The dynasty founded by Philip the Bold of Burgundy lasted only a century in the male line, dying with his great-grandson in 1477. Nevertheless, the House of Burgundy set its mark on the Low Countries like no lineage since the Carolingians. In one form or another, the link between the Low Countries and Burgundy was to last for 300 years.Philip the Bold was the youngest son of King John the Good of France. He earned his nickname at the battle of Poitiers (1356), after which he spent four years in English captivity. In 1363 his bravery in his father’s cause was rewarded with the duchy of Burgundy. In 1369 he married Margaret of Male, heiress of Flanders, and from 1384 he ruled the county on her behalf. In 1385 Philip arranged a marriage between his own children (John and Margaret) and those of Albert of Bavaria (Margaret and William). As a result, Philip’s grandson could lay claim to Holland, Zeeland and Hainaut when the Bavarian line failed. In the meantime, other weddings and financial arrangements had led to Burgundian rule over Brabant and Limburg, and Namur. But all this lay in the future; Philip himself was more occupied with France than with the rest of the Low Countries. He was effectively regent of France during the minority, and later the madness, of Charles VI. Despite this focus on France, Burgundian rule was soon extended to Brabant and Limburg, although only collaterally. In return for Philip the Bold’s support against the duke of Guelders, the childless Duchess Joanna bequeathed Brabant to her niece Margaret of Male on condition that it not become part of the Burgundian dominions but pass instead to a cadet. This happened in 1406, with Philip the Bold’s younger son Anthony of Burgundy becoming duke of Brabant.
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