John I, Duke of Brabant

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John I of Brabant, also called John the Victorious (1252/1253 – 3 May 1294) was Duke of Brabant (1267–1294), Lothier and Limburg (1288–1294).



Born at Leuvena, he was the son of Henry III, Duke of Brabant and Aleidis of Burgundy, daughter of Hugh IV, Duke of Burgundy. He was also an older brother of Maria of Brabant, Queen consort of Philip III of France. In 1267 his older brother Henry IV, Duke of Brabant, being mentally deficient, was deposed in his favour.

His greatest military victory was the Battle of Woeringen, by which John I came to reign over the Duchy of Limburg. He was completely outnumbered in forces but led the successful invasion into the Rhineland to defeat the confederacy. In 1288 Limburg was formally attached to Brabant.[1]

John I was said to be a model of feudal prince: brave, adventurous; excelling in every form of active exercise, fond of display, and generous in temper. He was considered one of the most gifted princes of his time.[1] This made him very popular in Middle Ages poetry and literature. Even today there exists an ode to him, so well-known that it was a potential candidate to be the North Brabant anthem. John I delighted in tournaments and was always eager to take part in jousts. He was also famous for his many illegitimate children.[1]

On 3 May 1294 at some marriage festivities at Bar-le-Duc (now France), John I was mortally wounded in the arm in an encounter. He was buried in the church of the Minderbroeders in Leuven, but since the Protestant iconoclasm (Beeldenstorm) in 1566, nothing remains of his tomb.

Family and children

He was married twice. First, on 5 September 1270 to Margaret of France, daughter of Louis IX of France and Margaret of Provence. She took the title of Duchess of Brabant. In this marriage he had a son, but both died shortly after birth.

Second, he married 1273 to Margaret of Flanders (d. 3 July 1285), daughter of Guy, Count of Flanders and had the following children:[1]

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