The Info List - Duchy Of Brabant

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The Duchy of Brabant was a State of the Holy Roman Empire
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
Habsburg Netherlands
from 1482, until it was partitioned after the Dutch revolt. Present-day North Brabant
North Brabant
(Staats-Brabant) was adjudicated to the Generality Lands
Generality Lands
of the Dutch Republic
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.


1 Geography 2 Brabant lion 3 History

3.1 Counts of Leuven 3.2 Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands 3.3 Eighty Years War
Eighty Years War
and division of Brabant

4 Cities of Brabant

4.1 Quarter of Leuven

4.1.1 Walled cities 4.1.2 Unwalled cities

4.2 Quarter of Brussels

4.2.1 Walled cities 4.2.2 Unwalled cities

4.3 Quarter of Antwerp

4.3.1 Walled cities 4.3.2 Unwalled cities

4.4 Quarter of Bois-le-Duc

4.4.1 Walled cities 4.4.2 Unwalled cities

5 See also 6 References


Duchy of Brabant and Prince-Bishopric of Liège
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
Walloon Brabant
and Antwerp, the Brussels-Capital Region
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[edit]

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. History[edit]

History of the Low Countries



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Gr D. L. (1839–)

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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".[citation needed] Upon the 843 Treaty of Verdun it was part of Lotharingia
within short-lived Middle Francia, and was ceded to East Francia
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[edit] 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
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
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[edit] In 1430 the Duchies of Lower Lotharingia, Brabant and Limburg were inherited by Philip the Good
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
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.

The Duchy of Brabant in the 15th century

Eighty Years War
Eighty Years War
and division of Brabant[edit]

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
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
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
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[edit] 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[edit] Walled cities[edit]

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 day, 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 Iron 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

Unwalled cities[edit]

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[edit] Walled cities[edit]

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[edit]

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
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[edit] Walled cities[edit]

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[edit]

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
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[edit] [2] Walled cities[edit]

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[edit]

Oirschot Oisterwijk Waalwijk

See also[edit]

Dukes of Brabant family tree War of Devolution
War of Devolution


has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Brabant (duchy).

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

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