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County of Holland

County of Holland

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The County
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

 of Holland
was a county in the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 and from 1482 part of the Habsburg Netherlands
Habsburg Netherlands
The Habsburg Netherlands was a geo-political entity covering the whole of the Low Countries from 1482 to 1556/1581 and solely the Southern Netherlands from 1581 to 1794...

 in what is now the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. It covered an area roughly corresponding to the current Dutch provinces of North-Holland and South-Holland, as well as the islands of Terschelling
Terschelling is a municipality and an island in the northern Netherlands, one of the West Frisian Islands.Waddenislanders are known for their resourcefulness in using anything and everything that washes ashore. With few trees to use for timber, most of the farms and barns are built with masts...

, Vlieland
Vlieland is a municipality in the northern Netherlands. The municipality of Vlieland has only one major town: Oost-Vlieland . It is the second-least densely populated municipality in the Netherlands ....

, Urk
Urk is a municipality and a town in the Flevoland province in the central Netherlands.Urk is first mentioned in historical records dating to the 10th century, when it was still an island in the Almere, a lake that would become part of the Zuiderzee in the 13th century after a series of incursions...

 and Schokland
Schokland is a former island in the Dutch Zuiderzee. Schokland lost its status as an island when the Noordoostpolder was reclaimed from the sea in 1942...

, though it did not include the South-Holland islands.


Around 800, under Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, the Frankish Empire
Frankish Empire
Francia or Frankia, later also called the Frankish Empire , Frankish Kingdom , Frankish Realm or occasionally Frankland, was the territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks from the 3rd to the 10th century...

 covered a great deal of Europe. In much of this empire an important unit of regional administration, corresponding roughly to a shire
A shire is a traditional term for a division of land, found in the United Kingdom and in Australia. In parts of Australia, a shire is an administrative unit, but it is not synonymous with "county" there, which is a land registration unit. Individually, or as a suffix in Scotland and in the far...

 or county
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

 in England, was the gau (Frankish), or pagus
In the later Western Roman Empire, following the reorganization of Diocletian, a pagus became the smallest administrative district of a province....

(Latin). A comes or Count
A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

 ruled over one or more gaue. Because of the low trade, the negative trade balance with the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and the Muslim states, and the disappearance of currency, the economy was more or less reduced to bartering. The king's vassals could only be rewarded by giving them land (beneficium, from the tenth century on feodum) and usufruct
Usufruct is the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from property that either belongs to another person or which is under common ownership, as long as the property is not damaged or destroyed...

. From this the system of Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 developed. The vassals, who were generally appointed by the king, strove for a system of inheritance. This become more and more the rule, and in 877 it was legalised in the Capitulary of Quierzy
Capitulary of Quierzy
The Capitulary of Quierzy , was a capitulary of the emperor Charles II, comprising a series of measures for safeguarding the administration of his realm during his second Italian expedition, as well as directions for his son Louis the Stammerer, who was entrusted with the government during his...


Upon the death of a king, the Frankish kingdom was frequently divided among his heirs. This partible inheritance
Partible inheritance
Partible inheritance is a general term applied to systems of inheritance in which property may be apportioned among heirs. It contrasts in particular with primogeniture, which requires that the whole inheritance passes to the eldest son, and with agnatic seniority where the succession passes to...

 often caused internal struggle which made centralized government problematic. The Viking Raids
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 further undermined centralized government.

The Treaty of Ribemont
Treaty of Ribemont
There are two Treaties of Ribemont, the first is from 880 and the second is from 1179.-The treaty of 880:The Treaty of Ribemont in 880 was the last treaty on the partitions of the Frankish Empire...

 in 880 added the Kingdom of Lotharingia
Lotharingia was a region in northwest Europe, comprising the Low Countries, the western Rhineland, the lands today on the border between France and Germany, and what is now western Switzerland. It was born of the tripartite division in 855, of the kingdom of Middle Francia, itself formed of the...

 - of which the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

 were part - to East Francia, which attempted to integrate it. However, there were no connections like there were between the four Stem Duchies
Stem duchy
Stem duchies were essentially the domains of the old German tribes of the area, associated with the Frankish Kingdom, especially the East, in the Early Middle Ages. These tribes were originally the Franks, the Saxons, the Alamanni, the Burgundians, the Thuringii, and the Rugii...

 of east Francia: the Duchy of Franconia
Duchy of Franconia
The Duchy of Franconia was one of the stem duchies of Germany during the formative period of the Holy Roman Empire in the 10th century, part of former Frankish Austrasia.But unlike the others Franconia did not evolve into a stable political entity...

, the Duchy of Saxony
Duchy of Saxony
The medieval Duchy of Saxony was a late Early Middle Ages "Carolingian stem duchy" covering the greater part of Northern Germany. It covered the area of the modern German states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Saxony-Anhalt and most of Schleswig-Holstein...

, the Duchy of Bavaria
Duchy of Bavaria
The Duchy of Bavaria was the only one of the stem duchies from the earliest days of East Francia and the Kingdom of Germany to preserve both its name and most of its territorial extent....

 and the Duchy of Swabia
Duchy of Swabia
Swabia was one of the five stem duchies of the medieval German kingdom, and its dukes were thus among the most powerful magnates of Germany.-History:...

. Lotharingia took a separate position with a large amount of self-determination. This became clear when Louis the Child
Louis the Child
Louis the Child , sometimes called Louis IV or Louis III, was the last Carolingian ruler of East Francia....

, the last Carolingian of East Francia, died in 911. While the Stem Duchies flocked to Conrad I
Conrad I of Germany
Conrad I , called the Younger, was Duke of Franconia from 906 and King of Germany from 911 to 918, the only king of the Conradine dynasty...

, Duke of Franconia, Lotharingia chose for the Carolingian Charles the Simple
Charles the Simple
Charles III , called the Simple or the Straightforward , was the undisputed King of France from 898 until 922 and the King of Lotharingia from 911 until 919/23...

, king of West Francia.

Charles the Simple was driven out of Lotharingia in 922 by Henry the Fowler, after which the Lotharingian nobles finally accepted Henry in 925. However, Henry's power was limited by his vassal Gilbert
Gilbert, Duke of Lorraine
Gilbert was the duke of Lotharingia until 939.The beginning of the reign of Gilbert is not clear. A dux Lotharingiae is mentioned in 910 and this may have been Gilbert...

, the Duke of Lotharingia, whose power in turn was limited to his own counties.


At the end of the reign of Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

, the royal power had weakened because of the flood of 838
Floods in the Netherlands
This is a chronological list of floods that have occurred in the Netherlands, until 1500 most parts of the Netherlands were in Frisia.*838 December 26: A large part of the northwest of the Netherlands was flooded by a storm. Lack of good dikes was an important cause of this flood disaster...

, but also because of infighting between the king's sons. After Louis died, his son Lothair I
Lothair I
Lothair I or Lothar I was the Emperor of the Romans , co-ruling with his father until 840, and the King of Bavaria , Italy and Middle Francia...

 rewarded the Danish brothers Rorik and Harald with Frisia
Frisia is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea, i.e. the German Bight. Frisia is the traditional homeland of the Frisians, a Germanic people who speak Frisian, a language group closely related to the English language...

 - current day Friesland
Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands and part of the ancient region of Frisia.Until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân...

 and Holland - in an attempt to resist the attacks of the Vikings. Because of this, the Counts saw their power reduced. They started cooperating with the Danish, but in 885 the Danish rule came to an end with the murder of Godfrid, Duke of Frisia. One of the people involved in the murder was Gerolf
Gerolf of Holland
Gerolf or Gerulf was the second count of this name who is attested in the area of Friesland . Gerolf's main area of power seems to have been in Kennemerland. Count Gerolf is often regarded as the founder of the County of Holland, although the actual name "Holland" is from a later time...

, comes Fresonum (count of Frisia). As a reward Gerulf was given lands in full ownership on August 4, 889, from the East Francian king Arnulf of Carinthia
Arnulf of Carinthia
Arnulf of Carinthia was the Carolingian King of East Francia from 887, the disputed King of Italy from 894 and the disputed Holy Roman Emperor from February 22, 896 until his death.-Birth and Illegitimacy:...

. The lands in question included an area outside of Gerulf's county, in Teisterbant, including Tiel
' is a municipality and a town in the middle of the Netherlands.The town is enclosed by the Waal river and the Linge river on the south and the north side, and the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal on the east side. The city was founded in the 5th century AD....

, Aalburg
Aalburg is a municipality and a town in the southern Netherlands. The municipality was formed in 1973 in a merger of the former municipalities of Eethen, Veen, and Wijk en Aalburg.- Population centres :...

 and Asch
Asch (Netherlands)
Asch is a town in the Dutch province of Gelderland. It is a part of the municipality of Buren, and lies about 9 km northwest of Tiel.In 2001, the town of Asch had 176 inhabitants...

. It also involved an area inside the county. This last possession consisted of a forest and a field somewhere between the mouth of the Old Rhine and presumably Bennebroek
Bennebroek is a town and former municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland, now part of Bloemendaal municipality. Before its merger, it was the smallest municipality in the Netherlands, covering an area of only 1.75 km².-History:...

, Suithardeshaga.

In 922, King Charles the Simple
Charles the Simple
Charles III , called the Simple or the Straightforward , was the undisputed King of France from 898 until 922 and the King of Lotharingia from 911 until 919/23...

 granted the church of Egmond
Egmond is a former municipality in the north-western Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. In 2001, it was merged with the municipalities of Schoorl and Bergen to form the municipality of Bergen. The three main villages in the former municipality are Egmond aan den Hoef, Egmond aan Zee...

 and all its possessions to Dirk I, Count of Holland
Dirk I, Count of Holland
Dirk I was Count of Holland, thought to have been in office from ca. 896 to ca. 928 or 939.-'Count in Frisia':The actual title of count Dirk I was 'count in Friesland'....

, as thanks for his support against a rebellion of his vassals. Egmond was located just north of the possessions he had received from Gerulf, and was thus a good match. Shortly after this he founded Egmond Abbey, the oldest monastery in Holland.

Feudal period

The rising status of the House of Holland was shown when in 938, Dirk II
Dirk II, Count of Holland
Dirk II was Count of Frisia and Holland. He was the son of Count Dirk I and Geva .-Career:...

 married at the age of 8 with Hildegard of Flanders, daughter of Arnulf I, Count of Flanders
Arnulf I, Count of Flanders
Arnulf of Flanders , called the Great, was the third Count of Flanders, who ruled the County of Flanders, an area that is now northwestern Belgium and southwestern Holland....

. The count of holland was in this period more of a military commander who had to resist Viking raids, and subject to the authority of the Bishopric of Utrecht.

In 985, King Otto III
Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto III , a King of Germany, was the fourth ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire. He was elected King in 983 on the death of his father Otto II and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 996.-Early reign:...

, at the request of his mother Theophanu
Theophanu , also spelled Theophania, Theophana or Theophano, was born in Constantinople, and was the wife of Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor.-Family:...

, granted the ownership (proprium) of a number lands to count Dirk II. These lands had already been given in loan
A loan is a type of debt. Like all debt instruments, a loan entails the redistribution of financial assets over time, between the lender and the borrower....

 (beneficium). This was the area between the rivers Loira (lier) and hisla (IJssel
Hollandse IJssel
The Hollandse IJssel is a branch of the Rhine delta that flows westward from Nieuwegein on river Lek through IJsselstein, Gouda and Capelle aan den IJssel to Krimpen aan den IJssel, where it ends in the Nieuwe Maas. Another branch called Enge IJssel flows southwest from Nieuwegein...

) - a Gau called Masaland -, villa Sunnimeri
Zonnemaire is a village in the Dutch province of Zeeland. It is a part of the municipality of Schouwen-Duiveland, and lies about 19 km southwest of Hellevoetsluis.Zonnemaire was a separate municipality until 1961, when it was merged with Brouwershaven....

, the area between the rivers Medemelaka and Chinnelosara gemerchi - Kinheim
Kennemerland is a region in the Netherlands, near the coast in the province of North Holland. In includes the sand dunes north of the North Sea Canal, as well as the dunes of Zuid-Kennemerland National Park.-History:...

 - and Texla, another Gau.

In 993, count Arnulf of Gent
Arnulf, Count of Holland
Arnulf, also known as Aernout or Arnold succeeded his father in 988 as Count in Frisia. He was born in 951 in Ghent and because of this he is also known as Arnulf of Ghent. Arnulf was the son of Dirk II, Count of Holland and Hildegard, thought to be a daughter of Arnulf of Flanders.-Career:Arnulf...

 was killed in a battle near Winkel
Winkel may refer to:*Winkel, Haut-Rhin, a place in the Haut-Rhin department, France*Winkel , a town in the Netherlands*Winkel , a village in the Netherlands*Winkel , a village in the Netherlands...

 in an attempt to quell the rebellious Frisians. This is seen as the first sign of the libertas of the Frisians, but at that time the regions of West-Friesland and Kennemerland were still connected. Arnulf's son, count Dirk III of Holland
Dirk III, Count of Holland
Dirk III was Count of Holland from 993 to May 27, 1039, until 1005 under regency of his mother. It is thought that Dirk III went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land around 1030, hence his nickname of Hierosolymita....

 was too young to rule, so his mother Lutgardis of Luxemburg
Lutgardis of Luxemburg
Lutgardis of Luxembourg, also known as Liutgardis, Liutgarde and Lutgard, was a daughter of Siegfried of Luxembourg and Hedwig of Nordgau. Her sister was Cunigunde of Luxembourg. She married Arnulf, Count of Holland...

 acted as regent. In 1005 Dirk was old enough to take over the rulership himself, but he still made thankful use of the good connections that his mother had made. According to Thietmar of Merseburg a reconciliation with the Frisians was arranged with help from his uncle in-law, king Henry II
Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry II , also referred to as Saint Henry, Obl.S.B., was the fifth and last Holy Roman Emperor of the Ottonian dynasty, from his coronation in Rome in 1014 until his death a decade later. He was crowned King of the Germans in 1002 and King of Italy in 1004...

, who travelled with an army from Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

 to quell the frisian revolt.

As a result of a promise he had made during the frisian rebellion, Dirk III went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When he returned, the northern side of his county had become unsafe, so he travelled south and started loaning lands around present day Vlaardingen
Vlaardingen is a town in South Holland in the Netherlands. It is located on the north bank of the Nieuwe Maas/Nieuwe Waterweg river at the confluence with the Oude Maas...

 in order to cultivate it. He also built a castle at Silva Meriwido, the future Vlaardingen. From this castle he forced merchants that travelled per ship from Tiel
' is a municipality and a town in the middle of the Netherlands.The town is enclosed by the Waal river and the Linge river on the south and the north side, and the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal on the east side. The city was founded in the 5th century AD....

 to England to pay toll. The Merchants complained at the Reichstag of Nijmegen
Reichstag (Holy Roman Empire)
The Imperial Diet was the Diet, or general assembly, of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire.During the period of the Empire, which lasted formally until 1806, the Diet was not a parliament in today's sense; instead, it was an assembly of the various estates of the realm...

 in 1018, where it was decided to act against Dirk III. An army led by Godfrey II
Godfrey II, Duke of Lower Lorraine
Godfrey II , called the Childless, son of Godfrey I, Count of Verdun, was the count of Verdun from his father's death in 1002 and duke of Lower Lorraine after the death in 1012 of the Carolingian Otto, who left no sons....

 Duke of Lower Lorraine
Lower Lorraine
The Duchy of Lower Lorraine or Lower Lotharingia , established in 959 was a stem duchy of the medieval German kingdom, which encompassed part of modern-day Belgium, the Netherlands, the northern part of the German Rhineland and a part of northern France east of the Schelde river.It was created out...

, consisting of a fleet with soldiers from the Bishopric of Utrecht, Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

 and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège was surprisingly defeated by Dirk III in the Battle of Vlaardingen
Battle of Vlaardingen
The Battle of Vlaardingen was fought on 29 July 1018. The German emperor sent an army towards western Frisia to subdue the rebellious Count Dirk III...


So as not to weaken the protection the county of Holland offered against the Viking raids, king Henry II decided to let the matter rest, though he did strengthen the position of the Bishop of Utrecht, the nominal feudal lord of the counts of Holland. Nonetheless Dirk managed to expand his territory to the east at the cost of the Bishopric of Utrecht. After the death of Heny II in 1024, Dirk III supported the candidature of Conrad II
Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
Conrad II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1027 until his death.The son of a mid-level nobleman in Franconia, Count Henry of Speyer and Adelaide of Alsace, he inherited the titles of count of Speyer and of Worms as an infant when Henry died at age twenty...

 in an attempt to reconcile with the imperial authorities, so as to keep the lands he had acquired, or expand them even further.

Emperor Conrad II died during a stay in Utrecht in 1039 during the rule of bishop Bernold, after which his organs were interred in the Cathedral of Utrecht. His son and successor, Henry III
Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry III , called the Black or the Pious, was a member of the Salian Dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors...

, granted numerous favors to the bishopric of Utrecht. In this way, the Oversticht was assigned to the bishopric in 1040. Though the count of Holland had been reconciled with the emperor, Henry III still decided to punish the count. In 1046 the emperor forced Dirk IV
Dirk IV, Count of Holland
Dirk IV was Count of Holland from 1039 to 1049 . Dirk's date of birth is unknown but it was probably ca. 1030 or shortly before, he was described as "adolescent" at the time of his death. His base of operations was the stronghold his father built at Vlaardingen...

 to relinquish the lands he had conquered. However, the emperor was not able to maintain himself in the area and was forced to retreat, after which Dirk IV started to raid and plunder the bishoprics of Utrecht and Liege. Moreover, Dirk signed treaties with Godfrey the Bearded
Godfrey III, Duke of Lower Lorraine
Godfrey III , called the Bearded, was the eldest son of Gothelo I, duke of Upper and Lower Lorraine. By inheritance, he was count of Verdun and he became margrave of Antwerp as a vassal of the duke of Lower Lorraine...

, duke of Lower Lorraine, as well as the counts of Flanders
County of Flanders
The County of Flanders was one of the territories constituting the Low Countries. The county existed from 862 to 1795. It was one of the original secular fiefs of France and for centuries was one of the most affluent regions in Europe....

 and Hainaut
County of Hainaut
The County of Hainaut was a historical region in the Low Countries with its capital at Mons . In English sources it is often given the archaic spelling Hainault....

. The Emperor responded with a second punitive expedition in which Vlaardingen and the castle at Rijnsburg
Rijnsburg is a community in the eastern part of the city Katwijk, in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The name means Rhines Burg in Dutch.-History:...

 were taken from Dirk IV. The castle was completely destroyed. However, the emperor suffered heavy losses during his retreat, upon which Dirk's allies openly revolted against the emperor. In 1049 Dirk IV was lured into a trap and killed by the bishops of Metz
Bishopric of Metz
The Bishopric of Metz was a prince-bishopric of the Holy Roman Empire. It was one of the Three Bishoprics that were annexed by France in 1552....

, Liege and Utrecht. Dirk died young, unmarried and childless. He was succeeded by his brother Floris I
Floris I, Count of Holland
Floris I of Holland was Count of Holland from 1049 to 1061. He was a son of Dirk III and Othelindis....


Floris I managed to expand his territory with a small area within the Rijnland Gau, an area called Holtland ("Woodland"), or Holland. It is most likely that this name soon became synonymous with Floris' whole territory. In 1061 a war broke out, in which it is not clear whether it was against Brabant
Duchy of Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was a historical region in the Low Countries. Its territory consisted essentially of the three modern-day Belgian provinces of Flemish Brabant, Walloon Brabant and Antwerp, the Brussels-Capital Region and most of the present-day Dutch province of North Brabant.The Flag of...

, Utrecht or Liege. During this war Floris was ambushed and killed. His son Dirk V
Dirk V, Count of Holland
Dirk V was Count of Holland from 1061 to 1091.Dirk V succeeded Floris I, under the guardianship of his mother, Gertrude of Saxony. William I, Bishop of Utrecht, took advantage of the young ruler, occupying territory that he had claimed in Holland. William's claim was confirmed by two charters of...

 was still a minor, so his mother Gertrude of Saxony
Gertrude of Saxony
Gertrude of Saxony , also known as Gertrude Billung, was the daughter of Bernard II, Duke of Saxony and Eilika of Schweinfurt. She married Floris I, Count of Holland c. 1050, and upon his death, her son Dirk V became Count of Holland...

 became regent. Gertrude remarried in 1063 with Robert I
Robert I, Count of Flanders
thumb|Robert I of FlandersRobert I of Flanders , known as Robert the Frisian, was count of Flanders from 1071 to 1092.-History:...

, who also acted as regent for Dirk V.

In 1064, Emperor Henry IV
Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry IV was King of the Romans from 1056 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1084 until his forced abdication in 1105. He was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century...

 donated lands belonging to the county of Holland, 'west of the Vlie
The Vlie or Vliestroom is the seaway between the Dutch islands of Vlieland, to its southwest, and Terschelling, to its northeast. The Vlie was the estuary of the river IJssel in medieval times...

 and around the banks of the Rhine' (the Gau of Westflinge), to William, Bishop of Utrecht, on whose support the Emperor could count. Dirk V was only allowed to keep the Gau of Masaland. Through battles in 1071 and 1072, William of Utrecht, with support from Duke Godfrey IV
Godfrey IV, Duke of Lower Lorraine
Godfrey IV , known as the Hunchback, was a son of Godfrey the Bearded, whom he succeeded as duke of Lower Lorraine in 1069. His mother was Doda and his sister was Ida....

 of Lower Lorraine, managed to gain actual control over the lands in questions. After both William and Godfrey died in 1076, Robert I and his stepson Dirk V besieged IJsselmonde
IJsselmonde (Rotterdam)
IJsselmonde is a township located in the southeastern corner of the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. As of 2006 it has 58,782 inhabitants....

 and managed to capture the new bishop Conrad of Swabia, who was forced to return the lands to Dirk V's control.

Land reclamation

In the early Middle Ages, large parts of the area covered by the present day Netherlands were covered by peat bogs
A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens....

. These bogs limited the size of arable land
Arable land
In geography and agriculture, arable land is land that can be used for growing crops. It includes all land under temporary crops , temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow...

 in the Netherlands, but also proved to be a good source of fuel. Around 950, small scale reclamation was started on the enormous bogs in Holland and Utrecht, probably set in motion by the minor nobility. In the 11th century the Great Reclamation started, under the control of the counts of Holland and the bishops of Utrecht. Until the 13th century, large amounts of land was reclaimed between the IJ
IJ (bay)
The IJ is a river, formerly a bay, in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is known for being Amsterdam's waterfront. The name derives from the generic Germanic term for "water" and is similar to other Aa/Ee names for bodies of water. In Dutch, the name consists of the digraph ij, which is...

 in the north, the dunes in the west, the Lek and Waal rivers in the south and the Old Rhine in the east.

Before the Great reclamation, the borders between the county of Holland and the bishopric of Utrecht were unclear, and there existed a literal no-man's land. However, during the reclamation the counts of Holland managed to expand their influence at the cost of Utrecht.


The oldest sources refer to the not clearly defined county as Frisia, west of the Vlie
The Vlie or Vliestroom is the seaway between the Dutch islands of Vlieland, to its southwest, and Terschelling, to its northeast. The Vlie was the estuary of the river IJssel in medieval times...

. Before 1101, sources talk about Frisian counts, but in this year Floris II, Count of Holland
Floris II, Count of Holland
Floris II, Count of Holland was the first from the native dynasty of Holland to be called Count of Holland.He was the son of his predecessor Dirk V and Othilde...

 is mentioned as Florentius comes de Hollant (Floris, Count of Holland). The counts generally kept to this single title until 1291, when Floris V, Count of Holland
Floris V, Count of Holland
Count Floris V of Holland and Zeeland , "der Keerlen God" , is one of the most important figures of the first, native dynasty of Holland . His life was documented in detail in the Rijmkroniek by Melis Stoke, his chronicler...

 decided to call himself Count of Holland and Zeeland, lord of Friesland. This title was also used after Holland was united with Hainault, Bavaria-Straubing
Bavaria-Straubing denotes the widely-scattered territorial inheritance in the Wittelsbach house of Bavaria that were governed by independent dukes of Bavaria-Straubing between 1353 and 1432; a map of these marches and outliers of the Holy Roman Empire, vividly demonstrates the fractionalisation of...

, and the Duchy of Burgundy
Duchy of Burgundy
The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

. The titles eventually lost their importance, and the last count, Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

, only mentioned them halfway through his long list of titles.

Later usage

During the Eighty years war, the county of Holland played an important part in the resistance against the Spaniards. After the Union of Utrecht
Union of Utrecht
The Union of Utrecht was a treaty signed on 23 January 1579 in Utrecht, the Netherlands, unifying the northern provinces of the Netherlands, until then under the control of Habsburg Spain....

, the county of Holland became the leading province of the new Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, being dominant over all other provinces. Nominally, Holland was still a county, but it had deposed its last count in the Act of Abjuration in 1581, and from then on essentially functioned as a province and not as a county. The County of Holland formally came to an end in 1795, when the Batavian Revolution
Batavian revolution
The term Batavian revolution refers to the political, social and cultural turmoil that marked the end of the Dutch Republic at the end of the 18th century...

 ended the republic and reformed it as the Batavian Republic
Batavian Republic
The Batavian Republic was the successor of the Republic of the United Netherlands. It was proclaimed on January 19, 1795, and ended on June 5, 1806, with the accession of Louis Bonaparte to the throne of the Kingdom of Holland....