The countship of Angouleme dated from the 9th century, the most important of the early counts being William Taillefer, whose descendants held the title till the end of the 12th century.
In 1394 the countship came to the house of Orleans, a member of which, Francis I., became king of France in 1515 and raised it to the rank of duchy in favour of his mother Louise of Savoy.
Through their grand-daughter Marie, the countship of Eu passed by marriage to the house of Brienne, two members of which, both named Raoul, were constables of France.
King John confiscated the countship in 1350, and gave it to John of Artois (1352).
His sister's son, John of Burgundy, count of Nevers, now received the countship, which passed through heiresses, in the 15th century, to the house of Cleves, and to that of Lorraine-Guise.
Texel was already separated from the mainland in the 8th century, but remained a Frisian province and countship, which once extended as far as Alkmaar in North Holland, until it came into the possession of the counts of Holland.
Auvergne was the seat of a separate countship before the end of the 8th century; the first hereditary count was William the Pious (886).
By the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine with Henry Plantagenet, the countship passed under the suzerainty of the kings of England, but at the same time it was divided, William VII., called the Young (1145-1168), having been despoiled of a portion of his domain by his uncle William VIII.,called the Old,who was supported by Henry II.
(1195-1227), was granted the lordship of the town of Clermont, which subsequently became a countship. Such was the origin of the four great historic lordships of Auvergne.
The countship, however, had passed in 1422 to the house of La Tour, and was not annexed to the domain until 1615.
Dammartin is historically important as the seat of a countship of which the holders played a considerable part in French history.
His son, Jean de Chabannes, left three heiresses, of whom the second left a daughter who brought the countship to Philippe de Boulainvilliers, by whose heirs it was sold in 1 554 to the dukes of Montmorency.
In 1632 the countship was confiscated by Louis XIII.
Hesse-Nassau was formed in 1867-1868 out of the territories which accrued to Prussia after the war of 1866, namely, the landgraviate of Hesse-Cassel and the duchy of Nassau, in addition to the greater part of the territory of Frankfort-on-Main, parts of the grand-duchy of Hesse, the territory of Homburg and the countship of HesseHomburg, together with certain small districts which belonged to Bavaria.
At the close of the 13th century the Kyburg part of the Breisgau passed to the Habsburgs, who in 1368 acquired also the town and countship of Freiburg, which had been sold by the counts of Urach to the Freiburgers and given in pledge by them to the house of Austria in exchange for a loan of the purchase price, which they were unable to repay.
The history of the city is closely associated with that of the countship of Flanders (q.v.), of which it was the seat.
The one claimed an existing kingdom, and obtained full possession of it in a comparatively short time; the other formed for himself a dominion bit by bit, which rose to the rank of a kingdom I Roger de Hauteville, the conqueror of Sicily, was a brother of the first four dukes or counts of Apulia, and was invested with the countship of Sicily by the pope before starting on his adventure.
In the crusading period the kingdom of Jerusalem, whose rulers were never able to establish a foothold to the east of the Jordan, extended northwards to Beirut; next to it lay the countship of Tripoli on the coast; and beyond that in north Syria was the principality of Antioch.
It was raised to a countship in 1492, and passed by marriage to the family of Orange-Nassau.
For Charles de Beauvillier, gentleman of the chamber to the king, governor and bailli of Blois, the estate of Saint Aignan was created a countship in 1537.
Recognized the papal authority over the whole tract from Radicofani in Tuscany to the pass of Ceperano on the Neapolitan frontier - the exarchate of Ravenna, the Pentapolis, the March of Ancona, the bishopric of Spoleto, Matilda's personal estates, and the countship of Brittenoro; but a good deal of the territory thus described remained for centuries an object of ambition only on the part of the popes.
During the middle ages it was the chief town of the district of Beauce, and gave its name to a countship which was held by the counts of Blois and Champagne and afterwards by the house of Chatillon, a member of which in 1286 sold it to the crown.
Avesnes was founded in the 11th century, and formed a countship which in the 15th century passed to the house of Burgundy and afterwards to that of Habsburg.
Before its incorporation with the domains of the crown of Naples Sarno gave its name to a countship held in succession by the Orsini, Cappola, Suttavilla and Colonna families.
GALICIA (the ancient Gallaecia or Callaecia, KaAAaucia or KaXaucia), a captaincy-general, and formerly a kingdom, countship and province, in the north-western angle of Spain; bounded on the N.
Bar-le-Duc was at one time the seat of the countship, later duchy, of Bar, the history of which is given below.
Raised it to a countship, and in 1551 it passed by marriage to Prince William of Orange Nassau.
His grandson, Louis Duverger, seigneur de La Rochejacquelein, was a devoted adherent of Henry II., and was badly wounded at the battle of Arques; other members of the family were also distinguished soldiers, and the seigniory was raised to a countship and marquisate in reward for their services.
In 1237 Artois, which was raised to a countship the following year, was conferred as an appanage by Saint Louis on his brother Robert, who died on crusade in 1250.
After his death, his son Philip having predeceased him (1298), Artois was adjudged to his daughter Mahaut, or Matilda, as against her nephew Robert, son of Philip, who attempted to support his claim to the countship by forged titles.
About the end of the 9th century Fezensac (comitatus Fedentiacus), in circumstances of which no trustworthy record remains, was erected into an hereditary countship. This latter was in its turn divided, the south-western portion becoming, about 960, the countship of Armagnac (pages Armaniacus).
The domain of this countship, at first very limited in extent, continued steadily to increase in size, and about 1140 Count Gerald III.
On the death of Charles of Armagnac, in 1497, the countship was united to the crown by King Charles VII., but was again bestowed on Charles, the nephew of that count, by Francis I., who at the same time gave him his sister Margaret in marriage.
Erected a countship of Armagnac in favour of Henry of Lorraine, count of Harcourt, in whose family it continued till the Revolution.
Under the Normans Matera was a countship for William Bras de Fer and his successors.
SCHAUMBURG-LIPPE, a principality forming part of the German Empire, consisting of the western half of the old countship of Schaumburg, and surrounded by Westphalia, Hanover and the Prussian part of Schaumburg.
In 1252 the countship was sold to the bishops of Munster; but their rule soon became little more than nominal, and in Emden itself the family of Abdena, the episcopal provosts and castellans, established their practical independence.
Having in general shared the fortunes of Aquitaine during the Merovingian and Carolingian periods, Agenais next became an hereditary countship in the part of the country now called Gascony (Vasconia).
In 1038 this countship was purchased by the dukes of Aquitaine and counts of Poitiers.
This, however, was not for long; the king of France had to recognize the prior rights of the king of England to the possession of the countship, and restored it to him in 1279.
Dissatisfaction arose under Aragonese rule from the periodical grants of Malta, as a marquisate or countship, to great officers of state or illegitimate descendants of the sovereign.
Sestao (10,833) is the only other town of more than io,000 inhabitants; the port of Bermeo (9061) is the chief fishing station; Durango (4319), on the river of the same name, was founded by the early kings of Navarre in the 10th century, obtained the rank of a countship in 1153, and contains.
This was afterwards preserved as an administrative district under the Franks with the name first of pagus, then of comitatus, or countship of Anjou.
This countship, the extent of which seems to have been practically identical with that of the ecclesiastical diocese of Angers, occupied the greater part of what is now the department of Maine-et-Loire, further embracing, to the north, Craon, Bazouges (Chateau-Gontier), Le Lude, and to the east, Chateau-la-Valliere and Bourgueil, while to the south, on the other hand, it included neither the present town of MontreuilBellay, nor Vihiers, Cholet, Beaupreau, nor the whole district lying to the west of the Ironne and Thouet, on the left bank of the Loire, which formed the territory of the Mauges.
It was bounded on the north by the countship of Maine, on the east by that of Touraine, on the south by that of Poitiers and by the Mauges, on the west by the countship of Nantes.
Hugh the Abbot succeeded him in the countship of Anjou as in most of his other duties, and on his death (886) it passed to Odo, the eldest son of Robert the Strong, who, on his accession to the throne of France (888), probably handed it over to his brother Robert.
Grisegonelle (Greytunic) (c. 960-21st of July 987), who inaugurated a policy of expansion, having as its objects the extension of the boundaries of the ancient countship and the reconquest of those parts of it which had been annexed by the neighbouring states; for, though western Anjou had been recovered from the dukes of Brittany since the beginning of the 10th century, in the east all the district of Saumur had already by that time fallen into the hands of the counts of Blois and Tours.
Finally, the victory gained by Geoffrey Martel (21st of June 1040-14th of November 1060), the son and successor of Fulk, over Theobald III., count of Blois, at Nouy (21st of August 10 44), assured to the Angevins the possession of the countship of Touraine.
At the same time, continuing in this quarter also the work of his father (who in 1025 took prisoner Herbert Wake-Dog and only set him free on condition of his doing him homage), Geoffrey succeeded in reducing the countship of Maine to complete dependence on himself.
Geoffrey Martel, having no children, had bequeathed the countship to his eldest nephew, Geoffrey III.
But Fulk le Rechin (the Cross-looking), brother of Geoffrey the Bearded, who had at first been contented with an appanage consisting of Saintonge and the chcitellenie of Vihiers, having allowed Saintonge to be taken in 1062 by the duke of Aquitaine, took advantage of the general discontent aroused in the countship by the unskilful policy of Geoffrey to make himself master of Saumur (25th of February 1067) and Angers (4 th of April), and cast Geoffrey into prison at Sable.
Compelled by the papal authority to release him after a short interval and to restore the countship to him, he soon renewed the struggle, beat Geoffrey near Brissac and shut him up in the castle of Chinon (1068).
The Young (14th of April 1109-1129) succeeded to the countship of Maine on the death of Elias (11th of July I I io); but this increase of Angevin territory came into such direct collision with the interests of Henry I., king of England, who was also duke of Normandy, that a struggle between the two powers became inevitable.
All the while that Fulk the Young and Geoffrey the Handsome were carrying on the work of extending the countship of Anjou, they did not neglect to strengthen their authority at home, to which the unruliness of the barons was a menace.
In 1139 Geoffrey took Mirebeau, and in 1142 Champtoceaux, but in 1145 a new revolt broke out, this time under the leadership of Elias, the count's own brother, who, again with the assistance of Robert of Sable, laid claim to the countship of Maine.
Henceforward Henry succeeded in keeping the countship of Anjou all his life; for though he granted it in 1168 to his son Henry "of the Short Mantle," when the latter became old enough to govern it, he absolutely refused to allow him to enjoy his power.
After Henry II.'s death in 1189 the countship, together with the rest of his dominions, passed to his son Richard I.
A last effort on the part of John to possess himself of it, in 1214, led to the taking of Angers (17th of June), but broke down lamentably at the battle of La Rocheaux-Moines (2nd of July), and the countship was attached to the crown of France.
The Bold, giving her Anjou and Maine for dowry, in exchange for the kingdoms of Aragon and Valentia and the countship of Barcelona given up by Charles.
Charles of Valois at once entered into possession of the countship of Anjou, to which Philip IV.
On the 16th of December 1325, Charles died, leaving Anjou to his eldest son Philip of Valois, on whose recognition as king of France (Philip VI.) on the ist of April 1328, the countship of Anjou was again united to the crown.
Bestowed it on his son John the Good, who, when he became king in turn (22nd of August 1350), gave the countship to his second son Louis I., raising it to a duchy in the peerage of France by letters patent of the 25th of October 1360.