Bouchard d'Avesnes
(Abt 1190-)
Margaret II of Constantinople Countess of Flanders
John I d'Avesnes Count of Hainaut
Aleida Countess of Holland
(Abt 1226-Between 1283)
Floris d'Avesnes Stadtholder of Zeeland, Prince of Achaea
(Abt 1257-)


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Floris d'Avesnes Stadtholder of Zeeland, Prince of Achaea

  • Born: Abt 1257

  General Notes:

A stadtholder (Dutch: stadhouder meaning "representative of state", a literal translation of the French lieutenant or the Latin locum tenans) was the person who ruled an area in the name of the land owner, in the Netherlands (which included present-day Belgium) from the 15th to the 18th century. The title therefore roughly corresponds with "governor".

Stadtholders were appointed by feudal lords to govern parts of their territory. Stadtholders could be appointed for the whole or parts of their territory by the local rulers of the independent provinces in the Low Countries, e.g. the Duke of Gelre appointed a stadtholder to represent him in Groningen. During the sixteenth century, the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Charles V one by one acquired all Low Country provinces and became their sole feudal lord. Stadtholders continued to be appointed to represent him and his successor, Philip II.

After some of the Dutch provinces declared their independence in 1581 with the Oath of Abjuration, the function of stadtholder became obsolete in absence of the (abolished) land owner, but the function was continued in the (still semi-independent) provinces of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. Although each province could assign its own stadtholder, most stadtholders ruled over several provinces at the same time.

In 1747, the office of stadtholder was made hereditary with the stadtholder of Friesland becoming stadtholder for the entire Republic (which in effect became a monarchy under the House of Orange-Nassau). The function of stadtholder was abolished in 1795 with coming of the French and the start of the Batavian Republic.

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