Franche-Comté: the Spanish Crown beyond its borders

Franche-Comté: the Spanish Crown beyond its borders


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The Franche-Comté is at present a region on the border between Switzerland, France and Germany. But, this French county has distant roots that link it to the history of several ancient peoples, among which we find, surprisingly, our own.

Its origins go back to the Sequoia, a town of Gallic origin that has the historical peculiarity of not having changed its territorial limits over the years. Franche-Comté Today it occupies almost the same geographic space as it did 1,000 years ago, but how did this distant region come to be associated with Spain?

The story begins in the Eleventh century, when the Roman Empire founded a province in this area which it called Maxima Sequanorum. It is created on the old road that already ran between the territories of Milan and Flanders, also integrating other areas of Switzerland and Germany.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the current Franche-Comté becomes part of different kingdoms and conquerors, until it finally falls to the Habsburg monarchy, specifically in the hands of Philip the Beautiful.

Under the orders of the Spanish Crown, it is with the son of Felipe, Carlos V, when Franche-Comté lives its maximum splendor. At the end of the 15th century and the centuries after, the region was to become a source of workers for the Crown.

Despite the majority intention of the County to remain in Spain, there was also a strong desire for autonomy which was accepted by the Spanish Empire, granting it a large number of economic and monetary privileges.

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With these new advances and privileges gives way to modernity in Franche-ComtéThe University of Dole was also created, which began as a Jesuit college created with the objective of training the provincial elites and ended up obtaining the rank of university and becoming an exceptional source of officials at the service of the Spanish Crown.

Geopolitically, Franche-Comté was very interesting for the development of the European future. The fact that the Jesuits controlled education in the region, as well as its geographical location, made the county play an important role in the fight against the Protestant reform that was beginning to emerge.

Despite how forgotten it is in the history books, Franche-Comté was during the reign of Charles V a source of scholars and collaborators very important for our country, and a pioneer area of ​​modern education with the work of the Jesuits as carriers of knowledge and guardians of the Catholic religion.

The history that unites us to Franche-Comté ends in the year 1678, when the territory was ceded to France with the Treaty of Nijmegen, under the Government of Carlos II.

Source: Conference Carlos III University of Madrid, presentation by Antonio Gonzales (Université de Franche-Comté) on the history of the Sequoian people in Europe.


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