he assumed all of his father's titles, including that of "Grand Duke of the West". He was also made a Knight of the Golden Fleece just twenty days after his birth, being invested by Charles I, Count of Nevers and the seigneur de Croÿ.

He was brought up under the direction of the Seigneur d'Auxy, and early showed great application to study and also to warlike exercises. His father's court was the most extravagant in Europe at the time, and a centre for arts and commerce. While he was growing up, Charles witnessed his father's efforts to unite his increasing dominions in a single state, and his own later efforts centered on continuing and securing his father's successes.

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