Burgundy. The name of Burgundy (Fr. Bourgogne, Lat. Burgundia) has denoted very diverse political and geographical areas at different periods of history and as used by different writers. The name is derived from the Burgundians (Burgundi, Burgondiones), a people of Germanic origin, who at first settled between the Oder and the Vistula. In consequence of wars against the Alamanni, in which the latter had the advantage, the Burgundians, after having taken part in the great invasion of Radagaisus in 407, were obliged in 411 to take refuge in Gaul, under the leadership of their chief Gundicar. Under the title of allies of the Romans, they established themselves in certain cantons of the Sequani and of upper Germany, receiving a part of the lands, houses and serfs that belonged to the inhabitants. Thus was founded the first kingdom of Burgundy, the boundaries of which were widened at different times by Gundicar and his son Gunderic; its chief towns being Vienne, Lyons, Besançon, Geneva, Autun and Mâcon. Gundibald (d. 516), grandson of Gunderic, is famous for his codification of the Burgundian law, known consequently as Lex Gundobada, in French Loi Gombette. His son Sigismund, who was canonized by the church, founded the abbey of St Maurice at Agaunum. But, incited thereto by Clotilda, the daughter of Chilperic (a brother of Gundibald, and assassinated by him), the Merovingian kings attacked Burgundy. An attempt made in 524 by Clodomer was unsuccessful; but in 534 Clotaire (Chlothachar) and his brothers possessed themselves of the lands of Gundimar, brother and successor of Sigismund, and divided them between them.

In 561 the kingdom of Burgundy was reconstructed by Guntram, son of Clotaire I., and until 613 it formed a separate state under the government of a prince of the Merovingian family.

After 613 Burgundy was one of the provinces of the Frankish kingdom, but in the redistributions that followed the reign of Charlemagne the various parts of the ancient kingdom had different fortunes. In 843, by the treaty of Verdun, Autun, Chalon, Mâcon, Langres, etc., were apportioned to Charles the Bald, and Lyons with the country beyond the Saône to Lothair I. On the death of the latter the duchy of Lyons (Lyonnais and Viennois) was given to Charles of Provence, and the diocese of Besançon with the country beyond the Jura to Lothair, king of Lorraine. In 879 Boso founded the kingdom of Provence, wrongly called the kingdom of Cisjuran Burgundy, which extended to Lyons, and for a short time as far as Mâcon (see Provence).

In 888 the kingdom of Juran Burgundy was founded by Rudolph I., son of Conrad, count of Auxerre, and the German king Arnulf could not succeed in expelling the usurper, whose authority was recognized in the diocese of Besançon, Basel, Lausanne, Geneva and Sion. For a short time his son and successor Rudolph II. (912-937) disputed the crown of Italy with Hugh of Provence, but finally abandoned his claims in exchange for the ancient kingdom of Provence, i.e. the country bounded by the Rhône, the Alps and the Mediterranean. His successor, Conrad the Peaceful (93 7-993), whose sister Adelaide married Otto the Great, was hardly more than a vassal of the German kings. The last king of Burgundy, Rudolph III. (993-1032), being deprived of all but a shadow of power by the development of the secular and ecclesiastical aristocracy - especially by that of the powerful feudal houses of the counts of Burgundy (see Franche-Comté), Savoy and Provence - died without issue, bequeathing his lands to the emperor Conrad II. Such was the origin of the imperial rights over the kingdom designated after the 13th century as the kingdom of Arles, which extended over a part of what is now Switzerland (from the Jura to the Aar), and included Franche-Comté, Lyonnais, Dauphiné, Savoy and Provence.

The name of Burgundy now gradually became restricted to the countship of that name, which included the district between the Jura and the Saône, in later times called Franche-Comté, and to the duchy which had been created by the Carolingian kings in the portion of Burgundy that had remained French, with the object of resisting Boso. This duchy had been granted to Boso's brother, Richard the Justiciary, count of Autun. It comprised at first the countships of Autun, Mâcon, Chalon-sur-Saône, Langres, Nevers, Auxerre and Sens, but its boundaries and designations changed many times in the course of the 10th century. Duke Henry died in 1002; and in 1015, after a war which lasted thirteen years, the French king Robert II. reunited the duchy to his kingdom, despite the opposition of Otto William, count of Burgundy, and gave it to his son Henry, afterwards King Henry I. As king of France, the latter in 1032 bestowed the duchy upon his brother Robert, from whom sprang that first ducal house of Burgundy which flourished until 1361. A grandson of this Robert, who went to Spain to fight the Arabs, became the founder of the kingdom of Portugal; but in general the first Capet dukes of Burgundy were pacific princes who took little part in the political events of their time, or in that religious movement which was so marked in Burgundy, at Cluny to begin with, afterwards among the disciples of William of St Bénigne of Dijon, and later still among the monks of Cîteaux. In the 12th and 13th centuries we may mention Duke Hugh III. (1162-1193), who played an active part in the wars that marked the beginning of Philip Augustus's reign; Odo (Eudes) III. (1193-1218), one of Philip Augustus's principal supporters in his struggle with King John of England; Hugh IV. (1218-1272), who acquired the countships of Châlon and Auxonne, Robert II. (1272-1309), one of whose daughters, Margaret, married Louis X. of France, and another, Jeanne, Philip of Valois; Odo (Eudes) IV. (1315-1350), who gained the countship of Artois in right of his wife, Jeanne of France, daughter of Philip V. the Tall and of Jeanne, countess of Burgundy.