Netherlands: Revolt in the Netherlands
Revolt in the Netherlands
The inroads of Calvinism were helping to distinguish the Low Countries from Catholic Spain; the nobles, supported by many of the people for economic and religious reasons, demanded greater autonomy for the provinces in addition to the removal of Spanish officials. Philip's attempt, first through Cardinal Granvelle and then through the duke of Alba, to introduce the Spanish Inquisition and reduce the Low Countries to a Spanish province met determined opposition from among all classes of the population—Catholics and Protestants alike.
The struggle for the Low Countries' independence began (1562–66) in Flanders and Brabant. The northern provinces, under the leadership of William the Silent, prince of Orange, succeeded (1572–74) in expelling the Spanish garrisons. The Low Countries united under William in their struggle against Spain in the Pacification of Ghent (1576).
Alessandro Farnese, who in 1578 succeeded John of Austria as Spanish governor, reconquered the southern provinces, which remained in Spanish possession (see Netherlands, Austrian and Spanish) and were gradually reconverted to Catholicism. The river barriers were crucial in protecting the rebellion and the Protestant religion of the north. The seven northern provinces—Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, Overijssel, Friesland, and Groningen—formed (1579) the Union of Utrecht and declared (1581) their independence.
William the Silent, assassinated in 1584, was succeeded as stadtholder (chief of state) by his son, Maurice of Nassau, who was at first guided by Johan van Oldenbarneveldt. An English expedition under Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, to aid the Dutch against Farnese was ineffectual; later Maurice won important successes, and in 1609 a 12-year truce was concluded with Spinola, the Spanish commander.
Sections in this article:
- The Postwar Years
- The Kingdom of the Netherlands
- A Succession of Wars
- The United Provinces
- Revolt in the Netherlands
- The Rise of the Netherlands
- Land and People
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