Henry I


Henry I
(1165-1235)
   Henry I, known as the "Warrior," became duke of Brabant in 1190. Bellicose and opportunistic, he carried out a reversal in diplomacy in signing the Treaty of Soissons (1213) that created an alliance with King Philip Augustus of France, thus abandoning the alignment with England with which Brabant had maintained commercial ties since the beginning of his reign. The disruption of the English wool trade engendered considerable economic dislocation and hardship in Brussels.
   War ensued, and Ferrand of Portugal, the count of Flanders, who was an ally of England, threatened to besiege Brussels (August-October 1213). On 13 October, Henry suffered a disastrous defeat at the battle of Steppes and he subsequently returned to the English alliance. His authority weakened, the duke conceded rights of self-government to wealthy residents of Brussels. In 1229, Henry and his elder son granted a penal code (keure) to the city. He conceded powers of local government to a body consisting of seven aldermen and 13 jurors in 1235. Henry died on 5 September 1235.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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