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John of Austria

John of Austria, 1545–78, Spanish admiral and general; illegitimate son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. He was acknowledged in his father's will and was recognized by his half-brother, Philip II of Spain. In 1569 he fought against the Morisco rebels in Granada. As admiral of the Holy League, formed against the Ottoman Empire by Pope Pius V, Spain, and Venice, he won the famous naval victory of Lepanto (1571). He later took Tunis and served as governor-general in Italy. In 1576 he was sent by Philip as governor-general to the Netherlands, then in rebellion against Spain under the leadership of William the Silent. John was forced to make concessions but then resumed hostilities. His victorious general, Alessandro Farnese, succeeded him as governor-general on his death.

See Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, Don John of Austria (1883).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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