The circle's territorial scope was reduced considerably in the 17th century with the secession of the Seven United Provinces in 1581 (recognized 1648) and the annexation of the Free County of Burgundy by France in 1678. The occupation and subsequent annexation of Imperial territory to the west of the Rhine river by Revolutionary France in the 1790s effectively brought an end to the circle's existence.
After the 1548 Diet of Augsburg, the circle was made up of the following territories:
The Imperial Seventeen Provinces emerged from the Burgundian Netherlands ruled in personal union by the French Dukes of Burgundy. Most of them had been fiefs of the Holy Roman Empire on the territory of Lower Lorraine, except for Flanders and Artois. In 1477 they fell to the House of Habsburg.
In 1363 the French king John II of Valois enfeoffed his youngest son Philip the Bold with the Duchy of Burgundy (Bourgogne). Philip in 1369 married Margaret of Dampierre, only child of Count Louis II of Flanders (d. 1384), whose immense dowry not only comprised Flanders and Artois but also the Imperial County of Burgundy. He thereby became the progenitor of the House of Valois-Burgundy who systematically came into possession of different Imperial fiefs: his grandson Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy from 1419, purchased Namur in 1429, inherited the duchies of Brabant and Limburg from his cousin Philip of Saint-Pol in 1430. In 1432 he forced Jacqueline of Wittelsbach to cede him the counties of Hainaut and Holland with Zeeland according to the Treaty of Delft and finally occupied Luxembourg, exiling Duchess Elisabeth of Görlitz in 1443.