Between Dissent and Peacemaking. The Dutch Nobility on the Eve of the Revolt () - Persée
The Dutch Nobility on the Eve of the Revolt () The lettres d' asseurance: mediation by the Knights of the Golden Fleece[link]; Conclusion[link ] Finally, in his religious politics, Egmont acted according to Goosens both well enough that the nobility also risked losing with a general revolt in the Netherlands. Learn about and revise the challenges to Queen Elizabeth I's rule with this BBC Religious differences, Spain was a Catholic country and England a Marriage rejection, King Philip of Spain had been married to Elizabeth's The Dutch Revolt, Protestants in the Netherlands began a revolt against Spanish rule in The Dutch Revolt (–) was the revolt of the northern, largely Protestant Seven The religious "clash of cultures" built up gradually but inexorably into Silent (William of Orange), followed by several of his descendants and relations. During the revolt, the United Provinces of the Netherlands, better known as the .
Furthermore, England, particularly English privateerswere harassing Spanish shipping and its colonies in the Atlantic. Already in William I of Orange had asked for Ottoman support. As Suleiman the Magnificent claimed that he felt religiously close to the Protestants, "since they did not worship idols, believed in one God and fought against the Pope and Emperor"   he supported the Dutch together with the French and the Englishas well as generally supporting Protestants and Calvinists as a way to counter Habsburg attempts at supremacy in Europe.
Even so, by the Spanish had more or less suppressed the rebellion throughout the Netherlands. This proposal was rejected by the States, and a compromise was subsequently agreed upon. Then, inAlba decided to press forward with the collection of the Tenth Penny regardless of the States' opposition.
The Gueux under their leader Lumey then unexpectedly captured the almost undefended town of Brill on 1 April. In securing Brill, the rebels had gained a foothold, and more importantly a token victory in the north. This was a sign for Protestants all over the Low Countries to rebel once more. Vroom, oil on canvas Most of the important cities in the provinces of Holland and Zeeland declared loyalty to the rebels. Notable exceptions were Amsterdam and Middelburgwhich remained loyal to the Catholic cause until William of Orange was put at the head of the revolt.
It was agreed that power would be shared between Orange and the States. However, this also led to an increased discord amongst the Dutch. On one side there was a militant Calvinist minority that wanted to continue fighting the Catholic Philip II and convert all Dutch citizens to Calvinism. 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. 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.
- Causes of the Dutch Revolt
- Challenges to Elizabeth's rule
- The Revolt of the Spanish Netherlands
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.
The Dutch Revolt: a social analysis
He brought a small French army to the Netherlands, and then decided to seize control of Antwerp by force in January However, this did not stop the opposition to the tax and Alva realised that he simply did not have the force to brutalise the population into paying it. Alva postponed its introduction and it probably never came into operation. At the time of the tax, William and Louis were fighting with the Huguenots in France.
He, as a sovereign prince, authorised them to prey on Spanish shipping. The Sea Beggars were from the north where William was a stadtholder. However, he had concentrated on cities in the south such as Ypres, Ghent and Antwerp where religious dissent was strongest.
However, these cities were easily policed. This was not true with the northern region with its many inlets and harbours. The region had a very complicated coast line with many islands just off-shore. Only those knowledgeable about the area could sail there with a degree of safety. William shifted his emphasis to the north and allied himself to the Sea Beggars. This did not lead to the independence of the Netherlands but to the creation of a new state.
The Sea Beggars had for a number of years used ports in south-east England for shelter and safety. InElizabeth kicked them out fearing that their presence might antagonise Philip II. As they sailed, a storm forced the fleet into Brill in Holland. The Sea Beggars found it undefended as Spanish troops were in Utrecht putting down riots.
The Political Rediscovery of the Dutch Revolt in the Seventeenth-Century Habsburg Netherlands
The Sea Beggars claimed the city for William of Orange. Many northern cities went over to the Sea Beggars. 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.
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. 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.
Leicester became identified with the Precisians who wanted a total ban on trade with Spain. Even at this time there was trade going on between the two as Spain needed the Dutch mercantile knowledge and fleet to send supplies to the region and the Dutch used the revenues from this service to finance their campaign. Amsterdam — a city with Libertists leanings — flourished during this time.
InLeicester used his power to ban all Dutch trade with the Spanish. This decision was supported by Holland. They found a new spokesman in Johan van Oldenbarneveld who was the Advocate of Holland.
He was also supported by the son of William of Orange, Maurice of Nassau. Leicester was caught between the two and in November he returned to England. InLeicester returned to make one more attempt to impose his authority but he failed once again.
He left in though his troops remained there financed by Elizabeth. Bythe rebels were badly divided. Parma had the perfect opportunity to take advantage of this.
But Philip needed his force for the Armada and this Spanish disaster gave the rebels the space they needed to re-organise themselves. The legal heir to the French throne was Henry of Navarre — a Calvinist. This removal of the skilled Parma gave the rebels two years to re-build themselves as Parma was kept in France from to In fact, he died in and the Spanish lost one of their most accomplished military commanders.
In this time Maurice managed to re-organise the Dutch resistance and he had a series of successes from which the Spanish never recovered. InBreda was re-taken by the rebels. InZutphen, Deventer and Nymegan were all re-taken. In the important ports of Ostend and Sluys were re-taken. The death of Philip in should have brought the war to an end. However, his son, Philip III saw himself as a great leader and appointed Ambrosio Spinola to lead the drive to bring the Dutch to heel.
Spinola was a capable general and in he recaptured Ostend. By this time Spain was all but financially exhausted and war weary. This he refused to do.
He governed under the title of governor-general. Spanish troops remained in the southern regions and Albert and Isabella had to respect Spanish wishes. The two were popular with the people of the south. Their attempts at reconciliation with the northern regions failed mainly due to religious problems as the north was not prepared to tolerate Catholicism there.