Portrait of William (1516-1592), Herr von Ravenstein (1528), Duke of Cleves, Jülich and Berg, Count of Mark and Ravensberg (1539-1592), Duke of Guelders and Count of Zutphen (1538-1543), 1554
William of Jülich-Cleves-Berge (William I of Cleves, William V of Jülich-Berg) (German: Wilhelm der Reiche; 28 July 1516 – 5 January 1592) was a Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg (1539–1592). William was born in and died in Düsseldorf. He was the only son of John III, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, and Maria, Duchess of Jülich-Berg. William took over rule of his father's estates (the Duchy of Cleves and the County of Mark) upon his death in 1539. Despite his mother having lived until 1543, William also became the Duke of Berg and Jülich and the Count of Ravensberg. From 1538 to 1543, William held the neighbouring Duchy of Guelders, as successor of his distant relatives, the Egmond dukes. Emperor Charles V claimed this duchy for he as the dukes had sold their right of heritage, and William tried to hold on to it. He made a treaty with the King of France and married Jeanne d'Albret, and with this backup dared to challenge the Emperor. All too soon he learned that the French did not lift a finger to help him, and he was overwhelmed and had to surrender. In accordance with the Treaty of Venlo (1543) that was the result of this war, Guelders and the County of Zutphen were transferred to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, combining them with the Habsburg Netherlands. William then tried to strengthen his inherited territories and launched an impressive development project for the most important cities. The three duchies all got new main fortresses as major strongpoints, for the older medieval fortifications had proved to be no match against the Imperial artillery. William married Jeanne d'Albret (1528–72), heiress of Navarre in 1541, when she was just 13 years old, but this political marriage was annulled four years later. William married Maria of Austria (1531–81), daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary on 18 July 1546.
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