The Dutch Revolt

"The 80 Years War" 1568-1648


The Dutch Revolt, also known as The 80 Years War, was a war fought between the Spanish and their colonies in the Netherlands. The colonies in the Netherlands began revolting as they felt the king was not meeting their needs. What also helped to fuel this revolt was that during the time of The Protestant Reformation, Spain was a Catholic empire while the Netherlands looked to Calvinism. Both the difference in religions of Spain and the Netherlands, and the fact that the Dutch believed the king was not meeting their needs helped to fuel The Dutch Revolt.


Root Causes:

- The Dutch did not feel like they were truly a part of Spain as they felt the king never met their needs.

- The Dutch were predominantly Calvinistic during The Reformation, while Spain was Catholic.

Direct Cause:

- King Philip II of Spain sent in garrisons to enforce edicts regarding laws against heretics.



After Charles V abdicated in 1556, his son Philip II eventually became King of Spain. Though Philip II's father had been born in the Netherlands, Philip II was not very tied to the Netherlands and vice versa. During Philip II's reign, the Dutch people began to protest the Spanish Inquisition leading to greater tension between Spain and its Dutch colonies. Eventually, rebellions began throughout the Dutch colonies against the Inquisition and Philip II named Fernando Alaverz de Toledo (the third Duke of Alba) governor in order to control the rebellions, replacing Margaret of Parma. Under the Duke of Alba, 3,000 rebels were executed which caused both parties to become more radicalized than before. William of Orange, an immense landowner of the Netherlands, refused to swear the Duke's oath of allegiance, he also refused to side with either the King or with the rebels; his refusal to ally himself earned him the title William the Silent. Later, William the Silent lead three rebellions against the King which eventually caused the revolts to turn into a full scale war. Under William the Silent, several rebellions were victorious but as time went on the rebellions were almost put to an end. Luckily Queen Elizabeth I of England assisted William which caused Philip II to focus his attention to his navy, rather than the Dutch people revolting. As Philip II focused his time and money on his naval fleet more land was lost to the Dutch, and eventually the rebellion was put to an end under the the Twelve Years' Truce.


Winner: The Dutch

Loser: The Spanish

Main Significance

The Dutch Revolt led to the separation of the Netherlands from Spain, and later the separation of Belgium from the Netherlands.

Key Figures

Original Document

Prince William of Orange Letter

In this letter Prince William calls for a separation of Spain. William discusses who of the Dutch should join in his split from the crown of Spain. Also, William states what is wrong with the crown as reasons for why the Dutch should join his cause.

BY: Jordyn Cozart and Kate Schultz