AskDefine | Define duchy

Dictionary Definition

duchy n : the domain controlled by a duke or duchess [syn: dukedom]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

duche, from duché.

Pronunciation

Noun

  1. A dominion or region ruled by a duke or duchess.

Translations

Related terms

Extensive Definition

A duchy is a territory, fief, or domain ruled by a duke or duchess. Historically, some duchies in Continental Europe were sovereign, while others (especially in France and Britain) were subordinate districts of a kingdom.
Traditionally, a grand duchy, such as Luxembourg, was generally independent and sovereign. Sovereign duchies were common in the Holy Roman Empire and German-speaking areas.
In France, a number of duchies existed in the medieval period. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom still holds the medieval French title of Duke of Normandy; the only lands still attached to the Duchy of Normandy are the Channel Islands although there no longer is a King of France. Important French duchies included Normandy, Burgundy, Brittany and Aquitaine.
In medieval England, the territories of Lancashire and Cornwall were made duchies, with certain powers accruing to their Dukes. The Duchy of Lancaster was created in 1351 but became merged with the Crown when, in 1399, the Duke, Henry Bolingbroke ascended the throne of England as Henry IV. The Duchy of Cornwall was created in 1337 and held successively by Dukes of Cornwall who were also heirs to the throne. These duchies today have lost their political role, although there is an ongoing dispute over the status of Cornwall.
In more recent times, territorial duchies have become rare; most dukedoms conferred in the last few centuries have been of a purely symbolic character (see Duke). No independent duchies exist today; however, Luxembourg is an independent Grand Duchy.
  • For the history of duchies as an institution, see the entry on Duke.

Fictional duchies

External links

duchy in Afrikaans: Hertogdom
duchy in Welsh: Dugiaeth
duchy in Danish: Hertugdømme
duchy in German: Herzogtum
duchy in Spanish: Ducado
duchy in French: Duché
duchy in Croatian: Vojvodstvo
duchy in Hungarian: Hercegség
duchy in Italian: Ducato (feudo)
duchy in Dutch: Stamhertogdom
duchy in Norwegian: Hertugdømme
duchy in Polish: Księstwo
duchy in Portuguese: Ducado|Duque
duchy in Swedish: Hertigdöme
duchy in Ukrainian: Герцогство

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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