Date of Birth: circa 981
Reign: 993 – 1039
Summary: Dirk never ruled in Holland. Instead, he was the count of a region known as West Friesland, an area that was renamed Holland in 1101. It was a time before Holland's famous dykes and irrigations, when flooding was rampant and the population was sparse at best. The rivers were where most of the life dwelled, and it is there that Dirk was born. Dirk's mother was the sister-in-law of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II and she acted as his regent when he was too young to rule. In her capacity, she managed to use her influence to protect the borders while also using Imperial resources to suppress internal resistance.
Dirk III was a vassal of the Holy Roman Empire until 1018, when Trier, Utrecht, and Cologne all went into rebellion. Dirk moved his capital to a region near Utrecht and began to levy tolls and charge for trade on the Rhine through his land, despite defying Imperial decree to do so. Henry II was forced to recognize Dirk III as in rebellion and he confiscated Holland from the count and gave it to the bishop of Utrecht. The Imperial army was sent to ensure transfer of the land, but it was a disaster. At the Battle of Vlaardingen, the Hollanders killed many of the leaders of the Imperial army and captured the commander, Godfrey II, duke of Lower Lorraine. Henry II was forced to recognize Dirk as the uncontested count of Holland. He went on to conquer lands from Utrecht and Dirk gained Imperial protection again in 1024 when he supported Conrad II's bid for the Imperial throne. Dirk died in 1039 and the Empire immediately attempted to retake parts of Holland, but a generation later, Dirk V, Dirk III's grandson, restored all of Dirk's holding permanently to Holland.
Date of Death: 27 May 1039
Successor: Dirk IV
Other Monarch Deaths:
Procopius, usurper to Rome (366)
Ordoño I, king of Asturias (866)
Simeon I, tsar of Bulgaria (927)
Ludovico, duke of Milan (1508)