The Dutch Revolt

"The 80 Years War" (1568-1648)

What Was the Dutch Revolt?

Cause - The Dutch revolt was an uprising of Spanish colonies in the Netherlands who felt that it was unfair to be ruled by a king that only attended to the needs of the people living in Spain and not theirs. During the Protestant reform, the majority of Dutch people turned to Calvinism, and many of the people in the Spanish colonies converted as well. Because Spain was so heavily Catholic, the Spanish colonies in the Netherlands felt that their new religious beliefs were not represented by the Spanish government.

Course- Because of this, Spanish colonists in the Netherlands revolted and refused to recognize Margret of Parma as their Governess. Spain appointed a new Governor, Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, who increased tensions further by executing over 3,000 Protestants. William the Silent became the reluctant leader of the Dutch Revolt by refusing to side with the rebels nor the Spanish government. He lead the rebels to victory in several battles before his execution in 1584. Luckily for the rebels, at the same time, the Queen of England began to assist the Spanish colonists in order to anger the Spanish King, Phillip. Because of his anger at England, Phillip focused all his attention on building the Spanish Armada. Once they were defeated in battle by England, Phillip was left with no resources to smother the rebellion of colonists in the Netherlands. The rebels were able to capture the majority of the land north of the Rhine, and had recruited France to declare war against Spain as well.

Outcome- Spain ceded their territories in the Netherlands in a true between the Dutch, the French, and the Spanish. This true was known as the Twelve Years' Truce. After one more failed attack by Spain, the Dutch Revolt officially came to an end in 1648.

Significance- Because the Netherlands were free of Spanish control, the Dutch empire grew rapidly, and eventually became even more powerful than Spain.

Key Figures

Key Groups

Original Documents

1. This document is a letter from King Phillip II to Governess Margret of Parma. In the letter, he apologizes for the trouble the colonists have given her. He also tells her that he is sending in other Spanish officials to help her control the unrest of the people.

2. This document shows the goals of William the Silent. William stated that he did not want to side with either the colonists or the Spanish government. By taking a peaceful stance, he became the unlikely and reluctant leader of the early Dutch Revolt.