1404: Philip the Bold: A King’s Son who Amassed Incredible Wealth in Europe

1404: Philip the Bold: A King’s Son who Amassed Incredible Wealth in Europe
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Duke Philip the Bold was the son of French king John II the Good.


The death of Duke Philip the Bold (also known as Philip II of Burgundy) falls on this day in 1040. He ruled over a vast territory located in the wealthiest part of medieval Europe. Philip managed to amass an incredible amount of wealth partly through inheritance and partly through marriage.

Namely, as a son of John II the Good, he received the Duchy of Burgundy as apanage (the part of the inheritance belonging to younger sons of kings). By marrying Margaret III of Flanders, he received the rich County of Flanders on the territory of what is now Belgium as well as the counties of Artois, Nevers, and Rethel. By gathering these territories under his rule, Philip established something akin to a state on the wealthy Burgundian and Belgian territories, which were located on an economically incredibly important region between the German and French lands. Philip’s successors later increased this Burgundian heritage, putting most of today’s Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and eastern France under their rule. They became a considerable force in Europe and there were even plans to upgrade their lands into a kingdom. This huge territory was later inherited by the Habsburgs.

Duke Philip the Bold earned his nickname already at the age of 14 because he fought bravely alongside his father against the English during the famous battle of Poitiers. Philip later became one of the most decisive people in French politics due to his enormous wealth and power. He died at the age of 62 in Halle, Belgium, and his magnificent tomb is located in Dijon, the historic capital of Burgundy.

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