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Brabant lion

Coat of arms of Brabant.

The Duchy of Brabant was an historical region in the Low Countries. Since the protagonist of Forever Knight was named Nicolas de Brabant in life, and used that name throughout the Middle Ages (and frequently since that time), it is generally assumed that he comes originally from Brabant.

In the episode "Be My Valentine", Nicolas de Brabant returns home for the first time since leaving on crusade. He is joyfully reunited with his mother and sister, Fleur, though his father is gone, presumably having died in his absence. However, the stay is short. He has come with LaCroix, his master, and Janette, who is also part of LaCroix's vampire family; but his mother and sister do not know the relationship between the three of them. When LaCroix falls in love with Fleur, Nick cannot bear the thought of his younger sister becoming a vampire, and persuades his master to relinquish her to the fate of a mortal.

It is generally assumed that these events take place in a castle in Brabant, though the hero's relationship with the rulers of Brabant is problematic.

Duke Henry IEdit

Brabant map

Map of the Duchy of Brabant.

The Duchy of Brabant was formally established in 1183-1184 and the hereditary title of Duke of Brabant was created by the German Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. However, this was actually the elevation of an existing title, Landgrave. Although the corresponding county was actually quite small (limited to the territory between the rivers Dender and Zenne, to the west of Brussels), the name "Brabant" is normally applied to the entire country under control of the Dukes of Brabant.

The first Duke of Brabant was Henry I (French: Henri I de Brabant, Dutch: Hendrik I van Brabant), named "The Courageous". He was the son of Godfrey III of Leuven, Duke of Lower Lotharingia and landgrave of Brabant; his mother was Margaret of Limburg. Henry was born around 1165 in Leuven. He became Duke of Brabant in 1183/1184; and succeeded his father as Duke of Lower Lotharingia in 1190, though there was little territory involved.

In 1179, Henry I married Mathilde of Boulogne (Mathilde of Flanders), daughter of Marie of Boulogne and Matthew of Alsace. They had six children: Marie, Adelaide, Margaret, Mathilde, Henry, and Godfrey. It was Henry who succeeded him as Duke of Brabant.

Henry's second marriage, in 1213, was to Marie, who was a daughter of King Philip II of France. They had two children, Elizabeth and Marie, who died young.

Under Henry I, there was a town policy and town planning. His attention went out particularly to those regions that lent themselves to the extension of his sovereignty; and in some locations he used the creation of a new town as an instrument in the political organization of the area. Among the towns to which the Duke gave city rights and trade privileges was 's-Hertogenbosch.

Henry I ruled until 1235 (a period that covers the mortal life of the protagonist of Forever Knight), and died in the German city of Cologne on 5 September 1235. He was buried in St. Peter's chapter church at Leuven where you can still see his Late Romanesque effigy.

Later History of BrabantEdit

After the Battle of Worringen in 1288, the dukes of Brabant also acquired the duchy of Limburg and Overmaas. In 1430, the Duchies of Lower Lotharingia, Brabant and Limburg were inherited by Philip the Good of Burgundy. In 1477 the titles fell to the Habsburgs as part of the dowry of Mary of Burgundy. The subsequent history of Brabant is part of the history of the Low Countries.

Adapted from the Wikipedia article on the Duchy of Brabant.

See alsoEdit

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