Flanders (younger branch)
(Constantinopel, Hainaut, Laon, Des Morins, Namur, Steenland)
Historical notes on Flanders, Genealogical data
For younger generations of ancestors who are descended from this family:
|see page on||Holland|
|see page on||De Rumigny|
|see page on||Alsace|
|see page on||Van Peteghem|
|see page on||De Coucy|
|see page on||"Capet" Kings of France|
|see page on||Avesnes|
Historical notes on Flanders
"Pagus Flandrensis", or Vlaanderen (Flanders), meaning "Flooded land", was originally one of a number of "gouwen" near the coast of present-day
Belgium, with Brugues as its centre. It developed into a much larger and more important County which had its centre in Atrecht (Arras) the north of
present-day France. Waltbert of Steenland, about whom almost nothing is known, was the founding father of this younger branch
who became Counts of Flanders. Waltbert's son Odakar married the daughter (name unknown) of Ingelram II of Flanders who belonged to the
old branch, and she apparently inherited the title because there were no other heirs left.
Boudewijn "Iron Arm" was made the first Count (initially Margrave) by King Charles II "The Bald" of of West-Francia.
In the following centuries, Flanders greatly expanded its area and its sphere of political and economic influence, which of course resulted
in many conflicts with its neighbouring rivals, especially Holland which had started to develop in a similar way, and with the Kings of France
who of course realised that their authority was being eroded. Indeed, Flanders became the only part of medieval France which is now outside it.
The Counts of Flanders could however not prevent France and Holland, who often combined forces, from taking control of considerable pieces of
Flanders' area. In the south, Flanders lost a large area (Picardie) to France, including the towns of Rijssel (Lille), Kales (Calais), and
Duinkerken (Dunquerque). In the north, "Zeeuws-Vlaanderen" on the left bank of the Scheldt, as well as the islands of Zeeland eventually came
under Holland's control and are now the Dutch province of Zeeland. The larger part of what used to be the County Flanders is now in the Dutch-speaking
part of Belgium.
In the 11th century, the Counties of Flanders and Hainaut came under the combined rule of Boudewijn VI / I, but were separated again after the violent death of Boudewijn's young son Arnulf III "The Unfortunate". Later, Flanders and Hainaut were recombined under Boudewijn VIII / V, who also became Count of Namur. In a remarkable series of events during the Fourth Crusade, his son Boudewijn IX / VI became "Emperor" of Constantinopel in the short-lived "Latin Empire". Within a year, in 1205, he died after a battle against the Bulgarians and was succeeded in Constantinopel by his brother Hendrik II, and after that by his sister Yolanda. Yolanda's two sons also became Emperor, the last ones until the "Latin Empire" was brought back again under Greek rule in 1261.
Meanwhile, in Flanders itself and in Hainaut, "Emperor" Boudewijn's brother Philipe, Count of Namur, was appointed Regent. In 1244, Boudewijn's sole surviving child Margaretha became heir. She had offspring from two marriages, but the legality of her first marriage was disputed. This complication resulted in the Avesnes and the Dampierre families fighting bitterly over the right of succession for almost a century, not accepting the ruling by the King of France in 1246, repeated in 1256, that Flanders would go to the Dampierres and Hainaut to the Avesnes, as was in practice already the case. In 1323 the rival families were finally ready to accept the formal separation between Flanders and Hainaut.
(See 41, 40, 39, 38, 37, 36 generations back)
Waltbert of Steenland
(24 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,000000013 %)
* ? x Unknown + ?
Waltbert of Steenland (?-?)
(See 40, 39, 38, 37, 36, 35 generations back)
Odakar III des Morins (or Audacer Laon)
(24 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,000000025 %)
* ? x ? of Flanders + ?
Odakar / Audacer inherited the title of lord of Flanders through his wife, who's name is not known. She was a daughter of Ingelram II of Flanders, a member of what could be called the "Old Branch" of the Lords of Flanders.
Odakar III des Morins (or Audacer Laon) (?-?)
and ? of Flanders (820?-?)
(See 39, 38, 37, 36, 35, 34 generations back)
Boudewijn I "Iron Arm", Count of Flanders
(24 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,000000050 %)
* 839? x Judith of West-Francia + 2-1-879
Boudewijn's wife Judith was a daughter of King Charles II "The Bald", and a great-great-granddaughter of Charlemagne. She had been married twice before, first at the age of only 12 to the very old King Ethelwulf of Wessex who died after a few years. Then she married Ethelbald, the old king's son from an earlier marriage who also died after a few years. Judith was already twice a widow at the age of 16. She met Boudewijn, a dashing knight in the service of her father, who eloped with her. King Charles was at first very angry and the couple had to stay away for a few years. When Boudewijn threatened to join the Vikings, Charles forgave Boudewijn and made him Margrave of Flanders with the assignment to defend the border of the West-Frankish kingdom against the Vikings, who were by then incessantly launching sea-borne raids on these coastal areas. Judith died at the age of about 26.
Boudewijn I "Iron Arm", Count of Flanders (839?-879)
and Judith of West-Francia (844?-870?)
(See 38, 37, 36, 35, 34, 33 generations back)
Boudewijn II "The Bald", Count of Flanders
(24 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,00000010 %)
* 864? x Aelfthtyth of Wessex (884?) + 10-9-918
Boudewijn quickly took advantage when the Vikings finally disappeared in 883, and he annexed all surrounding areas and properties that he could get, including those of the church and of the King of France, who remained his feudal lord, but without much real power.
Boudewijn II "The Bald" , Count of Flanders (864?-918)
and Aelfthtyth of Wessex (868?-929)
(See 37, 36, 35, 34, 33, 32 generations back)
Arnulf I "The Great", Count of Flanders
(24 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,00000020 %)
* between 885 and 890 x Adèle of Vermandois (934) + between 27-3-964 and 27-3-965
Arnulf made Atrecht in the whealthy south of his domain his capital and his stronghold from where he increased his influence against powerful rivals like the Dukes of Normandy and the Counts of Vermandois, in spite of having married a member of the Vermandois family. Arnulf had to share the County of Flanders with his younger brother Adalulf, but after Adalulf's death, Arnulf simply annexed his part. He enlarged his area in the south as far as the river Somme. At the time of Arnulf's death, his son Boudewijn III had already died a few years earlier, and only his infant grandson Arnulf II was left to continue his policies. To secure his grandson's succession, Arnulf was forced to entrust Flanders to King Lotharius IV of West-Francia.
Adalulf of Flanders
* ? + 933
After his father's death, Adalulf inherited the southern part of the County of Flanders, and his elder brother Arnulf the northern part. After Adalulf's death, his part was annexed by his brother, and Adalulf's children inherited nothing.
Arnulf I "The Great", Count of Flanders (885/890-965)
and Adèle of Vermandois (915-959)
(See 36, 35, 34, 33, 32, 31 generations back)
Boudewijn III of Flanders
(8 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,00000015 %)
* 940? x Mathilde of Saxony (around 961) + 1-1-962
Boudewijn died a few years before his father. Boudewijn's son Arnulf II, the heir, was only about four years old when Count Arnulf "The Great" died.
Hildegard of Flanders
(16 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,00000025 %)
* ? x Dirk II, Count of Holland + after 10-4-975
For her descendants see the page on the Counts of Holland.
Boudewijn III of Flanders (940?-962)
and Mathilde of Saxony (?-1008)
(See 33, 32, 31 generations back)
Arnulf II, Count of Flanders
(8 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,00000029 %)
* 961? x Rozala Suzanna of Ivrea (around 975?) + 30-3-988
Arnulf was about four years old when he became heir to the County, and he was of course unable to organise resistance to King Lotharius IV of West-Francia who occupied the whole of Flanders to reestablish his authority over these lands, which was probably not quite what the late Arnulf "The Great"'s had intented in his will, see above. The Count's authority was seriously diminished, and many local lords in Flanders became semi-independant. Ghent fell into the hands of Count Dirk II of Holland. After Arnulf's death, his widow Rozala married Robert II "The Pious", King of France in 988, but was rejected by him in 995.
Arnulf II, Count of Flanders (961?-988)
and Rozala Susanna of Ivrea (950/960-1003)
(See 32, 31, 30 generations back)
Boudewijn IV, Count of Flanders
(8 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,00000058 %)
* 975? x I. Otgiva of Luxembourg (around 1005) II. Eleonora of Normandy + 30-5-1035
When his father died, Boudewijn was still a minor. After he was old enough to take effective control, he succeeded in winning back authority over the local lords in the north of Flanders, and Ghent was repossessed from Holland. In the south, expansion was impossible because of the strong position the Dukes of Normandy had acquired. East of the Scheldt river the German Emperor Heinrich II had gained a foothold, and it became the ambition of the Counts of Flanders to increase their influence in that direction because this river was an important trade route. Boudewijn succeeded in gaining control over Antwerp and Eename, and Zeeland "West of the Scheldt", for which the German Emperor remained overlord.
Boudewijn IV, Count of Flanders (975?-1035)
and Otgiva of Luxembourg (985/990-1030)
(See 31, 30, 29 generations back)
Boudewijn V, Count of Flanders
(8 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,0000012 %)
* 1013? x Adélaïde of France (Lille 1028) + 1-9-1067 (Ghent)
In 1056, during the reign of Heinrich IV of Germany, who was still a minor, Boudewijn V was able to incorporate the areas east of the Scheldt. As proof of the increased political importance of Flanders, Boudewijn V was appointed Regent for the seven years old King Philippe I of France (also our ancestor), his wife Adélaïde's nephew.
Hermengarde of Flanders
* ? (after 1011) x Lambert I of Ghent + 1071
For the family of her husband see the page on Holland
? of Flanders
* ? x Hendrik I, Count of Leuven + ?
The name of this daughter, who married Count Hendrik I of Leuven is not known. She was the mother of Adela of Leuven who married Otto of Weimar.
Boudewijn V, Count of Flanders (1013?-1067)
and Adélaïde of France (1009-1079)
(See 30, 29, 28 generations back)
Boudewijn VI, Count of Flanders / Boudewijn I of Hainaut
(2 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,00000037 %)
* 1029? x Richilde of Hainaut (around 1051) + 17-7-1070
Boudewijn VI also became Count of Hainaut through his wife, the daughter of Reinier V, Count of Hainaut.
For Boudewijn's descendants see below
Mathilde of Flanders
(1 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,00000037 %)
* 1031? x William II ("the Conqueror"), King of England, Duke of Normandy (Eu, 1053) + 3-11-1085 (Caen)
For her descendants see the page on ... (Under Construction).
Mathilde's grandson Willem Clito, the son of Robert II, Duke of Normandy, was Count of Flanders from 1127 until 1128, when he was killed at the battle of Aalst in the war of succession against his second cousin Thierry (Diederik, Dirk) III of Alsace, see below.
Robrecht I "The Frisian", Count of Flanders
(5 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,0000016 %)
* ?-1-1032 x Gertrude of Saxony (1063) + 13-10-1093 (Kassel)
After the death of Count Boudewijn VI, the title went to Boudewijn's young son Arnulf III "The Unfortunate". But this did not last, Arnulf was killed by his uncle Robrecht "The Frisian" in 1071 at the battle of Kassel, who then succeeded Arnulf as Count of Flanders. Robrecht married Gertrude of Saxony, the widow of Count Floris I of Holland. Count Floris had been killed by a murderer, probably on orders from the German Emperor in an attempt to end Holland's struggle for greater independence from its feudal overlords. Robrecht, who now had become the stepfather of Geertrude's son Dirk V, the new Count of Holland, supported his stepson in 1076 to recapture his lawful possessions which had been annexed by Bishop Willem of Utrecht. Robrecht and Dirk succeeded in defeating the army of Koenraad, Willem's successor as Bishop of Utrecht at the castle of IJsselmonde, taking him prisoner. Then they ordered the murder of their overlord Duke Godefroid III "The Hunchback" of Lower-Lorraine, a true supporter of the German Emperor.
For Robrecht and Gertrude's descendants see below.
Boudewijn VI, Count of Flanders / Boudewijn I of Hainaut (1029?-1070)
and Richilde of Hainaut (1027-1086)
(See 28 generations back)
Arnulf III "The Unfortunate", Count of Flanders and Hainaut
* 1055? + 1071 (Kassel)
Arnulf, aged about 16, was killed in 1071 in the battle of Kassel against his uncle Robert "The Frisian" who then became Count of Flanders, see above.
Boudewijn II "of Jerusalem", Count of Hainaut ("Boudewijn VII" of Flanders)
(10 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,0000037 %)
* 1056? x Ida (or Alix?) of Leuven (1084) + ? (after 8-6-1098, Bithynia)
Boudewijn, who was supported by the Bishop of Liège, succeeded his brother Arnulf III as Count in Hainaut, but had to cede Flanders to his uncle Robrecht, the victor of the battle of Kassel. Boudewijn tried a few times to reconquer Flanders, but did not succeed, and therefore never effectively became Count Boudewijn VII of Flanders. He was murdered in 1098 while taking part in the first Cusade. For his descendants see below.
Robrecht I "The Frisian", Count of Flanders (1032-1093)
and Gertrude of Saxony (1028?-1113)
(See 29, 27 generations back)
Geertruid of Flanders
(5 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,0000032 %)
* 1050? x Thierry (Diederik, Dirk) II of Alsace (1095) + 1117
For her descendants see the page on Alsace.
Geertruid's son Thierry (Diederik, Dirk) III of Alsace fought a war of succession against his second cousin Willem Clito of Normandy, who had been appointed by King Louis VI of France as successor to the murdered Count Karel (Charles) "The Good" (see below), in spite of protests from the cities of Flanders. When Willem did indeed not respect the cities' privileges, war was the result. Willem was supported by the King of France and the nobility in Flanders; Thierry was supported by Ghent and the other cities in Flanders, as well as by the King of England. Thierry won decisively at the battle of Aalst on 27/28-7-1128, and Willem Clito was killed. Thierry's victory forever changed the political balance in favour of the cities in Flanders which could now develop more freely.
Geertruid's granddaughter (Thierry's daughter) Margaretha of Alsace later became heir to the County of Flanders, and the title of Count was then transferred to her husband Count Boudewijn V of Hainaut / VIII of Flanders see below
Adela of Flanders
* ? x I. Knut (Canute) IV, King of Denmark II. Roger Borsa, Duke of Apulia + ?
Adela's son Karel (Charles) "The Good" became Count of Flanders after the death of Boudewijn VII in 1119. He tried to subdue his local warlords who were continuously fighting one another. Karel was murdered in Brugge (Brugues) on 2-3-1127 on orders from the Eremboud family, who had become his main enemies. Willem Clito of Normandy was then appointed by King Louis VI of France as Karel's successor, but Willem was also killed the following year, see above.
Robrecht II, Count of Flanders
* 1050? + 1111?
Robrecht joined his cousin Boudewijn II of Hainaut in the first Crusade, in 1096, earning him the nickname "Robrecht of Jerusalem". Robrecht was succeeded as Count by his son Boudewijn VII.
Boudewijn II "of Jerusalem", Count of Hainaut (1056?-1098)
and Ida (also Alix?) of Leuven (1065?-after 1103)
(See 27 generations back)
Arnulf I of Hainaut
* ? (after 1084) x Béatrix d'Ath +
For the family of Arnulf's wife see the page on d'Ath
Yolanda (Ida?) of Hainaut
* ? (after 1084) x Thomas de Boves (de Coucy de Marle) (before 1095) + ? (after 1107)
For the family of her husband see the page on De Boves
Alix of Hainaut
(2 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,00000075 %)
* 1085? x Nicolas II de Rumigny + 1155
For her descendants see the page on De Rumigny
Boudewijn III, Count of Hainaut
(3 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,0000019 %)
* 1088? x Jolante of Gelre (around 1107) + 17-6-1120
Like his father, Boudewijn III tried but failed to reconquer Flanders.
Richilde of Hainaut
* 1095 x Amaury IV de Montfort (1115) + ? (after 1118)
Adélaïde of Hainaut
(5 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,0000048 %)
* ? x Simon I, Duke of Upper-Lorraine + ?
For her descendants see the page on Alsace
Boudewijn III, Count of Hainaut (1087?-1120?)
and Jolante of Gelre (1089?-1110?)
(See 26 generations back)
Boudewijn IV, Count of Hainaut
(3 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,0000037 %)
*1110? x Adélaïde (also called Elvide, Alix and Ermesinde?) of Namur (around 1130) + 6-11-1171 (Mons/Bergen)
Like his father and grandfather, Boudewijn IV tried in vain to get Flanders back. Peace was restored when his son Boudewijn V married Margaretha of Alsace, of Flanders.
Richilde of Hainaut
(.. times our ancestor, blood-relationship .. %)
* ? x Evrard II Radulphe of Tournai (de Mortagne) (1144) + ?
For her descendants see the page on Van Peteghem
Boudewijn IV, Count of Hainaut (1110?-1171)
and Adélaïde of Namur (1110-1168)
(See 25 generations back)
Agnès of Hainaut
(1 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,0000029 %)
* 1140 x Raoul I, "seigneur" de Coucy (before 1161) + 1174
For her descendants see the page on De Boves (De Coucy)
Boudewijn V, Count of Hainaut and Namur, = Boudewijn VIII of Flanders
(2 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,0000045 %)
* 1148? x Margaretha of Alsace, of Flanders (Le Quesnoy ?-7-1169) + 17-12-1195 (Mons/Bergen)
Count Boudewijn V of Hainaut became also Count of Namur through his mother in 1188. A few years later, he also became Count of Flanders through his wife Margaretha of Alsace, a great-granddaughter of Count Robrecht I "The Frisian" (see above), who had become the heir to the County of Flanders after the death of Count Philipe of Alsace in Akko in 1191. Count Philipe had arranged the marriage between the young King Philipe II "Augustus" of France and his own niece Isabella (see below) in 1180, which would secure France's political support, in exchange for Isabella's dowry, the County of Vermandois, which had belonged to the heiress Elisabeth of Vermandois, Count Philipe's wife. This dowry was only to be transferred to the French king after Count Philipe's death, and it was probably not really the Count's intention to transfer it at all. King Philipe Augustus also must have had his doubts, and he did in any case not want to wait for the outcome. Instead of giving support, he soon made war on his former teacher between 1181 and 1186. When Count Philipe died from the plague at the siege of Akko in 1191 during the Third Crusade, the French king made use of the power vacuum, took Vermandois and occupied the whole south of Flanders. He was prevented from also taking the north by Count Boudewijn V of Hainaut (now also of Flanders, through his wife). Boudewijn was informed of his predecessor's death sooner than the French king, and had not wasted any time to organise the defence of his area against the expected French attack.
Boudewijn V, Count of Hainaut = Boudewijn VIII of Flanders (1148?-1195)
and Margaretha of Alsace, of Flanders (1140/1145-1194)
(See 24 generations back)
Boudewijn VI, Count of Hainaut = Boudewijn IX of Flanders = Boudewijn I, Emperor of Constantinopel
(1 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,0000059 %)
* 1171 (Valenciennes) x Maria of Champagne + 1205 (Adrianopolis, Bulgaria)?
Count Boudewijn was a supporter of King Richard "The Lionhearted" of England, who won the battle of Gisors in 1198 against King Philipe II "Augustus" of France. Boudewijn could now successfully reclaim much of the southern area of Flanders which had been taken in 1191 by King Philipe, see above. He took part in the Fourth Crusade in 1202, which did not reach Palestine, but ended up fighting fellow Christians in Constantinopel. When the Crusader army was in Venice, Prince Alexei IV of Byzantium came to ask for their help. His father, the incompetent Emperor Isaac II Angelus had been deposed, blinded and imprisoned by his own brother seven years earlier. The Crusaders were promised rich but unrealistic rewards by Prince Alexei. The Crusaders and their Venetian partners, who seem to have been motivated more by material than by spiritual rewards, attacked Constantinopel succesfully and liberated the blinded Emperor. The restoration to his throne did not last long because he was deposed again by his own people in 1204, causing him to die of fear. Prince Alexei was strangled, and was succeeded by Alexius V Dukas. The new Emperor was opposed to the presence of so many armed West-Europeans. Thereupon the Crusaders decided to take control themselves and they crowned Count Boudewijn, one of their own, as the "Emperor of Constantinopel" and surrounding areas. This move forever disrupted the alliance between the Byzantine Empire and the Western powers against the Muslims. The Venetians were given a monopoly on "trade", which was more like plunder. They carried away much of Constantinople's treasures, such as the four bronze horses which still can be seen as an ornament in the façade of the Doge's palace.
Boudewijn's "Latin Empire" was constantly under threat from his own Greek population as well as from the neighbouring states. Parts of the former Byzantine Empire never accepted the new government in Constantinopel, and the Greek rulers of Nicaea, Epiros and Trebizond all proclaimed themselves Emperor and rightful successor, which gave a total of four Emperors in these troubled lands instead of one. In 1205, Emperor Boudewijn was taken prisoner after he lost a battle against the Bulgarians. His fate is not known, he was probably killed. He left behind his wife Maria and their two infant daughters, Johanna and Margaretha. His brother Count Philippe of Namur became the Regent for Hainaut and Flanders.
Philipe I, Count of Namur, Regent for Hainaut and Flanders
* ? x Maria of France + 1213?
Philipe had become Count of Namur after the death of Henri IV "The Blind", the previous Count. Henri IV had expected to die without heirs and had already made Boudewijn V of Hainaut (and later also of Flanders, see above) his successor, when his daughter Ermesinde was born. He made her his heir instead, and a war of succession broke out. The outcome was that Ermesinde became Countess of Luxembourg, Durbuy and Laroche, and Philipe (Boudewijn V's second son) became Count of Namur. After Philipe's death, his widow Maria of France became the second wife of Duke Hendrik I of Brabant.
Hendrik of Flanders (of Hainaut), Emperor of Constantinopel
* 1174 + 1216 (Constantinopel)
Hendrik became the Regent of Constantinopel for his brother Emperor Boudewijn, who had been taken prisoner by the Bulgarians in 1205. In 1206 Hendrik succeeded Boudewijn as Emperor, and was a more successful ruler. He defended the rights of the local Greek orthodox priests against attempts by the "Latin" Roman Catholic church to drive them out, and he was even able to make peace with the Bulgarians. In 1211 he acquired the north-western part of Asia Minor. After his death, the succession was passed on to his brother-in-law Pierre II de Courtenay, his sister Yolande's husband, see next.
Yolande of Flanders (of Hainaut), Empress of Constantinopel
(1 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,0000030 %)
* ? x Pierre II de Courtenay, "Emperor of Constantinopel" (Soissons 1-7-1193) + 1219 (Constantinopel)
Yolande's husband was appointed Emperor in 1217, but before he was even able to reach Constantinopel, he was captured by one of his rival "Emperors" (the one of Epiros). He died there in captivity. His widow Yolande ruled as Empress herself until her death in 1219. Both her sons succeeded her: Robert II was Emperor from 1221 until 1228 and Boudewijn II from 1240 until 1261, when the Latin Empire at Constantinopel was brought back under Greek rule by Michael Paleologos, the "Emperor" of Nicaea.
For Pierre and Yolande's descendants see the page on the "Capet" Kings of France
Isabella of Flanders (of Hainaut)
* ?-4-1170 x Philipe II "Augustus", King of France (Bapaume 28-4-1180) + 15-3-1190 (Paris)
For the family of Isabella's husband see the page on the "Capet" Kings of France
Sybille of Flanders (of Hainaut)
* ? (after 1170) x Guichard IV de Beaujeu (1197) + 1227
Boudewijn VI, Count of Hainaut = Boudewijn IX of Flanders = Boudewijn I, Emperor of Constantinopel (1171-1205)
and Maria of Champagne (1174?-1204)
(See 23 generations back)
Johanna of Constantinopel
* 1200? x Ferrand of Portugal + 1244
Johanna died without children. Her husband was taken prisoner after the Anglo-Welf side lost against the French-Staufen at the battle of Bouvines in 1214, a great victory for King Philipe II "Augustus" of France.
Margaretha of Constantinopel
(1 times our ancestor, blood-relationship 0,000012 %)
* between 1-7-1202 and 31-8-1202 x I. Bouchard of Avesnes (Le Quesnoy, before 23-7-1212) II. Willem (Guillaume) II of Dampierre (15-11-1223) + 10-2-1280
When their father Boudewijn VI, Count of Hainaut, Count of Flanders and Emperor of Constantinopel had been captured and probably was killed in a battle in Bulgaria in 1205, Johanna was five and Margaretha only three years old. The girls stayed with King Louis "The Saint" of France until 1212. Margaretha, 10, was then entrusted to the care of Bouchard of Avesnes, a 40-year old member of the clergy. Bouchard did apparently not hesitate for long and "married" Margaretha the same year, probably calculating that at least part of Boudewijn's inheritance would come his way. The marriage was declared invalid at the Lateran Council in Rome in 1215, but Margaretha stayed eight more years with Bouchard by whom she got a number of children. In 1223, at the age of 21, Margaretha left Bouchard who was away to Rome in an attempt to get his "marriage" officially approved. She married Willem (Guillaume) of Dampierre by whom she also got a number children. When her elder sister Johanna died without children in 1244, Margaretha became Countess of Flanders and Hainaut and immediately a conflict broke out between the children from her two "marriages" who disputed the right to succeed her. Either Margaretha's first marriage was valid, in which case the Avesnes would inherit everything, or it wasn't, in which case Flanders and Hainaut would rightly have to go to the Dampierres. In either case, the two counties would remain under one ruler. King Louis "The Saint" of France, calculating that it was not in his interest to have too powerful a combination of forces in the north of his kingdom, ruled in 1246 that Hainaut would go to the Avesnes family and Flanders to the Dampierres, a ruling which he repeated in 1256. This did however not end the dispute between the two families, until in 1323 a treaty was signed in Paris between Willem III of Avesnes and Gwijde III of Dampierre.
For Margaretha's descendants by her first husband see the page on the Avesnes family.
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