The Revolt of the Spanish Netherlands - History Learning Site
Historiography of the Dutch Revolt has traditionally emphasised that it was painful to the past in this way during the Revolt of the Netherlands, which broke out in have uncovered the strong ties between religion, politics and memory. which remained at war until the Peace of Westphalia in The Dutch Revolt of the 16th century is probably the most neglected of the that for the revolution of only the revolt of the Netherlands against Spain”. He often seems to treat the events as a semi_proletarian uprising for all sorts of political, religious, social and economic experimentation. The Revolt of the Spanish Netherlands led to the collapse of Spain as In , Calvinism within the region was based in Antwerp. . reacted to it in that they would not be drawn into religious or political These four separate groups had four separate aims and there was no obvious link between them all.
On the other end was a mostly Catholic minority that wanted to remain loyal to the governor and his administration in Brussels. In between was the large majority of Catholic Dutch that had no particular allegiance, but mostly wanted to restore Dutch privileges and the expulsion of the Spanish mercenary armies.
William of Orange was the central figure who had to rally these groups to a common goal. In the end he was forced to move more and more towards the radical Calvinist side fighting the Spanish. He converted to Calvinism himself in Spain, however, had to declare bankruptcy in Requesens had not managed to broker a policy acceptable to both the Spanish King and the Netherlands when he died in early The inability of the Spanish to pay their mercenary armies endured, leading to numerous mutiniesand in November troops sacked Antwerp at the cost of some 8, lives.
This so-called "Spanish Fury" strengthened the resolve of the rebels in the seventeen provinces to take fate into their own hands.
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The Netherlands negotiated an internal treaty, the Pacification of Ghent inin which the provinces agreed to religious tolerance and pledged to fight together against the mutinous Spanish forces. For the mostly Catholic provinces, the destruction by mutinous foreign troops was the principal reason to join in an open revolt, but formally the provinces still remained loyal to the sovereign Philip II.
Some religious hostilities continued, however, and Spain, aided by shipments of bullion from the New Worldwas able to send a new army under Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza. This meant an early end to the goal of united independence for the seventeen provinces on the basis of religious tolerance, agreed upon only three years previously.
Effectively, the seventeen provinces were now divided into a southern group loyal to the Spanish king and a rebellious northern group. Act of Abjuration[ edit ] In 16th-century Europe, most countries had a king or other noble as head of state. Having repudiated Philip, the States-General of the Netherlands tried to find a suitable replacement.
Elizabeth, however, found the idea abhorrent. Her intervention for the French Huguenots see the Treaty of Hampton Court had been a costly mistake, and she had resolved never again to involve herself in the domestic affairs of any of her fellow monarchs.
Not only would intervention provoke Philip, but it would set a dangerous precedent. If she could interfere in the affairs of other monarchs, they could return the favour. Elizabeth did later provide aid to the Dutch rebels in the Treaty of Nonsuchand as a consequence Philip aided Irish rebels in the Nine Years' War. Anjou accepted on the condition that the Netherlands officially renounce any loyalty to Philip.
The States-General issued the Act of Abjurationwhich declared that the King of Spain had not upheld his responsibilities to the people of the Netherlands and therefore would no longer be accepted as the rightful sovereign.
Anjou arrived in February Though welcomed in some cities, he was rejected by Holland and Zeeland. Most of the people distrusted him as a Catholic, and the States-General granted him very limited powers. He brought a small French army to the Netherlands, and then decided to seize control of Antwerp by force in January This attempt failed disastrously, and Anjou left the Netherlands.
This changed later inwhen the regime entered publically into a more detailed discussion of the Revolt in La Flandre fidelle. He explained how in the s the rebels had colluded with foreign lords such as Francis of Anjou and the earl of Leicester and how little good could be expected from repeating such treachery: The attempts of the Dutch States General and the noble conspirators failed: One anonymous chronicler wrote that this was only to be expected: Following the disastrous loss of cities along the Meuse, Isabella convened the States General in — to initiate peace negotiations.
The peace negotiations led to nothing.
In reaction to this tightening net of the enemy, France negotiated a treaty of mutual assistance with the Dutch, in which they agreed to invade the Habsburg Netherlands and split up the conquered lands. The attempted capture of Leuven was unsuccessful, however, and strong opposition to Franco-Dutch aggressions led to a surge of anti-French and anti-Dutch propaganda.
South Netherlandish propagandists, spurred on by and sometimes consisting of government authorities, condemned the excesses in Tienen and in their writings tried to encourage popular hatred of the enemies. Some of the pamphlets, such as Den Hollantschen iavv en de Fransche kravvvey, visualised the cruelties of French and Dutch soldiers in the city of Tienen fig. Inreferences to the sixteenth-century troubles had served primarily to pacify the population, disarm the noble troublemakers and limit the damage they had inflicted on the political stability of the South.
Yet by subsequently allowing and even engaging in the public usage of the Revolt in political discussions, the regime set a new example. Propagandists in were inspired by the events of fig. In these comparisons between past and present, patriotism was one of the most important themes and closely linked to South Netherlandish interpretations of the Revolt. Pro-Habsburg authors presented the collaboration between Netherlandish rebels and the French during the sixteenth-century Revolt as foreshadowing the events of The printed marginalia recalled the early s, when Antwerp, Mechelen, Brussels and Tienen had been Calvinist republics, and implicitly emphasised the fact that Leuven had not fallen to the Calvinists.
A contemporary chronicler copied a triumphalist song that was allegedly sung in A case in point is the governorship of Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, duke of Alba in — Northerners commemorated Alba enthusiastically as the ultimate villain because he had persecuted political dissidents and executed more than a thousand of them. The Sea Beggars had sparked off a major rebellion in the north. Curiously, William tried to raise a rebellion in the south once again.
Once again, he found that there was no enthusiasm for rebellion and he had to retreat after disbanding his army. After this rebuttal in the south, William decided to concentrate in the north and he put himself at the head of resistance there. He had no love for the Sea Beggars as they were mostly Calvinism and iconoclasts. Most were fanatics which meant that they were difficult to predict. Most town leaders feared what the Sea Beggars would do to their towns as they seemed as ruthless as the Spanish.
Both Amsterdam and Middelburg refused to admit the Sea Beggars. The Catholics in the region feared their approach for obvious reasons. But the lower social classes felt that they had nothing to lose from change and they possibly stood to make from change. When they combined with the Sea Beggars they could force the hand of the town leaders. The Sea Beggars played on this patriotism and promised to let the Catholics worship in peace. They believed that freedom of worship should apply only to Calvinism.
Non-Calvinist churches were destroyed and clergy were killed by the Sea Beggars. Non-Calvinist religions were forced underground and Calvinism was imposed on the people of the Northern Provinces.
William still wanted a united Netherlands based on religious toleration and he tried to restrain the activities of the Sea Beggars by dismissing their leader in But their single-mindedness of purpose and their total commitment made them the only successful rebels and in AprilWilliam of Orange joined the Calvinist Church.
For many months, Alva had been pressurised by the Huguenots on the Netherlands southern border. But in Augustthe Huguenots had been badly weakened by the Massacre of St. Alva was left free to move north. Haarlem Holland was besieged early in for seven months.
Magistrates wanted to negotiate with Alva but a popular uprising had them replaced. William could do nothing to help and Haarlem fell. This could have proved a decisive blow to the rebels. They were saved by the Turks. Philip was involved in an expensive war with the Turks in the Mediterranean and his stretched finances meant that Spanish soldiers in the Netherlands were not paid. They mutinied and refused to fight. They rampaged through Antwerp thus making the Spanish even more hated.
ByPhilip had the money to pay his soldiers but William had been given the necessary breathing space and there was no love for the Spanish after Antwerp. Alva besieged Leyden in Holland. He was attacked by Louis of Nassau who was killed doing this but this was not enough to relieve Leyden. Submissive magistrates were dismissed and William took the decision to cut the dykes and deliberately flood the area surrounding Leyden. The plan worked and Alva had to retreat.
He had been ordered to reverse the policy of repression. But he had nothing to offer on religion as Philip refused to compromise: To impose royal will, Requesen had to use force.
However, inPhilip announced his effective bankruptcy. His army in the Netherlands was composed of his own soldiers and many mercenaries.
Without being paid they turned to pillaging. Requesen died in There was a time delay before his successor was appointed and the Council of State took charge. They purged the council of pro-Spanish members and summoned the Estates-General. This decided to establish an army of self-defence under the Duke of Aerschot. Init appeared as if the unity of the magnates had been achieved. However, the unity was deceptive in appearance. William offered to put his army under the control of the Estates-General.
But the northern army was mostly made up of Calvinism who were socially radical. The southern army was made up a aristocrats who were Catholic and conservative. The Spanish army succeeded in uniting the two. InSpanish soldiers devastated Antwerp. Early in a new governor-general arrived — Don John of Austria.
The Dutch Revolt: a social analysis – International Socialism
This was good enough for the southern magnates but not for William and Zeeland and Holland. The Perpetual Edict wanted to restore Catholicism throughout the Netherlands. Both Holland and Zeeland promised to continue the fight. Don John took Namur, declared that William was a traitor and wanted to purge the Estates-General of those who had expressed anti-Spanish sentiment. Rather than cultivate a relationship with the southern magnates, Don John pushed them into an alliance with William.
This unity proved to be short-lived as popular revolts broke out in the south and the magnates feared for their property. Ghent had a radical Calvinism council and they arrested Aerschot and sent him to Germany.
Ghent set up a council based on the model of Brussels. The south was not prepared to accept this spread ofCalvinism and in JanuaryArtois, parts of Flanders the Walloon area and Hainault signed the Union of Arras which bluntly stated that it would uphold the catholic faith.
However, William still hoped for unity by subordinating religious issues to political ones. Reconciliation looked doubtful though. In OctoberDon John died.
Eighty Years' War
He was replaced by Alex Farnese, Duke of Parma. He was known to be a great soldier, of great integrity and of high birth. This made him very acceptable to the southern aristocrats.
He promised no punishments to towns or men who swore allegiance to Philip. In Maythe Treaty of Arras was signed which upheld the privileges of provinces in Walloon and withdrew Spanish troops from provinces that signed the treaty. The nobles did not recover their political power but their social position was maintained.
William realised that he was a major factor in the failure to unite the provinces. He therefore needed to find someone as leader who was acceptable to both north and south. The brother of the king of France was chosen — the Duke of Anjou.
This was a logical appointment as France had always been an enemy of Spain and Anjou was a strong catholic. Therefore he should have appealed to both sides. Inthirteen provinces out of seventeen offered their allegiance to Anjou. This was done at a meeting of the Estates-General in the Hague. Unfortunately, Anjou proved a poor choice as he was arrogant and unprincipled. He disliked the power of the provincial Estates and wanted their power transferred to him.
In Januaryhe marched to Antwerp to assert his authority but his attack was beaten off.
This clearly alienated himself from the people. However, William remained convinced that the rebels needed foreign support. In FebruaryWilliam of Orange was assassinated. His death was a very heavy blow to the resistance movement. But bythe hatred of Spain had become so entrenched in the northern regions and the rebels were so well organised that they continued the struggle. Despite, Parma continued his advance and in August Ghent fell. Brussels fell in March and Antwerp in August The only main areas not to fall were Zeeland and Holland.
These two areas were protected by the sea and rivers. The rebels were in need of overseas aid. France was not a possibility and the only possibility was England. The rebels came to an agreement with Elizabeth that she would provide an army of 4, men under the Earl of Leicester. However, Leicester was out of his depth and he failed to understand the complexities of the issues being fought over.
In the two regions not yet taken by Parma, the old style town leaders were swept out of power by more extreme and committed men from the Sea Beggars. It was at this critical time that the Calvinism split into two camps: The revolt which originally had but one target was now complicated by what was essentially a class struggle.