Dutch Revolt  

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The Dutch Revolt or the Revolt of the Netherlands (1566 or 1568–1609) was the partially successful revolt of the Protestant Seventeen Provinces of the defunct Duchy of Burgundy in the Low Countries against the ardent militant religious policies of Roman Catholicism pressed by both Charles I and son Phillip II of Spanish Empire. The religious 'clash of cultures' built up gradually but inexorably into outbursts of violence against the perceived repression of the Spanish Crown. These tensions marked the beginning of the Thirty Years' War and led to the formation of the independent Dutch Republic. The first leader was William of Orange, followed by several of his descendants and relations. This revolt was one of the first successful secessions in Europe, and led to one of the first European republics of the modern era, the United Provinces.

Spain was initially successful in suppressing the rebellion. In 1572, however, the rebels captured Brielle and the rebellion resurged. The northern provinces became independent, first de facto, and in 1648 de jure. During the revolt, the United Provinces of the Netherlands, better known as the Dutch Republic, rapidly grew to become a world power through its merchant shipping and experienced a period of economic, scientific, and cultural growth. The Southern Netherlands (situated in modern-day Belgium, Luxembourg, northern France and southern Netherlands; see Spanish Netherlands and French Netherlands) remained under Spanish rule. The continuous heavy-handed rule by the Spanish in the south caused many of its financial, intellectual, and cultural elite to flee north, contributing to the success of the Dutch Republic. The Dutch imposed a rigid blockade on the southern provinces which prevented Baltic grain relieving famine in the southern towns, especially in the years 1587-9. Additionally, by the end of the war in 1648 large areas of the Southern Netherlands had been lost to France which had, under the guidance of Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIII of France, allied itself with the Dutch Republic in the 1630s against Spain.

The first phase of the conflict can be considered to be the Dutch War of Independence. The focus of the latter phase was to gain official recognition of the already de facto independence of the United Provinces. This phase coincided with the rise of the Dutch Republic as a major power and the founding of the Dutch Empire.

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