BAUDOUIN, Count Baldwin I - I31588

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Count Baldwin BAUDOUIN I

Baldwin Baudouin.png
[1] Baldwin I of the Iron Arm became the first Count of Flanders. Baldwin visited Judith in a secret assisted by Louis the Stammerer and soon Baldwin and Judith eloped and fled to Lorraine. In his rage, her father, King Charles, incited the bishops of France to excommunicate Baldwin. Baldwin went to Rome and sought assistance from Pope Nicholas the First, who intervened with her parents on behalf of the couple. Charles and his daughter were at last conciliated, and her marriage was celebrated (according to civil law) with much splendor at Auxerre, France, in 863. Judith's father, however, did not attend the ceremony. Charles made his son-in-law Margrave of Flanders in 864, which Baldwin held as a hereditary fief. On his return to Flanders, Baldwin built a great fortress on an island formed by the intersection of the River Roya with its little tributary, the Boterbeke. This was called the Bourg, and soon contained within its strong walls the nucleus of the future city of Bruges. The Flemings, people living in that area, were descended from the Franks, Germanic tribes who invaded Flanders in the A.D. 400's. The invasions forced the Celtic people in the area to move south. The Norsemen were at this time continually devastating the coastlands, and Baldwin was entrusted with this outlying borderland in order to defend it. He was the first of a line of strong rulers, who early in the 10th century, exchanged the title of Margrave for that of count. Although never crowned as king, the Counts of Flanders (at this time) were absolute rulers.


  1. Ref Number: 6055