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Baldwin Baldwynor Baudouin

Baldwin, Baldwyn, or Baudouin, the name of eight Counts of Flanders, who played important parts in European history between 837 and 1195, and founded a short-lived dynasty at Constantinople.

Baldwin I., Bras de Fer (837-877), the founder of the family, married by force Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald, who, after a defeat, was reconciled to his son-in-law, and helped to consolidate his dominions.

Baldwin III. (988-1034) annexed a slice of French territory, and first summoned the states of Flanders.

Baldwin IV. further encroached on France, became a feudatory of the German Empire, gave his daughter Matilda in marriage to William the Conqueror, and took part in the invasion of England, dying in 1067.

Baldwin VIII., Count of Hainault, marrying Margaret, acquired through her the county of Flanders in 1194, and reunited the two counties. His daughter married Philip Augustus of France.

Baldwin I., Emperor of Constantinople, was the son of the foregoing, whom he succeeded in 1195. In 1200 he joined the fourth Crusade, but turned aside on his way to liberate Isaac Angelus, Emperor of Constantinople, from his brother who had deposed and imprisoned him. In this the Crusaders succeeded, but on the death of Isaac other pretenders arose, and ultimately Baldwin, with his Venetian allies, took the city, and he was elected emperor with dominions, however, much curtailed. The Greeks, hating the Latin usurpers, rose under Joannices of Bulgaria, defeated Baldwin at Adrianople (1205), and kept him prisoner till his death next year.

Baldwin II., nephew of the foregoing, succeeded his brother Robert as emperor while a child, in 1228, but John of Brienne actually held supreme power till 1237. The Latins were now in a desperate plight, and practically driven within the walls of Constantinople. After a fruitless struggle the city was seized by Michael Palaeologus in 1261, and Baldwin fled to Italy.