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Charlesthe Bold

Charles the Bold (1433-1477) was the son of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. While still Count of Charolais, he was the great enemy of Louis XI. of France, and with the aid of the Duke of Brittany and others, he defeated Louis at Montlhery. He succeeded to the dukedom in 1467, and made it his ambition to make his duchy independent of France. Louis proposed a conference, and imprudently put himself in Charles's power at Peronne, just at the moment that the Liegois revolted and killed their prince-bishop. Charles, who thought that the insurrection was fomented by French agents, a view whose truth or falsehood has never been clearly settled, was greatly enraged, and for a time Louis's life was in danger. Finally the duke insisted on the king's presence at the chastisement which he inflicted upon Liege, and forced from him some important concessions. This story is well told by Scott in Quentin Durward, the facts - with which, however, he takes some liberties - being based upon the statements of Philippe de Commines.

In 1475 Charles took Lorraine, and in the next year attacked the Swiss, who proved a more formidable enemy than he expected. He stormed Granson, but was soon after defeated in the vicinity, and in the same year he received another defeat at Morat. In 1477 occurred his last battle, that of Nancy, caused by an attempt of the Duke of Lorraine to get back his territory. After the battle Charles's body was found dead in a ditch. Charles was a good soldier, and had good intentions in the method of government, but he was liable to fits of mad anger, in which no considerations of prudence or justice restrained him, and he often gave dire offence by his violence.