Spanish Netherlands

Spanish Netherlands (Spanish: Países Bajos Españoles; Dutch: Spaanse Nederlanden; French: Pays-Bas espagnols, German: Spanische Niederlande) was the collective name of States of the Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries, held in personal union by the Spanish Crown (also called Habsburg Spain) from 1556 to 1714. This region comprised most of the modern states of Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as parts of northern France, southern Netherlands, and western Germany with the capital being Brussels.

The Imperial fiefs of the former Burgundian Netherlands had been inherited by the Austrian House of Habsburg from the extinct House of Valois-Burgundy upon the death of Mary of Burgundy in 1482. The Seventeen Provinces formed the core of the Habsburg Netherlands which passed to the Spanish Habsburgs upon the abdication of Emperor Charles V in 1556. When part of the Netherlands separated to form the autonomous Dutch Republic in 1581, the remainder of the area stayed under Spanish rule until the War of the Spanish Succession.

Spanish Netherlands

Spaanse Nederlanden
Pays-Bas espagnols
Países Bajos Españoles
Spanische Niederlande
1556–1714
Coat of arms of Archduke Albert VII of Austria of Spanish Netherlands
Coat of arms of Archduke Albert VII of Austria
Motto: Plus Ultra
"Further Beyond"
Spanish Netherlands (grey) in 1700
Spanish Netherlands (grey) in 1700
StatusProvince of the Spanish Empire
States of the Holy Roman Empire
CapitalBrussels
Common languagesDutch, French, German, Latin, Spanish
Religion
Roman Catholic
Protestant
GovernmentGovernorate
Governor 
• 1581–1592
Alexander Farnese (first)
• 1692–1706
Maximilian Emanuel (last)
Historical eraEarly modern
1556
1568–1648
30 January 1648
1683–1684
15 August 1684
1688–1697
1701–1714
7 March 1714
Population
• 1700
1794000[1]
CurrencyGulden
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Habsburg Netherlands
Dutch Republic
Austrian Netherlands
Today part ofBelgium
France
Germany
Luxembourg
Netherlands

History

A common administration of the Netherlandish fiefs, centred in the Duchy of Brabant, already existed under the rule of the Burgundian duke Philip the Good with the implementation of a stadtholder and the first convocation of the States General of the Netherlands in 1437. His granddaughter Mary had confirmed a number of privileges to the States by the Great Privilege signed in 1477. After the government takeover by her husband Archduke Maximilian I of Austria, the States insisted on their privileges, culminating in a Hook rebellion in Holland and Flemish revolts. Maximilian prevailed with the support of Duke Albert III of Saxony and his son Philip the Handsome, husband of Joanna of Castile, could assume the rule over the Habsburg Netherlands in 1493.

Charles V

Philip as well as his son and successor Charles V retained the title of a "Duke of Burgundy" referring to their Burgundian inheritance, notably the Low Countries and the Free County of Burgundy in the Holy Roman Empire. The Habsburgs often used the term Burgundy to refer to their hereditary lands (e.g. in the name of the Imperial Burgundian Circle established in 1512), actually until 1795, when the Austrian Netherlands were lost to the French Republic.

In 1522 Holy Roman Emperor Charles V concluded a partition treaty with his younger brother Archduke Ferdinand I of Habsburg, whereby the House of Habsburg split into an Austrian and a Spanish branch. By the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549, Charles declared the Seventeen Provinces a united and indivisible Habsburg dominion. The division was consummated when he announced his abdication in 1555 and left the Spanish branch heritage to his son Philip II of Spain, while his brother Ferdinand succeeded him as Holy Roman Emperor. The Seventeen Provinces, de jure still fiefs of the Holy Roman Empire, from that time on de facto were ruled by the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs as part of the Burgundian heritage.

Eighty Years' War

Philip's stern Counter-Reformation measures sparked the Dutch Revolt in the mainly Calvinist Netherlandish provinces, which led to the outbreak of the Eighty Years' War in 1568. In January 1579 the seven northern provinces formed the Protestant Union of Utrecht, which declared independence from the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands by the 1581 Act of Abjuration. The Spanish branch of the Hapsburgs could retain the rule only over the partly Catholic Southern Netherlands, completed after the Fall of Antwerp in 1585.

Jeton Brabant Antwerpen Albert Isabella 1612
Jeton with portraits of the Archdukes Albert VII, Archduke of Austria and Infanta Isabella of Spain, struck in Antwerp 1612.
Obv: Portraits of Albert and Isabella.
Rev: Eagle holding balance, date 1612.

Better times came, when in 1598 the Spanish Netherlands passed to Philip's daughter Isabella Clara Eugenia and her husband Archduke Albert VII of Austria.The couple's rule brought a period of much-needed peace and stability to the economy, which stimulated the growth of a separate South Netherlandish identity and consolidated the authority of the House of Habsburg reconciling previous anti-Spanish sentiments. In the early 17th century, there was a flourishing court at Brussels. Among the artists who emerged from the court of the "Archdukes", as they were known, was Peter Paul Rubens. Under Isabella and Albert, the Spanish Netherlands actually had formal independence from Spain, but always remained unofficially within the Spanish sphere of influence. With Albert's death in 1621 they returned to formal Spanish control, although the childless Isabella remained on as Governor until her death in 1633.

The failing wars intended to regain the 'heretical' northern Netherlands meant significant loss of (still mainly Catholic) territories in the north, which was consolidated in 1648 in the Peace of Westphalia, and given the peculiar inferior status of Generality Lands (jointly ruled by the United Republic, not admitted as member provinces): Zeelandic Flanders (south of the river Scheldt), the present Dutch province of Noord-Brabant and Maastricht (in the present-day Dutch province of Limburg).

French conquests

As the power of the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs waned in the latter decades of the 17th century, the territory of the Netherlands under Habsburg rule was repeatedly invaded by the French and an increasing portion of the territory came under French control in successive wars. By the Treaty of the Pyrenees of 1659 the French annexed Artois and Cambrai, and Dunkirk was ceded to the English. By the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (ending the War of Devolution in 1668) and Nijmegen (ending the Franco-Dutch War in 1678), further territory up to the current Franco-Belgian border was ceded, including Walloon Flanders, as well as half of the county of Hainaut (including Valenciennes). Later, in the War of the Reunions and the Nine Years' War, France annexed other parts of the region.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1706 the Habsburg Netherlands became an Anglo-Dutch condominium for the remainder of the conflict.[2] By the peace treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt in 1713/14 ending the war, the Southern Netherlands returned to the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy forming the Austrian Netherlands.

Provinces

From 1581 the Habsburg Netherlands consisted of the following territories, all part of modern Belgium unless otherwise stated:

  1. the Duchy of Brabant, except for North Brabant part of the Generality Lands of the Dutch Republic in 1648, including the former Margraviate of Antwerp (now mostly Belgium, some in Netherlands)
  2. the Duchy of Limburg, except for Limburg of the States part of the Dutch Generality Lands from 1648
  3. the Duchy of Luxembourg, a sovereign state from 1815 (parts in modern Belgium, France and Germany)
  4. the Upper Quarter (Bovenkwartier) of the Duchy of Guelders (Now Netherlands and Germany: the area around Venlo and Roermond, in the present Dutch province of Limburg, and the town of Geldern in the present German district of Kleve)
  5. the County of Artois, ceded to France by the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees (now in France)
  6. the County of Flanders, except for Zeelandic Flanders part of the Dutch Generality Lands from 1648, Walloon Flanders ceded to France by the 1678 Peace of Nijmegen (now in Belgium and France French Flanders)
  7. the County of Namur
  8. the County of Hainaut, southern part with Valenciennes ceded to France by the 1678 Peace of Nijmegen (now in Belgium and France)
  9. the Lordship of Mechelen[note 1]
  10. the Tournaisis
  11. the Prince-Bishopric of Cambrai, not part of the Seventeen Provinces, incorporated by King Philip II in 1559, ceded to France by the 1678 Peace of Nijmegen (now France: roughly the département Nord and the northern half of Pas-de-Calais)

See also

Notes

  1. ^ A seignory comes closest to the concept of a heerlijkheid; there is no equivalent in English for the Dutch-language term. In its earliest history, Mechelen was a heerlijkheid of the Bishopric (later Prince-Bishopric) of Liège that exercised its rights through the Chapter of Saint Rumbold though at the same time the Lords of Berthout and later the Dukes of Brabant also exercised or claimed separate feudal rights.

References

  1. ^ Demographics of the Netherlands, Jan Lahmeyer. Retrieved on 20 February 2014.
  2. ^ Bromley, J.S. (editor) 1970, The New Cambridge Modern History Volume 6: The Rise of Great Britain and Russia, 1688-1715/25, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521075244 (p. 428)
Battle of Gembloux (1578)

The Battle of Gembloux took place at Gembloux, near Namur, Low Countries, between the Spanish forces led by Don John of Austria (Spanish: Don Juan de Austria), Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands, and a rebel army composed of Dutch, Flemish, English, Scottish, German, French and Walloon soldiers under Antoine de Goignies, during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). On 31 January 1578 the Spanish cavalry commanded by John's nephew, Don Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma (Italian: Alessandro Farnese, Spanish: Alejandro Farnesio), after pushing back the Netherlandish cavalry, attacked the Netherlandish army, causing an enormous panic amongst the rebel troops. The result was a crushing victory for the Spanish forces. The battle hastened the disintegration of the unity of the rebel provinces, and meant the end of the Union of Brussels.

Battle of Ramillies

The Battle of Ramillies (), fought on 23 May 1706, was a battle of the War of the Spanish Succession. For the Grand Alliance – Austria, England, and the Dutch Republic – the battle had followed an indecisive campaign against the Bourbon armies of King Louis XIV of France in 1705. Although the Allies had captured Barcelona that year, they had been forced to abandon their campaign on the Moselle, had stalled in the Spanish Netherlands and suffered defeat in northern Italy. Yet despite his opponents' setbacks Louis XIV wanted peace, but on reasonable terms. Because of this, as well as to maintain their momentum, the French and their allies took the offensive in 1706.

The campaign began well for Louis XIV's generals: in Italy Marshal Vendôme defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Calcinato in April, while in Alsace Marshal Villars forced the Margrave of Baden back across the Rhine. Encouraged by these early gains Louis XIV urged Marshal Villeroi to go over to the offensive in the Spanish Netherlands and, with victory, gain a 'fair' peace. Accordingly, the French Marshal set off from Leuven (Louvain) at the head of 60,000 men and marched towards Tienen (Tirlemont), as if to threaten Zoutleeuw (Léau). Also determined to fight a major engagement, the Duke of Marlborough, commander-in-chief of Anglo-Dutch forces, assembled his army – some 62,000 men – near Maastricht, and marched past Zoutleeuw. With both sides seeking battle, they soon encountered each other on the dry ground between the Mehaigne and Petite Gheete rivers, close to the small village of Ramillies.

In less than four hours Marlborough's Dutch, English, and Danish forces overwhelmed Villeroi's and Max Emanuel's Franco-Spanish-Bavarian army. The Duke's subtle moves and changes in emphasis during the battle – something his opponents failed to realise until it was too late – caught the French in a tactical vice. With their foe broken and routed, the Allies were able to fully exploit their victory. Town after town fell, including Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp; by the end of the campaign Villeroi's army had been driven from most of the Spanish Netherlands. With Prince Eugene's subsequent success at the Battle of Turin in northern Italy, the Allies had imposed the greatest loss of territory and resources that Louis XIV would suffer during the war. Thus, the year 1706 proved, for the Allies, to be an annus mirabilis.

Battle of St. Quentin (1557)

The Battle of Saint-Quentin of 1557 was fought at Saint-Quentin, Picardy, in northern France, during the Italian War of 1551–1559. The battle was won by Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy and forces loyal to Phillip II of Spain, who controlled the Spanish Netherlands.

Battle of Steenbergen (1583)

The Battle of Steenbergen, also known as the Capture of Steenbergen of 1583, took place on 17 June 1583 at Steenbergen, Duchy of Brabant, Spanish Netherlands (present-day North Brabant, the Netherlands), and was an important victory of the Spanish Army of Flanders led by Don Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma (Spanish: Alejandro Farnesio), Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands, over the French, English, and Dutch forces led by the French Marshal Armand de Gontaut, Baron de Biron, and the English commander Sir John Norreys, during the Eighty Years' War, the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604), and in the context of the French Wars of Religion. The victory of the Spaniards ended the Treaty of Plessis-les-Tours, and Francis, Duke of Anjou (French: François de France), left the Netherlands in late June.

Battle of Valenciennes (1656)

The Battle of Valenciennes (16 July 1656) was fought between the Spanish troops commanded by Don Juan José de Austria against the French troops under Marshal Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne, in the outskirts of the town in the Spanish Netherlands, during the Franco-Spanish War. It was the worst of only a few defeats that the French Marshal Vicomte de Turenne suffered in his long career campaigning and is regarded as Spain's last great victory of the 17th century.

Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria

Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand (also known as Don Fernando de Austria, Cardenal-Infante Fernando de España and as Ferdinand von Österreich; May 1609 or 1610 – 9 November 1641) was Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, Cardinal of the Holy Catholic Church, Infante of Spain, Infante of Portugal (until 1640), Archduke of Austria, Archbishop of Toledo (1619–41), and military commander during the Thirty Years' War.

Duchy of Luxemburg

The Duchy of Luxemburg (Dutch: Luxemburg, French: Luxembourg, German: Luxemburg, Luxembourgish: Lëtzebuerg) was a state of the Holy Roman Empire, the ancestral homeland of the noble House of Luxembourg. The House of Luxembourg, now Duke of Limburg, became one of the most important political forces in the 14th century, competing against the House of Habsburg for supremacy in Central Europe. They would be the heirs to the Přemyslid dynasty in the Kingdom of Bohemia, succeeding the Kingdom of Hungary and contributing four Holy Roman Emperors until their own line of male heirs came to an end and the House of Habsburg got the pieces that the two Houses had originally agreed upon in the Treaty of Brünn in 1364.In 1443, the duchy passed to Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy of the French House of Valois, and, in 1477, by marriage to Archduke Maximilian I of Austria of the House of Habsburg. The Seventeen Provinces of the former Burgundian Netherlands were formed into an integral union by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549. In 1795, French revolutionaries ended this situation.

Habsburg Netherlands

Habsburg Netherlands (Dutch: Habsburgse Nederlanden; French: Pays-Bas des Habsbourg), also referred to as Flanders during the early modern period, is the collective name of Holy Roman Empire fiefs in the Low Countries held by the House of Habsburg. The rule began in 1482, when after the death of the Valois-Burgundy duke Charles the Bold the Burgundian Netherlands fell to the Habsburg dynasty by the marriage of Charles's daughter Mary of Burgundy to Archduke Maximilian I of Austria. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor was born in the Habsburg Netherlands and made the Low Countries (primarily Brussels) the core of his "empire on which the sun never sets".Becoming the Seventeen Provinces in 1549, they were held by the Spanish Empire from 1556, and are therefore also known as the Spanish Netherlands from that time on. In 1581, the Seven United Provinces seceded to form the Dutch Republic; the remaining Spanish Southern Netherlands eventually passed on to Habsburg Austria. Finally, the Austrian Netherlands were annexed by the French First Republic in 1795.

List of governors of the Habsburg Netherlands

The Governor (Dutch: Landvoogd) or Governor-General (Gouverneur-Generaal) ruled the Habsburg Netherlands as a representative of the Dukes of Burgundy (until 1506), the Kings of Castile (1506-1598; 1621-1706), and the Archdukes of Austria (1716-1794). They were normally based in Brussels. Frequently, the governor-general was a close relative of the Spanish or Austrian monarch, though at other times Spanish or German noblemen filled the role. The Governor-General was usually based in Brussels.

Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria

Maximilian II (11 July 1662 – 26 February 1726), also known as Max Emanuel or Maximilian Emanuel, was a Wittelsbach ruler of Bavaria and a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. He was also the last governor of the Spanish Netherlands and duke of Luxembourg. An able soldier, his ambition led to conflicts that limited his ultimate dynastic achievements.

He was born in Munich to Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria and Princess Henriette Adelaide of Savoy (d.1676). His maternal grandparents were Victor Amadeus I of Savoy and Christine Marie of France, daughter of King Henri IV.

Nicolaas II Rockox

Nicolaas Rockox (1560–1640), was a mayor of Antwerp. He was a close personal friend and important patron of Peter Paul Rubens. His residence in Antwerp is now a museum known as the Rockox House. He was knighted by Archdukes Albert and Isabella, the Governord General of the Southern Netherlands.

Nine Years' War

The Nine Years' War (1688–97)—often called the War of the Grand Alliance or the War of the League of Augsburg—was a conflict between Louis XIV of France and a European coalition of the Holy Roman Empire (led by Austria), the Dutch Republic, Spain, England and Savoy. It was fought in Europe and the surrounding seas, North America and in India. It is sometimes considered the first global war. The conflict encompassed the Williamite war in Ireland and Jacobite risings in Scotland, where William III and James II struggled for control of England and Ireland, and a campaign in colonial North America between French and English settlers and their respective Indigenous allies, today called King William's War by Americans.

Louis XIV of France had emerged from the Franco-Dutch War in 1678 as the most powerful monarch in Europe, an absolute ruler who had won numerous military victories. Using a combination of aggression, annexation, and quasi-legal means, Louis XIV set about extending his gains to stabilize and strengthen France's frontiers, culminating in the brief War of the Reunions (1683–84). The Truce of Ratisbon guaranteed France's new borders for twenty years, but Louis XIV's subsequent actions—notably his Edict of Fontainebleau (the revocation of the Edict of Nantes) in 1685— led to the deterioration of his military and political dominance. Louis XIV's decision to cross the Rhine in September 1688 was designed to extend his influence and pressure the Holy Roman Empire into accepting his territorial and dynastic claims. Leopold I and the German princes resolved to resist, and when the States General and William III brought the Dutch and the English into the war against France, the French king faced a powerful coalition aimed at curtailing his ambitions.

The main fighting took place around France's borders in the Spanish Netherlands, the Rhineland, the Duchy of Savoy and Catalonia. The fighting generally favoured Louis XIV's armies, but by 1696 his country was in the grip of an economic crisis. The Maritime Powers (England and the Dutch Republic) were also financially exhausted, and when Savoy defected from the Alliance, all parties were keen to negotiate a settlement. By the terms of the Treaty of Ryswick (1697) Louis XIV retained the whole of Alsace but was forced to return Lorraine to its ruler and give up any gains on the right bank of the Rhine. Louis XIV also accepted William III as the rightful King of England, while the Dutch acquired a Barrier fortress system in the Spanish Netherlands to help secure their borders. With the ailing and childless Charles II of Spain approaching his end, a new conflict over the inheritance of the Spanish Empire embroiled Louis XIV and the Grand Alliance in the War of the Spanish Succession.

Peter Paul Rubens

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (; Dutch: [ˈrybə(n)s]; 28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish artist. He is considered the most influential artist of Flemish Baroque tradition. Rubens's highly charged compositions reference erudite aspects of classical and Christian history. His unique and immensely popular Baroque style emphasized movement, color, and sensuality, which followed the immediate, dramatic artistic style promoted in the Counter-Reformation. Rubens specialized in making altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.

In addition to running a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England. Rubens was a prolific artist. The catalogue of his works by Michael Jaffé lists 1,403 pieces, excluding numerous copies made in his workshop.His commissioned works were mostly "history paintings", which included religious and mythological subjects, and hunt scenes. He painted portraits, especially of friends, and self-portraits, and in later life painted several landscapes. Rubens designed tapestries and prints, as well as his own house. He also oversaw the ephemeral decorations of the royal entry into Antwerp by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria in 1635.

His drawings are predominantly very forceful and without great detail. He also made great use of oil sketches as preparatory studies. He was one of the last major artists to make consistent use of wooden panels as a support medium, even for very large works, but he used canvas as well, especially when the work needed to be sent a long distance. For altarpieces he sometimes painted on slate to reduce reflection problems.

Siege of 's-Hertogenbosch (1601)

The Siege of 's-Hertogenbosch of 1601 (Sitio de Bolduque de 1601 in Spanish) was an unsuccessful Dutch attempt led by Prince Maurice of Nassau and William Louis of Nassau-Dillenburg to capture the city of 's-Hertogenbosch, North Brabant, Spanish Netherlands, garrisoned by about 1,500–2,000 Spanish soldiers (2 infantry companies and 2 cavalry companies) led by Governor Anthonie Schetz, Baron of Grobbendonck, between 1 and 27 November 1601, during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604), in the context of the long and bloodiest Siege of Ostend.After having captured Rheinberg in July 1601, Prince Maurice in October mobilized seventy-three companies of infantry and thirty-three companies of cavalry, including several pieces of artillery. The city was virtually impregnable due to the great defensive fortifications, the continuous arrival of Spanish fresh reinforcements, and the deep loyalty of the population to the Catholic cause. The fierce cold was another important point. The siege ended when the Archduke Albert, Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands, sent a Spanish relief force under Count Frederik van den Bergh from Ostend, who on 27 November had reached at the town of Oirschot, some 25 km south of 's-Hertogenbosch. A day before, on 26 November, Prince Maurice, according with his cousin William Louis about the threat and danger to facing the Spaniards in open field, started the withdrawal.This Dutch failure was also an attempt to weaken the Spanish attacks in Ostend, where Sir Francis Vere (the commander of the garrison of Ostend at that time) was by now close to despair.In 1603 Maurice of Nassau again tried to conquer 's-Hertogenbosch, but again was forced to withdrawal.

Siege of Mons (1572)

The Siege of Mons of 1572 took place at Mons, capital of the County of Hainaut, Spanish Netherlands (present-day Belgium), between 23 June and 19 September 1572, as part of the Eighty Years' War, the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604), and the French Wars of Religion. In the spring of 1572, after the capture of Valenciennes by a Protestant force under Louis of Nassau, the Dutch commander continued with his offensive and took Mons by surprise on 24 May. After three months of siege, and the defeats of the armies of Jean de Hangest, seigneur d'Yvoy and Genlis, and William the Silent, Prince of Orange (Dutch: Willem van Oranje), by the Spanish army led by Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba ("The Iron Duke"), Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands, and his son, Don Fadrique de Toledo, Louis of Nassau's forces, isolated and without any hope of help, surrendered Mons to the Duke of Alba on 19 September.

Siege of Schoonhoven (1575)

The Siege of Schoonhoven of 1575, also known as the Capture of Schoonhoven, was a Spanish victory that took place between 11 and 24 August 1575, at Schoonhoven, Spanish Netherlands (present-day South Holland, the Netherlands), during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). On June 28, 1575, the Spanish forces, between 8,000 and 10,000 soldiers, led by Gilles de Berlaymont, Lord of Hierges, and Stadtholder of Guelders, Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, captured Buren, and on August 7, Oudewater. The Spanish commander continued its successful progress and arrived at Schoonhoven on August 11. After 13 days of siege, and a courageous but futile resistance, the rebel forces led by De La Garde, composed by Dutch, English, Scottish, French and Walloon soldiers (about 800 men), surrendered to the more experienced Spanish troops, on August 24. The population of the town, that were unwilling to help the rebel forces, received Berlaymont with great joy.Two weeks later, the Spanish forces under Charles de Brimeu, Count of Megen, marched towards Woerden, and laid siege to the town on September 8.

Southern Netherlands

The Southern Netherlands, also called the Catholic Netherlands, was the part of the Low Countries largely controlled by Spain (1556–1714), later Austria (1714–1794), and occupied then annexed by France (1794–1815). The region also included a number of smaller states that were never ruled by Spain or Austria: the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, the Imperial Abbey of Stavelot-Malmedy, the County of Bouillon, the County of Horne and the Princely Abbey of Thorn. The Southern Netherlands were part of the Holy Roman Empire until the whole area was annexed by Revolutionary France.

The Southern Netherlands comprised most of modern-day Belgium and Luxembourg, some parts of the Netherlands and Germany (the region of Upper-Gueldres, now divided between Germany and the modern Dutch Province of Limburg and in 1713 largely ceded to Prussia and the Bitburg area in Germany, then part of Luxembourg) as well as, until 1678, most of the present Nord-Pas-de-Calais region and the Longwy area in northern France.

Truce of Ratisbon

The Truce of Ratisbon, or Truce of Regensburg, concluded the War of the Reunions between Spain and the Holy Roman Empire on one hand and France on the other hand. The Truce was signed on 15 August 1684 at the Dominican convent in Ratisbon (now in Bavaria) between Louis XIV, the Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I, and the Spanish King, Charles II. The Spanish were involved as the owners of the Spanish Netherlands, which were part of the Holy Roman Empire. The final agreements allowed Louis to retain Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and most other Reunion gains, but he had to hand back Courtrai and Dixmude. Luxembourg, Courtrai, and Dixmude were in the Spanish Netherlands, whereas Strasbourg had been a free imperial city. The truce was supposed to last twenty years, but Louis terminated it after four years by declaring war to the Dutch Republic on 16 November and by investing Philippsburg on 27 September 1688, thereby starting the Nine Years' War.

War of Devolution

The War of Devolution (1667–68) saw the French armies of Louis XIV overrun the Habsburg-controlled Spanish Netherlands and the Franche-Comté (or Free County of Burgundy), only to be pressured to give most of it back by a Triple Alliance of England, Sweden and the Dutch Republic, in the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.

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