Austrian Netherlands

The Spanish Netherlands, 1600-1713

During the DUTCH WAR OF INDEPENDENCE, the cities of Flanders and Brabant had been hotbeds of protestant and revolutionary agitation. The conquest of these cities by the Spanish in 1584 and 1585, however, reestablished Spanish control. The ranks of the cities' regents and the provinces' nobility were cleared of supporters of protestantism and the revolt (most of them had fled anyway). The Spanish troops plundered Antwerp, the commercial heart of northwestern Europe, resulting in a considerable portion of the city's population to emigrate (most of them finally resettled in Amsterdam).
Having reestablished it's rule by force, the Spanish administration, headed by the stadholder seated in BRUSSELS, could rule having to worry little about the privileges of the cities and provinces; obstinate GHENT and the others would no longer dare oppose state policy.

Spain, focussed on to many war theatres at once (the Dutch Revolt, France, England) did not take advantage of the situation, the Dutch Republic was able to establish itself to the north of the Rhine. The Dutch Republic (i.e. the 7 provinces) now were of the opinion that if the southern provinces wanted to join the union, they had to expel the Spanish on their own - economically, Holland, Flanders and Brabant were competitors, and Holland had gained much at the expense of the other two. In 1609 a truce was signed, which in effect meant the recognition of the Dutch Republic.
The truce meant that the front line was frozen, and the Dutch controlled the mouth of the Schelde river. The BLOCKADE OF ANTWERP was continued despite the truce and not given up until 1789/95.

In 1621 the war was resumed, but Spain made no headway against the Republic. When France entered the war, the Spanish had to defend their southern border. In the BATTLE OF ROCROI (1643) the French defeated the Spanish, whose infantry hitherto had been believed invincible.
In 1648, the WESTPHALIAN PEACE was signed, in which Spain finally recognized the Dutch Republic's independence. However, the war with France continued until 1659, when the PEACE OF THE PYRENEES was signed. Spain had to cede ARTOIS and southern Flanders.
In the meantime, the Counterreformation had proceeded in the territories under Spanish control, and the Spanish Netherlands were staunchly Catholic.

By 1659, Spain militarily had collapsed, unable to defend itself against the French. France, under Louis XIV., introduced a standing army, a constant threat to the Spanish Netherlands. The French CHAMBERS OF REUNION declared stretch after stretch of Spanish Netherlands' territory rightly French and annexed it - legally "justified" land robbery.
The situation became that threatening, that the Dutch Republic, until recently an ally of France and an archenemy of Spain, changed policy and organized alliances coming to Spain's aid. In 1688, France faced an alliance comprising of the Netherlands, England, Spain, the Empire in a war that lasted until 1697. The southern border of the Spanish Netherlands was stabilized, to which Spain had contributed only a smaller part. The war had been disastrous for the country; Brussels was largely destroyed in 1695.
In 1700 Charles II., the last Spanish king of the Habsburg Dynasty, died childless and the WAR OF SPANISH SUCCESSION broke out (1700-1713), the Spanish crown being taken by Philip V., a Bourbon and relative of the French king. Both England and the Dutch Republic were unwilling to see the Spanish Netherlands in the hands of a French satellite (as which Bourbon Spain was percieved). Many of the battles of the wat were fought in Belgium, British general LORD MARLBOROUGH being the victor. In the PEACE OF UTRECHT 1713 Spain ceded the Spanish Netherlands to Austria.

Spanish Netherlands, in : Article The Netherlands, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Spanish Netherlands, Coin History 1598-1621, by Marc Nollet
History of Antwerp, of Brussels, of Ghent, of Bruges, of Liege , of Namur, of Ypres, of Mechelen, of Leuven from Belgium Travel Network (trabel); the site offers also files on the monuments of each city
The Economist : City Guide : Brussels : History
The Netherlands, from Catholic Encyclopedia 1911 edition, scroll down for extensive article on Spn. Netherlands
Jansenius and Jansenism, from Catholic Encyclopedia 1911 edition
The Archdukes in Brussels, Albrecht and Isabella 1598-1621, article by Pauline Croft, Royal Museums for Art and History, Brussels
Petit Histoire du Nord, from Region Nord-Pas du Calais
Flanders in the Spanish Empire, from History of Flanders
The War of the Grand Alliance (1688-1697) and the Battle of Steenkerke 1692, from Iain Kerr's Home Page
Heksenprocessen in de kasselrij Oudenaarde (Witch trials in the castle district of Oudenaarde), by J. Monballyu, in Dutch, most cases destcribed between 1570 and 1640
History of the Duchy of Bouillon, from Heraldica
Geschiedenis van Brussel : Filips II. en het Spaanse Tijdvak (1556-1700), from Digitaal Brussel, in Dutch
De Oostendse Compagnie, by Bob Schuyesmans
God en Goud. De situatie van de lombarden in de Zuidelijke Nederlanden van de zestiende eeuw. (God and Gold. The situation of the Lombards in the Southern Netherlands in the 16th Century.) by Sebastien Conard, diss. Gent 2004, in Dutch
Bruno Blonde, Ilja van Damme, Consumer and Retail "Revolutions", Perspectives from a Declining Urban Economy. Antwerp in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century, IEHC 2006
Michael Limberger, Private Money, Urban Finance and the State : Antwerp in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, IEHC 2006
DOCUMENTS Spanish Netherlands, Coin Catalogue 1598-1621, by Marc Nollet
Spanish Netherlands, Jeton Catalogue 1598-1621, by Marc Nollet
Spanish Netherlands, Pictures, by Marc Nollet
Map of the Netherlands at the Death of Elizabeth I. (1603), Flanders and Brabant, 1690-1696 (features mainly places, roads etc.), Map of the Netherlands 1702, from Gardiner's Atlas of English History, 1892 posted by Livingston County MI
Historical Maps of Brabant, from Jacob Aertsz, De Vyerige Colom, posted on the Brabant Homepage
Regelgeving in de Nederlanden, database of documents on regional and local law history, site in Dutch, as are most documents, a few in French
The Battle of Blenheim 1704, Chapter XI from Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, by Edward Shepherd Creasy, posted by Pierre Sandboge
Interactive map, featuring the French-Spanish border in Artois-Flanders after the Treaties of 1659, 1668, 1678, 1713, from Region Nord-Pas de Calais
Map : Pays-bas espagnols, 1648, from Region Nord-Pas de Calais
Portraits of Archduke Ernst of Austria, Stadholder since 1592; Pedro Enriquez de Acevedo, Count of Fuentes, Stadholder 1595-1596, Albrecht the Pious, Archfuke of Austria, Stadholder 1596- ; Juan d'Austria, Stadholder 1576, Alessandro Farnese, from Dominicus Custos, Atrium heroicum Caesarum, regum, [...] imaginibus [...] illustr[atum]. Pars 1-4.Augsburg: M. Manger, J. Praetorius, 1600-1602, posted by MATEO, Univ. Mannheim
Peeter Heyns, Le Miroir du Monde, Amsterdam 1598, based on Ortelius, clickable maps : Brabantia, Flandria Maritima, Flandria, Flandria Imperialis, Flandris Liberae Territorium, Gives, Hornia, Lvczenburgum, Hannonia et Namur, Mechliniae Territorium, Wasia; posted by MATEO, Univ. Mannheim
List of coins issued for the Spanish Netherlands under Albrecht and Isabel, Philip IV., Pt.1, Philip IV., Pt.2, Philip IV., Pt.3, Philip IV., Pt.4, Charles II., Pt.1, Charles II., Pt.2, Philip V., Charles III., in Dutch, no images
Documents relatifs au duche de Bouillon, 1484-1825, from Heraldica, in French
L'Histoire de l'Archiduc Albert, Gouverneur General et puis Prince Souverain de la Belgique, 1693, from ABU : la Bibliotheque Universelle, in French
REFERENCE H.P.H. Jansen, Kalendarium. Geschiedenis van de Lage Landen in Jaartallen (History of the Low Countries by Years), Utrecht : Prisma (1971) 4th edition 1979 [G]
Geoffrey Parker, The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road 1567-1659, Cambridge : UP 1972 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on June 18th 2008

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