Republic of Bouillon

Republic of Bouillon
République bouillonnaise
Client state of France
The predecessor Duchy of Bouillon as at 1787, shown with the Austrian Netherlands (pale grey) and Liège and Stavelot-Malmedy (darker grey)
Historical eraGreat French War
 • Abolition of manorial and feudal rights26 May 1790
 • Ducal constitution23 March/1 May 1792
 • French occupation19 November 1792
 • Duke imprisoned7 February 1794
 • Republic proclaimed24 April 1794
 • Annexed to France26 October 1795
 • 1790230 km2 (89 sq mi)
 • 1790 est.12,000 
     Density52/km2 (135/sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Bouillon
French First Republic
Today part of Belgium

The Republic of Bouillon was a short-lived French client republic, around the city of Bouillon in present-day Belgium, based on the duchy of Bouillon, which had existed between France and the Austrian Netherlands since the 15th century. Reforms, sponsored by the duke, abolishing manorialism and feudalism and establishing a constitutional basis for the monarchy did not prevent what many sources describe as the proclamation of a republic in April 1794. The republic was short-lived, however, as the territory was annexed by the French First Republic 18 months later. In 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars, the duchy was absorbed into the promoted Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, becoming a part of Belgium when that nation was founded in the 1830s.

Influence of the French Revolution

Godefroy III (b. 1728, r. 1771, d. 1792), duke of Bouillon and prince of Turenne, favourable to the French Revolution, committed his duchy to the path of reform by an edict of 24 February 1790 and supported his assemblée générale (parliament) when it voted to abolish manorial and feudal rights on 26 May 1790.

On 23 March or 1 May 1792, the duchy became a constitutional monarchy, becoming occupied by the French Revolutionary Army the following 19 November. Duke Jacques Léopold, who had succeeded his father in December 1792 but lived at the Château de Navarre, near Évreux (the last dukes of Bouillon did not reside in their duchy), was arrested and imprisoned in France under The Terror on 7 February 1794; like his father, he was a French citizen, as well as prince of a sovereign state.

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