From 862 onwards the Counts of Flanders were one of the original twelve peers of the Kingdom of France. For centuries their estates around the cities of Ghent, Bruges and Ypres formed one of the most affluent regions in Europe.
Up to 1477, the area under French suzerainty was located west of the Scheldt River and was called "Royal Flanders" . Aside from this the Counts of Flanders from the 11th century on also held land east of the river as a fief of the Holy Roman Empire, an area called "Imperial Flanders" . Part of the Burgundian Netherlands from 1384, the county was finally removed from French to Imperial control after the Peace of Madrid in 1526 and the Peace of Ladies in 1529.
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