Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut

From Academic Kids

Jacoba or Jacqueline of Wittelsbach (1401 1436) was Countess of Hainaut and Holland from 1417 to 1432. She was the only daughter of William VI, Count of Hainaut and Holland. Jacqueline was the last ruler of independent Hainaut and Holland. Following her death, the estates were incorporated in the control of the duchy of Burgundy.

As a child Jacqueline was married to John of Valois, Duke of Touraine and second son of Charles VI of France, who on the death of his elder brother Louis became dauphin. John of Touraine died in April 1417, and two months afterwards Jacqueline lost her father. Acknowledged as sovereign in Holland and Hainaut, Jacqueline was opposed by her uncle John of Bavaria, bishop of Liege. She had the support of the Hoek faction in Holland (the aristocratic faction in the County). In 1418, her uncle and guardian John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy, organized her marriage to her cousin John IV, Duke of Brabant. By the mediation of John the Fearless, a treaty of partition was concluded in 1419 between Jacqueline and John of Bavaria; but it was merely a truce, and the contest between uncle and niece soon began again and continued with varying success.

In 1420 Jacqueline finally left her husband - due to personal and political disagreements between the two - and was invited to England by Henry V. There, declaring that her marriage with John of Brabant was illegal, she married Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (son of Henry IV of England) in 1422. Two years later Jacqueline and Humphrey took an army to the Continent in order to press their claim to Jacqueline's lands, where she was now opposed by her former husband, John of Brabant. In 1425 Humphrey deserted his wife, who found herself obliged to submit to her cousin, Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, after being besieged in the city of Mons in Hainault, and she was placed under house arrest in the chateau of Ghent. John of Brabant now mortgaged the two counties of Holland and Zeeland to Philip, who assumed their protectorate. Jacqueline, however, escaped from the chateau, disguised as a soldier, and for three years struggled gallantly to maintain herself in Holland against the united efforts of Philip of Burgundy, John of Brabant, and the cities of the Kabeljauws faction, and met at first with success. The death of John of Brabant (April 1427) freed the countess from her quondam husband; but nevertheless Pope Martin V pronounced Jacqueline's marriage with Humphrey illegal, and Philip, putting out his full strength, broke down all opposition. By a treaty, made in July 1428, Jacqueline was left nominally countess, but Philip was to administer the government of Holland, Zeeland and Hainaut, and was declared heir in case Jacqueline should die without children.

Two years later Philip mortgaged Holland and Zeeland to the Borselen family, of which Francis, lord of Borselen, was the head. Jacqueline now made her last effort. In 1432 she secretly married Francis of Borselen, and endeavoured to foment a rising in Holland against the Burgundian rule. Philip invaded the country, however, and threw Borselen into prison. Only on condition that Jacqueline abdicated her estates in his favour would he allow her liberty and recognize her marriage with Borselen. She submitted in April 1432, retained her title of duchess in Bavaria, and lived on her husband's estates in retirement. Jacqueline was killed in Teilingen Castle in 1436, and since she had no children, Philip of Burgundy inherited Hainaut and Holland.

Preceded by:
William VI
Countess of Hainaut Succeeded by:
Countess of Holland
nl:Jacoba van Beieren
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