Count of Hainaut

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Coat of arms of the county of Hainaut.

The Count of Hainaut 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.

List of counts of Hainaut[edit]

Unconfirmed rulers[edit]

House of Reginar[edit]

Then divided between Mons and Valenciennes.

Counts of Mons
Counts and Margraves of Valenciennes

Valenciennes then to Mons; Hainaut reunited.

House of Flanders[edit]

Blason fr Hainaut ancien.svg
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[edit]

House of Flanders[edit]

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

House of Avesnes[edit]

Hainaut Modern Arms.svg

House of Bavaria[edit]

Hainaut-Bavaria Arms.svg
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 III, 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[edit]

Philip the Good Arms.svg

House of Habsburg[edit]

Armoiries Philippe Ier de Habsbourg.svg
Charles V Arms-personal.svg

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[edit]

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha[edit]

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[edit]