Netherlands 1935 Part VII

By | December 1, 2021

In the same period we witness, within the Lotharingian territory, a considerable extension of Brabant towards the east. It was essential for the duchy to secure the road from the North Sea to the Rhine for its prosperity. Duke Henry I (1190-1235) was the first great architect of this policy and directed all his efforts against the prince-bishop of Liège. who, by holding dominion of the Meuse, could cut off communications. Henry did not succeed, however, in annexing the county of Looz, a Liège fiefdom, nor in breaking the territorial power of the bishop, and the defeat that the Liège urban militias inflicted on him in Steppes in 1213 put an end to his attempts. However, he had been able to obtain from the king of the Romans, Philip of Swabia, in 1204, Maastricht, that is, the passage of the river itself. Seventy-five years later, in this policy, which in the meantime had been followed very consistently by Brabant, the second important stage took place: the purchase of the Duchy of Limburg, which remained vacant after the death of Duchess Ermengarda (1283). The victory that the Duke of Brabant John I won in 1288 over Count Rinaldo I of Gelderland, the Archbishop of Cologne and their allies ensured, through the definitive union of Limburg with Brabant, the possession of the trade route. For Netherlands 2015, please check

In the north of the Netherlands the counts of Holland, at the cost of incessant struggles with repeated alternatives of successes and setbacks, worked during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries to consolidate and extend their dominion. The work ended under Fiorenzo V (1256-1296): West Friesland was subdued to the north; to the east the Amstel region was taken from the bishops of Utrecht; to the south the eastern Scheldt and the islands of Zeeland, which had been held in fief by Flanders since the end of the century, passed under the effective authority of the count of Holland alone until 1256. XI. Since then, the Count of Holland extended his domain from the western Scheldt to the Zuiderzee. Only Friesland, east of the Zuiderzee, escaped that domain, in which the small peasant republics continued (see Friesland). Gelderland, whose counts (descendants of the ancient lords of Wassenberg) had managed to form an almost continuous territory during the 12th and 13th centuries, extended from the right bank of the Meuse, south of Roermond, to the banks of the Zuiderzee. It thus divided the episcopal principality of Utrecht in two parts, separating the region surrounding this city from that which stretched between Deventer and Groningen.

The French preponderance, which manifested itself in the Netherlands at the end of the century. XIII, was shattered by the democratic revolution of the cities of Flanders. In fact, at that time there took place in several of these cities uprisings of the “common” class against the patriciate. The king of France, Philip IV the Fair, intervened in the conflict and, supporting the patricians against Count Guido de Dampierre who had sided against them, the conflict itself was a pretext for confiscating the county in 1301. But a popular and national reaction of the democratic elements, called klauwaerten (from klauw “claw”: the claw of the symbolic lion of Flanders), saved the existence of the county. In the night of 17 to 18 May 1302 the French garrison of Bruges and a good number of partisans of France, called leliaerten (from lelie “lily”, emblem of France), were massacred. On 11 July the French army, commanded by Robert Count d’Artois, was routed near Courtrai by the Flemish urban and rural militias. This victory put an end to the expansionist effort of France, although, by virtue of the treaty of Athis-sur-Orge, Walloon Flanders (castellanie de Lille, Douai and Béthune) were to be abandoned to the French crown in 1312.

The sec. XIV was for the Netherlands entirely occupied by social struggles and the repercussions of the Hundred Years War. From 1323 to 1328 there was a terrible uprising of peasants from Maritime Flanders, which was repressed by the French king Philip VI of Valois. In the cities of Flanders, patricians and artisans took turns in power during the century and these changes of government were each time accompanied by violence. Similar struggles also bloodied the other cities of the Netherlands: in Liège from 1384 the government was exclusively in the hands of the craftsmen; in Brabant, Louvain from 1378 and Brussels from 1421 they adopted a constitution in which the government was divided between aristocracy and artisans. Instead in Holland, as in Hainaut, in the Namur region and in Luxembourg, the patriciate succeeded in repressing all attempts at a democratic revolution. The Dutch cities, however, were, from 1350, the scene of a conflict that for about 150 years divided the country into two parties, that of the Hoeken and that of the Kabeljauwen, without it being possible to specify the aims of this struggle.

The nobles who lived on their estates constituted the Hoeken, while the Kabeljauwen represented mainly commercial classes. However, religious, social and political issues were intertwined in these struggles.

The action of the democratic elements in the cities during the century. XIV manifested itself not only under the political aspect, but also in the organization of work. The industrial and commercial activity was regulated more meticulously, in the interest of the artisans and workers and, at the same time, of the local consumers.

General politics also felt the effects of social conflicts. At the beginning of the Hundred Years War, the Count of Flanders Louis de Nevers had sided with France; but Edward III of England forbade the export of wool to Flanders and a serious crisis ensued. In 1338 Giacomo van Artevelde, whom the people of Ghent had appointed their leader, succeeded in having the neutrality of Flanders recognized. Then, after entrusting the nominal county government to a ruwaert (regent), Simone Mirabello, van Artevelde invited the king of England to take the title of king of France in Ghent and in this capacity he had him recognized by the three major cities in the name of the whole county. Five years later, van Artevelde fell victim to his own opposition to the dominion that the textile artisans claimed to exercise in Ghent, but the agreement with England remained.

Netherlands 1935 Part VII