Lorraine, 1445-1508

Duke Rene I. (1431-1453, of Bar), Duke Jean I., of Calabria (1431-1453, of Lorraine), Duke Jean II. (1453-1470), Duke Nicolas (1470-1473), Duke Rene II. (1473-1508).
In 1441 Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, acquired Luxemburg; now, the Burgundian territories were Lorraine's neighbours both to the north and to the south. In Lorraine-Bar, the House of Anjou ascended to the throne, in the person of Rene I., called the Good, also King of Naples. King Rene was mainly occupied with Italian policy; in 1453 he transferred Lorraine to Jean of Calabria (Duchy of Lorraine), while he held on to Bar and Naples. Duke Jean II. in 1470 died attempting to conquer Aragon, which he claimed by inheritance.
The frequent absence of the Dukes of Lorraine/Bar, their preoccupation with dynastic acquisitions elsewhere, premitted French and Burgundian influence to penetrate Lorraine-Bar. In Bar, institutions modelled on the French emerged; the House of Burgundy was often successful in having her candidates elected to bishops of Toul, Verdun, Metz.
Burgundian Duke Charles the Bold (1467-1477) pursued a policy of aggressive expansion. Lorraine became a contested object in the Franco-Burgundian rivalry; both King Louis XII. and Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy planned to tie Lorraine to their dynasty by arranging a marriage for young Duke Nicolas (who died before any such plan could mature). Rene II. failed to get recognition of his claims on the Duchy of Bar from King Louis XII. of France; so he turned to Duke Charles the Bold, entering into an alliance with the latter, permitting Burgundian troops to be stationed in Lorraine. This was a cardinal mistake, as Lorraine now sank to the status of a Burgundian vassall. In effect, the acquisition of Lorraine formed the hitherto scattered Burgundian lands into one territorial complex.
Duke Rene II., intending to regain independence for Lorraine-Bar, entered into a secret alliance with the Swiss Federation, the Alsatian cities and Archduke Sigismund (who ruled the Upper Alsace), an alliance supported by King Louis XII. of France. In 1475, Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy occupied Lorraine with Nancy and formally claimed it for the House of Burgundy. Duke Rene II. of Lorraine was an exile until Duke Charles of Burgundy was killed in a battle outside Nancy; Rene II. regained the Duchy of Lorraine; Bar, until 1485, was occupied by the French. In return for Bar, Rene has to give up his claim on Naples, which King Charles VIII. of France eyed for himself.
In the 1440es and in the 1480es-1490es, due to lasting peace, the economy of Lorraine flourished. Lorraine exported salt, iron, copper, silver, grain. Glas production is mentioned in the documents since 1448.

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Histoire de Lorraine, from en-lorraine.com, in French
Histoire de Nancy, from en-lorraine.com, in French
Article Lorraine, from Catholic Encyclopedia
DOCUMENTS List of Dukes of Lorraine, from Kessler History Files (scroll down)
Regnal Chronologies : France, scroll down for Guise and Lorraine
REFERENCE A;ain Girardot, Zwischen Frankreich, Kaiserreich und Burgund (1275-1508) (Between France, the Empire and Burgundy), pp.197-237 in : Michel Parisse (ed.), Lothringen, Geschichte eines Grenzlandes (Lorraine, History of a Border Country), Saarbrücken 1984

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First posted on November 4th 2003, last revised on November 15th 2007

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