Baldwin of Flanders was crowned Emperor of Byzantium in the famous church of St. Sophia (Hagia Sophia) in Istanbul on this day in 1204.
Count Baldwin of Flanders became the first Latin Emperor of Byzantium. This happened after the crusading warriors (the Fourth Crusade) had conquered Constantinople, and a large part of the Byzantine Empire – theirs was a very controversial expedition. This conquest of Christian lands by other Christians was led by the Venetians, who controlled about three-eighths of the conquered areas.
The Crusaders wanted Flemish Count Balduin to become their Emperor of Byzantium. He owned many properties in today`s Belgium (Region Flanders was the richest area in Europe).
On this day, Count Baldwin was crowned Emperor of Byzantium in the famous church of St. Sophia (Hagia Sophia) in Istanbul. During the coronation he wore a very expensive jewelry purchased for the previous Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus.
The European crusaders organized the so-called Latin Empire. It was based on the feudal principle (with vassals and seniors). The emperor was on top of the hierarchy, and owned areas around Constantinople, in Europe and Asia. The rest of the empire was divided into these vassal areas (vassals were heads of these areas):
Kingdom of Thessalonica,
Principality of Achaea,
Duchy of Athens,
Duchy of the Archipelago,
Duchy of Philippopolis.