Guelders

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Duchy of Guelders

Hertogdom Gelre(nl)
Herzogtum Geldern(de)
1096–1795
Gelre-4 wapen.svg
Coat of arms
Locator Duchy of Guelders and County of Zutphen (1350).svg
Duchy of Guelders and the County of Zutphen, about 1350
StatusDuchy
Capital Geldern
GovernmentFeudal monarchy
Historical eraMiddle Ages, Renaissance
  Gerard I first
   Count of Guelders
1096
 Raised to duchy
1339
 Held by Jülich
1393–1423
 Acquired by Burgundy
1473
 Lower Quarters to
    Dutch Republic
1581
 Annexed by France
1795
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Lothringen-Nieder.PNG Lower Lorraine
Burgundian Netherlands Flag of the Low Countries.svg

Guelders or Gueldres (Dutch : Gelre, German : Geldern) is a historical county, later duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the Low Countries.

Dutch language A West Germanic language

Dutch(Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the third-most-widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes, in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French conté or cunté denoting a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count (earl) or a viscount. The modern French is comté, and its equivalents in other languages are contea, contado, comtat, condado, Grafschaft, graafschap, Gau, etc..

Contents

Geography

The duchy was named after the town of Geldern (Gelder) in present-day Germany. Though the present province of Gelderland (English also Guelders) in the Netherlands occupies most of the area, the former duchy also comprised parts of the present Dutch province of Limburg as well as those territories in the present-day German state of North Rhine-Westphalia that were acquired by Prussia in 1713.

Geldern Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Geldern is a city in the federal German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is part of the district of Cleves, which is part of the Düsseldorf administrative region.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Gelderland Province of the Netherlands

Gelderland, also known as Guelders in English, is a province of the Netherlands, located in the central eastern part of the country. With a land area of nearly 5,000 km2, it is the largest province of the Netherlands and shares borders with six other provinces and Germany.

Four parts of the duchy had their own centres, as they were separated by rivers:

Roermond Town and municipality in Limburg, Netherlands

Roermond is a city, a municipality, and a diocese in the southeastern part of the Netherlands.

Upper Guelders

Upper Guelders or Spanish Guelders was one of the four quarters in the Imperial Duchy of Guelders. In the Dutch Revolt, it was the only quarter that did not secede from the Habsburg Monarchy to become part of the Seven United Netherlands, but remained under Spanish rule during the Eighty Years' War.

Erkelenz Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Erkelenz is a town in the Rhineland in western Germany that lies 15 kilometres southwest of Mönchengladbach on the northern edge of the Cologne Lowland, halfway between the Lower Rhine region and the Lower Meuse. It is a medium-sized town and the largest in the district of Heinsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia.

spatially separated from the Lower Quarters (Gelderland):

Achterhoek Region in the Low Saxon part of the Netherlands

The Achterhoek is a cultural region in the eastern Netherlands.

IJssel branch of the Rhine

The river IJssel, sometimes called Gelderse IJssel to avoid confusion with the Hollandse IJssel, is the branch of the Rhine in the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel. The Romans knew the river as Isala. The IJssel flows from Westervoort, east of the city of Arnhem, until it discharges into the IJsselmeer. The River IJssel is one of the three major distributary branches into which the Rhine divides shortly after crossing the German-Dutch border.

Rhine River in Western Europe

The Rhine is one of the major European rivers, which has its sources in Switzerland and flows in a mostly northerly direction through Germany and the Netherlands, emptying into the North Sea. The river begins in the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps, forms part of the Swiss-Liechtenstein, Swiss-Austrian, Swiss-German and then the Franco-German border, then flows through the German Rhineland and the Netherlands and eventually empties into the North Sea.

History

The county emerged about 1096, when Gerard III of Wassenberg was first documented as "Count of Guelders". It was then located on the territory of Lower Lorraine, in the area of Geldern and Roermond, with its main stronghold at Montfort (built 1260). Count Gerard's son Gerard II in 1127 acquired the County of Zutphen in northern Hamaland by marriage. In the 12th and 13th century, Guelders quickly expanded downstream along the sides of the Maas, Rhine, and IJssel rivers and even claimed the succession in the Duchy of Limburg, until it lost the 1288 Battle of Worringen against Berg and Brabant.

Gerard I of Guelders was Count of Guelders. He was the son of Theodoric of Wassenberg.

Wassenberg Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Wassenberg is a town in the district Heinsberg, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is situated near the border with the Netherlands, on the river Rur, approx. 6 km north-east of Heinsberg and 15 km south-east of Roermond.

Lower Lorraine duchy

The Duchy of Lower Lorraine, or Lower Lotharingia, was a stem duchy established in 959, of the medieval Kingdom of Germany, which encompassed almost all of the modern Netherlands, central and eastern Belgium, Luxemburg, the northern part of the German Rhineland province and the eastern parts of France's Nord-Pas de Calais region.

Guelders officer of arms wearing a tabard of the shield, ca. 1395 Herald Gelre of the Duke of Gueldres.jpg
Guelders officer of arms wearing a tabard of the shield, ca. 1395

Guelders was often at war with its neighbours, not only with Brabant, but also with the County of Holland and the Bishopric of Utrecht. However, its territory grew not only because of its success in warfare, but also because it thrived in times of peace. For example, the larger part of the Veluwe and the city of Nijmegen were given as collateral to Guelders by their cash-strapped rulers. On separate occasions, in return for loans from the treasury of Guelders, the bishop of Utrecht granted the taxation and administration of the Veluwe, and William II ― Count of both Holland and Zeeland, and who was elected anti-king of the Holy Roman Empire (1248–1256) ― similarly granted the same rights over Nijmegen; as neither ruler proved able to repay their debts, these lands became integral parts of Guelders.[ citation needed ]

County of Holland former State of the Holy Roman Empire and part of the Habsburg Netherlands

The County of Holland was a State of the Holy Roman Empire and from 1432 part of the Burgundian Netherlands, from 1482 part of the Habsburg Netherlands and from 1581 onward the leading province of the Dutch Republic, of which it remained a part until the Batavian Revolution in 1795. The territory of the County of Holland corresponds roughly with the current provinces of North Holland and South Holland in the Netherlands.

In lending agreements, collateral is a borrower's pledge of specific property to a lender, to secure repayment of a loan. The collateral serves as a lender's protection against a borrower's default and so can be used to offset the loan if the borrower fails to pay the principal and interest satisfactorily under the terms of the lending agreement.

William II of Holland Count of Holland and King of the Romans

William II was a Count of Holland and Zeeland from 1234 until his death. He was crowned German anti-king in 1248 and ruled as sole King of the Romans from 1254 onwards.

In 1339 Count Reginald II of Guelders (also styled Rainald), of the House of Wassenberg, was elevated to the rank of Duke by Emperor Louis IV of Wittelsbach. After the Wassenberg line became extinct in 1371 following the deaths of Reginald II's childless sons Edward II (on 24 August, from wounds suffered in the Battle of Baesweiler) and Reginald III (on 4 December), the ensuing Guelders War of Succession saw William I of Jülich emerge victorious. William was confirmed in the inheritance of Guelders in 1379, and from 1393 onwards held both duchies in personal union (in Guelders as William I, and in Jülich as William III). In 1423 Guelders passed to the House of Egmond, which gained recognition of its title from Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg, but was unable to escape the political strife and internecine conflict that had so plagued the preceding House of Jülich-Hengebach, and more especially, the pressure brought to bear by the expansionist rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy. The first Egmond Duke, Arnold, suffered the rebellion of his son Adolf and was imprisoned by the latter in 1465. Adolf, who had enjoyed the support of Burgundian Duke Philip III ("the Good") and of the four major cities of Guelders during his rebellion, was unwilling to strike a compromise with his father when this was demanded by Philip's successor, Duke Charles the Bold. Charles had Duke Adolf captured and imprisoned in 1471 and reinstated Arnold on the throne of the Duchy of Guelders. Charles then bought the reversion (i.e., the right of succession to the throne) from Duke Arnold, who, against the will of the towns and the law of the land, pledged his duchy to Charles for 300,000 Rhenish florins. The bargain was completed in 1472–73, and upon Arnold's death in 1473, Duke Charles added Guelders to the "Low Countries" portion of his Valois Duchy of Burgundy. Upon Charles' defeat and death at the Battle of Nancy in January 1477, Duke Adolf was released from prison by the Flemish, but died the same year at the head of a Flemish army besieging Tournai, after the States of Guelders had recognized him once more as Duke. Subsequently, Guelders was ruled by Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, husband of Charles the Bold's daughter and heir, Mary.

The last independent Duke of Guelders was Adolf's son Charles of Egmond (1467–1538, r1492–1538), who was raised at the Burgundian court of Charles the Bold and fought for the House of Habsburg in battles against the armies of Charles VIII of France, until being captured in the Battle of Béthune (1487) during the War of the Public Weal (also known as the Mad War). In 1492, the citizens of Guelders, who had become disenchanted with the rule of Maximilian, ransomed Charles and recognized him as their Duke. Charles, now backed by France, fought Maximilian's grandson Charles of Habsburg (who became Holy Roman Emperor, as Charles V, in 1519) in the Guelders Wars and expanded his realm further north, to incorporate what is now the Province of Overijssel. He was not simply a man of war, but also a skilled diplomat, and was therefore able to keep his independence. He bequeathed the duchy to Duke William the Rich of Jülich-Cleves-Berg (also known as Wilhelm of Cleves). Following in the footsteps of Charles of Egmond, Duke William formed an alliance with France, an alliance dubiously cemented via his political marriage to French King Francis I's niece Jeanne d'Albret (who reportedly had to be whipped into submission to the marriage, [1] and later bodily carried to the altar by the Constable of France, Anne de Montmorency). [2] [3] This alliance emboldened William to challenge Emperor Charles V's claim to Guelders, but the French, mightily engaged on multiple fronts as they were in the long struggle to against the Habsburg "encirclement" of France, proved less reliable than the Duke's ambitions required, and he was unable to hold on to the duchy; in 1543, by the terms of the Treaty of Venlo, Duke William conceded the Duchy of Guelders to the Emperor. Charles united Guelders with the Seventeen Provinces of the Habsburg Netherlands, and Guelders finally lost its independence.

Charles V abdicated in 1556 and decreed that the territories of the Burgundian Circle should be held by the Spanish Crown. When the Netherlands revolted against King Philip II of Spain in the Dutch Revolt, the three northern quarters of Gelderland joined the Union of Utrecht and became part of the United Provinces upon the 1581 Act of Abjuration, while only the Upper Quarter remained a part of the Spanish Netherlands.

At the Treaty of Utrecht, ending the War of the Spanish Succession in 1713, the Spanish Upper Quarter was again divided between Prussian Guelders (Geldern, Viersen, Horst, Venray), the United Provinces (Venlo, Montfort, Echt), Austria (Roermond, Niederkrüchten, Weert), and the Duchy of Jülich (Erkelenz). In 1795 Guelders was finally conquered and incorporated by the French First Republic, and partitioned between the départements of Roer and Meuse-Inférieure.

Coat of arms of Guelders

The coat of arms of the region changed over time.

William Thatcher, the lead character in the 2001 film A Knight's Tale played by Heath Ledger claimed to be Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein from Gelderland so as to appear to be of noble birth and thus qualify to participate in jousting.

Set in the late 1460s, the main character in Rafael Sabatini's 1929 novel "The Romantic Prince" is Count Anthony of Guelders, elder son of Duke Arnold and brother to Adolf "since then happily vanished". Sabatini weaves the historical characters and events of the period through the story.

The folk/metalband Heidevolk, based in Gelderland, composed and performs a range of songs about Gelre/Guelders, amongst which a contemporary anthem "Het Gelders Volklied".

See also

Notes

  1. Robin, Larsen and Levin, p 3
  2. Strage, p 16
  3. Hackett, p 419

Related Research Articles

Seventeen Provinces Union of states in the Netherlands in the 15th and 16th centuries

The Seventeen Provinces were the Imperial states of the Habsburg Netherlands in the 16th century. They roughly covered the Low Countries, i.e. what is now the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and most of the French departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais (Artois). Also within this area were semi-independent fiefdoms, mainly ecclesiastical ones, such as Liège, Cambrai and Stavelot-Malmedy.

Charles II, Duke of Guelders Duke of Guelders and Count of Zutphen from 1492 to 1538

Charles II was a member of the House of Egmond who ruled as Duke of Guelders and Count of Zutphen from 1492 until his death. He was the son of Adolf of Egmond and Catharine of Bourbon. He had a principal role in the Frisian peasant rebellion and the Guelders Wars.

Spanish Netherlands Historical region of the Low Countries (1581–1714)

Spanish Netherlands was the collective name of States of the Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries, held in personal union by the Spanish Crown from 1556 to 1714. This region comprised most of the modern states of Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as parts of northern France, southern Netherlands, and western Germany with the capital being Brussels.

Duchy of Jülich duchy

The Duchy of Jülich comprised a state within the Holy Roman Empire from the 11th to the 18th centuries. The duchy lay left of the Rhine river between the Electorate of Cologne in the east and the Duchy of Limburg in the west. It had territories on both sides of the river Rur, around its capital Jülich – the former Roman Iuliacum – in the lower Rhineland. The duchy amalgamated with the County of Berg beyond the Rhine in 1423, and from then on also became known as Jülich-Berg.

Duchy of Cleves State of the Holy Roman Empire

The Duchy of Cleves was a State of the Holy Roman Empire which emerged from the mediaeval Hettergau (de). 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.

Burgundian Circle imperial circle of the Holy Roman Empire

The Burgundian Circle was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire created in 1512 and significantly enlarged in 1548. In addition to the Free County of Burgundy, the Burgundian Circle roughly covered the Low Countries, i.e., the areas now known as the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and adjacent parts in the French administrative region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

William, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg German nobleman; Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg

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.

Arnold, Duke of Guelders Duke of Guelders

Arnold of Egmond was Duke of Guelders, Count of Zutphen.

Guelders Wars series of conflicts in the Low Countries

The Guelders Wars were a series of conflicts in the Low Countries between the Duke of Burgundy, who controlled Holland, Flanders, Brabant and Hainaut on the one side, and Charles, Duke of Guelders, who controlled Guelders, Groningen and Frisia on the other side.

Prussian Guelders or Prussian G(u)elderland was the part of the Duchy of Guelders ruled by the Kingdom of Prussia from 1713. Its capital was Geldern.

William I of Guelders and Jülich Duke of Guelders and Julich

William I of Guelders and Jülich KG was Duke of Guelders, as William I, from 1377 and Duke of Jülich, as William III, from 1393. William was known for his military activities, participating in the Prussian crusade five times and battling with neighbors in France and Brabant throughout his rule. His allies included Holy Roman Emperors, Charles IV and Wenceslaus, Richard II of England, and Conrad Zöllner von Rothenstein, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights. During his reign the duchies of Guelders and Jülich were temporarily unified.

Reinald IV, Duke of Guelders and Jülich Duke of Guelders and Jülich

Reinald IV, Duke of Guelders and Jülich aka Reginald IV was the son of William II, Duke of Jülich and Maria of Guelders, daughter of Reinald II, Duke of Guelders.

Adolf, Duke of Jülich-Berg, was the first Duke of the combined duchies of Jülich and Berg. He was the son of William VII of Jülich, 1st Duke of Berg and Anna of the Palatinate.

Veluwe Quarter

Veluwe Quarter was one of the four quarters in the Duchy of Guelders, besides Quarter of Zutphen, Upper Quarter and Nijmegen Quarter. Veluwe Quarter had Arnhem as its capital and included the Veluwe area. The main cities were Elburg, Hattem, Harderwijk and Wageningen. Its location was west of the river IJssel and north of the river Rhine.

Nijmegen Quarter

The Nijmegen Quarter was the first of the four quarters in which the county, later duchy of Guelders was divided, as they were separated by rivers. In addition Guelders consisted of Zutphen Quarter, the Upper Quarter and Veluwe Quarter. Each quarter had its own capital.

References