HAINAUT (Flem. Henegouwen, Ger. Hennegau), a province of Belgium formed out of the ancient county of Hainaut. Modern Hainaut is famous as containing the chief coal and iron mines of Belgium. There are about 150,000 men and women employed in the mines, and about as many more in the iron and steel works of the province. About 1880 these numbers were not more than half their present totals. The principal towns of Hainaut are Mons, the capital, Charleroi, Tournai, Jumet and La Louvière. The province is watered by both the Scheldt and the Sambre, and is connected with Flanders by the Charleroi-Ghent canal. The area of the province is computed at 930,405 acres or 1453 sq. m. In 1904 the population was 1,192,967, showing an average of 821 per square mile.
Under the successors of Clovis Hainaut formed part, first of the kingdom of Metz, and then of that of Lotharingia. It afterwards became part of the duchy of Lorraine. The first to bear the title of count of Hainaut was Reginar “Long-Neck” (c. 875), who, later on, made himself master of the duchy of Lorraine and died in 916. His eldest son inherited Lower Lorraine, the younger, Reginar II., the countship of Hainaut, which remained in the male line of his descendants, all named Reginar, until the death of Reginar V. in 1036. His heiress, Richildis, married en secondes noces Baldwin VI. of Flanders, and, by him, became the ancestress of the Baldwin (VI. of Hainaut) who in 1204 was raised by the Crusaders to the empire of Constantinople. The emperor Baldwin’s elder daughter Jeanne brought the countship of Hainaut to her husbands Ferdinand of Portugal (d. 1233) and Thomas of Savoy (d. 1259). On her death in 1244, however, it passed to her sister Margaret, on whose death in 1279 it was inherited by her grandson, John of Avesnes, count of Holland (d. 1304). The countship of Hainaut remained united with that of Holland during the 14th and 15th centuries. It was under the counts William I. “the Good” (1304–1337), whose daughter Philippa married Edward III. of England, and William II. (1337–1345) that the communes of Hainaut attained great political importance. Margaret, who succeeded her brother William II. in 1345, by her marriage with the emperor Louis IV. brought Hainaut with the rest of her dominions to the house of Wittelsbach. Finally, early in the 15th century, the countess Jacqueline was dispossessed by Philip the Good of Burgundy, and Hainaut henceforward shared the fate of the rest of the Netherlands.
Authorities.—The Chronicon Hanoniense or Chronica Honnoniae of Giselbert of Mons (d. 1223–1225), chancellor of Count Baldwin V., covering the period between 1040 and 1195, is published in Pertz, Monum. Germ. (Hanover, 1840, &c.). The Chronicon Hanoniense, ascribed to Baldwin, count of Avesnes (d. 1289), and written between 1278 and 1281, was published under the title Hist. genealogica comitum Hannoniae, &c., at Antwerp (1691 and 1693) and Brussels (1722). The Annals of Jacques de Guise (b. 1334; d. 1399) were published by de Fortia d’Urban under the title, Histoire de Hainault par Jacques de Guyse, in 19 vols. (Paris, 1826–1838); C. Delacourt, “Bibliographie de l’hist. du Hainaut,” in the Annales du cercle archéologique de Mons, vol. v. (Mons, 1864); T. Bernier, Dict. géograph. historique, &c., de Hainault (Mons, 1891). See also Ulysse Chevalier, Répertoire des sources s.v.