Union of Arras

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Map of the Spanish Netherlands (1579).

The Union of Arras (Dutch: Unie van Atrecht, Spanish: Unión de Arrás) was an accord signed on 6 January 1579 in Atrecht (now Arras), under which the southern states of the Netherlands, today in the Wallonia region of Belgium and the Nord-Pas-de-Calais (and Picardy) régions in France, expressed their loyalty to the Spanish king Philip II and recognized his Governor-General, Don Juan of Austria. It is to be distinguished from the Union of Utrecht, signed later in the same month.

These were the conditions:

  • There should be no more garrisons of foreign troops;
  • The Council of State should be organized like that of the time of Charles V;
  • Two thirds of the council members should be installed by all member states consenting.
  • All privileges that were in force before the Dutch Revolt should be reinstated.
  • Catholicism was the only religion. Any other religion (i.e. Calvinism) should be abolished.

The regions that signed it were:

The regions that favored the Union, but did not sign it, were

Alexander Farnese, the Duke of Parma, used these counties as a base to start his conquest of the separatist parts (members of the Union of Utrecht).

Text of Treaty in English translation[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 (named after the Chamavi tribe), 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.

See also[edit]