Flanders : Ghent Rising, 1539-1540

A.) Prehistory

In the sixteenth Ghent was one of Europe's largest and wealthiest cities, her prosperity built upon trade, textile industry etc. In the last decades, the city had been outshadowed by nearby Antwerp which had developed into the center of western European trade.
Ghent was proud for her ancient privileges and repeatedly had successfully stood up to the Counts of Flanders in the defense of these privileges (so 1379-1385, 1451-1453). Emperor Charles V. introduced a centralized administration (unpopular with the cities of the Low Countries, which had to finance them). He needed money to finance his many wars. In 1539 the Governess ordered the collection of a tax which not had been approved by the Estates.

B.) The Rising

Only proud Ghent resisted to the collection of the tax; the resistance was broken, the city's privileges cancelled.

C.) The Legacy

Both the concentration of political power in the hands of the Habsburg dynasty and the development of military technique had made even wealthy cities of the status of Ghent no match for the former. Stubbornly resisting the policy of the territorial lord and trusting that the city walls will hold no longer worked; the Ghent Rising marks the end of an era.

Gent en Keizer Karel (Ghent and Emperor Charles), from gent.be, in Dutch

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 9th 2003, last revised on Novembr 17th 2004

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz