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The Duchy of Brabant was a historical region in the Low Countries. It consisted of not only the three modern-day Belgianmarker provinces of Flemish Brabantmarker, Walloon Brabantmarker and Antwerpmarker as well as the Brussels-Capital Regionmarker, but also the present-day Dutchmarker province of North Brabantmarker.

In Roman times, Brabant was situated in the Roman provinces of Belgica and Germania Inferior and inhabited by Celtic tribes, until Germanic peoples replaced them and made an end to roman imperial rule. Its most important cities were Brusselsmarker (Brussel), Antwerpmarker (Antwerpen), Leuvenmarker, Bredamarker, 's-Hertogenboschmarker, Liermarker and Mechelenmarker. The region's name is first recorded as the Carolingian shire pagus Bracbatensis, located between the rivers Scheldtmarker and Dijlemarker, from bracha "new" and bant "region".


The Landgraviate of Brabant was established as a feudal imperial fief within Lower Lotharingia. As such, it was an integral part of the Holy Roman Empire. The imperial fief was assigned to count Henry III of Leuven about 1085-1086, more exactly after the death of the preceding count of Brabant, Count Palatine Herman II of Lotharingia (1085).

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 in favour of Henry I of Brabant, son of Godfrey III of Leuven, Duke of Lower Lotharingia. Although the corresponding county was quite small and limited to the territory between the rivers Dendermarker and Zennemarker, situated to the west of Brusselsmarker, its name was applied to the entire country under control of the dukes from the 13th century on.

In 1190, after the death of Godfrey III, Henry I of Brabant also became duke of Lower Lotharingia, a title practically without territorial authority. According to protocol, all his successors were therefore called dukes of Brabant and Lower Lotharingia (often called Duke of Lothier).

After the Battle of Worringenmarker in 1288, the dukes of Brabant also acquired the duchy of Limburgmarker and Overmaas. In 1354 the Blijde Inkomst, or charter of liberty was granted to the citizens of Brabant by John III, Duke of Brabant. In 1430, the Duchies of Lower Lotharingia, Brabant and Limburg were inherited by Philip the Good of Burgundy and became part of the Burgundian Netherlands. In 1477 the title fell to the House of Habsburg by dowry of Mary of Burgundy. The subsequent history of Brabant is part of the history of the Seventeen Provinces.

The Eighty Years' War (1568-1648) brought the northern parts (the present North Brabantmarker) under Dutch military control. After the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, the United Provinces' independence was confirmed and the northern Brabant formally ceded to the United Provinces as Staats-Brabant, a federally governed territory.

The southern part remained in Habsburg hands as a part of the Southern Netherlands. It was transferred to the Austrian branch of the Habsburgs in 1714. During the French occupation of the Southern Netherlands in 1795 the duchy of Brabant was dissolved. The territory was reorganised in the départements of Deux-Nèthesmarker (present province of Antwerpmarker) and Dylemarker (the later province of Brabantmarker).

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