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John I, Duke of Brabant
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John I, Duke of Brabant

Jan I van Brabant, also called John I the Victorious, was born in Brussels in 1253 and died in Louvain on May 3, 1294. He was Duke of Brabant (1267-94) and Limburg (1288-94) and Lorraine. He was the son of Henry III, duke of Brabant and Aleidis of Burgundy.

He was married twice, first to Marguerite, princess of France, in 1270, then to Margaret of Flanders in 1273. Children: Godfrey of Brabant and Jan II van Brabant.

Jan I was one of the most gifted and chivalrous princes of his time. In 1267 his elder brother Henry, being infirm of mind and body, was deposed in his favour. The greatest victory of Jan I was the famous battle of Woeringen by which Jan I came to reign over the Duchy of Limburg. In 1288 Limburg was attached to Brabant. Jan I is said to be a perfect model of a feudal prince in the days of chivalry: brave, adventurous, excelling in every form of active exercise, fond of display, generous in temper. This made him very popular in Middle Age poetry and literature. Even today there exists an ode to him. It is so well-known that it is a potential candidate to be the Noord-Brabant anthem. Jan delighted in tournaments and was always eager to take part in jousts. He was also famous for the many illegitimate children he had.

On May 3 1294 at some marriage festivities at Bar, France, Jan I was wounded in the arm in an encounter and died of the effects. He was buried in the church of the Mindebroeders in Louvain, but since the Protestant Iconoclasm in 1566 there is nothing left of his tomb.

See also: Dukes of Brabant family tree

Preceded by:
Henry IV
Duke of Brabant Succeeded by:
John II