Saturday, September 24, 2011

Eighty Years War (1566-1648)

The rebellion of the Dutch provinces against their Spanish overlords broke out in 1568. It was initially, on the whole, a military disaster, with the Dutch unable to stand in the field against the veteran Spanish tercios.

At that time the rebellious regions had a population of only 75,000; by the turn of the century, the seven provinces that formed the Dutch public had a round one million people.

The Spanish monarchy, by contrast control a population of around 16 million and could draw in resources from a vast empire.

In 1576 the Spanish soldiers, who had not received pay for a considerable of time, started looting and terrorizing village and towns in Brabant and Flanders. The violence was so intense that in July the Council of State in Brussels branded the mutinous Spanish as enemies.

As the result, the war descended into a series of sieges of the many fortified town and cities in the Low Countries.

On 25th September 1576, the States General commissioner several commanding officers who were ordered to assemble an army, was given the task of chasing away the Spanish troops.

This was the longest rebellion in modern European history, the Eighty Years’ War, also known as the Dutch Revolt, freed the seven Protestant United Provinces of the northern Low Countries from Spain rule and led to the formation of the modern Netherlands.

It is the biggest, bloodiest and most implacable of all the wars which have been waged since the beginning of the world.

The Dutch navy, which did not exist in 1568, had achieved the reputation of being the best in the Atlantic world by a series of victories culminating in destruction of a Spanish armada in The Downs.

In June 1648, The Dutch signed a peace treaty at Munster between Dutch and King Philip IV of Spain. For Dutch Republic, the Treaty of Munster was the prize for nearly a century of struggle.

By 1648, Spain’s position as a major power was tenuous: by 1659 she was definitely in decline, a process acetated over the rest of the seventeenth century by a series of costly and destructive wars with France.
Eighty Years War (1566-1648)
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