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      Contemporaries in the Holy Roman Empire      

William V ,  Duke of Jülich-Berg and Cleves 1539-1592
William was elected successor of Charles of Egmont, Duke of Geldern and Burgundian vassal, and reigned in Geldern and Zütphen since 1538. In 1539 he also inherited Cleves, Jülich and Berg. Geldern had elected him in order to avoid remaining a vassal of Habsburg. In the war of succession with Charles V, French assistance for William was not forthcoming and in 1543 he had to submit to the emperor in the treaty of Venlo: William renounced his claim to Geldern and Zütphen, changed sides from the French to the Habsburg camp, called off church reforms and divorced his wife, the niece of Francis I, to marry a niece of Charles V.

Thaler n. d. (about 1543), Mülheim.     Ø 41mm     Noss 299 ; Schulten 1528 ; Dav.8931
Obv.:   IN.DEO.SPES.MEA.GVILHELMVS.Dei.Gratia (mm.)
"God is my hope. ..."   armoured half-length figure with beret.

Rev.:   DVX.IVLiaci.CLIVia.ET.BERGensis.COMes.MARca.RAvensberg (mm.)
"Duke of Jülich, Cleves & Berg, Count of Mark & Ravensberg"
Ornated coat of arms. Above from left: Jülich, Cleves, Berg. Below from left: Mark & Ravensberg.
Legend and arms indicate the countries William had united: From his father he inherited the duchy of Cleves-Mark, from his mother the duchy of Jülich-Berg, to which Ravensberg was affiliated. These unconnected German countries had come together by marriage. William's son died without male heirs in 1609 and a long struggle between several claiming houses began. Finally, Brandenburg took over Cleves, Mark and Ravensburg while Pfalz-Neuburg acquired Berg and Jülich.

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