The town of Bouillon is currently situated in the province of Luxembourg, Belgium. Until 1795 it was an independent and sovereign territory.
Contemporary historyThe General Assembly of Bouillon abolished the Duchy in 1794 and adopted the principles of the French Revolution. The territory was annexed by France on 25 October 1795, and divided between:
In April 1814 the Treaty of Paris restored France almost its January 1792 borders. Most of the former territory of the Duchy was removed from French jurisdiction except for the canton of Gedinne which remained under French control. In June 1815, sovereignty of the Duchy was granted to the King of the Netherlands, as Grand-Duke of Luxemburg, and the Duchy was annexed as part of the Grand-Duchy of Luxemburg. The Bouillonnais participated in the Belgian rebellion against the King of the Netherlands in 1830, and finaly became part of the Belgian province of Luxembourg in 1839.
- Département des Forêts (Canton of Paliseul)
- Département des Ardennes (Canton of Bouillon)
- Département de l'Ourthe (Canton of Gedinne)
Early Middle AgesBouillon was part of Lower Lorraine in 959 and became an allodial (freehold) domain in the county of the Ardennes in the 10th century. Bouillon probably attained the rank of Duchy because it was already part of the Duchy of Lower Lorraine. (as the Duchy of Brabant did when the Duchy of Lower Lorraine divided).
Middle Ages EraThe Duchy was in the possesion of the bishops of Liège from 1095 until 1678. It was in the 18th century no longer a part of the Holy Roman Empire. The arms of Bouillon can still be seen in one quarter of the arms of the province of Liège, BEL.
Sovereign Duchy of Bouillon (1678-1795 and 1815/1816)François Velde summarized the situation of the Duchy as follows:
Essentially, the sovereign duchy of Bouillon was under French military protection, in the same way that the principality of Monaco was since the treaty of Peronne in 1641. Vauban called Bouillon "the key of the Ardennes", and the French King had a strong interest in depriving the Spaniards (after 1713, the Austrians) of that key."With an area of 55 square miles and a population of about 2500 in 1789, the Duchy included the town itiself, 17 surrounding villages and the 4 enclaves of Gedinne and Sart to the west and Tellin and Auffe to the north.
The Bouillonais had their own nationality. The duke established his own mint in 1611.
- M.J.F. Ozeray, Histoire de la ville et du duché de Bouillon, Bruxelles, 1974
- François Velde, The Duchy of Bouillon, www.heraldica.org, 1999, 14 pages A4 with bibliography and annexes