This chapter traces how the Burgundian dynasty managed to unite the different principalities of the Netherlands under its rule, and thus created a composite monarchy. The Burgundian claims were highly dubious, especially those to the principalities belonging to the Holy Roman Empire. The dukes made systematic use of the opportunities that were offered to them by circumstances. Through acting and negotiating, promising and threatening, and above all buying, they brought together a rich body of different principalities located in two kingdoms and two or three language areas. In many cases the definitive acquisition of the legal titles was preceded by a de facto takeover of power. Enormous sums of money were involved in the acquisition of the principalities, to buy off competing claims and to relieve existing debts. In this expansion they were dependent on support from the regional representative institutions.
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