Count of Hainaut

The Count of Hainaut (French: Comte de Hainaut, Dutch: Graaf van Henegouwen, German: Graf von Hennegau) was the ruler of the county of Hainaut, a historical region in the Low Countries (including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany). In English-language historical sources, the title is often given the archaic spelling Hainault.

Wapen van Henegouwen (provincie)
Coat of arms of the county of Hainaut.

List of counts of Hainaut

House of Reginar

The County of Hainaut was then divided between the counties of Mons and Valenciennes.

Counts of Mons

Counts and Margraves of Valenciennes

Valenciennes and Mons are once again reunited in a consolidated County of Hainaut.

House of Flanders

The Counties of Flanders and Hainaut are claimed by Margaret'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 awards Hainaut to John, but Margaret refuses to hand over the government but was forced to do so in 1254 by John and the German anti-king William II, Count of Holland.

House of Avesnes

House of Flanders

  • Margaret I (r. 1257–1280), resumed control after John I's death

House of Avesnes

House of Bavaria

Jacqueline was opposed by her uncle John, Duke of Bavaria-Straubing, son of Count Albert I in a war of succession. John's claims devolved upon Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, a nephew of William IV, whose mother had been the sister of William. In 1432 he forced Jacqueline to abdicate from Hainaut and Holland in his favour.

House of Burgundy

House of Habsburg

Charles II proclaimed the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 eternally uniting Hainaut 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 Hainaut, went to Philip II of Spain, of the Spanish branch of the House of Habsburg.

Between 1706 and 1714 the Low Countries were 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 1714, the Treaty of Rastatt settled the succession and the County of Hainaut went to the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg.

  • Charles IV (r. 1714–1740), great grandson of Philip III, als Holy Roman Emperor (elect)
  • Mary Theresa (r. 1740–1780), daughter of Charles IV, married Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
  • Joseph I (r. 1780–1790), son of Maria Theresa and Francis I, also Holy Roman Emperor
  • Leopold (r. 1790–1792), son of Maria Theresa and Francis I, also Holy Roman Emperor
  • Francis II (r. 1792–1835), son of Leopold II, also Holy Roman Emperor

The title was factually abolished in the aftermath of the French revolution and the annexation of Flanders by France in 1795. Although, the title remained officially claimed by the descendants of Leopold II until the reign of Charles I of Austria.

Modern usage

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

In the modern Kingdom of Belgium, the title of "Count of Hainaut" was traditionally given to the eldest son of the crown prince, who was himself styled "Duke of Brabant". In 2001, with the birth of Princess Elisabeth of Belgium (now Duchess of Brabant), heir and eldest daughter of Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant (now Philippe, King of the Belgians), it was decided not to feminize and award her the title of Countess of Hainaut, but to abolish it.

See also

Albert I, Duke of Bavaria

Albert I, Duke of Bavaria (German: Albrecht; 25 July 1336 – 13 December 1404) KG, was a feudal ruler of the counties of Holland, Hainaut, and Zeeland in the Low Countries. Additionally, he held a portion of the Bavarian province of Straubing, his Bavarian ducal line's appanage and seat.

Arnulf III, Count of Flanders

Arnulf III (died 22 February 1071) was Count of Flanders from 1070 until his death at the Battle of Cassel in 1071.

Baldwin I, Latin Emperor

Baldwin I (Dutch: Boudewijn; French: Baudouin; July 1172 – c. 1205) was the first emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople. As Count of Flanders and Hainaut, he was one of the most prominent leaders of the Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the sack of Constantinople and 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.

Baldwin II, Count of Hainaut

Baldwin II of Mons (1056–1098?) was count of Hainaut from 1071 to his death. He was the younger son of Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders and Richilde, Countess of Mons and Hainaut.

Baldwin III, Count of Hainaut

Baldwin III (1088–1120) was count of Hainaut from 1098 to his death. He was son of Baldwin II, Count of Hainaut, and Ida of Louvain.

Baldwin IV, Count of Hainaut

Baldwin IV (1108 – 8 November 1171) was count of Hainaut from 1120 to his death. He was the son of Baldwin III, Count of Hainaut, and Yolande de Wassenberg.

Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut

Baldwin V of Hainaut (1150 – 17 December 1195) was count of Hainaut (1171–1195), margrave of Namur as Baldwin I (1189–1195) and count of Flanders as Baldwin VIII (1191–1195).

Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders

Baldwin VI (c. 1030 – 17 July 1070), also known as Baldwin the Good, was Count of Hainaut from 1051 to 1070 (as Baldwin I) and Count of Flanders from 1067 to 1070.

John I, Count of Hainaut

John of Avesnes (1 May 1218 – 24 December 1257) was the count of Hainaut from 1246 to his death.

John II, Count of Holland

John II of Avesnes (1247 – 22 August 1304) was Count of Hainaut, Holland, and Zeeland.

Le Quesnoy

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.

Le Quesnoy's inhabitants are known as Quercitains.

Reginar II, Count of Hainaut

Reginar II (890–932) was Count of Hainaut (also written Rainier II, Count of Hainault) from 915 until 932.

Reginar III, Count of Hainaut

Reginar III (c. 920 – 973) was Count of Hainaut from 940 to 958.

He was the son of Reginar II, Count of Hainaut.

Together with his brother Rodolphe, he took part in the rebellion of his uncle Gilbert, Duke of Lorraine. When Gilbert was killed in 939, Regnier had to pledge fealty to King Otto the Great.

He then allied himself with King Louis IV of France, but King Otto sent duke Hermann of Swabia to quell the rebels in 944.

Otto appointed Conrad the Red as duke of Lotharingia, who tried to diminish the power of Reginar. However, when Conrad rose against Otto, Reginar supported him. In an anarchic situation, Reginar appropriated the dowry of Gerberga of Saxony, Otto's sister and mother of the French king, and also church property.

In 953, Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne, who had also been appointed duke of Lotharingia, restored order and defeated Reginar.

As Reginar refused to submit, he was exiled to Bohemia, where he died.

Reginar I Longneck

Reginar I Longneck (c. 850 – 915), Latin: Rainerus or Ragenerus Longicollus, was a leading nobleman in the kingdom of Lotharingia, variously described in contemporary sources with the titles of count, margrave, missus dominicus and duke. He stands at the head of a Lotharingian dynasty known to modern scholarship as the Reginarids, Reginars, Reiniers, or Regniers, because of their frequent use of the name "Reginar".

He was probably the son of Gilbert, Count of the Maasgau, and a daughter of Lothair I whose name is not known (Hiltrude, Bertha, Irmgard, and Gisela are candidate names). In an 877 charter in the Capitulary of Quierzy, he possibly already appears as "Rainerus", alongside his probable father as one of the regents of the kingdom during Charles the Bald's absence on campaign in Italy.He was Lay Abbot of important Abbeys stretching from the Maas to the Moselle through the Ardennes, Saint-Servais in Maastricht, Echternach, Stavelot-Malmedy, and Saint-Maximin in Triers. All these Abbeys lay on or near the boundary negotiated between the Eastern and Western Frankish Kingdoms in the Treaty of Meerssen in 870, during a period when the Western Kingdom controlled much of Lotharingia. In Echternach, he was referred to as "Rainerus iunior" because the lay abbot before him, a probable relative, had the same name.

His secular titles and activities are mainly only known from much later sources which are considered to be of uncertain reliability. Dudo of Saint-Quentin, in describing the great deeds of the early Normans, calls Reginar I (who, along with a prince of the Frisians named Radbod, was an opponent of Rollo, the founder of Normandy) a Duke of both Hainaut and Hesbaye. Centuries later William of Jumièges, and then later still, Alberic de Trois Fontaines followed Dudo using the same titles when describing the same events. He was variously referred to as Duke, Count, Marquis, missus dominicus, but historians doubt that these titles were connected to a particular territory. That he called himself a Duke is known from a charter at Stavelot 21 July 905, but this was during a period when Gebhard was Duke of Lotharingia.Reginar was originally a supporter of Zwentibold in 895, but he broke with the king in 898. He and some other magnates who had been key to Zwentibold's election three years earlier then took the opportunity provided by the death of Odo of West Francia to invite Charles the Simple to become king in Lotharingia. His lands were confiscated, but he refused to give them up and entrenched himself at Durfost, downstream from Maastricht. Representatives of Charles, Zwentibold, and the Emperor Arnulf met at Sankt Goar and determined that the succession should go to Louis the Child. Zwentibold was killed by Reginar in battle in August 900.

Louis appointed Gebhard as his Duke in Lotharingia. In 908, Reginar recuperated Hainaut after the death of Sigard. Then, after the death of Gebhard in 910, in battle with the Magyars, Reginar led the magnates in opposing Conrad I of Germany and electing Charles the Simple their king. He never appears as the Duke of Lorraine, but he was probably the military commander of the region under Charles. He was succeeded by his son Gilbert, Duke of Lorraine; however, the Reginarids did not succeed in establishing their supremacy in Lotharingia like the Liudolfings or Liutpoldings did in the duchies of Saxony and Bavaria.

Reginar V, Count of Mons

Reginar V (c. 995–1039), Count of Mons, was the eldest son of Reginar IV, Count of Mons and Hedwig of France. His maternal grandparents were Hugh Capet of France and Adelaide of Aquitaine.

William I, Count of Hainaut

William I, Count of Hainaut (c. 1286 – 7 June 1337), was Count William III of Avesnes, Count William III of Holland and Count William II of Zeeland from 1304 to his death.

William I, Duke of Bavaria

William I, Duke of Bavaria-Straubing (Frankfurt am Main, 12 May 1330 – 15 April 1389, Le Quesnoy), was the second son of Emperor Louis IV and Margaret II of Hainaut. He was also known as William V, Count of Holland, as William III, Count of Hainaut and as William IV, Count of Zeeland.

William II, Count of Hainaut

William II (1307 – 26 September 1345) was Count of Hainaut from 1337 until his death. He was also Count of Holland and Count of Zeeland. He succeeded his father, William I, and married Joanna of Brabant in 1334, but had no issue.

William II, Duke of Bavaria

Duke William II of Bavaria-Straubing KG (5 April 1365—31 May 1417) was also count William VI of Holland, count William IV of Hainaut and count William V of Zeeland. He ruled from 1404 until 1417, when he died from an infection caused by a dog bite. William was a son of Albert I and Margaret of Brieg.

Belgian royal titles

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