Duchy of Brabant

The Duchy of Brabant was a State of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1183. It developed from the Landgraviate of Brabant and formed the heart of the historic Low Countries, part of the Burgundian Netherlands from 1430 and of the Habsburg Netherlands from 1482, until it was partitioned after the Dutch revolt.

Present-day North Brabant (Staats-Brabant) was adjudicated to the Generality Lands of the Dutch Republic according to the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, while the reduced duchy remained part of the Southern Netherlands until it was conquered by French Revolutionary forces in 1794. Today all the duchy's former territories, apart from exclaves, are in Belgium except for the Dutch province of North Brabant.

Duchy of Brabant

Hertogdom Brabant (nl)
Duché de Brabant (fr)
Coat of arms (1459) of Brabant
Coat of arms (1459)
The Duchy of Brabant (1350) within the 17 provinces and the borders of the Holy Roman Empire (thick line)
The Duchy of Brabant (1350) within the 17 provinces and the borders of the Holy Roman Empire (thick line)
StatusState of the Holy Roman Empire
part of the Burgundian Netherlands (1430–1482)
part of the Habsburg Netherlands (1482–1794)
part of the Southern Netherlands (1648–1794)
GovernmentFeudal Duchy
Duke of Brabant 
• 1183/1184–1235
Henry I (first)
• 1792–1793
Francis I (last)
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• Established
• Inherited by Duchy of Burgundy
• Inherited by House of Habsburg
• Inherited by Habsburg Spain
30 January 1648
7 March 1714
18 September 1794
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Landgraviate of Brabant
Dutch Republic
French First Republic


Duchy of Brabant and Prince-Bishopric of Liège in 1477.

The Duchy of Brabant was historically divided into four parts, each with its own capital. The four capitals were Leuven, Brussels, Antwerp and 's-Hertogenbosch. Before 's-Hertogenbosch was founded, Tienen was the fourth capital.[1]

Its territory consisted essentially of the three modern-day Belgian provinces of Flemish Brabant, Walloon Brabant and Antwerp, the Brussels-Capital Region and most of the present-day Dutch province of North Brabant. Its most important cities were Brussels, Antwerp, Leuven, Breda, 's-Hertogenbosch, Lier and Mechelen.

Brabant lion

Pompa funebris Albert Ardux - duc Brabantiae
Brabant Lion by Floris de Merode, Baron of Leefdael during the solemn Funeral of Albert VII, Archduke of Austria

The modern flag of Belgium takes its colors from Brabant's coat of arms: a lion or (a golden lion) armed and langued gules (with red claws and tongue) as a primary heraldic charge on a black field.

Probably first used by Count Lambert I of Louvain (ruled 1003-1015), the lion is documented in a 1306 town's seal of Kerpen, together with the red lion of Limburg. Up to the present, the Brabant lion features as the primary charge on the coats of arms of both Flemish and Walloon Brabant, and of the Dutch province of North Brabant.


The region's name is first recorded as the Carolingian shire pagus Bracbatensis, located between the rivers Scheldt and Dijle, from braec "marshy" and bant "region". Upon the 843 Treaty of Verdun it was part of Lotharingia within short-lived Middle Francia, and was ceded to East Francia according to the 880 Treaty of Ribemont.

In earlier Roman times, the Nervii, a Belgic tribe, lived in the same area. They were incorporated into the Roman province of Belgica, and considered to have both Celtic and Germanic cultural links. At the end of the Roman period the region was conquered by the Germanic Franks.

Counts of Leuven

In 959 the East Frankish king Otto I of Germany elevated Count Godfrey of Jülich to the rank of duke of Lower Lorraine. In 962 the duchy became an integral part of the Holy Roman Empire, where Godfrey's successors of the ducal Ardennes-Verdun dynasty also ruled over the Gau of Brabant. Here, the counts of Leuven rose to power, when about 1000 Count Lambert I the Bearded married Gerberga, the daughter of Duke Charles of Lower Lorraine, and acquired the County of Brussels. About 1024 southernmost Brabant fell to Count Reginar V of Mons (Bergen, later Hainaut), and Imperial lands up to the Schelde river in the west came under the rule of the French Counts Baldwin V of Flanders by 1059. Upon the death of Count Palatine Herman II of Lotharingia in 1085, Emperor Henry IV assigned his fief between the Dender and Zenne rivers as the Landgraviate of Brabant to Count Henry III of Leuven and Brussels.

About one hundred years later, in 1183/1184, Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa formally established the Duchy of Brabant and created the hereditary title of duke of Brabant in favour of Henry I of Brabant, son of Count Godfrey III of Leuven. Although the original county was still quite small - and limited to the territory between the Dender and Zenne rivers, situated to the west of Brussels - from the 13th century onwards its name came to apply to the entire territory under control of the dukes.

In 1190, after the death of Godfrey III, Henry I also became Duke of Lower Lotharingia. By that time the title had lost most of its territorial authority. According to protocol, all his successors were thereafter called Dukes of Brabant and Lower Lotharingia (often called Duke of Lothier).

After the Battle of Worringen in 1288, the dukes of Brabant also acquired the Duchy of Limburg and the lands of Overmaas (trans-Meuse). In 1354 Duke John III of Brabant granted a Joyous Entry (charter of liberty) to the citizens of Brabant.

Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands

In 1430 the Duchies of Lower Lotharingia, Brabant and Limburg were inherited by Philip the Good of Burgundy and became part of the Burgundian Netherlands.

In 1477 the Duchy of Brabant became part of the House of Habsburg as part of the dowry of Mary of Burgundy. At that time the Duchy extended from Luttre, south of Nivelles to 's Hertogenbosch, with Leuven as the capital city. The subsequent history of Brabant is part of the history of the Habsburg Seventeen Provinces.

Brabant 1500
The Duchy of Brabant in the 15th century

Eighty Years War and division of Brabant

1629 Nov & Ac Brab Hondius
Novissima et Accuratissima Brabantiae Ducatus Tabula (a very new and most accurate map of the Duchy of Brabant); by Hendrik Hondius, 1629

The Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) brought the northern parts (essentially the present Dutch province of North Brabant) under military control of the northern insurgents. After the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, the United Provinces' independence was confirmed and northern Brabant was formally ceded to the United Provinces as Staats-Brabant, a federally governed territory and part of the Dutch Republic.

The southern part remained in Spanish Habsburg hands as a part of the Southern Netherlands. It was transferred to the Austrian branch of the Habsburg monarchy in 1714. Brabant was included in the unrecognised United States of Belgium, which existed from January to December 1790 during short-lived revolt against Emperor Joseph II, until imperial troops regained the Austrian Netherlands for Leopold II who had succeeded his brother.

The area was overrun during the French Revolution in 1794, and formally annexed by France in 1795. The duchy of Brabant was dissolved and the territory was reorganised in the départements of Deux-Nèthes (present province of Antwerp) and Dyle (the later province of Brabant).

After the defeat of Bonaparte in 1815, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands was created at the Congress of Vienna. The three old provinces were restored as North Brabant, Antwerp and South Brabant. The latter two became part of modern Belgium when it was created in 1830, South Brabant becoming simply Brabant province.

Cities of Brabant

Brabant had fortified walled cities and unwalled cities. The unwalled cities did not have the right to construct walls. Trade was allowed in the walled areas and usually this right resulted in a larger population and the development of major villages and later cities. The unwalled cities had also the right to hold markets which they held on large market squares. This distinguishes them from surrounding villages who were not allowed to hold markets and did not possess market squares. Being unwalled also meant that some of these places suffered heavily in war and during the Dutch Revolt.

Quarter of Leuven

Walled cities

  • Leuven: the capital city of the original region from where Brabant expanded. It has been a university town since 1425.
  • Tienen: east of Leuven. Historically, it was, along with Lier and Diest, one of the bigger cities after the four regional city capitals.
  • Zoutleeuw: east of Tienen. It lies near the border of Brabant. In its days, it was a wealthy merchant town. It was also the biggest garrison site near the border with Liege. A swamp separates Zoutleeuw from Liège.
  • Landen: south east of Zoutleeuw; a small garrison town. But many noted people lived to the near south-west of it: Pepin of Landen, his wife, Itta of Metz (or St. Ida), and their daughter, St. Gertrude of Nivelles, as well as St. Bavo and St. Begga.
  • Hannut: south of Landen. like Landen, it was a small garrison town.
  • Aarschot: north east of Leuven. It was once the capital of the Duchy of Aarschot. It is famous for its fine architecture in the "Demer" gothic style, which uses a local type of red stone for its churches and other important buildings.
  • Scherpenheuvel: east of Aarschot. It was, and is, the only baroque town in the Netherlands. As such, it is still an important place of pilgrimage.
  • Zichem: north of Scherpenheuvel. The city was destroyed during the Dutch Revolt, which left it with a 'rural undeveloped character' ever since. The church and the Maagdentoren (tower of the Virgin) in local red stone are impressive buildings from Zichem's past. Zichem was once part of the Barony of Diest.
  • Diest: east of Scherpenheuvel. It was one of Brabant's biggest cities, after the four capitals, and was an important brewery town. The city still counts numerous monuments of its past as attractions today. Like Zichem and Breda it is a Nassau city. Diest was also the capital of the Barony of Diest, and its lands.
  • Halen: A small garrison city where the "Battle of the Silver Helmets" took place during World War I: a victory for the Royal Belgian Cavalry.
  • Jodoigne: south of Tienen. The city and the surrounding area is known for its white stone, which gives the whole countryside a picturesque character. Many battles have taken place in this region, and other parts of Walloon Brabant.
  • Gembloux: south west of Jodoigne. Is known for the fine buildings of Gembloux Abbey.

Unwalled cities

  • Dormaal: south of Zoutleeuw. Although it holds city rights it never really developed into a city and could be considered a village.

Quarter of Brussels

Walled cities

  • Brussels: the capital city of this part of Brabant. Also former capital of the Seventeen Provinces, and of the Southern part of the Seventeen Provinces; today it is the capital of the Kingdom of Belgium. Once known as the 'city of nobles' because of the presence of the Royal Court.
  • Vilvoorde: north of Brussels. The first modern purpose-built prison of the Austrian Netherlands was opened here in 1779.
  • Nivelles: south of Brussels. Known for its beautiful church and as the birthplace of Saint Gertrude of Nivelles; who played an important role in the early history of Brussels and the local region.

Unwalled cities

  • Braine-l'Alleud: south of Brussels. The famous Battle of Waterloo, where the duke of Wellington of Great Britain defeated Emperor Napoleon I of France, took place near this small city. The church functioned as a hospital at the time for the many casualties of the conflict.
  • Genappe: east of Nivelles; a small city with a charming old town centre developed around a market square.
  • La Hulpe: north east of Braine Alleud. Could be considered a village, although it was allowed to hold markets and held justice in its own small domain. It has become more well-known lately as the residence of Ernest Solvay.
  • Overijse: south west of Brussels. Historically more important, as it held its own trade market Béguinage and cloth hall; but the city never expanded beyond the large market square.
  • Tervuren: east of Brussels. Tervuren was the country residence of the Dukes of Brabant, and continued as such when the Habsbourgs took over. Stately homes of the old noble families characterise Tervuren. Also, the more recent Congo Museum is situated in the Park of Tervuren.
  • Duisburg: south east of Tervuren; was ruled by the Abbey of Coudenberg. who never allowed it to develop into a city.
  • Merchtem: north west of Brussels. A rather small unwalled city, with pretensions, but it was larger than the towns of La Hulpe or Duisburg.
  • Asse: West of Brussels. Next to Genappe and Braine Alleud, it was one of the bigger unwalled cities of the Brussels quarter. Today it has an old hospital and market square.
  • Wavre: west of Jodoigne and today the capital of Walloon Brabant

Quarter of Antwerp

Walled cities

  • Antwerp: the capital of this quarter. Also the episcopal see for this part of Brabant, which included the Barony of Breda and the Margraviate of Bergen op Zoom. Antwerp today is a city of business and trade with many fine merchant palaces still standing in the old town.
  • Lier: south east of Antwerp. Known as the wedding site of the parents of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, an event which led to many future political changes.
  • Herentals: east of Lier. A city located in a forested area.
  • Zandvliet: north of Antwerp. A garrison city built to defend the Southern Netherlands.
  • Bergen op Zoom: north of Zandvliet. Old fortified port town.
  • Steenbergen: north of Bergen op Zoom; also an important port town.
  • Breda: north east of Antwerp. One of the Nassau trade cities, fortified city and an important military center (even currently).

Unwalled cities

  • Turnhout: de jure Turnhout was a walled city, but de facto the city stays unwalled. The largest of the unwalled cities of Brabant.
  • Geel: east of Herentals. Known for its early and present health care facilities.
  • Hoogstraten: north east of Antwerp. Capital of the County of Hoogstraten.
  • Duffel: south of Antwerp. More illustrious in the past than it is today. An important barony of the later Middle Ages which was largely destroyed by wars. Its name has been remembered, and is now used as the common military name for a small clothes carrying bag.
  • Walem: part of the Barony of Duffel; never became more than a village.
  • Arendonk: east of Turnhout. Famous for training falcons and eagles for use in the Hunt.

Note: the city of Mechelen formed an independent state along with the Land of Heist-op-den-Berg and Gestel. Willemstad, Geertruidenberg and Klundert were part of the County of Holland.

Quarter of Bois-le-Duc


Walled cities

  • Bois-le-Duc ('s-Hertogenbosch): regional capital city and episcopal see of this part of Brabant.
  • Heusden: north west of 's Hertogenbosch. It was said to be an "untakeable city" (in the military sense), and it lies close to the boundaries of the old Counties of Holland and Guelders.
  • Helmond: built as a military counterweight barrier to the counts of Guelders. It has a massive water fortress of historical interest.
  • Ravenstein: east of 's Hertogenbosch. Founded by a vassal of the duke of Brabant. Became part of the Duchy of Cleves in 1397 and remained a separate territory until 1795. A later duke of Clèves sent his sister, Anne of Cleves, to England to become one of the two surviving wives of King Henry VIII.
  • Meghem (now called Megen): north-west of Ravenstein. A small town, originally independent as capital of the county with the same name which later became semi-dependent of Brabant. Was granted city rights in 1357.
  • Grave: south-east of Ravenstein: a smaller garrison town on the north-east side of Brabant and capital of the 'Land van Cuijk'. Was granted city rights in 1233. The lords of Grave aligned themselves with the dukes of Guelders, rivals of the dukes of Brabant, from time to time. Became an integral part of 'Staats-Brabant' in 1648.
  • Eindhoven: was granted city rights in 1232 shortly after starting out as one of the very first 'planned' new cities in Europe. Its magnificent walls were demolished in the Eighty Years War, and were never to be rebuilt.

Unwalled cities

See also


  1. ^ Salmon, Thomas (1745). Modern History Or the Present State of All Nations, Volume 2. https://books.google.com/books?id=wLI-AAAAcAAJ. p. 222.
  2. ^ "Alfabetisch overzicht van de stadsrechten in Nederland". Stadsrechten.nl. Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2016-07-24.
Abraham Ortelius

Abraham Ortelius (; also Ortels, Orthellius, Wortels; 14 April 1527 – 28 June 1598) was a Brabantian cartographer and geographer, conventionally recognized as the creator of the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World). Ortelius is often considered one of the founders of the Netherlandish school of cartography and one of the most notable figures of the school in its golden age (approximately 1570s–1670s). The publication of his atlas in 1570 is often considered as the official beginning of the Golden Age of Netherlandish cartography. He is also believed to be the first person to imagine that the continents were joined before drifting to their present positions.The Google Doodle of May 20, 2018, recognised Ortelius's endeavours, particularly the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.

Battle of Baesweiler

The Battle of Baesweiler (22 August 1371) was a conflict between the dukes of Brabant and Jülich.

Capture of Geertruidenberg (1589)

The Capture of Geertruidenberg of 1589, also known as the English betrayal of Geertruidenberg, took place on April 10, 1589, at Geertruidenberg, Duchy of Brabant, Flanders (present-day the Netherlands), during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604).On April 10, 1589, the garrison of Geertruidenberg, composed of a large number of English and some Dutch troops commanded by Governor Sir John Wingfield, surrendered the city to the Army of Flanders led by Don Alexander Farnese, Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands (Spanish: Alejandro Farnesio). A few days before, when pay did not arrive on time, the English soldiers mutinied, and was rumored that Wingfield had intended to surrender (or "sold") the city to the Spaniards. The States-General and Prince Maurice of Nassau (Dutch: Maurits van Oranje) accused him of treason for its surrender, but Wingfield denied the charges against him. The fact was that Geertruidenberg was in Spanish hands.

The same year, in September, Parma sent a force under Count Peter Ernst of Mansfeld to besiege Rheinberg. The garrison capitulated to the Spaniards in February 1590.Geertruidenberg was recaptured in June 1593 by an Anglo-Dutch force under the command of Maurice of Nassau and Francis Vere respectively.

Chancellor of Brabant

The Chancellor of Brabant was the head of the civilian government of the late medieval and early-modern Duchy of Brabant as president of the Council of Brabant.

Charter of Kortenberg

On September 27, 1312, the Duke of Brabant signed the Charter of Kortenberg that should better be referred to as a constitution. It was valid for the entire duchy of Brabant. From this charter originated a kind of "Parliament of Kortenberg" or a "Council of Kortenberg" or what was called an assembly of "The Lords of Kortenberg". With this Charter the Duchy of Brabant was the first state in the Low Countries or perhaps even the first state of Europe to give the estates the right for participation. Actually one of the first democratic decisions in feudal Europe.

The control organ, a precursor of the later "Estate assembly" (namely, the first estate was the clergy, the second estate was the nobility, and the third estate was the municipalities) gathered in the Abbey of Kortenberg and elsewhere with ups and downs until 1375.

From 1332 on the council was extended by two more members, so that there were 16 Lords; Antwerp got a second member and the Walloon Brabant town of Nivelles (Dutch: Nijvel) also got a member. In 1340 documents were sealed with a special seal on which a tree was planted on a little hill (the "short" or "sharp"?). The seal bore the words "SIGILUM COMMUNE : CONSILII DE CORTENBERGHE" (the common or usual seal of the Council of Kortenberg).

Council of Brabant

The Council of Brabant was the highest law court in the historic Duchy of Brabant. It was presided over by the Chancellor of Brabant. One of its functions was to determine that new legislation was not contrary to the rights and liberties established in the Joyous Entry.

The Belgian Federal Parliament now sits in the building that was designed in the late 18th century by Gilles-Barnabé Guimard as the Palace of the Council of Brabant.

Duke of Brabant

The Duke of Brabant (Dutch: Hertog van Brabant, French: Duc de Brabant) was formally the ruler of the Duchy of Brabant since 1183/1184. The title was created by the German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in favor of Henry I of the House of Reginar, son of Godfrey III of Leuven (who was Duke of Lower Lotharingia at that time). The Duchy of Brabant was a feudal elevation of the since 1085/1086 existing title of Landgrave of Brabant. This was an Imperial fief which was assigned to Count Henry III of Leuven shortly after the death of the preceding Count of Brabant, Count Palatine Herman II of Lotharingia (born 20 September 1085). Although the corresponding county was quite small (limited to the territory between the rivers Senne and Dender) its name was applied to the entire country under control of the Dukes from the 13th century on. In 1190, after the death of Godfrey III, Henry I also became Duke of Lotharingia. Formerly Lower Lotharingia, this title was now practically without territorial authority, but was borne by the later Dukes of Brabant as an honorific title.

In 1288, the Dukes of Brabant became also Duke of Limburg. The title fell to the Dukes of Burgundy in 1430. Later on, it followed with the Burgundian inheritance until the French Revolution, although the northern part of the territory of Brabant was actually governed by the United Provinces during the 17th and 18th century (see Generality Lands).

Dukes of Brabant family tree

This is a family tree of the Dukes of Brabant from 1139 up to 1430. Godfrey I, count of Leuven, became Duke of Lower Lotharingia in 1106. Henry I became the first Duke of Brabant in 1183/1184.

See also:

Duchy of Brabant

List of family trees

Dyle (department)

Dyle [dil] was a department of the First French Empire in present-day Belgium. It was named after the river Dyle (Dijle), which flows through the department. Its territory corresponded more or less with that of the Belgian province of Brabant, now divided into Walloon Brabant, Flemish Brabant and the Brussels-Capital Region. Its capital was Brussels.

The department came into existence on 1 October 1795, after the Southern Netherlands were occupied by the French. The department of Dyle was formed from the southern part of the Duchy of Brabant, part of the County of Hainaut, (Halle) and some smaller territories. See the 130 departments of the Napoleonic Empire.

The department was subdivided into the following arrondissements and cantons (situation in 1812):

Brussels, cantons: Anderlecht, Asse, Brussels (4 cantons), Halle, La Hulpe, Sint-Martens-Lennik, Sint-Stevens-Woluwe, Uccle, Vilvoorde and Wolvertem.

Leuven, cantons: Aarschot, Diest, Glabbeek, Grez, Haacht, Leuven (2 cantons), Tienen (2 cantons) and Zoutleeuw.

Nivelles, cantons: Genappe, Herne, Jodoigne, Nivelles (2 cantons), Perwez and Wavre.Its population in 1812 was 431,969, and its area was 342,848 hectares.After the defeat of Napoleon the department became part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, as the province of (South) Brabant.

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (; German: Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) is a German dynasty that ruled the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which was one of the Ernestine duchies. It is a cadet branch of the Saxon House of Wettin.

Founded by Ernest Anton, the sixth duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, it has been the royal house of several European monarchies. Agnatic branches currently reign in Belgium through the descendants of Leopold I and in the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms through the descendants of Prince Albert. Due to anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom during World War I, George V changed the name of his branch from "Saxe-Coburg and Gotha" to "Windsor" in 1917. The same happened in 1920 in Belgium, where the name was changed to "de Belgique" (French) or "van België" (Dutch) or "von Belgien" (German), meaning "of Belgium".

Joanna, Duchess of Brabant

Joanna, Duchess of Brabant (24 June 1322 – 1 November 1406), also known as Jeanne, was a ruling Duchess of Brabant from 1355 until her death. She was the heiress of Duke John III, and Marie d'Évreux.

John II, Duke of Brabant

John II van Brabant (September 27, 1275 – October 27, 1312, Tervuren), also called John the Peaceful, was Duke of Brabant, Lothier and Limburg (1294–1312). He was the son of John I of Brabant and Margaretha of Flanders, daughter of Guy of Dampierre.

John II succeeded his father in 1294 During the reign of John II, Brabant continued supporting a coalition to stop French expansion. He tried to conquer South Holland (district of medieval Holland) from the pro-French count John II of Holland, but was not successful.

In 1309, the Crusade of the Poor besieged the castle of Genappe in Brabant because it was sheltering Jews. John sent an army that defeated the crusaders, who incurred heavy losses.John, who suffered from kidney stones and wanted his duchy to be peacefully handed over to his son upon his death, in 1312 signed the famous Charter of Kortenberg. After his death in 1312 John II was buried in the St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral in Brussels.

John III, Duke of Brabant

John III (Dutch: Jan; 1300 – 5 December 1355) was Duke of Brabant, Lothier, and Limburg (1312–1355). He was the son of John II, Duke of Brabant, and Margaret of England.

Joyous Entry

A Joyous Entry (Blijde Intrede, Blijde Inkomst, or Blijde Intocht in Dutch, Joyeuse Entrée in French) is the official name used for the ceremonial royal entry — the first official peaceable visit of a reigning monarch, prince, duke or governor into a city — mainly in the Duchy of Brabant or the County of Flanders and occasionally in France, Luxembourg or Hungary, usually coinciding with recognition by the monarch of the rights or privileges to the city, and sometimes accompanied by an extension of them.The most recent Joyous Entries took place in 2013 in honour of the Belgian king.

Joyous Entry of 1356

The Joyous Entry of 1356 (Dutch: Blijde Intrede, French: Joyeuse Entrée) is the charter of liberties granted to the burghers of the Duchy of Brabant by the newly-ascended Duchess Joanna and her husband Duke Wenceslaus. The document is dated 3 January 1356, (NS) and it is seen as the equivalent of Magna Carta for the Low Countries.

Landgraviate of Brabant

The Landgraviate of Brabant (1085–1183) was a small medieval fiefdom west of Brussels, consisting of the area between the Dender and Zenne rivers in the Low Countries, then part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Before 1085 the land had belonged to Hermann II, Count Palatine of Lotharingia. Upon his death, Emperor Henry IV assigned it to Henry III, Count of Louvain and Brussels, granting him the Landgrave of Brabant. This is the earliest known use of the term Landgrave.

In 1183 the landgraviate of Brabant and the counties of Louvain and Brussels were formally merged and elevated together into the Duchy of Brabant, by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa; Henry I became the first Duke of Brabant.

The area made up part of South Brabant from 1815 to 1830 as part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, and part of the Belgian Province of Brabant from 1830 to 1996. It is currently in the western part of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region of Belgium.

Margaret of Brabant

Margaret of Brabant (4 October 1276 – 14 December 1311), was the daughter of John I, Duke of Brabant and Margaret of Flanders. She was the wife of Count Henry of Luxemburg and after his election as King of Germany in 1308, she became Queen of Germany.

Seventeen Provinces

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 (French Flanders and French Hainaut) and Pas-de-Calais (Artois). Also within this area were semi-independent fiefdoms, mainly ecclesiastical ones, such as Liège, Cambrai and Stavelot-Malmedy.

The Seventeen Provinces arose from the Burgundian Netherlands, a number of fiefs held by the House of Valois-Burgundy and inherited by the Habsburg dynasty in 1482, from 1556 held by Habsburg Spain. Starting in 1512 the Provinces formed the major part of the Burgundian Circle. In 1581 the Seven United Provinces seceded to form the Dutch Republic.

States of Brabant

The States of Brabant were the representation of the three estates (nobility, clergy and commons) to the court of the Duke of Brabant. The three estates were also called the States. Supported by the economic strength of the cities Antwerp, Brussels and Leuven, the States always were an important power before the rulers of the country, as was reflected by the charter of the duchy.

After the duchy of Brabant and all Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands came under the rule of the dukes of Burgundy, the States of Brabant became the host of the States-General of the Netherlands, who used to assemble in Brussels.

In 1579 and 1580, during the Eighty Years' War, most cities and States of Brabant joined Dutch independence declaration (Union of Utrecht and Act of Abjuration), but Spanish troops reconquered most of the territory of the duchy and restored Spanish Catholic rule (except for North Brabant. See also Siege of Antwerp (1584-1585)).

By the end of 1789, the States of Brabant again declared independence, this time from Austrian imperial rule, and, on January 11, 1790, they joined the United States of Belgium. All Southern Netherlands "States" disappeared four years later because of the French revolutionary occupation.

History of the Low Countries
Frisii Belgae
Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg
Gallia Belgica (55 BC – 5th c. AD)
Germania Inferior (83 – 5th c.)
Salian Franks Batavi
(4th–5th c.)
Saxons Salian Franks
(4th–5th c.)
Frisian Kingdom
(6th c.–734)
Frankish Kingdom (481–843)Carolingian Empire (800–843)
Austrasia (511–687)
Middle Francia (843–855) West

Kingdom of Lotharingia (855– 959)
Duchy of Lower Lorraine (959–)

Friesland (kleine wapen).svg

Wapen graafschap Holland.svg
County of

Utrecht - coat of arms.png
Bishopric of

Royal Arms of Belgium.svg
Duchy ofBrabant
Guelders-Jülich Arms.svg
Duchy of

Arms of Flanders.svg
County of

Hainaut Modern Arms.svg
County of

Arms of Namur.svg
County of

Armoiries Principauté de Liège.svg
of Liège

Arms of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.svg
Duchy of

  Flag of the Low Countries.svg
Burgundian Netherlands (1384–1482)
Flag of the Low Countries.svg
Habsburg Netherlands (1482–1795)
(Seventeen Provinces after 1543)
Dutch Republic
Flag of the Low Countries.svg
Spanish Netherlands
  Austrian Low Countries Flag.svg
Austrian Netherlands
  Flag of the Brabantine Revolution.svg
United States of Belgium
R. Liège
Flag of the navy of the Batavian Republic.svg
Batavian Republic (1795–1806)
Kingdom of Holland (1806–1810)
Flag of France.svg
associated with French First Republic (1795–1804)
part of First French Empire (1804–1815)
Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Princip. of the Netherlands (1813–1815)
United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1830) Flag of Luxembourg.svg
Gr D. L.

Kingdom of the Netherlands (1839–)
Flag of Belgium.svg
Kingdom of Belgium (1830–)
Gr D. of

Netherlands articles
Holy Roman Empire Burgundian Circle (1512–1797) of the Holy Roman Empire
Imperial City
Dependent territories

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.