William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg

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William I
Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
Willemderijke.jpg
William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
Born (1487-04-10)10 April 1487
Dillenburg
Died 6 October 1559(1559-10-06) (aged 72)
Dillenburg
Noble family Nassau
Spouse(s) Walburga of Egmont
Juliane of Stolberg-Wernigerode
Father John V of Nassau-Dillenburg
Mother Elisabeth of Hesse-Marburg

William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg (nicknamed William the Rich, Dutch: Willem de Rijke; 10 April 1487 – 6 October 1559) was a count of Nassau-Dillenburg from the House of Nassau. His nickname the Rich refers to him having many children. However, he owned a number of counties: Nassau-Dillenburg, Nassau-Siegen, Nassau-Dietz and Vianden.

William was born in Dillenburg as the younger son of Count John V of Nassau-Dillenburg and Landgravine Elisabeth, daughter of Landgrave Henry III of Hesse-Marburg and Anna of Katzenelnbogen. He was the brother of count Henry III of Nassau-Breda and the father of William I of Orange.

His eldest son William the Silent inherited the principality of Orange in Southern France from his cousin René of Chalon, as well as the vast properties of the House of Nassau-Dillenburg in the Netherlands from his father, which Engelbert I of Nassau had received by marriage in 1403. The early House of Orange-Nassau descends from William I., the Silent, while the later House of Orange-Nassau (and the Dutch royal family) descends in the male line from his younger brother John, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, and from the latter's fifth son, Count Ernst Casimir of Nassau-Dietz, however in the female line also from William of Orange.

Family and children[edit]

William of Nassau was married twice. Firstly, he married on 29 October 1519 Countess Walburga of Egmont (29 October 1490 – March 1529), daughter of John III of Egmont. She gave him two daughters:

  1. Elisabeth ( October 1520 – 31 January 1523)
  2. Magdalene ( 6 October 1522 – 18 August 1567), married on 16 July 1538 to Count Herman of Neuenahr and Moers

After her death, he married on 20 September 1531 Countess Juliane of Stolberg-Wernigerode (15 February 1506 – 18 June 1580). They had twelve children:

  1. William I of Orange (24 April 1533 – 10 July 1584)
  2. Hermanna (b. 9 August 1534), died young
  3. John VI "The Elder" (22 November 1536 – 28 October 1606)
  4. Louis of Nassau (10 January 1538 – 14 April 1574)
  5. Maria (15 March 1539 – May 1599), married on 11 November 1556 to Count William IV of Berg-s'Heerenberg
  6. Adolf (11 July 1540 – 23 May 1568)
  7. Anna (21 September 1541 – 12 February 1616), married on 16 June 1559 to Count Albert of Nassau-Weilburg
  8. Elisabeth (25 September 1542 – 18 November 1603), married 16 June 1559 to Count Conrad of Solms-Braunfels
  9. Catharine (19 December 1543 – 25 December 1624), married on 17 November 1560 to Count Günther XLI of Schwarzburg-Arnstadt
  10. Juliana (10 August 1546 – 31 August 1588), married 14 June 1575 to Count Albrecht VII of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
  11. Magdalena (15 December 1547 – 16 May 1633), married on 27 January 1567 to Count Wolfgang of Hohenlohe-Weikersheim
  12. Henry (15 October 1550 – 14 April 1574)
William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
Born: 10 April 1487 Died: 6 October 1559
Preceded by
John V
Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
1516–1559
Succeeded by
John VI