Union of Utrecht

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For the union of Old Catholic churches, see Union of Utrecht (Old Catholic).
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The Union of Utrecht (Dutch: Unie van Utrecht) was a treaty signed on 23 January 1579 in Utrecht, the Netherlands, unifying the northern provinces of the Netherlands, until then under the control of Habsburg Spain.

The Union of Utrecht is regarded as the foundation of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces, which was not recognized by the Spanish Empire until the Twelve Years' Truce in 1609.

The treaty was signed on 23 January by Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht (but not all of Utrecht) and the province (but not the city) of Groningen. The treaty was a reaction of the Protestant provinces to the 1579 Union of Arras (Dutch: Unie van Atrecht), in which the southern provinces declared their support for Roman Catholic Spain.

During the following months of 1579, other states signed the treaty as well, such as Ghent, cities from Friesland, as well as three of the quarters of Guelders. In the summer of 1579, Amersfoort from the province of Utrecht also joined, together with Ypres, Antwerp, Breda and Brussels. In February 1580, Lier, Bruges and the surrounding area also signed the Union. The city of Groningen shifted in favor under influence of the stadtholder for Friesland, George van Rennenberg, and also signed the treaty. Later on, Zutphen also signed so Guelders (of which Zutphen is one of the quarters) supported the Union completely. This happened in April 1580, as did the signing of Overijssel and Drenthe.

Map of the Spanish Netherlands, the Union of Utrecht and the Union of Arras (1579).

This leads to a general and simplified overview of the parts that joined:

Flanders was almost entirely conquered by the Spanish troops, as was half of Brabant. The United Provinces still recognized Spanish rule after the Union of Utrecht. However, the Union contributed to the deterioration in the relationship between the provinces and their lord, and in 1581 the United Provinces declared their independence of the king in the Act of Abjuration.

The Twelve Years' Truce of 1609 essentially marked the end of the Dutch struggle for independence and a pause in one of history's longest running conflicts, the Eighty Years' War. As Pieter Geyl puts it, the truce marked "an astonishing victory for the Dutch." They gave up no land and did not agree to halt their attacks on Spanish colonies and the Spanish trade empire. In return the Spanish granted the United Provinces de facto independence by describing them as "Free lands, provinces and states against who they make no claim" for the duration of the truce.[15]

Text of Treaty in English translation[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roman foederati
  2. ^ The Chamavi merged into the confederation of the Franks; the Tubanti merged into the confederation of the Saxons.
  3. ^ Roman foederati
  4. ^ Roman foederati
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Lordship of Frisia and Lordship of Groningen (including the Ommelanden) after 1524 and 1536 respectively.
  8. ^ Including County of Zeeland, that was ruled by neighboring County of Holland and County of Flanders (until 1432).
  9. ^ Utrecht included Lordship of Overijssel (until 1528), County of Drenthe (until 1528) and County of Zutphen (until 1182).
  10. ^ 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).
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Including County of Artois (part of Flanders until 1237) and Tournaisis.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Pieter Geyl (1980). The revolt of the Netherlands, 1555-1609. Barnes & Noble Books. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Geyl, Pieter (1980). The revolt of the Netherlands, 1555-1609. Barnes & Noble Books. 
  • Israel, Jonathan I. The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477-1806 (1998) pp 184-96
  • Koenigsberger, H. G. Monarchies, States Generals & Parliaments: The Netherlands in the Fifteenth & Sixteenth Centuries (2002)
  • Salmon, Lucy Maynard. The Union of Utrecht (1894) online pp 137-48