Modernization of the Government: the Advent of Philip the Good in Holland

Modernization of the Government: the Advent of Philip the Good in Holland


BMGN – Low Countries Historical Review, Vol. 95, No. 2 (1980)


On the sixth of January 1425 John of Bavaria died. He had been a former bishop-elect of Liège in Belgium and had been for the last six years of his life in effect ruler of the counties of Holland and Zeeland. It is a moot point whether his death had been caused by a murder attempt on him during the previous summer, when sir John van Vliet had tried to do so by rubbing poison on the pages of his prayer-book. Then John of Bavaria must have had the bad habit of licking his fingers when turning pages. But I will not go into his now. The death of John of Bavaria cleared the field for the succession of Philip the Good in Holland and Zeeland. He was John’s heir only to his personal possessions as the rightful heir to the government was Countess Jacqueline of Bavaria. But she was preoccupied with a hopeless military adventure to regain her lands from her estranged second husband John the Fourth, duke of Brabant, with the dubious help of her third husband, Humphrey of Gloucester, brother of the English king Henry V. The only person who could have denied Philip the Good the succession in Holland, was actually this second husband John, duke of Brabant; but he hastened to rid himself of these lands, as he had troubles enough at home.

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