Lordship in southeast central France; the Beaujolais lies in the hills west of the Saône valley, southwest of Mâcon, NNW of Lyon, and south of Charolais.
The Beaujolais stood on the borders of France in the middle ages, very much so in the early years, when not only Bresse and Dombes to the east, but the Lyonnais and Forez to the south and southwest belonged to the Kingdom of Burgundy. The lordship passed to the family of the Counts of Forez in 1265 and was held by a junior branch until 1390, when its mentally ill Sire sold it and the neighbouring Dombes, which his family had acquired, to the Duke of Bourbon.
In the later 15th century Anne of Beaujeu was Regent of France for her young brother, Charles VIII. She was the wife of Peter, Sire of Beaujeu, who inherited the Duchy of Bourbon in 1488. Beaujeu later passed to their son-in-law, the Constable Bourbon. He was deprived of his lands for treason, 1523-7. In 1560 Beaujeu was restored to his nephew, the Duke of Montpensier. The title of Count of Beaujolais was held by a brother, who died young, of Louis Philippe, the 19th century King of the French.
In the Ancien Régime the Beaujolais belonged to the gouvernement of Lyonnais and in 1790 became part of the Department of Rhône-et-Loire (Rhône from 1793).