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County of Foix (Traditional province, France)
Comté de Foix
Last modified: 2004-12-22 by ivan sache
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by Arnaud Leroy
History of the County of Foix
Thierry Borel has set up a website called
FoixStory whose presentation
and content are excellent. The history, genealogy and heraldry of the
counts of Foix and other families involved in the history of the area
are explained in great detail. I have attempted to summarize below
the complicated history of the county of Foix, which shows the
permanent involvement of the counts in the more global history and
their permanent struggle with their neighbours, small or big lords.
The first count of Foix was Bernard I (1012). He was of the family
of the counts of Carcassonne, who were in the IXth century vassals of
the counts of Toulouse and progressively gained independence. It is
often said that the counts of Foix were descendants of the royal
Merovingian dynasty through Eudes, duke of Aquitaine. The only source
for the early genealogy of the dukes of Aquitaine is Alaon's Chart,
which was proved to be a forgery dating from XVIIth century.
Therefore, the origin of the first counts of Foix is still obscure.
I shall summarize the history of the County following the
succession of the Counts.
- Bernard I (1012-1034)
- Roger I (1034-1067)
- Roger II (1067-1124) should have inherited the county of
Carcassonne in 1067 when count Roger III died, but he was
despoiled by his neighbours the Trencavels.
- Roger III (1124-1148) reconciliated in 1125 with the
Trencavels. He was involved in the conflict between
- Roger-Bernard I (1148-1188) was involved in the war between
Toulouse and Barcelona (1185).
- Raimond-Roger (1188-1223) struggled against Toulouse (1201),
was defeated in Urgell (1203) and signed a peace treaty with
- Roger-Bernard II (1223-1241) surrendered to the king of France
and the pope (1229) and struggled with the bishop of Urgell
- Roger IV (1241-1265) was in conflict with Toulouse
(1242-1249), the bishop of Urgell (1243-1257) and repressed the
- Roger-Bernard III (1265-1302) struggled against the king of
France and surrendered in 1272, and was kept prisonner in
1272-1273. In September 1276, he invaded
Navarre on the king's behalf. The king of
Aragon captured him and jailed him until 1283. Two years later, he
helped France against Aragon, but was again in conflict with the
sénéchaux (military governors) of Toulouse
and Carcassonne. In 1290, the viscount of
Béarn died; Roger-Bernard
married his heir and became viscount of Béarn, being the
root of the Foix-Béarn dynasty.
- Gaston I (1302-1315) joined the king of France in his
expedition against the Flemish cities.
- Gaston II (1315-1343) helped the king of France in his
guerilla against the English in Guyenne
(1339), and went on Crusade against the Moors of Granada (1343).
- Gaston III Febus (1343-1391)
fought the English in Calais (1347)
but was later arrested by king of Fance Jean le Bon (1356) and
released after the defeat of Jean in Poitiers (19 September 1356).
The powerful count of Armagnac and duke of
Berry set up an alliance against Febus
but he eventually defeated them in Laurac on 5 December 1362.
- Matthieu de Foix-Castelbon (1391-1398).
- Isabelle de Foix-Castelbon & Archambaud de Grailly
(1398-1412) pled allegiance to the king of France in 1402.
- Jean I de Foix-Grailly (1398-1412) purchased in 1415 the
county of Bigorre. He was appointed governor of
Dauphiné (1416) and
Languedoc (1434). He married his son to
Eleanor, the heir of Navarre.
- Gaston IV (1436-1472) was officially designed heir of Navarre
by the treaty of Barcelona (1455). He fought the English in 1442,
helped Jean II of Aragon (1462) and quarreled with king of France
Louis XI concerning Navarre (1471).
- François-Febus (1472-1483) was crowned king of Navarre
- Catherine de Foix-Grailly and Jean II d'Albret (1483-1516)
were crowned queen and king of Navarre in Pampelona (1494). Jean de
Foix-Narbonne contested their legitimity in 1494-1497. In 1500,
King Ferdinand V of Aragon married Germaine de Foix-Narbonne.
Gaston de Foix-Narbonne died during the battle of Ravenna in 1512.
The same year, Ferdinand V invaded Navarre.
- Henri II de Navarre-Albret (1516-1555) attempted to
reincorporate Navarre, to no avail.
- Jeanne III de Navarre-Albret and Antoine de
Bourbon-Vendôme (1555-1572), Jeanne alone from 1555. In
1571, calvinism was chosen as the state religion.
- Henri III de Navarre-Bourbon (1572-1610) had to abjure
protestantism after his capture in 1572 but escaped in 1576. In
1584, the duke of Anjou died and Henri
was the heir apparent to the throne of France. In 1587, he became
allied with king of France Henri II against the ultra-catholic
League led by the Guises. Both Henris met in Plessis-lez-Tours in
1589 and besieged Paris the same year. On 2 August, Henri II was
murdered. In 1590, Henri de Navarre defeated duke of Mayenne and
the League in Ivry and Arques (Normandy). Henri abjured calvinism
in 1593 and was sacred king of France (Henri IV) in Chartres in
1594. He was eventually absolved by pope Clement VIII in 1595.
The county of Foix was officially incorporated to France in 1607.
Ivan Sache, 24 January 2003
Description of the flag of the county of Foix
The banner of arms of the county of Foix is:
D'or aux trois pals de gueules
mentions four pallets instead of three:
Or four pallets gules
The evolution of the number of pallets is described on Thierry
Borel's FoixStory as
Nothing is known on the arms of the counts of Foix before the
The first arms are shown on a seal appended to a chart signed by
Roger-Bernard II in 1229. It has six pallets gules. These arms
might have been related to those of Aragon,
since there were family relations between Foix and Aragon.
On seals appended to charts dated 1241 and 1242, Roger IV's arms have
In 1276, Roger-Bernard III's seal has four pallets. In 1281,
following his marriage with the heir of
Béarn, Roger-Bernard quartered his
arms Foix-Béarn. The Foix arms had only three pallets,
but were the arms of the city of Foix, as shown on a chart dated
1281, and not of the county of Foix.
Borel's conclusion is that the arms traditonally shown with
three pallets never belonged to the County. Therefore, Brian
Timms might be correct when showing four pallets for the arms
of the County of Foix.
Ivan Sache, 24 January 2003