Conquest of Gelre, 1543

A.) Prehistory

The Duchy of Gelre (in English sometimes referred to as Guelders, in German as Geldern) was one of the 17 Low Countries. In 1473 it was conquered by Duke of Burgundy Charles the Bold; in 1492, Duke Charles of Egmond restored Gelre independence from Brussels. Again conquered in 1504 by Maximilian of Habsburg, Duke Charles again was able to restore Gelre independence in 1511. Duke Charles of Gelre irritated Emperor Charles V., as he interfered in the wars over Friesland (1515). In 1521 he was recognized as territorial lord by Groningen and by several places in the Upper Stift of Utrecht (Overijssel, Drente).
Duke Charles was childless; in the 1528 Treaty of Gorinchem, the Emperor recognized Duke Charles' hold of Griningen, Drente and Overijssel as well as his native Gelre in return fot Duke Charles naming the Emperor his successor. In 1534, Duke Charles, in violation of the Treaty of Gorinchem, offered succession in his territories to King Francis I. of France.
In 1536, Groningen canceled her recognition of Duke Charles as her territorial lord, and recognized Emperor Charles V. instead; imperial troops occupied Drente and Overijssel as well. In 1538 the cities of Gelre, except Arnhem, revoked their recognition of Charles of Gelre as their lord; he died embittered and was succeeded (in violation of the Treaty of Gorinchem) by Duke William of Kleve, Berg, Jülich, Count of Mark and Ravensberg.

B.) The War

In 1543 Imperial troops occupied the Duchy of Gelre. Duke William recognized the Emperor/s hold of Gelre.

C.) The Legacy

The Conquest of Gelre concluded the unification of the Low Countries by the Habsburg Dynasty. It can be seen as a sideshow to the French-Habsburg War 1542-1544.

Stadhouders van Gelre, 1473-1795 (Stadholders of Gelre), from Museum van de Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, in Dutch
Arnhem tussen twee Karels : Om de macht in Arnhem en Gelre: Karel V en Karel van Gelre (Arnhem between two Charles' : On the power in Arnhem and Gelre - Charles V. and Charles of Gelre, from Arneym, in Dutch
Historie van het Gerechtshof Arnhem (History of the Court of Arnhem), from, in Dutch
Geldrischer Erbfolgekrieg 1538-1543, from Landesgeschichte Hintergründe, in German

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 9th 2003, last revised November 17th 2004

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