A duchy (Latin: ducatus ) was at the origin in VIIIe century the spring of command of a Duc ( dux, ducis ) or military chief. The dukes Francs were thus Count S in charge of an important military capacity.
Sometimes, of the duchies were high with a higher row by the Germanic emperor, either in Grand-duché like the Luxembourg, or in Archiduché for the Austria.
In FranceIn France, principal the steps and territories ordered by dukes formed at the time Carolingian duchies. They became Fief S, held of the king in the current of IXe century, but the dukes took more and more independence during Xe century.
In 987, when Louis V dies, it does not have in hand any duchy of its kingdom. Its successor was the Duc of the Francs, Hugues Capet, to which them dukes and the counts paid the homage feudal after having elected it.
In XIe century, the French duchies are:
- the Duchy of Aquitaine (later duchy of Guyenne)
- the Duchy of Burgundy
- the Duchy of Brittany in the course of formation
- the Duchy of France
- the Duchy of Normandy
Among these duchies, some were Pairie S or duchy-peerages .
Starting from XIVe century, counties will be high with the row of duchies to be given in Apanage to Fils of France, such:
- the Duchy of Alençon
- the Duchy of Anjou
- the Duchy of Berry
- the duchy of Bourbonnais
- the Duchy of Orleans
- the Duchy of Valois
With XVIIIe appeared the concept of duchy titular, i.e. the ducal title was given to a prince, without he enjoying the field and corresponding stronghold
With the appearance of the titles of nobility, in XVIe century, county S and Seigneurie S were also set up in duchies for private individuals, trusty servants of king de France. Oldest of these grounds, whose title is currently carried, was that of the Duché of Uzès.
Since the XVIIe century, a great number of French grounds was high with the ducal row. All the French duchies, with the territorial direction of the term, disappeared in 1789, except for the Duché of Normandy, from which the insular part (the Channel Islands raises still today of the British Couronne and whose duke is Elisabeth II of the United Kingdom
Note that the Duché of Lorraine and the Duché of Bar as well as the Duché of Savoy became French only in 1766 for the two first and in 1860 for the last. The members of these families residing at the court of France were regarded as pertaining to foreign sovereign houses, which they were indeed even if they carried of the French titles.
to also see : List of the duchies and counties French
In EnglandThere was no duchy at the time of the Saxon kings, but only of the counties ( shires ) held by counts ( earls ). The first English duchies appear at the time of the kings Plantagenêt.
The Prince de Galles is titular duchy of Cornouailles.
In GermanyMany principalities of the Holy roman Empire were duchies. Most important were:
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