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An appanage, or apanage (/ˈæpənɪ/; French: apanage [apanaʒ] ), is the grant of an estate, title, office or other thing of value to a younger child of a monarch, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture (where only the eldest inherits). It was common in much of Europe.

The system of appanage greatly influenced the territorial construction of France and the German states and explains why many of the former provinces of France had coats of arms which were modified versions of the king's arms.


Late Latin *appanaticum, from appanare or adpanare 'to give bread' (panis), a pars pro toto for food and other necessities, hence for a "subsistence" income, notably in kind, as from assigned land.

Original appanage: in France

History of the French appanage

An appanage was a concession of a fief by the sovereign to his younger sons, while the eldest son became king on the death of his father. Appanages were considered as part of the inheritance transmitted to the puisné (younger sons).[note 1] The word Juveigneur[note 2] was specifically used for the royal princes holding an appanage. These lands returned to the royal domain (the territory directly controlled by the king) on the extinction of the princely line, and could not be sold (neither hypothetically nor as a dowry). Daughters were initially able to inherit the appanages under the Capetian Kings. However, under the House of Valois, Salic law was applied which prohibited women from inheriting.

The system of appanage has played a particularly important role in France. It developed there with the extension of royal authority from the 13th century, then disappeared from the late Middle Ages with the affirmation of the exclusive authority of the royal state. It strongly influenced the territorial construction, explaining the arms of several provinces. The prerogative of Burgundy is also the origin of the Belgian, Luxembourgeois and Dutch states, through the action of its dukes favored by their position in the court of the kings of France.

Primogeniture avoids territorial splintering, which the earlier Frankish tradition of partible inheritance (equal division) suffered from (e.g. under the Merovingians and subsequent Carolingians). But primogeniture creates resentment in younger sons who inherit nothing. Appanages thus were used to sweeten the bitter pill of primogeniture and deter revolt of younger sons by diverting their aspirations of claiming their eldest brother's throne.

House of Capet

Unlike their predecessors (the Carolingians), the Capetian dynasty's hold on the crown was initially tenuous. They could not afford to divide the kingdom among all their sons, and the royal domain was very small, initially consisting solely of the Île-de-France. So the Capetians broke away from the Frankish custom of partible inheritance, to instead have the eldest son alone become King and receive the royal domain (except for any appanages). Most Capetians endeavored to add to the royal domain through incorporation of additional fiefs, large or small, and thus gradually obtained direct lordship over almost all of France.

Their first king Hugh Capet (elected King of the Franks on the death of Louis V in 987) only had one son, Robert II. But Robert had multiple sons. One of them, Henry I of France, became the first king to create an appanage in 1032, when he gave the Duchy of Burgundy to his younger brother Robert I of Burgundy (whose descendants retained the duchy until 1361 with the extinction of the first Capetian House of Burgundy by the death of Philip de Rouvre).

Louis VIII and Louis IX also created appanages.

House of Valois

The king who created the most powerful appanages for his sons was John II of France. His youngest son, Philip the Bold, founded the second Capetian House of Burgundy in 1363. By marrying the heiress of Flanders, Philip also became ruler of the Low Countries.

King Charles V tried to abolish the appanage system, but in vain. Provinces conceded in appanage tended to become de facto independent and the authority of the king was recognized there reluctantly. In particular the line of Valois Dukes of Burgundy caused considerable trouble to the French crown, with which they were often at war, often in open alliance with the English. Theoretically appanages could be reincorporated into the royal domain but only if the last lord had no male heirs. Kings tried as much as possible to rid themselves of the most powerful appanages. Louis XI retook the Duchy of Burgundy at the death of its last duke, Charles the Bold. Francis I confiscated the Bourbonnais, after the treason in 1523 of his commander in chief, Charles III, Duke of Bourbon, the 'constable of Bourbon' (died 1527 in the service of Emperor Charles V).

The first article of the Edict of Moulins (1566) declared that the royal domain (defined in the second article as all the land controlled by the crown for more than ten years) could not be alienated, except in two cases: by interlocking, in the case of financial emergency, with a perpetual option to repurchase the land; and to form an appanage, which must return to the crown in its original state on the extinction of the male line.[citation needed] The apanagist (incumbent) therefore could not separate himself from his appanage in any way.

After Charles V of France, a clear distinction had to be made between titles given as names to children in France, and true appanages. At their birth the French princes received a title independent of an appanage. Thus, the Duke of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV, never possessed Anjou and never received any revenue from this province. The king waited until the prince had reached adulthood and was about to marry before endowing him with an appanage. The goal of the appanage was to provide him with a sufficient income to maintain his noble rank.

The fief given in appanage could be the same as the title given to the prince, but this was not necessarily the case.

Only seven appanages were given from 1515 to 1789.


Appanages were abolished in 1792 before the proclamation of the Republic. The youngest princes from then on were to receive a grant of money but no territory.

Appanages were reestablished under the first French empire by Napoleon Bonaparte and confirmed by the Bourbon restoration-king Louis XVIII. The last of the appanages, the Orléanais, was reincorporated to the French crown when the Duke of Orléans, Louis-Philippe, became king of the French in 1830.

The word apanage is still used in French figuratively, in a non-historic sense: "to have appanage over something" is used, often in an ironic and negative sense, to claim exclusive possession over something. For example, "cows have appanage over prions".[citation needed]

List of major French appanages

Direct Capetians

House of Valois

House of Bourbon

Although Napoleon restored the idea of appanage in 1810 for his sons, none were ever granted, nor were any new appanages created by the restoration monarchs.

Western feudal appanages outside France

Appanages within Britain

English and British monarchs frequently granted appanages to younger sons of the monarch. Most famously, the Houses of York and Lancaster, whose feuding over the succession to the English throne after the end of the main line of the House of Plantagenet caused the Wars of the Roses, were both established when the Duchies of York and Lancaster were given as appanages for Edmund of Langley and John of Gaunt respectively, two of the four younger sons of King Edward III.

In modern times, the Duchy of Cornwall is the permanent statutory[1] appanage of the monarch's eldest son, intended to support him until such time as he inherits the Crown.[2] Other titles have continued to be granted to junior members of the royal family, but without associated grants of land directly connected with those titles, any territorial rights over the places named in the titles, or any income directly derived from those lands or places by virtue of those titles.[citation needed]


The defunct Kingdom of Strathclyde was granted as an appanage to the future David I of Scotland by his brother Edgar, King of Scots. Remnants of this can be found within the patrimony of the Prince of Scotland, currently Prince William, Duke of Rothesay.

Kingdom of Jerusalem

In the only crusader state of equal rank in protocol to the states of Western Europe, the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Jaffa and Ascalon was often granted as an appanage.

Brigantine Portugal

With the installation of the House of Braganza on the Portuguese throne in 1640, an official appanage was created for the second eldest son of the monarch, the House of the Infantado. The Infantado included several land grants and palaces, along with a heightened royal pension.

Equivalents outside Western Europe


The principalities of European Russia had a similar practice; an appanage given to a younger male of the princely family was called udel principalities (appanage principalities, Russian: удельное княжество, see ru:Удельное княжество). The frequency and importance of the custom was particularly important between the mid-13th and the mid-15th centuries; some historians refer to this era as the Appanage Period or Appanage Russia.[3] The last appange Russian prince was Vladimir of Staritsa.[4]

In the late Russian Empire, appanages for members of the imperial family were created by Emperor Paul I in 1797. By decree of the emperor, the members of the imperial family who were in the line of succession of the throne received civil list payments from state revenues; those not in the line of succession were given appanages from revenues of special estates called an udel estate (appanage estate, Russian: удельное имение, see ru:Удельное имение). Revenues of appanage estates were created by tribute of state (unlike private owned) peasants who lived on the territory of appanage estates and owned by the imperial family (see ru:Удельные крестьяне). Appanage estates were managed by the Department of Appanage Estates.


In medieval Serbia, an appanage was predominantly given to a younger brother of the supreme ruler, called a Župa. Its use began in the 9th century and continued into the 14th century, with the fall of the Serbian Empire.

Indian subcontinent

In the Indian subcontinent, the jagir (a type of fief) was often thus assigned to individual junior relatives of the ruling house of a princely state, but not as a customary right of birth, though in practice usually hereditarily held, and not only to them but also to commoners, normally as an essentially meritocratic grant of land and taxation rights (guaranteeing a "fitting" income, in itself bringing social sway, in the primary way in a mainly agricultural society), or even as part of a deal.

The seniormost woman in the Travancore royal family held the estate of Attingal, also known as the Sreepadam Estate, in appanage for life. All the income derived from this 15,000 acres (61 km2) estate was the private property of the senior maharani, alternatively known as the Senior Rani of Attingal (Attingal Mootha Thampuran).


The Javanese kingdom of Majapahit, which dominated eastern Java in the 14th and 15th centuries, was divided into nagara (provinces). The administration of these nagara was entrusted to members of the royal family, who bore the title of Bhre i.e. Bhra i, "lord of" (the word bhra being akin to the Thai Phra), followed by the name of the land they were entrusted with: for example a sister of King Hayam Wuruk (r. 1350–1389) was "Bhre Lasem", "lady of Lasem".

Mongol Empire

The royal family of the Mongol Empire owned the largest appanages in the world because of their enormous empire. In 1206, Genghis Khan awarded large tracts of land to his family members and loyal companions, most of whom were of common origin. Shares of booty were distributed much more widely. Empresses, princesses, and meritorious servants, as well as children of concubines, all received full shares including war prisoners.[5] For example, Kublai summoned two siege engineers from the Ilkhanate, and after their success rewarded them with lands. After the Mongol conquest in 1238, the port cities in Crimea paid the Jochids customs duties and the revenues were divided among all Chingisid princes in Mongol Empire in accordance with the appanage system.[6] As loyal allies, the Kublaids in East Asia and the Ilkhanids in Persia sent clerics, doctors, artisans, scholars, engineers and administrators to and received revenues from the appanages in each other's khanates.

The Great Khan Möngke divided up shares or appanages in Persia and made redistribution in Central Asia in 1251–1256.[7] Although the Chagatai Khanate was the smallest in size, the Chagatai Khans held the cities of Kat and Khiva in Khorazm, and some cities and villages in Shanxi and Iran, as well as their nomadic grounds in Central Asia.[5] The first Ilkhan, Hulagu, owned 25,000 households of silk-workers in China, valleys in Tibet, and lands in Mongolia.[5] In 1298, his descendant Ghazan of Persia sent envoys with precious gifts to the Great Khan Temür, and asked for the share of lands and revenues held by his great-grandfather in the territories ruled by the Yuan dynasty (in modern-day China and Mongolia). It is claimed[by whom?] that Ghazan received revenues that were not sent since the time of Möngke Khan.[8]

The appanage holders demanded excessive revenues and freed themselves from taxes. Ögedei decreed that nobles could appoint darughachi and judges in the appanages instead of direct distribution without the permission of the Great Khan, due to Khitan minister Yelü Chucai. Both Güyük and Möngke restricted the autonomy of the appanages, but Kublai Khan continued Ögedei's regulations. Ghazan also prohibited any misfeasance of appanage holders in the Ilkhanate, and Yuan councillor Temuder restricted Mongol nobles' excessive powers in appanages in China and Mongolia.[9][full citation needed] Kublai's successor Temür abolished imperial son-in-law King Chungnyeol of Goryeo's 358 departments which caused financial pressures to Korean people, though the Mongols gave them some autonomy.[10][full citation needed]

The appanage system was severely affected beginning with the civil strife in the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1304.[8][11] Nevertheless, this system survived. For example, Abagha of the Ilkhanate allowed Möngke Temür of the Golden Horde to collect revenues from silk workshops in northern Persia in 1270, and Baraq of the Chagatai Khanate sent his Muslim vizier to the Ilkhanate in 1269, ostensibly to investigate his appanages there. (The vizier's real mission was to spy on the Ilkhanids.)[12][13] After a peace treaty declared among Mongol khans Temür, Duwa, Chapar, Tokhta and Oljeitu in 1304, the system began to see a recovery. During the reign of Tugh Temür, the Yuan court received a third of revenues of the cities of Transoxiana (Mawarannahr) under Chagatai Khans while Chagatai elites such as Eljigidey, Duwa Temür, Tarmashirin were given lavish presents and sharing in the Yuan Dynasty's patronage of Buddhist temples.[14] Tugh Temür was also given some Russian captives by Chagatai prince Changshi as well as Kublai's future khatun Chabi had servant Ahmad Fanakati from Fergana Valley before her marriage.[15][16][full citation needed] In 1326, the Golden Horde started sending tributes to Great Khans of the Yuan Dynasty again. By 1339, Ozbeg and his successors had received annually 24 thousand ding in paper currency from their Chinese appanages in Shanxi, Cheli and Hunan.[17] H. H. Howorth noted that Ozbeg's envoy required his master's shares from the Yuan court, the headquarters of the Mongol world, for the establishment of new post stations in 1336.[18] This communication ceased only with the breakup, succession struggles and rebellions of Mongol Khanates.[note 3]

After the fall of the Mongol Empire in 1368, the Mongols continued the tradition of appanage system. They were divided into districts ruled by hereditary noblemen. The units in such systems were called Tumen and Otog during Northern Yuan Dynasty in Mongolia. However, the Oirats called their appanage unit ulus or anggi. Appanages were called banners (Khoshuu) under the Qing dynasty.

See also


  1. ^ French puis, "later", + né, "born [masc.]"
  2. ^ from the Latin comparative iuvenior, 'younger [masc.]'; in Brittany's customary law only the youngest brother
  3. ^ The Ilkhanate broke up in 1335; the succession struggles of the Golden Horde and the Chagatai Khanate started in 1359 and 1340 respectively; the Yuan army fought against the Red Turban Rebellion since the 1350s.



  1. ^ By charter issued by King Edward III in 1337: "A Charter of 1337". The National Archives. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  2. ^ Arnold-Baker, Charles (2001). The Companion to British History. Routledge. p. 43. ISBN 978-0415185837. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  3. ^ Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. (September 29, 2005). Russian Identities: A Historical Survey. Oxford University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-19-534814-9.
  4. ^ Auty, Robert; Obolensky, Dimitri (1976). Companion to Russian Studies: Volume 1: An Introduction to Russian History. Cambridge University Press. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-521-28038-9.
  5. ^ a b c Weatherford, Jack. Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world, pp. 220–227.
  6. ^ Jackson, Peter. Dissolution of Mongol Empire, pp. 186–243.
  7. ^ René Grousset, The Empire of Steppes, p. 286.
  8. ^ a b Jackson, Peter. "From Ulus to Khanate: the making of Mongol States, c. 1220–1290", in The Mongol Empire and Its Legacy, pp. 12–38.
  9. ^ Cambridge History of China
  10. ^ The history of Gaoli Chongson
  11. ^ Atwood, Christopher P. Encyclopedia of the Mongol Empire and Mongolia, p. 32.
  12. ^ A Compendium of Chronicles: Rashid al-Din's Illustrated History of the World (The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, vol. XXVII) ISBN 0-19-727627-X
  13. ^ Reuven Amitai-Preiss (1995), Mongols and Mamluks: The Mamluk-Īlkhānid War, 1260–1281, pp. 179-225. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-46226-6.
  14. ^ W. Barthold, "Chagatay Khanate", in Encyclopedia of Islam (2nd ed.), 3–4; Kazuhide Kato Kebek and Yasawr: the establishment of Chagatai Khanate 97–118
  15. ^ Agustí Alemany, Denis Sinor, Bertold Spuler, Hartwig Altenmüller, Handbuch Der Orientalistik, pp. 391–408
  16. ^ "Ahmad Fanakati", Encyclopedia of Mongolia and Mongol Empire
  17. ^ Thomas T. Allsen, Sharing out the Empire, pp. 172–190
  18. ^ H. H. Howorth, History of the Mongols, Vol II, p. 172.


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