County of Hoya
The County of Hoya (German: Grafschaft Hoya) was a state of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the present German state of Lower Saxony. It was centered on the town of Hoya on the middle Weser river, between Bremen and Nienburg; the area now belongs to the districts of Nienburg and Diepholz. The largest city of the county was Nienburg.
As of 1582, Hoya was bordered by (from the north, clockwise): The City of Bremen, the Archbishopric of Bremen, the Bishopric of Verden, the Lüneburg and Calenberg subdivisions of Brunswick-Lüneburg, the Bishopric of Minden, the County of Diepholz, the Bishopric of Münster, and the County of Oldenburg.
A first Count Henry at Hoya in Saxony appeared as a liensman of Archbishop Hartwig II of Bremen in 1202. He rivaled with the local Hodenberg noble family at Hodenhagen Castle; their estates on the Weser were gradually acquired by Count Henry and his descendants until 1313. The acquisition of Nienburg led to a long-term conflict with the Bishops of Minden, who suspiciously eyed the steep rise of their comital neighbours.
In 1345 the brothers Gerhard III and John II of Hoya, divided the county among themselves; when the elder branch of Gerhard at Hoya became extinct in 1497, the territories were re-unified under John's descendant Count Jobst I residing at Nienburg. In the 16th century, the counts came under pressure of the mighty Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who in 1512 occupied their erstates.
The county was partitioned after Otto VIII, Count of Hoya died without sons in 1582. The majority of the territory was received by the Calenberg line with the remainder to the Lüneburg line of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg and the Landgraviate of Hesse-Cassel. The Counts of Hoya already had to recognize the Welf dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg as liege lords in 1512.
Counts of Hoya
- Henry I 1202-1235
- Henry II 1235-1290
- Otto II 1290-1324
- Gerhard III 1324-1345 jointly with his brother
- John II