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Duke Albert I

Duke Albert I or Albrecht (July 25, 1336, Munich – December 13, 1404, The Hague) was a feudal ruler of the counties of Holland, Hainaut, and Zeeland in the Low Countries. Additionally, he held a portion of the Bavarian province of Straubing, his Bavarian ducal line's appanage and seat.



Albert was the third son of Empress Margaret, daughter of William III, Count of Holland and Hainaut, from her marriage with Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor. Albert was originally a younger son, apportioned at best an appanage. He was only 10 years old when his father died, leaving most of his Bavarian inheritance to his eldest half-brother, Louis V, Duke of Bavaria, but also some appanages to the younger sons.

His elder brother, William V, Count of Hainaut, had engaged in a long struggle with their mother, obtaining Holland and Zeeland from her in 1354, and Hainaut on her death in 1356. William was supported by the party of burghers of cities. They were opposed to by Hooks, the party of disaffected nobles who were supporters of Empress Margaret. Margaret had been Countess of Holland, Zeeland and Hainault in succession to her brother William IV, who was killed in battle. She had resigned her sovereignty in favour of her son William V, but the result was a period of great upheavals and chaos which gave rise to the formation of these two opposing parties.

However, William's insanity resulted in the appointment of the then 22-year-old Albert as governor (or regent or ruwaard) of his brother's territories from 1358 onwards. During Albert's regency, affairs ran smoothly and trade improved. Troubles between the two political parties, the Hooks (Hoeks) and Cods (Kabeljauws), remained barely beneath the surface. William lived for another thirty years. Albert did not formally succeed him until his death in 1388, by which time he had already married his daughters to a number of Imperial princes and other nobles. The eldest daughter to have issue was Margaret; her son Philip III, Duke of Burgundy would ultimately inherit Albert's territories.

In Albert's own reign, troubles erupted between the parties because of a woman. Albert always had mistresses, but this time his attentions were drawn to Aleid van Poelgeest, a Cod, very beautiful, who gained political influence which was resented. A plot was hatched among the Hooks as well as members of Albert's household. One September night in 1392 Aleid was murdered in The Hague.

In his rage Albrecht persecuted the Hoeks, by sword and fire, conquering one castle after the other. Even his own son and heir William did not feel safe and went to live in Hainault. During his last years, Albrecht fought the Frisians. They were beaten time and time again, but were never completely conquered.

On Albert's death in 1404, he was succeeded by his eldest son, William. A younger son, John III, became Bishop of Liège. However, on William's death in 1417, a war of succession broke out between John and William's daughter Jacqueline of Hainaut. This would be the last episode of the Hook and Cod wars and finally place the counties into Burgundian hands.

Family and children

Coats of Arms of the Counts of Hainaut and Holland of Wittelsbach family.

Albert married in Passau after July 19, 1353, Margaret of Brieg from Silesia (1342/43 – 1386), and had seven children, all of whom lived to adulthood:

  1. Katharina (c. 1361 – 1400, Hattem), married in Geertruidenberg in 1379 William I of Gelders and Jülich
  2. Johanna (c. 1362 – 1386), wife of Wenceslaus, King of the Romans
  3. Margaret (1363 – January 23, 1423, Dijon), married in Cambrai in 1385 John the Fearless
  4. William VI, Count of Holland (1365–1417)
  5. Albert II, Duke of Bavaria-Straubing (1369 – January 21, 1397, Kelheim)
  6. Joanna Sophia (c. 1373 – November 15, 1410, Vienna), married on June 15, 1395 Albert IV, Duke of Austria
  7. John, Count of Holland (1374/76 – 1425), Bishop of Liège

He also had several illegitimate children.

Albert contracted a second marriage in 1394 in Heusden with Margaret of Cleves (c. 1375 – 1412), sister of Adolph I, Duke of Cleves, but they had no children.


See also

Albert I, Duke of Bavaria
Born: 1336 Died: 1404
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Louis IV
Duke of Bavaria
jointly with Louis V, Stephen II, Louis VI, William I, Otto V

Succeeded by
(partitioned into Upper and Lower Bavaria)
Preceded by
(created from Bavaria)
Duke of Lower Bavaria
jointly with Stephen II and William I

Succeeded by
(partitioned into Bavaria-Landshut and Bavaria-Straubing)
Preceded by
(created from Lower Bavaria)
Duke of Bavaria-Straubing
jointly with William I and Albert II

Succeeded by
William II
Preceded by
William V
Count of Hainaut Hainaut Modern Arms.svg, Holland Counts of Holland Arms.svg and Zeeland Coatofarmszeeland.PNG
Succeeded by
William VI


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