Historical Research and Directions of French Royal Expansion in 16th — 17th Centuries
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Historical Research and Directions of French Royal Expansion in 16th — 17th Centuries
Annotation
PII
S207987840015333-5-1
DOI
10.18254/S207987840015333-5
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Pavel Uvarov 
Affiliation:
Institute of World History of RAS
Higher School of Economics
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Abstract

In the seventeenth century, the search for the “forgotten” rights of the king were an important aid in organizing French expansion, mainly in the eastern and northeastern directions. At the sovereign courts of Lorraine, Alsace and Franche-Comté “chambers of annexations” (chambres d’annexion) were created in 1680 to organize search for archival documents supporting royal claims to neighboring lands. The idea of creating special institutions engaged in the search for documents revealing the precedents of relations with other countries and forgotten rights, that French king had supposedly enjoyed in those parts, was expressed back during the reign of Henry II. In 1556, Raoul Spifame, a lawyer at the Paris Parliament, published a book consisting of fictitious royal decrees, of which many would be implemented in the future. Among other things he ordered, on behalf of the king, the creation of thirty chambers, each specializing in the search for documents in the “treasury of charters” relating to a particular province. He had determined the composition of these chambers, the procedure for work and the form of reporting, — all this in order to arm the king with knowledge of his forgotten rights and the content of antique treaties and agreements. The nomenclature of “provincial chambers” is especially interesting, from the Chambers of Scotland and England to the Chamber of Tunisia and Africa, as well as the Chamber of Portugal and the New Lands. Much more attention was attracted by those lands to which a century later the French expansion would be directed: Franche-Comté, Artois and Flanders, Lorraine, the Duchy of Cleves. But more than half of chambers specialized in the Italian lands. This is not surprising, since in the 1550s France was entering the climax of the Italian Wars. Under Henry II (1547—1559) one of the four secretaries of state, Jean du Thier, was the person responsible for the southwestern direction of French policy. There is reason to believe that Spifame was associated with du Thier or with other members of the king’s “reform headquarters”. The large-scale transformations already at work were interrupted by the unexpected death of Henry II and the subsequent Wars of Religion. But continuity was inherent in the “spirit of the laws” of the Ancien Régime, so Spifame was able to predict future developments, including the creation of “chambers of annexation”.

Keywords
France, Ancien Régime, expansion, foreign policy, archival research, chambres d’annexion, Raoul Spifame, Henry II, Jean du Thier, reforms, Italian Wars
Received
09.04.2021
Publication date
16.08.2021
Number of characters
37271
Number of purchasers
3
Views
118
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0.0 (0 votes)
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