- John III, Duke of Brabant
Jan III van Brabant (1300 –
December 5 1355, Brussels), also called John III, the Triumphant Fact|date=July 2008, was Duke of Brabant, Lothier, and Limburg (1312–1355). [Biographical details can be found in (Alphonse Wauters), "Biographie nationale" (Académie royale de Belgique), vol. 10, 1889, "s.v." "Jean III" pp 237-274] He was the son of John II, Duke of Brabantand his wife Margaret, daughter of King Edward I of Englandand Eleanor of Castile.
In 1311, as his father's gesture of "rapprochement" with France, he married Marie d'Evreux (d. 1335), the daughter of count
Louis d'Évreuxand Marguerite d'Artois. They had six children:
Joanna, Duchess of Brabant(1322–1406)
* Margaret of Brabant (
February 9 1323– 1368), married at Saint-Quentinon June 6, 1347 Louis II of Flanders
* Marie of Brabant (1325 –
March 1 1399), Lady of Turnhout, married at Tervurenon July 1 1347 Reginald III of Guelders
* John (1327–1335/36)
* Henri (d.
October 29 1349)
* Godfrey (d. aft.
February 3 1352)
John and the towns of Brabant
The early fourteenth century, an economic boom time for Brabant, marks the rise of the Duchy's towns, which depended on English wool for their essential cloth industry. During John's minority, the major towns of Brabant had the authority to appoint councillors to direct a regency, under terms of the
Charter of Kortenberggranted by his father in the year of his death (1312). By 1356 his daughter and son-in-law were forced to accept the famous Joyous Entryas a condition for their recognition, so powerful had the States of Brabant become.
The marital alignment with France was tested and failed as early as 1316, when Louis X requested Brabant to cease trade with Flanders and to participate in a French attack; the coucillors representing the towns found this impossible, and in reprisal Louis prohibited all French trade with Brabant in February 1316, in violation of a treaty of friendship he had signed with Brabant in the previous October.
The French alliance, 1332-1337
After his initial period of maintaining independent neutrality from both France and England, [The following details are drawn from Sergio Boffa, "The Duchy of Brabant caught between France and England: geopolitics and diplomacy during the first half of the Hundred Years' War", in "The Hundred Years War: A Wider Focus", L. J. Andrew Villalon, Donald J. Kagay, eds. vol. I, 2005.] Neighboring sovereigns in the Low Countries, stimulated as a matter of policy by
Philip VI of Francebecame John's enemies; among the adversaries of John were the Count of Flanders, the prince-bishop of Liège, and counts of Hollandand Guelders. In 1332, a crisis with the king of France arose over John's hospitality to Robert, count of Flanders, during his journey to eventual asylum at the English court. In response to French pressure John reminded Philip that he did not hold Brabant from him but from God alone. [Boffa 2005: 216.] A brief campaign of a coalition of Philip's friends came to a truce, followed by a pact at Compiègne by which John received a fief from Philip worth 2000 "livres" and declared himself a vassal of France. His oldest son, Jean, was betrothed to Philip's daughter Marie, and it was agreed that the Brabançon heir would complete his education at the French court in Paris and that Robert of Artois would be expelled from Brabant.
The support of France strengthened John's hand with his feudal suzerein, the
Holy Roman Emperor. Though he was technically the Emperor's feudal vassal, John had been able to ignore Emperor Louis IV's summons to join him in his intended invasion of Lombardy (1327). [Boffa 2005:214] The separation of Brabant from the Empire was completed by the Burgundian dukes of Brabant in the fifteenth century.
Meanwhile, the princes of the Low Countries settled their differences and formed a coalition against Brabant with a defensive alliance in June 1333. War was briefly brought to the Duchy of Brabant in the summer of 1334, but resolved by a peace brokered by Philip at
Amiens. The French king declared that John had to hand over the town of Tieland its neighbouring villages Heerewaardenand Zandwijkto the count of Guelders and to betroth his daughter Marie to the count's son, Reinoud.
The English alliance, 1337-1355
Edward III of Englanddecided to press his claim to the crown of France in 1337, John, who was his first cousin became an ally of Englandduring the first stage of the Hundred Years' War. To Edward's diplomatic offensive to draw Brabant away from France, John lent a sympathetic ear. [Material in this paragraph is drawn from Boffa 2005:9f..] Disrupting the staple connection between the towns of Flanders and the sources of English wool should divert it to the towns of Brabant, notably the recently-established wool exchange. Edward protected Brabançon merchants in England from arrest or the confiscation of their goods, and he sweetened his offers with a promise of £60,000, an immense sum, and to make good any losses of revenue that might be confiscated by the king of France. The same month of July 1337 John promised Edward 1200 of his men-at-arms in the event of an English campaign in France, Edward to pay their salary. In August Edward pledged not to negotiate with the king without prior consultation with the duke. The alliance, kept secret at John's insistence, came into the open when Edward landed with his troops at Antwerp July 1338. John received the promised subsidy (March 1339) and agreed in June to betroth John's second daughter, Margaret, to Edward, the Black Prince, heir to the English throne. Two seasons of inconclusive campaigning that ravaged the north of France left Edward penniless at the end of 1341; he returned home, and when he returned to the fray, it was to Brittany: he never returned to the Low Countries.
The French alliance, 1345-1346
Though John was requesting papal dispensation frfor the marriage of Margaret and the Black Prince in 1343, the alliance with England unravelled as Edward's coffers emptied and his attentions turned elsewhere. In September 1345 representative of France and Brabant met at the
Château de Saint-Germainen-Layreto sign preliminary agreements, and by a treaty signed at Saint-Quentin, June 1347, Brabant was retained as an ally by France. Margaret was now to marry Louis of Male, who had inherited the title of count of Flanders, but whose power against the Flemish communes was virtually nil. A point of dispute with the count of Flanders had been the lordship of Mechelen/Malines, a strategic enclavewithin Brabant: it was agreed that it would now come under full Brabançon control. Despite the diplomacy of Edward, John remained true to his French commitments until his death in December 1355.
In 1350, Jews were persecuted in Brabant.
The heiress of Brabant
In 1355, when his two surviving sons died one right after the other, John was forced to declare his daughter Joan his heiress, which would provoke a succession crisis after his death. John III was buried in the Cistercian Abbey of Villers (now in Belgium). His sons having predeceased him, he was succeeded by his daughter Joanna.
The standard history is Piet Avonds, "Brabant tijdens de regering van Hertog Jan III (1312-1356)"(Koninglijke Academie, Brussels) 1991.
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1= John III, Duke of Brabant
John II, Duke of Brabant
3= Margaret of England
John I, Duke of Brabant
5= Margaret of Flanders
6= Edward I, King of England
Eleanor of Castile
Henry III, Duke of Brabant
9= Adelaide of Burgundy
10= Guy, Count of Flanders
11= Mathilde of Béthune
12= Henry III, King of England
Eleanor of Provence
14= Ferdinand III, King of Castile
15= Jeanne of Dammartin, Countess of Ponthieu
Henry II, Duke of Brabant
Marie of Hohenstaufen
Hugh IV, Duke of Burgundy
Yolande of Dreux
20= William II, Lord of Dampierre
Margaret II, Countess of Flanders
22= Robert VII, Lord of Béthune
23= Elisabeth of Morialmes
24= John, King of England
Isabella of Angoulême
Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence
Beatrice of Savoy
28= Alfonso IX, King of León
Berenguela of Castile
30= Simon of Dammartin, Count of Ponthieu
Marie, Countess of Ponthieu
Dukes of Brabant family tree
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