Coat of arms of the county of Hainaut.
Coat of arms of the Counts of Hainaut

The Count of Hainaut (French: Comte de Hainaut, Dutch: Graaf van Henegouwen, German: Graf von Hennegau) was the ruler of the county of Hainaut, a historical region in the Low Countries (including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany). In English-language historical sources, the title is often given the archaic spelling Hainault.

List of counts of HainautEdit

Baldwin V, count of FlandersAelide, princess of FranceGertrude of SaxonyRobert I, count of FlandersCounts of Flanders#House of FlandersBaldwin I of HainautRichilde, Countess of Mons and HainautIda of LouvainBaldwin II of HainautArnulf I of HainautRichilde of Hainaut (1095-1118)Amaury III de MontfortBaldwin III of HainautYolande van WassenbergGertrude of HainautRichilde of Hainaut (12th century)Gerhard of HainautBaldwin IV of HainautAlice of NamurYolande of HainautHugh IV of Saint PolHenry of HainautBaldwin of Hainaut (1134-1147)Geoffrey of OstervantAgnes of HainautLaurette of HainautBouchard IV of MontmorencyMargaret I of FlandersBaldwin V of HainautSybille of HainautEustach of HainautGodfrey of HainautPhilip I of NamurIsabelle of HainautPhilip II of FrancePeter II of CourtenayYolanda of NamurHenry of ConstantinopleMaria of Bulgaria, Latin EmpressMary of ChampagneBaldwin VI of HainautThomas II of SavoyJoanna of FlandersInfante Ferdinand, Count of FlandersMargaret II of FlandersBouchard IV of AvesnesWilliam II of DampierreCounts of Flanders#House of DampierreBaldwin of AvesnesBaldwin of Avesnes (died 1219)John I of AvesnesAdelaide of HollandJoanna of FlinesBouchard of MetzGuy of AvesnesWilliam of CambraiFloris of ZeelandJohn II of HainautPhilippine of LuxembourgJohn of OstervantJoanna of Hainaut (nun at Fontenelles)Henry of HainautMary of AvesnesLouis I of BourbonIsabelle of Hainaut (died 1305)Raoul of ClermontAlice of HainautRoger Bigod, 5th Earl of NorfolkMargaret of HainautRobert II of ArtoisMargaret of SoissonsJohn of BeaumontWilliam I of HainautJoan of Valois (1294–1352)Robert of Namur (1323–1391)Isabelle of Hainaut (1323-1361)John of Hainaut (died 1316)Louis of Hainaut (1325-1328)Agnes of Hainaut (died 1327)Joanna of HainautPhilippa of HainautEdward III of EnglandWilliam V of JulichWilliam II of HainautJoanna, Duchess of BrabantLouis IV, Holy Roman EmperorMargaret II of HainautUlrich of Wurttemberg (died 1388)Elizabeth of Bavaria (1329-1402)Anna of BavariaOtto V, Duke of BavariaBeatrice of BavariaEric XII of SwedenMargaret of Bavaria (1325-1374)Gerhard of HohenloheWilliam I, Duke of BavariaMatilda of LancasterAlbrecht I of WittelsbachMargaret of BriegMargaret of ClevesAlbert II, Duke of Bavaria-StraubingJohn of Bavaria-StraubingElisabeth, Duchess of LuxembourgCatherine of WittelsbachWilliam I of Gelders and JülichMargaret of BavariaJohn the FearlessJoanna of BavariaWenzel IV of BohemiaWilliam VI of HainautMargaret of Burgundy (1374-1441)Jacqueline of HollandJohn, Dauphin of France (1398-1417)John IV, Duke of BrabantHumphrey of GloucesterFrank van Borsselen 

House of ReginarEdit

The County of Hainaut was then divided between the counties of Mons and Valenciennes.

Counts of Mons

Counts and Margraves of Valenciennes

Valenciennes and Mons are once again reunited in a consolidated County of Hainaut.

House of FlandersEdit

The Counties of Flanders and Hainaut are claimed by Margaret's sons, the half-brothers John I of Avesnes and William III of Dampierre in the War of the Succession of Flanders and Hainault. In 1246, King Louis IX of France awards Hainaut to John, but Margaret refuses to hand over the government but was forced to do so in 1254 by John and the German anti-king William II, Count of Holland.

House of AvesnesEdit

House of FlandersEdit

  • Margaret I (r. 1257–1280), resumed control after John I's death

House of AvesnesEdit

House of BavariaEdit

Jacqueline was opposed by her uncle John, Duke of Bavaria-Straubing, son of Count Albert I in a war of succession. John's claims devolved upon Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, a nephew of William IV, whose mother had been the sister of William. In 1432 he forced Jacqueline to abdicate from Hainaut and Holland in his favour.

House of BurgundyEdit

House of HabsburgEdit

Charles II proclaimed the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 eternally uniting Hainaut with the other lordships of the Low Countries in a personal union. When the Habsburg empire was divided among the heirs of Charles V, the Low Countries, including Hainaut, went to Philip II of Spain, of the Spanish branch of the House of Habsburg.

Between 1706 and 1714 the Low Countries were invaded by the English and the Dutch during the War of the Spanish Succession. The fief was claimed by the House of Habsburg and the House of Bourbon. In 1714, the Treaty of Rastatt settled the succession and the County of Hainaut went to the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg.

  • Charles IV (r. 1714–1740), great grandson of Philip III, als Holy Roman Emperor (elect)
  • Mary Theresa (r. 1740–1780), daughter of Charles IV, married Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
  • Joseph I (r. 1780–1790), son of Maria Theresa and Francis I, also Holy Roman Emperor
  • Leopold (r. 1790–1792), son of Maria Theresa and Francis I, also Holy Roman Emperor
  • Francis II (r. 1792–1835), son of Leopold II, also Holy Roman Emperor

The title was factually abolished in the aftermath of the French revolution and the annexation of Flanders by France in 1795. Although, the title remained officially claimed by the descendants of Leopold II until the reign of Charles I of Austria.

Modern usageEdit

House of Saxe-Coburg and GothaEdit

In the modern Kingdom of Belgium, the title of "Count of Hainaut" was traditionally given to the eldest son of the crown prince, who was himself styled "Duke of Brabant". In 2001, with the birth of Princess Elisabeth of Belgium (now Duchess of Brabant), heir and eldest daughter of Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant (now Philippe, King of the Belgians), it was decided not to feminize and award her the title of Countess of Hainaut, but to abolish it.

See alsoEdit