Count of Flanders

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The Count of Flanders was the ruler or leader of the county of Flanders from the 9th century until the French Revolution in 1790. The first count was Baldwin I "Iron Arm".[1] By expanding its borders the early counts managed to keep Flanders independent. Later, the lack of natural borders allowed invaders into Flanders.[2] Counts of Flanders were always concerned with hunting and preserving their hunting grounds. For that reason many were called foresters.[3] The last count was Francis II. After 1795 Flanders no longer existed as a county.

List of Counts of Flanders[change | change source]

1st House of Flanders[change | change source]

House of Estridsen[change | change source]

House of Normandy[change | change source]

House of Alsace or House of Metz[change | change source]

2nd House of Flanders[change | change source]

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.

House of Dampierre[change | change source]

  • William I (1247-1251), son of Margaret II and William II of Dampierre
  • Guy I (1251-1305), son of Margaret II and William II of Dampierre, also Count of Namur
  • Robert III ("the Lion of Flanders") (1305-1322), son of Guy
  • Louis I (1322-1346), grandson of Robert III
  • Louis II (1346-1384), son of Louis I
  • Margaret III (1384-1405), daughter of Louis II,

House of Burgundy[change | change source]

House of Habsburg[change | change source]

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.

  • Charles V (1714-1740), great grandson of Philip III, also Holy Roman Emperor (elect)
  • Maria Theresa (1740-1780), daughter of Charles IV, jointly with
  • Joseph I (1780-1790), son of Maria Theresa and Francis I
  • Leopold (1790-1792), son of Maria Theresa and Francis I
  • Francis II (1792-1835), son of Leopold, also Holy Roman Emperor

The title was abolished after revolutionary France annexed Flanders in 1795. Francis II relinquished his claim on the Low Countries in the Treaty of Campo Formio of 1797. The area remained part of France until the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

References[change | change source]

  1. Jeff Rider, 'Vice, Tyranny, Violence, and the Usurpation of Flanders (1071) in Flemish Historiography from 1093 to 1294', Violence and the Writing of History in the Medieval Francophone World, eds. Noah D. Guynn; Zrinka Stahuljak (Woodridge, Suffolk: D.S. Brewer, 2013), p. 55
  2. Andre de Vries, Flanders : A Cultural History: A Cultural History (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. xiii
  3. Andre de Vries, Flanders : A Cultural History: A Cultural History (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. xvi