An relative unimportant state in terms of history, the Duchy of Burgundy was formed in 1410 by an ambitious Duke who wanted to exploit a civil war in France. The Duke, Jean the Fearless, was more than up for this ambitious challenge; he sucessfully aided the English in their invasion of France. A clash of interests over the Netherlands led to a break in this alliance about half a century later. The French king was easily able to beat off the English - and with the help of the Dutch and the Swiss, exacted the Duchy of Burgundy and its territory in Belgium from the Duke. The Duchy of Burgundy did serve one important purpose - its interest in the Netherlands was replaced by that of France, which was to dominated many Western European conflicts in the years to come.

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