County de La Mark
Map of the Lower Rhenish–Westphalian Circle around 1560,
County of Mark highlighted in red
|Historical era||Middle Ages, Renaissance|
• United with Cleves
Lower Rhenish-Westphalian Circle
• Part of
• To Brandenburg
• Awarded to Berg
• To Prussia
The County of Mark (German: Grafschaft Mark, French: Comté de La Marck colloquially known as Die Mark) was a county and state of the Holy Roman Empire in the Lower Rhenish–Westphalian Circle. It lay on both sides of the Ruhr river along the Volme and Lenne rivers.
The Counts of the Mark were among the most powerful and influential Westphalian lords in the Holy Roman Empire. The name Mark is recalled in the present-day Märkischer Kreis district in lands south of the Ruhr in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The northern portion (north of the Lippe river) is still called Hohe Mark ("Higher Mark"), while the former "Lower Mark" (between the Ruhr and Lippe Rivers) is—for the most part—merged in the present Ruhr area.
The County of the Mark enclosed an area of approximately 3,000 km² and extended between the Lippe and Aggers rivers (north-south) and between Gelsenkirchen and Bad Sassendorf (west-east) for about 75 km. The east-west flowing Ruhr separated the county into two different regions: the northern, fertile lowlands of Hellweg Börde; and the southern hills of the Süder Uplands (Sauerland). In the south-north direction the southern part of the county was crossed by the Lenne. In the region of the Lower Lenne was the County of Limburg (1243–1808), a fiefdom of Berg.
The seat of the Counts of the Mark von de Marck or de la Marck was originally the Burg Altena in the Sauerland region, but moved to Burg Mark near Hamm in the 1220s. The county was bordered by Vest Recklinghausen, the County of Dortmund, the Bishopric of Münster, the County of Limburg, Werden Abbey, and Essen Abbey.
The coat of arms of the county was "Or a fess chequy Gules and Argent of three". These arms have been used by the city of Hamm since 1226. Many other places in the area include the red and white checkered fess in their arms as a reference to the county and often to their founders.
Originally belonging to a collateral line of the counts of Berg at Altena, the territory emerged under the name of Berg-Altena in 1160. About 1198 Count Frederick I purchased the Mark Oberhof, a parish land (Feldmark) on the territory of the Edelherren of Rüdenberg, liensmen of the Cologne archbishop Philip von Heinsberg. Here Frederick had the Mark Castle (Burg Mark) erected as the residence of the new "Counts of the Mark". The nearby town of Hamm was founded by his son Adolf I, Count of the Mark in 1226, it soon became most important settlement of the county and was often used as residence.
In the 1288 Battle of Worringen, Count Eberhard II fought on the side of Duke John I of Brabant and Count Adolph V of Berg against his liege, the Cologne archbishop Siegfried II of Westerburg, titular Duke of Westphalia. As Brabant and its allies were victorious, the County of Mark gained supremacy in southern Westphalia and became independent of the Archbishopric of Cologne. The territory of Mark was for long restricted to the lands between the Ruhr and Lippe rivers ("Lower Mark"). New territories in the north ("Higher Mark") were gained during the 14th century in wars against the Prince-Bishopric of Münster.
In 1332 Count Adolph II married Margarete, the daughter of Count Dietrich VIII of Cleves. Adolph's younger son Adolph III upon the death of Dietrich's brother Count John acquired the County of Cleves on the western banks of the Rhine in 1368. In 1391 Adolph III also inherited the Mark from his elder brother Engelbert III and united both counties as "Cleves-Mark" in 1394.
In 1509 the heir to the throne of Cleves-Mark John III the Peaceful married Maria, the daughter of Duke William IV of Berg and Jülich. In 1511 he succeeded his father-in-law in Jülich-Berg and in 1521 his father in Cleves-Mark, resulting in the rule of almost all territories in present North Rhine-Westphalia in personal union, except for the ecclesiastical states. The dynasty of Jülich-Cleves-Berg became extinct in 1609, when the insane last duke John William had died. A long dispute about the succession followed, before the territory of Mark together with Cleves and Ravensberg was granted to the Brandenburg Elector John Sigismund of Hohenzollern by the 1614 Treaty of Xanten (generally accepted in 1666). It then became part of the Kingdom of Prussia after 1701.
In 1807 the County of the Mark passed from Prussia to France in the Treaties of Tilsit. In 1808 Napoleon then gave Mark to the elevated Grand Duchy of Berg, which was divided into four departments along the lines of Napoleonic France. Mark was in the Ruhr Department until the collapse of French power in 1813, when it returned to Prussia.
The Prussian administrative reform of 30 April 1815 placed Mark within Regierungsbezirk Arnsberg, Province of Westphalia. The Hohenzollern Prussian sovereigns remained Counts of the "Prussian County of the Mark" until 1918. The "County of the Mark" has no official meaning anymore, but is used to informally refer to the region in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The House of La Marck is a cadet branch of Berg dynasty. Another surviving line of the House of Berg (more senior but less prominent in European History) became counts of Isenberg, then count of Limburg and Limburg Styrum.
To France by the 1807 Treaty of Tilsit, incorporated into Grand Duchy of Berg
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Altena is a town in the district of Märkischer Kreis, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The town's castle is the origin for the later Dukes of Berg. Altena is situated on the Lenne river valley, in the northern stretches of the Sauerland.
Berg was a state—originally a county, later a duchy—in the Rhineland of Germany. Its capital was Düsseldorf. It existed as a distinct political entity from the early 12th to the 19th centuries.
The Duchy of Cleves was a State of the Holy Roman Empire which emerged from the medieval Hettergau. It was situated in the northern Rhineland on both sides of the Lower Rhine, around its capital Cleves and the towns of Wesel, Kalkar, Xanten, Emmerich, Rees and Duisburg bordering the lands of the Prince-Bishopric of Münster in the east and the Duchy of Brabant in the west. Its history is closely related to that of its southern neighbours: the Duchies of Jülich and Berg, as well as Guelders and the Westphalian county of Mark. The Duchy was archaically known as Cleveland in English.
Count Frederick of Isenberg was a German noble, the younger son of Count Arnold of Altena. His family castle was the Isenburg near Hattingen, Germany.
William of Jülich-Cleves-Berge was a Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg (1539–1592). William was born in and died in Düsseldorf. He was the only son of John III, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, and Maria, Duchess of Jülich-Berg. William took over rule of his father's estates upon his death in 1539. Despite his mother having lived until 1543, William also became the Duke of Berg and Jülich and the Count of Ravensberg.
The Duchy of Westphalia was a historic territory in the Holy Roman Empire, which existed from 1180. It was located in the greater region of Westphalia, originally one of the three main regions in the German stem duchy of Saxony and today part of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The duchy was held by the Archbishops and Electors of Cologne until its secularization in 1803.
Johann Wilhelm of Jülich-Cleves-Berg was a Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg.
Adolf I, Count de la Mark, until 1226 also known as Adolf I, Count of Altena-Mark. He was son of Frederick I, Count of Berg-Altena and Alveradis of Krickenbeck, daughter of Reiner of Krieckenbeck-Millendonk.
The County of Ravensberg was a historical county of the Holy Roman Empire. Its territory was in present-day eastern Westphalia, Germany at the foot of the Osning or Teutoburg Forest.
La Marck was a noble family, which from about 1200 appeared as the counts of Mark.
The house of Limburg Stirum, which adopted its name in the 12th century from the immediate county of Limburg an der Lenne in what is now Germany, is one of the oldest families in Europe. It is the eldest and only surviving branch of the House of Berg, which was among the most powerful dynasties in the region of the lower Rhine during the Middle Ages. Some historians link them to an even older dynasty, the Ezzonen, going back to the 9th century.
Joanna of Hainault (1315–1374) was a Duchess of Jülich by marriage to William V, Duke of Jülich. She was the third daughter of William I, Count of Hainaut, and Joanna of Valois. She was a younger sister of Philippa of Hainault, Queen of England, and Margaret II of Hainault.
Adolph III of the Marck was the Bishop of Münster from 1357 until 1363, the Archbishop of Cologne in 1363, the Count of Cleves from 1368 until 1394, and the Count of Mark from 1391 until 1393.
Dietrich VII (1256–1305) was Count of Cleves from 1275 through 1305. He was the son of Dietrich VI, Count of Cleves and his wife Aleidis von Heinsberg.
Engelbert II of the Mark was Count of the Mark and through marriage, Count of Arenberg.
The actual boundaries of the Ruhr vary slightly depending on the source, but a good working definition is to define the Lippe and Ruhr as its northern and southern boundaries respectively, the Rhine as its western boundary, and the town of Hamm as the eastern limit.
Altena Castle is a medieval hill castle in the town of Altena in North Rhine-Westphalia. Built on a spur of Klusenberg hill, the castle lies near the Lenne in the Märkischer Kreis.
Engelbert III of the Mark (1333–1391) was the Count of Mark from 1347 until 1391.
Margaret of Cleves, also spelled Margaretha or Margarethe was the wife of Count Adolf II of the Marck and mother of Adolf III of the Marck. She was a daughter of Count Dietrich VIII of Cleves and Margaret of Guelders, who was a daughter of Reginald I of Guelders.
Frederick III of Moers was a German nobleman. He was Count of Moers by inheritance and Count of Saarwerden by jure uxoris.