AUXERRE Auxerrois (pays).
County in central France; the city is on the River Yonne, southwest of Troyes and northwest of Dijon. The city was also the head of a diocese that belonged to the province of Sens and was abolished in 1790.
Richard the Justiciar (d.921), first Duke of Burgundy, held the County, of which his father-in-law, the ancestor of the Kings of Burgundy, had been Count. A long struggle followed upon the the death of Duke Henry in 1002 between his nephew, King Robert II of France, and his stepson, Otto William, for the succession to the Duchy. Their rival supporters, the Bishop of Auxerre and the Count of Nevers, competed to seize Auxerre; in the final settlement the King granted Auxerre to the Count of Nevers, his rival’s champion, and with that County it stayed for 250 years.
In a settlement reached in 1273, the daughters of Countess Mahaut II, who had died in 1262, divided her counties among them, Auxerre going to Alix, the wife of John of Chalon, a descendant of Otto William. Their great-grandson, John IV, mentally unbalanced, sold the County for a song to King Charles V in 1372. It was occupied by the Burgundians in 1419 and ceded to the Duke in the settlement of 1435, returning to the Crown with the death of Charles the Rash in 1477.
In the Ancien Régime, the Auxerrois formed the northwestern appendage to the gouvernement of Burgundy and généralité of Dijon; in 1790 Auxerre became capital of the Department of Yonne.