1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Anne of Brittany

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6730291911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 2 — Anne of BrittanyHenri Eugene Sée

ANNE OF BRITTANY (1477–1514), daughter of Francis II., duke of Brittany, and Marguerite de Foix. She was scarcely twelve years old when she succeeded her father as duchess on the 9th of September 1488. Charles VIII. aimed at establishing his authority over her; Alain d’Albret wished to marry her; Jean de Rohan claimed the duchy; and her guardian, the marshal de Rieux, was soon in open revolt against his sovereign. In 1489 the French army invaded Brittany. In order to protect her independence, Anne concluded an alliance with Maximilian of Austria, and soon married him by proxy (December 1489). But Maximilian was incapable of defending her, and in 1491 the young duchess found herself compelled to treat with Charles VIII. and to marry him. The two sovereigns made a reciprocal arrangement as to their rights and pretensions to the crown of Brittany, but in the event of Charles predeceasing her, Anne undertook to marry the heir to the throne. Nevertheless, in 1492, after the conspiracy of Jean de Rohan, who had endeavoured to hand over the duchy to the king of England, Charles VIII. confirmed the privileges of Brittany, and in particular guaranteed to the Bretons the right of paying only those taxes to which the assembly of estates consented, After the death of Charles VIII. in 1498, without any children, Anne exercised the sovereignty in Brittany, and in January 1499 she married Louis XII., who had just repudiated Joan of France. The marriage contract was ostensibly directed in favour of the independence of Brittany, for it declared that Brittany should revert to the second son or to the eldest daughter of the two sovereigns, and, failing issue, to the natural heirs of the duchess. Until her death Anne occupied herself personally with the administration of the duchy. In 1504 she caused the treaty of Blois to be concluded, which assured the hand of her daughter, Claude of France, to Charles of Austria (the future emperor, Charles V.), and promised him the possession of Brittany, Burgundy and the county of Blois. But this unpopular treaty was broken, and the queen had to consent to the betrothal of Claude to Francis of Angoulême, who in 1515 became king of France as Francis I. Thus the definitive reunion of Brittany and France was prepared.

See A. de la Borderie, Choix de documents inédits sur le règne de la duchesse Anne en Bretagne (Rennes, 1866 and 1902)—extracts from the Mémoires de la Société Archéologique du département d’Ille-et-Vilaine, vols. iv. and vi. (1866 and 1868); Leroux de Lincy, Vie de la reine Anne de Bretagne (1860–1861); A. Dupuy, La Réunion de la Bretagne à la France (1880); A. de la Borderie, La Bretagne aux derniers siècles du moyen âge (1893), and La Bretagne aux temps modernes (1894).  (H. Se.)