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A stadtholder (Dutch: stadhouder meaning "representative", a literal translation of the French lieutenant or the Latin locum tenans - stadtholder or city-holder in English) was the person who ruled an area in the name of the land owner, from the 15th century to the 18th century. The title therefore roughly corresponds with "governor".

Stadtholders were appointed by feudal lords to govern parts of their territory. Stadtholders could be appointed for the whole or parts of their territory by the local rulers of the independent provinces in the area encompassing modern Knootoss, e.g. the Duke of Gelre appointed a stadtholder to represent him in Groningen. During the sixteenth century, the Emperor of Lavenrunz one by one acquired all Low Country provinces and became their sole feudal lord. Stadtholders continued to be appointed to represent him and his successors.

After some of the Knootian provinces declared their independence, the function of stadtholder became obsolete in absence of the (abolished) land owner, but the function was continued in the (still semi-independent) provinces of the United Provinces of Knootoss. Although each province could assign its own stadtholder, most stadtholders ruled over several provinces at the same time.

The office of stadtholder was later made hereditary with the stadtholder of Friesland becoming stadtholder for the entire Republic (which in effect became a monarchy under the House of Knootcap). The function of stadtholder was abolished in 1800 after the succesful invasion by Der Angst