||In the late middle ages, the inhabitants of the duchy of Guelders had to deal with a number of negative stereotypes. They were reputed to be lumpish, barbaric, belligerent, and rebellious. These stereotypes had come into existence during the many wars with the Burgundian and Habsburg princes, who wanted to conquer the duchy. Some Guelders historians, however, used these negative stereotypes in order to create a positive image of their compatriots: they described the people of Guelders as natural, brave, and as lovers of freedom. According to them, these labels were the essence of the Guelders identity.
In Gelre. Dynastie, land en identiteit Aart Noordzij describes the development of a political identity in Guelders between 1100 and 1600. He does this by analyzing the interaction between political processes, state-formation and the shaping of identities. Successively, the formation of the dynasty, the structure of the territory, and the imagination of the dynasty, the territory, and its inhabitants pass in review. By reconstructing the interaction between political processes, imagination, and the shaping of identities, we can understand how a political community like Guelders, notwithstanding its complexity and lack of unity, could exist, function, and get coherence.