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The count of Flanders was the ruler or sub-ruler of the county of Flanders, beginning in the 9th century.The title was held for a time by the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire and Spain. During the French Revolution, in 1790, the county of Flanders was annexed to France and ceased to exist. In the 19th century, the title was appropriated by Belgium and granted twice to younger sons of Belgian kings. The most recent holder died in 1983.
In 862 Baldwin I was appointed as the first Margrave of Flanders by King Charles II. It was a military appointment, responsible for repelling the Viking raids from the coast of Francia. The title of margrave (or marquis) evolved into that of count. Arnulf I was the first to name himself as count, by the Grace of God. The title of margrave largely fell out of use by the 12th century. Since then, the rulers of Flanders have only been referred to as counts.
The counts of Flanders enlarged their estate through a series of diplomatic marriages. The counties of Hainaut, Namur, Béthune, Nevers, Auxerre, Rethel, Burgundy, and Artois were all acquired in this manner. However, the County of Flanders suffered the same fate in turn. As a result of the marriage of Countess Margaret III with Philip II, Duke of Burgundy, the county and the subsidiary counties, entered a personal union with the Duchy of Burgundy in 1405.
The counts of Flanders were also associated with the Duchy of Brittany prior to its union with France. In c 1323, Joan, the daughter of Arthur II, Duke of Brittany, married the second son of Count Robert III. Joanna of Flanders, the granddaughter of Count Robert III and daughter of his son, Count Louis I, married John Montfort.During Montfort's imprisonment, she fought on his behalf, alongside English allies, during the Breton War of Succession for the ducal crown, which was won definitively by her son John V, Duke of Brittany. It was through this alliance that the Duchy of Brittany was eventually joined to the throne of France.
In 1244, the Counties of Flanders and Hainaut were claimed by Margaret II's sons, the half-brothers John I of Avesnes and William III of Dampierre in the War of the Succession of Flanders and Hainault. In 1246, King Louis IX of France awarded Flanders to William.
Charles V proclaimed the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 eternally uniting Flanders with the other lordships of the Low Countries in a personal union. When the Habsburg empire was divided among the heirs of Charles V, the Low Countries, including Flanders, went to Philip II of Spain, of the Spanish branch of the House of Habsburg.
Between 1706 and 1714, Flanders was invaded by the English and the Dutch during the War of the Spanish Succession. The fief was claimed by the House of Habsburg and the House of Bourbon. In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht settled the succession and the County of Flanders went to the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg.
The title was abolished de facto after revolutionary France annexed Flanders in 1795. The Emperor Francis II relinquished his claim to the Low Countries in the Treaty of Campo Formio of 1797, and the area remained part of France until the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
In modern times, the title was granted to two younger sons of the kings of the Belgians.
The title, Count of Flanders, is one of the titles of the Spanish Crown. It is a historical title which is only nominally and ceremonially used.
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Baldwin I was the first emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople; Count of Flanders from 1194 to 1205 and Count of Hainaut from 1195-1205. Baldwin was one of the most prominent leaders of the Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the sack of Constantinople in 1204, the conquest of large parts of the Byzantine Empire, and the foundation of the Latin Empire. He lost his final battle to Kaloyan, the emperor of Bulgaria, and spent his last days as his prisoner.
The counts of Holland ruled over the County of Holland in the Low Countries between the 10th and the 16th century.
Joan, often called Joan of Constantinople, ruled as Countess of Flanders and Hainaut from 1205 until her death. She was the elder daughter of Baldwin IX, Count of Flanders and Hainaut, and Marie of Champagne.
Margaret, often called Margaret of Constantinople, ruled as Countess of Flanders during 1244–1278 and Countess of Hainaut during 1244–1253 and 1257–1280. She was the younger daughter of Baldwin IX, Count of Flanders and Hainaut, and Marie of Champagne.
Theoderic, commonly known as Thierry of Alsace, was the fifteenth count of Flanders from 1128 to 1168. With a record of four campaigns in the Levant and Africa, he had a rare and distinguished record of commitment to crusading.
Robert I, known as Robert the Frisian, was count of Flanders from 1071 to his death in 1093. He was the son of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders and the younger brother of Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders. He usurped the countship after defeating his nephew Arnulf III and his allies, which included King Philip I of France, count Eustace of Boulogne and the counts of Saint-Pol and Ardres at the battle of Cassel. He subsequently made peace with Philip, who became his stepson-in-law, but remained hostile to his sister Matilda and brother-in-law, King William I of England.
The County of Hainaut was a territorial lordship within the medieval Holy Roman Empire that straddled what is now the border of Belgium and France. Its most important towns included Mons, now in Belgium, and Valenciennes, now in France.
John of Avesnes was the count of Hainaut from 1246 to his death.
Guy of Dampierre was the Count of Flanders (1251–1305) and Marquis of Namur (1268–1297). He was a prisoner of the French when his Flemings defeated the latter at the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302.
The County of Artois was a historic province of the Kingdom of France, held by the Dukes of Burgundy from 1384 until 1477/82, and a state of the Holy Roman Empire from 1493 until 1659.
The count of Artois was the ruler over the County of Artois from the 9th century until the abolition of the countship by the French revolutionaries in 1790.
The Avesnes family played an important role during the Middle Ages. The family has its roots in the small village Avesnes-sur-Helpe, in the north of France.
Le Quesnoy is a commune and small town in the east of the Nord department of northern France; accordingly its historic province is French Hainaut. It had a keynote industry in shoemaking before the late 1940s, followed by a chemical factory and dairy, giving way to its weekly market, tourism, local commuting to elsewhere such as Valenciennes and local shops.
Richilde, Countess of Mons and Hainaut, was a ruling countess of Hainaut from c. 1050 until 1076, in co-regency with her husband Baldwin VI of Flanders and son Baldwin II of Hainaut. She was also countess of Flanders by marriage to Baldwin VI. She ruled Flanders as regent during the minority of her son Arnulf III in 1070-1071.
The War of the Flemish Succession was a series of feudal conflicts in the mid-thirteenth century between the children of Margaret II, Countess of Flanders. They concerned the succession to the countship of two counties, one a fief of the King of France (Flanders) and one a fief of the King of Germany (Hainault).
William III was the lord of Dampierre from 1231 and count of Flanders from 1247 until his death. He was the son of William II of Dampierre and Margaret II of Flanders.
The Count of Hainaut was the ruler of the county of Hainaut, a historical region in the Low Countries. In English-language historical sources, the title is often given the archaic spelling Hainault.
The House of Flanders—also called the Baldwins —was a medieval ruling family that was founded by Baldwin Iron Arm, son-in-law of Charles the Bald.
The Dampierre family played an important role during the Middle Ages. Named after Dampierre, in the Champagne region, where members first became prominent, members of the family were later Count of Flanders, Count of Nevers, Counts and Dukes of Rethel, Count of Artois and Count of Franche-Comté.