County of Hainaut

A historical lordship within the medieval Holy Roman Empire, with its capital at Mons. It consisted of what is now the Belgian province of Hainaut and the southern part of the French department of Nord.
Its important cities were Mons (modern day Bergen), Cambrai and Charleroi.
In Roman Imperial times, Hainaut was for the most part situated in the civitas of the Belgic Nervii. As the empire lost control, the entire region came under the lordship of the Salian Franks. By the time of Charlemagne, the Frankish empire had been declared a new “Holy” Roman Empire.

The County of Hainaut was in the Lotharingian part of the Frankish ruled lands, when Duke Reginar I of Lorraine, a grandson of Frankish Emperor Lothair I, took the title “Count of Hainaut”. After the death of the last Carolingian king in East Francia, Louis the Child in 911, Duke Reginar joined the West Frankish realm under King Charles the Simple.

His son and successor, Duke Gilbert, in turn submitted himself to the German king Henry the Fowler in 925, thereafter the Duchy of Lotharingia remained a part of the eastern Frankish kingdom which would become Germany, but on the border with the western kingdom which would become France.

Following Gilbert’s death in 939, his successors from the House of Reginar failed to retain the ducal title, but continued to rule over the Hainaut region.

After Count Reginar III had unsuccessfully rebelled against Duke Bruno the Great, he was deposed and banned in 958, at which time the county was then divided between the Count of Mons and the Margrave of Valenciennes. However, in 998 the House of Reginar regained partial control as the Count of Mons, which they held until the death of Count Herman in 1051.

On the re-marriage of the Count’s widow to Baldwin Count of Flanders, Mons passed to the House of Flanders, who had already acquired Valenciennes, thus the County of Hainaut was once again united.

Coat of arms of the
county of Hainaut
Ruling Houses of Hainault
House of Reginar
(880-898, 908-932, 940-958)

House of Flanders
(1051-1253, 1257-1280)

House of Avesnes
(1253-1257, 1281-1347)

House of Bavaria
(1347-1432)

House of Burgundy
(1432-1482)

House of Habsburg
(1482-1795)

The Pragmatic Sanction, an edict issued by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1549; declared that all seventeen provinces that comptised the Holy Roman Empire would henceforth be inherited by a single heir (the House of Habsburg), effectively uniting them into a single administrative entity.
Sources:

Wikipedia: County of Hainaut


Wikipedia: Counts of Hainaut


Wikipedia: Gilbert Count of the Maasgau


Wikipedia: Reginar I Duke of Lorraine


Wikipedia: Gilbert Duke of Lorraine


Wikipedia: Reginar II Count of Hainaut


Wikipedia: Reginar III Count of Hainaut
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