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Duchy of Orléans
Duché d'Orléanais
Coat of arms
Orleanais in France (1789).svg

Location of Orléanais within France (1789 borders)
 • TypeProvince
King of France 
• 1498–1515
Louis XII
• 1774–1791
Louis XVI
Governor of Orléanais 
• 1498–1504
Guillaume de Montmorency
• 1784–1791
Aymery Louis Roger
• Established
• Province dissolved
Preceded by
Succeeded by
County of Orléans
County of Blois
County of Chartres
County of Étampes
Today part ofFrance

The Duchy of Orléanais (French pronunciation: ​[ɔʁleanɛ]) is a former province of France, which was created during the Renaissance by merging four former counties and towns. However after the French Revolution, the province was dissolved in 1791 and succeeded by five départments (less some communes to others).


The Duchy of Orléanais was created in 1344 by raising the former County of Orléans to a Dukedom under King Philip VI for his second son Philip de Valois. With the creation of the duchy, several localities around the former county were also integrated, they included the County of Beaugency and the Seigneurities of Neuville-aux-Bois, Yèvre-le-Châtel, Châteauneuf-en-Thymerais, Lorris, and Boiscommun. In 1375, Prince Philip died without a legitimate heir, the title of 'Duke of Orléans' and the duchy itself were merged into the royal domain (crown lands) of the King of France.[1][2]

Location of Orléanais within modern departments.
Location of Orléanais within modern departments.

In 1392, the duchy was re-created by King Charles VI for his younger brother Louis de Valois-Orléans. The duke was later succeeded by his son Charles de Valois-Orléans who reigned until 1465 when he died of natural causes. He was succeeded by his own son Louis de Valois-Orléans, who became King Louis XII in 1495 and the title was merged into the crown once more.[2][3][4]

In 1519, the dukedom was once again created by King Francis I for his second son Henri de Valois-Angoulême. However, Henri later renounced his title when he became Dauphin of France (heir to the throne) in 1536. He was then succeeded by his son Charles de Valois-Angoulême who reigned as duke until he died of the flu in 1545.[2][3][4]

In 1549, the dukedom was again created for the one year old Prince Louis de Valois-Angoulême, who died just a few months into his tenure. He was succeeded by his older brother Charles, who became King Charles IX in 1560 and renounced his dukedom. Charles was succeeded by Henri de Valois-Angoulême, but dropped his title in 1566 in exchange for the Dukedom of Anjou. In February 1566, the title was transferred to Queen Consort Chatherine de' Medici as Duchess of Orléans. She died in 1589 and the dukedome was once again merged into the crown.[2][3][4][5]

In 1626, Louis XIII re-created the Dukedom of Orléans for his younger brother Gaston, Duke of Anjou who reigned as duke until 1660 when he died of natural causes. One again the title merged into the crown for the last time.[2][3][4][5]

Finally in 1661 the Dukedom of Orléans was created for the final time by King Louis XIV for his brother Prince Philip, Duke of Anjou. He was succeeded by his son, then his grandson, great-grandson, and finally great-great grandson Louis Philippe II. In 1793, he was executed for treason during the Reign of Terror and succeeded by his son Louis Philippe III (later King Louis Philippe). The title then transferred for the last time to Prince Ferdinand Philippe de Orléans who died in an accident in 1842 and the title was dissolved as the Kingdom of France itself was dissolved in 1830.[2][3][4][5]


The Province of Orléanais roughly corresponds to the old Duchy of Orléanais and was created on 7 April 1498 when Louis II became King Louis XII. The new province incorporated local counties, including the Orléans, Blois, Vendôme, Chartrès, and Étampes. With the duchy absorbed into the royal domain, it was transformed into a province (really a military district instead of the equivalent of an English county or American state).[3][6][7][8]

In 1558, the province was elevated into a Generality (Géneralité) or General Government (Gouvernment Général) and a permanent governor was installed in the region. During this period, the Duke of Orléans was de jure owner of the land, but the Governor was de facto overseer of the province.[4][5][6][8][9]

In 1776, as part of a reorganisation of the military general governments (provinces), the governments were divided into three categories. The highest or "most important" were the First Category including notably Rennes, Lyon, Aix, Strasbourg, and Metz; the Second Category included Orléanais, La Rochelle, Angoulême, Nevers; and the Special Category including Paris and Monaco.[8] The first category's military governor was to be a Marshal of France, the second class were reserved for Lieutenant Generals, and the special regions were assigned by the King.[10]

In 1791, under the auspicious of 'unity of France', the provinces were dissolved and succeeded by smaller départments. The former province was split between several new départments: Loiret, Loir-et-Cher, Eure-et-Loir, Seine-et-Oise, and Yonne.[4][5][6][7][8][9][11]

Some communes joined other départments, including:



A governor of a province in France before the revolution was initially the representative of the King in the area and held no real power. Until the transformations under Louis XIV, the governorship of a province was more of a de jure appointment, and had no status in decision making. However, after Louis XIV's reforms, the governorship of a province transformed into a military-held appointment. From then, the governor was not just the King's representative, but also military commander of the area. In addition to his military duties, the governor was de facto leader of the province while the titular holder (ex: Duke of Orléans) was de jure owner of the province.[8][12] Below is a list of the Governors of Orléanais:[2][8][13]

Portrait Name Tenure Appointee
Guillaume de Montmorency, Seigneur of Châteauneuf and of Damville

Louis XII
Lancelot du Lac, Seigneur of Chamerolles and of Chilleurs

Louis XII
Claude du Lac, Baron of Broyes, Seigneur of Chamerolles and of Chilleurs

Francis I
Claude Robertet, Baron of Alluye and of Brou

Henry II
Philibert de Marcilly, Seigneur of Sipierre

Charles IX
Franciszek de Montpensier.JPG
François de Bourbon, Duke of Montpensier

Charles IX
Artus de Cossé-Brissac, Baron of Gonnor, Count of Secondigny

Charles IX
Philippe Hurault de Cheverny.jpg
Philippe Hurault, Count of Chiverny and of Limoux
Henry III
François de Balzac, Seigneur of Entraigues

Henry III
Guillaume Charles de Balzac, Seigneur of Marcoussy

Henry III
François d'Orléans Longueville, Count of Saint-Pol

Henry IV
Léonor II d'Orléans, Duke of Fronsac

Louis XIII
François de Valois, Duke of Fronsac

Louis XIII
Gaston de Bourbon, Duke of Orléans

Louis XIII
Charles d'Escoubleau de Sourdis, Marquis of Alluyes

21 December 1666
Louis XIII
Paul d'Escoubleau de Sourdis, Marquis of Alluyes
30 March 1667

Louis XIV
François d'Escoubleau, Count of Sourdis, Seigner of Gaujac, Estillac, and of Chabanais
8 January 1690

21 September 1707
Louis XIV
Louis-Antoine de Pardaillan de Gondron, Marquis of Antin and of Montespan, Duke of Antin
28 September 1707

2 November 1736
Louis XIV
Louis de Pardaillan de Gondrin, Duke of Antin
2 November 1736

9 December 1743
Louis XV
Louis de Pardaillan de Gondrin, Duke of Antin
11 December 1743

13 September 1757
Louis XV
François Charles, Count of Rochechouart-Faudoas
2 November 1757

25 August 1784
Louis XV
Aymery Louis Roger, Count of Rochechouart-Faudoas
7 November 1784

1 January 1791
Louis XVI


In 1558, most provinces in France were separated further into tax districts or Élections. Orléanais included the following: Beauce, Blésois, Vendômois, Bas-Vendômois, Chartrès, Dunois, and Gâtinais (only part).[7][14]

The Généralite of Orléanis had a 52 member assembly in Orléans who worked alongside the Duke of Orléans to run the province. Among the notable presidents was Anne-Charles-Sigismond de Montmorency-Luxembourg, Duke of Montmorency-Luxembourg.[7]


  1. ^ Madelaine, p. 404
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Polluche, Daniel (1778). Essais historiques sur Orléans ou description topographique et critique de cette capitale et de ses environs (in French). Couret de Villeneuve.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Provinces of France to 1791". Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Orléanais", Wikipédia (in French), 23 February 2022, retrieved 27 October 2022
  5. ^ a b c d e "Orléanais | historical region, France | Britannica". Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Lavergne, Léonce de (1809-1880) Auteur du texte (1879). Les assemblées provinciales sous Louis XVI (2e édition) / par M. Léonce de Lavergne,...
  7. ^ a b c d de Lavergne, p. 161–162
  8. ^ a b c d e f Masson, p. 33
  9. ^ a b Buisson, Ferdinand Edouard (1887). Dictionnaire de pédagogie et d'instruction primaire (in French). Hachette et cie.
  10. ^ Mason, p. 34
  11. ^ Masson, p. 219
  12. ^ Duquesne, p. 331
  13. ^ "Provinces of France to 1791". Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  14. ^ de Lavergne, p. 172


External links

This page was last edited on 23 February 2023, at 02:51
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