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Discuss the causes of the Dutch revolt against Spain

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  • Pages: 2
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  • Category: Christian

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Although the Low Countries possessed no other identity other than fragmented states that were “owned” (or controlled) by the dukes of Burgundy, and therein, when called upon to send delegates to an estates general, the seeds of collaboration were placed. As Phillip II entered the scene with his outright foreign Spanish influence (where he was born and resided), followed by the introduction of Spanish soldiers, governors, and officials, the first currents of revolt began to stir. As the religious wars consumed Europe, the ‘invasion’ of Philip II aroused rebellious feelings on both political and religious grounds–as the majority of the Netherlanders were Protestant and Phillip and his Spaniards were emphatically Catholic. In 1566, a “league” was formed to counter the Spanish influence and their petition to Spain to forgo the Inquisition in their states was refused. Thus, the Netherlanders, poised for the troubles of the religious wars, the foreign influence on their way of life and political structure, and the realization that their very liberties were at stake, stirred the masses into revolt.

As the internal conflict of the Low Countries (the northern seven now formally aligned and declaring independence as the United Provinces of the Netherlands–or “Holland”) against Spain continued, England was eventually dragged into the fray because, like all conflicts that waged in Europe at the time, the matter of religion was again at stake. England, Protestant itself, was already in conflict with Spain, and the foundation of plans to eradicate Queen Elizabeth I and all of Protestantism with her came to the forefront of the Spanish intentions. Thus, England joined Holland in its revolt. Eventually, the infamous defeat of the Spanish Armada occurred and the Netherlands (at least the northern states) were freed from Spanish control. In the end, England, through victory, had also secured its own independence, and as the patriotic fever spread, began also to emerge as a naval power–joining the Iberian states in the conquest of colonization of the new worlds.

The Netherlands became officially partitioned in 1609 when the Twelve Years Truce was agreed upon, and the seven northern states became Dutch and the remaining ten provinces (modern Belgium) became known as the Spanish Netherlands–also along this political boundary was drawn the religious boundary as well, as all Protestants converted or fled North (the Dutch adopted a toleration policy of all religions), and the Catholic hold on the south was sealed. Once established as an emerging power, the Dutch, under William the Silent (of Orange), also began establishing colonies and naval influence. Final results of the Netherlands revolt included the founding of Virginia by the English, New York by the Dutch, and the internal collapse of Spain as the religious wars and religious pursuit negated the entire working class, and religious persecution ran the only workers (the “Muslim” Moriscos) from the country–thus, by 1640, Portugal had again freed itself from the Spanish yoke.

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