Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1163

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Reigning^ Sovereign.

Wilhelniina Helena Pauline Maria, born August 31, 1880, daughter of the late King Willem III. and of his second wife, Princess Emma, born August 2, 1858, daughter of Prince George Victor of Waldeck; succeeded to the throne on the death of her father, November 2.3, 1890; came of age August 31, 1898, and was inaugurated September 6 of that year. During her minority her mother, the Queen-Dowager, was Queen Kegent.

Tlie royal family of tlic Netlierlaiuls, known as the House of Orange, descends from a German Count AValram, who lived in the eleventh century. Through the marriage of Count Engelbrecht, of the branch of Otto, Count of Nassau, with Jane of Polanen, in 1404, the family acquired the barony of Breda, and thereby became settled in the ISTetherlands. The alliance with another heiress, only sister of the childless Prince of Orange and Count of Chalons, brought to the house a rich province in the south of France; and a third matrimonial union, that of Prince AVillem III. of Orange with a daughter of King James II., led to the transfer of the crown of Great Britain to that prince. Previous to this period, the members of the family had acquired great influence in the Republic of the Netherlands under the name of ' stadtliolders, ' or governors. The dignity was formally declared to be hereditary in 1747, in Willem IV.; but his successor, Willem V., had to fly to England, in 1795, at the invasion of the French rejmblican army. The family did not return till November, 1813, when the fate of the republic, released from French supremacy, was under discussion at the Congress of Vienna. After various di])lomatic negotiations, the Belgian provinces, subject before the French revolution to the House of Austria, were ordered by the Congress to be annexed to the territory of the republic, and the whole to be erected into a kingdom, with the son of the last stadtholdcr, Willem V., as hereditary .sovereign. In con.serjuenco, the latter wa- pioclaimed King of the Netherlaiids at the Hague on the 16th of March, 1815, and recognised as sovereign by all the Powers of Europe. The establi.slied union between the northern and southern provinces of the Netherlands was dissolved by the Belgian revolution of 1830, and their ])olitical relations were not readjusted until the signing of the treaty of London, April 19, 1839, which constituted Belgium an independent kingdojn. King Willem I. abdicated in 1840,