William I, Count of Holland
|William I of Holland|
|Count of Holland|
William I as imagined in the 16th century
|Reign||1203 – 4 February 1222|
|Spouse||Adelaide of Guelders
Marie of Brabant
Otto, Bishop of Utrecht
Ada, Abbess at Rijnsburg
|Mother||Ada of Huntingdon|
|Died||February 4, 1222|
William was raised in Scotland. He started a revolt against his brother, Dirk VII and became count in Friesland after a reconciliation. Friesland was considered as a part of Holland by the Counts of Holland. His niece, Ada, Countess of Holland inherited Holland in 1203, but William couldn't accept this. After a civil war (part of the Hook and Cod Wars), which lasted for several years, William won the war. Ada and her husband, Louis II, were supported by the bishop of Liège and bishop of Utrecht, and the count of Flanders. William was supported by the duke of Brabant and by the majority of the Hollanders.
Emperor Otto IV acknowledged him as count of Holland in 1203, because he was a supporter of the Welfs. He and many others changed allegiance to emperor Frederick II after the battle of Bouvines in 1214. He took part in a French expedition against king John of England. The pope excommunicated him for this.
Possibly because of this, William then became a fervent crusader. He campaigned in Prussia and joined in the conquest of Alcácer do Sal. In Europe, he came to be called William the Crazy for his chivalric and reckless behaviour in battle. William conquered the city of Damietta during the Fifth Crusade.
Evolution of the county
There were great changes in the landscape of Holland in the end of the 12th and during the 13th century. Many colonists bought land to turn the swamps into polders. Most of the swamps had been sold, and irrigation had started during the reign of William. Huge infrastructural works were done; the island called Grote Waard was enclosed with dikes all around and a dam was built at Spaarndam. New governmental bodies were created, the so-called water boards, which were charged with the task of protecting the polders against ever-present threat of flooding. Count William granted city rights to Geertruidenberg in 1213, to Dordrecht in 1217, to Middelburg in 1220 and perhaps also to Leiden. In this way he gave an impulse to trade.
Count William was married twice. First, he was married in 1197 at Stavoren to Adelaide of Guelders, daughter of Otto I, Count of Guelders and Richarde of Bavaria. Adelaide died on 12 February 1218 while William was away on crusade. On his return he married secondly, in July 1220, Marie of Brabant, daughter of Henry I, Duke of Brabant and Maud of Boulogne and Alsace. She was the widow of Emperor Otto IV. William and his first wife Adelaide had the following children:
- Floris IV, Count of Holland (24 June 1210 The Hague–19 July 1234, Corbie, France).
- Otto (d. 1249), Regent of Holland in 1238–1239, Bishop of Utrecht.
- William (d. 1238), Regent of Holland in 1234–1238.
- Richardis (d. 1262).
- Ada (d. 1258), Abbess at Rijnsburg 1239.
- De Boer, Dick; Cordfunke, Erik (1995), Graven van Holland : portretten in woord en beeld (880-1580), Zwolle: Walburg Pers, pp. 29–30, ISBN 978-90-6011-915-0
- Count Holland and Frisia, Chapter 2. COUNTS OF HOLLAND (900)-1299
|Count of Holland