Of the first historically verifiable rulers of Frisia, whether they are called dukes or kings, the last royal dynasty below is established by the chronicles of Merovingian kings of the Franks, with whom they were contemporaries. In these contemporary chronicles, they were styled dux, a Latin term for leader which is the origin of the title duke and its cognates in other languages (duc, duce, doge, duque, etc.). They were independent until the death of Radbod at the earliest.
Finn, son of Folcwald, is a semi-legendary figure. He was killed by Hengest, who later migrated to Britain and founded the Kingdom of Kent. For rulers prior to Finn the later Frisians developed a rich store of legend and myth, and these too are listed here in chronological order.
After coming under Frankish rule, Frisia was governed by Frankish counts and by potestates elected by the Frisians.
List of rulers
Most of the early potestaats are completely legendary.
- Magnus Forteman, fl. 809 (first recipient of the Karelsprivilege)
- Taco Ludigman, fl. c. 830 (Focko Ludigman) (protected the country against pirates)
- Adelbrik Adelen, fl. c. 830 (won a victory over a Swedish duke at Kollum)
- Hessel Hermana, 869-876 (a diligent warrior against the Vikings)
- Igo Galema (Ygo Galema), 876-910
- Gosse Ludigman, 986-1000
- Saco Reinalda, 1150-1167 (many Frisians were recruited into the crusades to the Holy Land)
- Sicko Sjaerdema, 1237-1260 (Count William II of Holland offered him regional rule of Friesland)
- Reinier Camminga, 1300-1306 (killed in the fight against "Danes Noertmannen ende")
- Hessel Martena, 1306-1313 (protected Friesland against the attacks of the counts of Holland)
- Juw Juwinga (Jonghema Ju), 1396 (killed in the Battle of Schoterzijl against Albert I, Duke of Bavaria)
- Sytse Dekama, 1397-?
- Gale Hania
- Odo Botnia, ?-1399
- Sjoerd Wiarda, 1399-1410 (elected by the Schieringers for Oostergo)
- Haring Haringsma (Haring Harinxma, or Haring Thoe Heeg), 1399-1404 (elected by the Schieringers for Westergo)
- Juw Dekama, 1494-1498 (died 1523) (only governed Oostergo)
With the victory of the Schieringers against the Vetkopers, the office passed to the dukes of Saxony:
In 1515, George of Saxony sold Friesland to Charles of Habsburg, the future Emperor. The Habsburgs appointed the following governors:
- Floris van Egmond, Count of Buren and Leerdam, 1515-1518
- Wilhelm von Roggendorf, 1518-1521
- Georg Schenck van Toutenburg, 1521-1540
- Jancko Douwama, 1522
- Maximiliaan van Egmond, Count of Buren, 1540-1548
- Jean de Ligne, Count of Arenberg, 1549-1568 (in 1556 sovereignty of Friesland passed to Philip II of Spain, son of Charles V)
- Karel van Brimeu, Count of Megen, 1568-1572
- Gillis van Berlaymont, of Hierges, 1572-1574
- Caspar de Robles, Master of Billy, 1574-1576 (or 1572-1576)
- George van Lalaing, Count of Rennenberg, de Stadhouder-verrader, 1576-1581 (after 1580 in the service of Phillip II)
- Francisco Verdugo, 1581-1594 (in the service of Phillip II)
- Willem I van Oranje-Nassau, 1580-1584
In 1581, Friesland and six other provinces revolted and formed the Dutch Republic. The office of stadholder became hereditary in the House of Oranje:
- Willem Lodewijk van Nassau, 1584-1620
- Ernst Casimir, 1620-1632
- Hendrik Casimir I, 1632-1640
- Willem Frederik, 1640-1664
- Hendrik Casimir II, 1664-1696
- Johan Willem Friso of Orange, 1696-1711
- William IV of Orange, 1711-1751 (the seven provincial stadtholders within the Dutch Republic merged in 1747)
- William V of Orange, 1751-1795 (died 1806) (Stadtholder-General of the Dutch Republic until it was destroyed by Napoleon)
A description of a course at the University of Amsterdam states ""One of the characteristics of Frisian historiography and literature from the Middle-Ages up to the nineteenth and twentieth century is the existence of a comprehensive corpus of fantastic, apocryphal and mystified historic works, which deal with the origins and identity of the Frisians. Well known examples are medieval myths of origin like the Gesta Frisiorum or the Tractatus Alvini, sixteenth-century humanistic scholarly books by e.g. Suffridus Petrus, Ocko van Scarl en Martinus Hamconius and nineteenth-century forgeries like the Tescklaow and the infamous Oera Linda Book."
The 17th century chronicle Frisia seu de viris rebusque illustribus, by Martinus Hamconius, purported to list the ancient kings of Frisia, beginning with Friso who had allegedly migrated from India during the time of Alexander the Great. A 19th century work, the Oera Linda Book (authorship uncertain but considered to be a hoax), embellished these stories further by describing an ancient and glorious history for the Frisians extending back thousands of years, during which time they were supposedly ruled over by a line of matriarchs known as folk-mothers, founded by the eponymous goddess Frya, ancestress of the Frisians.
Goddess and Folk-mothers
According to the Oera Linda Book.
- Frya, ?-2194 BC (eponymous ancestress of the Frisians, who supposedly inhabited all of Northern and Western Europe)
- Fasta, 2194-after 2145 BC (appointed by Frya when the latter ascended to the stars during a terrible flood)
- Minna, fl. 2013 BC (faced an invasion of Finns from the east, who settled in the Frisian lands in Scandinavia)
- Rosamond, 1631-? BC (the Frisians in Western Europe revolted and became the Celts)
- Hellicht, fl. 1621 BC
- Frana, ?-590 BC (murdered by the Finns during an invasion)
- Adela (de facto), 590-559 BC (supposedly ordered the compilation of what became the Oera Linda Book)
- Gosa, 306-before 264 BC (elected after a long vacancy, Frisian rule confined to approximately the modern Netherlands)
- Prontlik, fl. c. 60 BC (puppet folk-mother appointed by King Asinga Ascon)
According to the Frisia seu de viris rebusque illustribus (and the Oera Linda Book).
- Friso, 313-245 BC (Adel I Friso (de facto), 304-264 BC) (established a militaristic hereditary monarchy)
- Adel, 245-151 BC (Adel II Atharik, 264-? BC)
- Ubbo, 151-71 BC (Adel III Ubbo)
- Asinga Ascon, 71 BC-AD 11 (Adel IV Asega Askar, or Black Adel) (reviled for employing foreign troops and bringing plague)
- Diocarus Segon, 11-46
- Dibbaldus Segon, 46-85 (? Verritus) (forced to accept Roman protection, and may have visited Rome in person)
- Tabbo, 85-130 (? Malorix)
According to the Frisia seu de viris rebusque illustribus.
- Asconius, 130-173 (title downgraded to duke as a Roman client)
- Adelboldus, 173-187
- Titus Boiocalus, 187-240
- Ubbo, 240-299
- Haron Ubbo, 299-335
- Odilbaldus, 335-360
- Udolphus Haron, 360-392
According to the Frisia seu de viris rebusque illustribus (and Merovingian chronicles).
- Richardus, Uffo, 392-435 (? Finn Folcwalding)
- Odilbaldus, 435-470 (? Sibbelt)
- Richoldus, 470-533 (? Ritzard)
- Beroaldus, 533-590 (? Audulf)
- Adgillus I, 590-672 (Aldegisel, ?-680)
- Radbodus I, 672-723 (Radbod I, 680-719)
- (Poppo, 719-734) (not listed in the rebusque)
- Adgillus II, 723-737 (Aldegisel II)
- Gondobaldus, 737-749 (Gundebold, or Aldegisel III)
- Radbodus II, 749-775 (Radbod II)
- Historical Frisian Literature: Fakes and Forgeries, myths and mystifications in Frisian Literature Universiteit van Amsterdam (Dutch)