John III, Duke of Brabant

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John III
Duke of Brabant
Duke of Lothier
Duke of Limburg
Jan3Brabant.jpg
Spouse(s) Marie d'Évreux

Issue

Joanna, Duchess of Brabant
Margaret of Brabant
Marie of Brabant
John
Henry
Godfrey
Titles and styles
The Duke of Brabant, Lothier and Limburg
Noble family House of Reginar
Father John II, Duke of Brabant
Mother Margaret, Princess of England
Born 1300
Died 5 December 1355
Brussels
Half groat or demi gros of John III, struck Brussels 1326.

Jan III van Brabant (1300 – 5 December 1355, Brussels), was Duke of Brabant, Lothier, and Limburg (1312–1355).[1] He was the son of John II, Duke of Brabant and his wife Margaret, daughter of King Edward I of England and Eleanor of Castile.

Marriage[edit]

In 1311, as his father's gesture of rapprochement with France, John married Marie d'Évreux (1303–1335), the daughter of count Louis d'Évreux and Margaret of Artois. They had six children:

John and the towns of Brabant[edit]

The early fourteenth century, an economic boom time for Brabant, marks the rise of the Duchy's towns, which depended on English wool for their essential cloth industry. During John's minority, the major towns of Brabant had the authority to appoint councillors to direct a regency, under terms of the Charter of Kortenberg granted by his father in the year of his death (1312). By 1356 his daughter and son-in-law were forced to accept the famous Joyous Entry as a condition for their recognition, so powerful had the States of Brabant become.

The marital alignment with France was tested and failed as early as 1316, when Louis X requested Brabant to cease trade with Flanders and to participate in a French attack; the councillors representing the towns found this impossible, and in reprisal Louis prohibited all French trade with Brabant in February 1316, in violation of a treaty of friendship he had signed with Brabant in the previous October.

The French alliance, 1332-1337[edit]

After his initial period of maintaining independent neutrality from both France and England failed,[3] neighboring sovereigns in the Low Countries, stimulated as a matter of policy by Philip VI of France, became John's enemies; among the adversaries of John were the Count of Flanders, the prince-bishop of Liège, and counts of Holland and Guelders. In 1332, a crisis with the king of France arose over John's hospitality to Robert, count of Flanders, during his journey to eventual asylum at the English court. In response to French pressure John reminded Philip that he did not hold Brabant from him but from God alone.[4] A brief campaign of a coalition of Philip's friends came to a truce, followed by a pact at Compiègne by which John received a fief from Philip worth 2000 livres and declared himself a vassal of France. His oldest son, Jean, was betrothed to Philip's daughter Marie, and it was agreed that the Brabançon heir would complete his education at the French court in Paris and that Robert of Artois would be expelled from Brabant.

The support of France strengthened John's hand with his feudal suzerein, the Holy Roman Emperor. Though he was technically the Emperor's feudal vassal, John had been able to ignore Emperor Louis IV's summons to join him in his intended invasion of Lombardy (1327).[5] The separation of Brabant from the Empire was completed by the Burgundian dukes of Brabant in the fifteenth century.

Meanwhile, the princes of the Low Countries settled their differences and formed a coalition against Brabant with a defensive alliance in June 1333. War was briefly brought to the Duchy of Brabant in the summer of 1334, but resolved by a peace brokered by Philip at Amiens. The French king declared that John had to hand over the town of Tiel and its neighbouring villages Heerewaarden and Zandwijk to the count of Guelders and to betroth his daughter Marie to the count's son, Reinoud.

The English alliance, 1337-1345[edit]

When Edward III of England decided to press his claim to the crown of France in 1337, John, who was his first cousin, became an ally of England during the first stage of the Hundred Years' War. To Edward's diplomatic offensive to draw Brabant away from France, John lent a sympathetic ear.[6] Disrupting the staple connection between the towns of Flanders and the sources of English wool should divert it to the towns of Brabant, notably the recently established wool exchange. Edward protected Brabançon merchants in England from arrest or the confiscation of their goods, and he sweetened his offers with a promise of £60,000, an immense sum, and to make good any losses of revenue that might be confiscated by the king of France. The same month of July 1337 John promised Edward 1200 of his men-at-arms in the event of an English campaign in France, Edward to pay their salary. In August Edward pledged not to negotiate with the king without prior consultation with the duke. The alliance, kept secret at John's insistence, came into the open when Edward landed with his troops at Antwerp July 1338. John received the promised subsidy (March 1339) and agreed in June to betroth John's second daughter, Margaret, to Edward, the Black Prince, heir to the English throne. Two seasons of inconclusive campaigning that ravaged the north of France left Edward penniless at the end of 1341; he returned home, and when he returned to the fray, it was to Brittany: he never returned to the Low Countries.

The French alliance, 1345-1355[edit]

Though John was requesting papal dispensation for the marriage of Margaret and the Black Prince in 1343, the alliance with England unravelled as Edward's coffers emptied and his attentions turned elsewhere. In September 1345 representative of France and Brabant met at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye to sign preliminary agreements, and by a treaty signed at Saint-Quentin, June 1347, Brabant was retained as an ally by France. Margaret was now to marry Louis of Male, who had inherited the title of count of Flanders, but whose power against the Flemish communes was virtually nil. A point of dispute with the count of Flanders had been the Lordship of Mechelen, a strategic enclave within Brabant: it was agreed that it would now come under full Brabançon control. Despite the diplomacy of Edward, John remained true to his French commitments until his death in December 1355.

In 1350, Jews were persecuted in Brabant.

The heiress of Brabant[edit]

In 1355, when his two surviving sons died one right after the other, John was forced to declare his daughter Joan his heiress,[7] which would provoke a succession crisis after his death. John III was buried in the Cistercian Abbey of Villers (now in Belgium). His sons having predeceased him, he was succeeded by his daughter Joanna.

The standard history is Piet Avonds, Brabant tijdens de regering van Hertog Jan III (1312–1356)(Koninglijke Academie, Brussels) 1991.

Ancestors[edit]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Henry II, Duke of Brabant
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Henry III, Duke of Brabant
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Marie of Hohenstaufen
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John I, Duke of Brabant
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hugh IV, Duke of Burgundy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Adelaide of Burgundy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Yolande of Dreux
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John II, Duke of Brabant
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
William II, Lord of Dampierre
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Guy, Count of Flanders
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Margaret II, Countess of Flanders
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Margaret of Flanders
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robert VII, Lord of Béthune
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Matilda of Béthune
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elisabeth of Morialmes
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John III, Duke of Brabant
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John, King of England
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Henry III, King of England
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Isabella of Angoulême
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Edward I, King of England
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Eleanor of Provence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Beatrice of Savoy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Margaret of England
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alfonso IX, King of León
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ferdinand III, King of Castile
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Berenguela of Castile
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Eleanor of Castile
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Simon of Dammartin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jeanne of Dammartin, Countess of Ponthieu
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Marie, Countess of Ponthieu
 
 
 
 
 
 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Biographical details can be found in (Alphonse Wauters), Biographie nationale (Académie royale de Belgique), vol. 10, 1889, s.v. "Jean III" pp 237-274
  2. ^ Sergio Boffa, Warfare in Medieval Brabant, 1356-1406, (Boydell Press, 2004), 3.
  3. ^ The following details are drawn from Sergio Boffa, "The Duchy of Brabant caught between France and England: geopolitics and diplomacy during the first half of the Hundred Years' War", in The Hundred Years War: A Wider Focus, L. J. Andrew Villalon, Donald J. Kagay, eds. vol. I, 2005.
  4. ^ Boffa 2005: 216.
  5. ^ Boffa 2005:214
  6. ^ Material in this paragraph is drawn from Boffa 2005:9f..
  7. ^ Sergio Boffa, Warfare in Medieval Brabant, 1356-1406, 3.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
John II, Duke of Brabant
Duke of Brabant, Lothier and Limburg
1312–1355
Succeeded by
Joan