The Dutch Revolt

By Jack Bell

Summary of the Dutch Revolution

It was one of the first successful secessions in Europe and led to one of the first European Republics of the modern era. The Seven Provinces of the Low Countries united against the rule of the Roman Catholic King Phillip II of Spain. After the revolt they formed the Dutch Republic and put an end to the Spanish immersion in Dutch territories.

The Cause:

It all started when Phillip II tried to suppress Protestantism in the Netherlands. Dutch Protestants burned Catholic churches causing Phillip II to send an army. William of Orange, the most powerful Noble, led the revolt against Spain. England, France, and the Ottoman Empire fought against Spain on other fronts so it was harder for them to win against the Dutch.

The Course of the Dutch Revolt

After it started with Phillip II and Protestantism, William of Orange was assassinated in 1584. His son, Maurice of Orange became the general of the army and he was a good general. In 1609 he drove the Spanish army out of the Netherlands and signed an armistice. In 1618 the 30 years war started and was fought in Germany. It involved most of the Western European Countries including the Dutch Republic. After the war ended in 1648 Spain recognized the Dutch Republic's Independence.

Key Figures during the Dutch Revolt

  • William of Orange: Also known as William I, or William the Silent, he was the leader of the Dutch Revolt from the begging and died in 1584 when killed by an assassin.
  • King Philip II: He was the King of Spain and later King of Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and even England and Ireland. He fought against the Netherlands during the Dutch revolt because he tried to suppress Protestantism. He died in 1598 after living 71 years.
  • Maurice of Orange: The son of William of Orange, he became the General of the military after his father's assassination. After taking over from his father in leading the revolt, he organized the revolt into a successful, coherent victory. He won fame for being a great military strategist and died in 1625.

The Main Significance:

The Netherlands had been Spain's most profitable land. Charles V and Philip II of Spain attempted to impose their Catholic ways on the Dutch, which didn't fare well. The rebellion, led by William of Orange from the 1560s until 1609, was ultimately successful. The Netherlands formed one of the first modern European republics, known as the United Provinces. They also experienced a golden age of economic, scientific, and cultural growth that put the Dutch onto the global scene and reduced the power of the Spanish.

The Outcome of the Dutch Revolt:

The Dutch Revolt ends in 1609, but the United Provinces gain independence from the Treaty Of West Philadelphia in 1648 from Spain which corresponded with the end of the 30 years war.