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Definition of FRANCHE-COMTÉ
region & former county & province E France E of the Saône ∗ Besançon — see burgundy
Région (pop., 2006 est.: 1,150,624), east-central France. It covers 6,256 sq mi (16,202 sq km), and its capital is Besançon. Included in the original kingdom of Burgundy in the 5th century AD, it later became the county of Burgundy, as distinct from the duchy of Burgundy. Part of the German (later Holy Roman) empire in the 11th century, it came under the control of Philip II (the Bold) in 1384. It passed to Maximilian I in the 15th century and, from him, to the Spanish Habsburgs. Occupied by Louis IX, it was ceded to him by Spain in 1678 and was a province of France until the 1789 Revolution, when it was split into several départments.