Spanish Netherlands

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Spanish Netherlands
Países Bajos Españoles
Spaanse Nederlanden
Province of the Spanish Empire
States of the Holy Roman Empire

1581–1714
Flag Coat of arms of Archduke Albert VII of Austria
Motto
Plus Ultra
"Further Beyond"
Spanish Netherlands (grey) in 1700
Capital Brussels
Languages Spanish, Dutch
Religion Catholic, Protestant
Government Governorate
Governor
 -  1581–1592 Alexander Farnese (first)
 -  1692–1706 Maximilian Emanuel (last)
Historical era Medieval / Early Modern
 -  Act of Abjuration 26 July 1581
 -  War of the Reunions 1683–1684
 -  Truce of Ratisbon 15 August 1684
 -  Nine Years' War 1688–1697
 -  War of Succession 1701–1714
 -  Treaty of Rastatt 7 March 1714
Population
 -  1700 est. 1,794,000[1] 
Currency Gulden

Spanish Netherlands (Spanish: Países Bajos españoles; Dutch: Spaanse Nederlanden) is the collective name of States of the Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries, held in personal union by the Spanish Crown (Habsburg Spain) from 1581 to 1714. This region comprised all of modern Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as parts of northern France and Germany.

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 the Rich 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.

History[edit]

A common administration of the Netherlandish fiefs, centered in Brabant, already existed under the rule of the Burgundian duke Philip the Good with the implemetation of a stadtholder and the first convocation of the States General of the Netherlands in 1437. His grand-daughter Mary the Rich 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 inisisted 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 could assume the rule over the Habsburg Netherlands in 1493.

Charles V[edit]

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 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 undivisible Habsburg dominion. The division was consummated when he resignedly announced his abdication and left the Spanish heritage to his only surviving 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 Habsburgs.

Eighty Years' War[edit]

Philip's despotism and his 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 Habsburg Spain as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands by the 1581 Act of Abjuration. The Spanish Habsburgs could only retain the rule over the partly Catholic Southern Netherlands, completed after the Fall of Antwerp in 1585.

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, and with Albert's death in 1621 they returned to formal Spanish control, although 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): Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (south of the river Scheldt), the present Dutch province of Noord-Brabant and Maastricht (in the present-day Dutch province of Limburg).

French conquests[edit]

As Spanish power waned in the latter decades of the 17th century, the territory of the Spanish Netherlands 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 Lilloise Flanders (around the city of Lille), 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.

By the peace treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt in 1713/14 ending the War of the Spanish Succession, the Southern Netherlands fell back to the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy forming the Austrian Netherlands.

History of the Low Countries
............ ...... ............ ..... ..... ..... ..... ............ ...........
Frisii Belgae
Cana-
nefates
[2]
Chamavi, Tubanti[3] Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Gallia Belgica (55BC-5th c.)
Salian Franks Batavii[4]
unpopulated
(4th-5th c.)
Saxons Salian Franks[5]
(4th-5th c.)
Frisian Kingdom
(6th c.–734)
Frankish Kingdom (481-843) - Carolingian Empire (800-843)
Austrasia (511-687)
Middle Francia (843–855) West
Francia

(843–)
Kingdom of Lotharingia[6] (855– 959)
Duchy of Lower Lorraine[7] (959–)
Frisia Arms of Flanders.svg

Friesland (kleine wapen).svg
Frisian
Free-
dom
[8]
(11–16th
century)
Counts of Holland Arms.svg
County of
Holland
[9]
(880–1432)
Coat of arms of Utrecht city.gif
Bishopric of
Utrecht
[10]
(695–1456)
Royal Arms of Belgium.svg
Duchy of
Brabant
[11]
(1183–1430)
Guelders-Jülich Arms.svg
Duchy of
Guelders
[12]
(1046–1543)
County of
Flanders
[13]
(862–1384)
Hainaut Modern Arms.svg
County of
Hainaut

(1071–1432)
Arms of Namur.svg
County of
Namur

(981–1421)
Armoiries Principauté de Liège.svg
P.-Bish.
of Liège

[14]
(980–1794)
Arms of Luxembourg.svg
Duchy of
Luxem-
bourg

(1059–1443)
  Flag - Low Countries - XVth Century.png
Burgundian Netherlands (1384–1482)
Flag of the Low Countries.svg
Habsburg Netherlands (1482–1795)
(Seventeen Provinces after 1543)[15]
 
Statenvlag.svg
Dutch Republic
(Seven United Netherlands)
(1581–1795)
Flag of the Low Countries.svg
Spanish Netherlands
(1556–1714)
 
  Austrian Low Countries Flag.svg
Austrian Netherlands
(1714–1795)
  Flag of the Brabantine Revolution.svg
United States of Belgium
(1790)
LuikVlag.svg
R. Liège
(1789–'91)
     
Flag of the Batavian Republic.svg
Batavian Republic (1795–1806)
Kingdom of Holland (1806–1810)
Flag of France.svg
part of French First Republic (1795–1804)
part of First French Empire (1804–1815)
   
Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Princip. of the Netherlands (1813–1815)
 
United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1830)


Kingdom of the Netherlands (1839–)
Flag of Belgium.svg
Kingdom of Belgium (1830–)
Flag of Luxembourg.svg
Gr D. L.
(1839–)
Gr D. of
Luxem-
bourg

(1890–)

Provinces[edit]

From 1581 the Spanish 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, Lilloise 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[edit]

Notes[edit]

  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[edit]

  1. ^ Demographics of the Netherlands, Jan Lahmeyer. Retrieved on 20 February 2014.
  2. ^ Roman foederati
  3. ^ The Chamavi merged into the confederation of the Franks; the Tubanti merged into the confederation of the Saxons.
  4. ^ Roman foederati
  5. ^ Roman foederati
  6. ^ Part of East Francia after 939, divided in Upper Lorraine (as part of West Francia) and Lower Lorraine (as part of East Francia) in 959.
  7. ^ Lower Lorraine - also referred to as Lothier - disintegrated into several smaller independent territories and only the title of a "Duke of Lothier" remained, held by Brabant.
  8. ^ Lordship of Frisia and Lordship of Groningen (including the Ommelanden) after 1524 and 1536 respectively.
  9. ^ Including County of Zeeland, that was ruled by neighboring County of Holland and County of Flanders (until 1432).
  10. ^ Utrecht included Lordship of Overijssel (until 1528), County of Drenthe (until 1528) and County of Zutphen (until 1182).
  11. ^ Duchy of Brabant included since 1288 also the Duchy of Limburg (now part of the Belgian Province of Liège) and the "Overmaas" lands Dalhem, Valkenburg and Herzogenrath (now part of the Dutch Province of Limburg).
  12. ^ The county, later duchy, of Guelders consisted of four quarters, as they were separated by rivers: situated upstream Upper Quarter (the present day northern half of the Dutch province of Limburg), spatially separated from the three downstream Lower Quarters: County of Zutphen (after 1182), Veluwe Quarter and Nijmegen Quarter. The three lower quarters emerged from the historic gau Hamaland, and formed the present day province of Gelderland. Guelders did not include the Cleves enclave Huissen and the independent counties of Buren and Culemborg, that were much later seceded to the province of Gelderland.
  13. ^ Including County of Artois (part of Flanders until 1237) and Tournaisis.
  14. ^ Throughout the Middle Ages, the bishopric was further expanded with the Duchy of Bouillon in 1096 (ceded to France in 1678), the acquisition of the county of Loon in 1366 and the county of Horne in 1568. The Lordship of Mechelen was also part of the Prince-Bishopric of Liège.
  15. ^ The name Seventeen Provinces came in use after the Habsburg emperor Charles V had re-acquired the Duchy of Guelders, and an continuous territory arose.