Why did Orange's invasion of 1572 prove more successful than his attack in 1568?

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Orange 1567-72

  • In April 1567 William of orange fled to Germany.
  • He had not decided yet to become a rebel but judged it best to await events from a position of safety.
  • Orange sent Alva a letter in 1567 to test the ground asking whether he could be of service.
  • In response he was condemned in his absence by the COT and had his estates confiscated. His former colleagues were beheaded.
  • The punished meted out by COT left him little choice but to become a rebel.
  • Orange saw himself as the leader of the opposition to Alva with the other chief confederates and nobels gone or dead.
  • In 1568, Orange invaded the Netherlands with the help of a mercenary army from Germany.
  • Campaign was a complete failure; troops rapidly defeated, not one town rose in his name.
  • Orange tried to resore his fortunes and increase his allies.
  • In 1567 converted to Lutheranism---> motivated by political considerations, could call to his aid co-religionists in exile.
  • Established close links with Huguenots, fighting alongside them against Catholics winning over Admiral Coligny (dominant voice in Charles' court).
  • Presented himself as 'national leader', 'father of his country'.
  • His aim was the overthrow of a tyrannical regime; promised to restore the lost liberties of the Dutch.

The invasion plan of 1572

  • Second invasion plan; Netherlands invaded from Germany by 2 armies; mixed force of exiles +   Huguenots would attack from France.
  • They would later be supported by a French army led by Coligny.
  • From the sea, a fleet fitted out by Orange would attack Holland and Zealand, helped by privateers who sailed under Orange's flag- the 'Sea Beggars'.
  • Orange did not estimate them highly and they were not vital to his plan but they became decisive military factor in the events of 1572.
  • Orange and rebels acquired a permanent foothold in the Netherlands thanks to the Sea Beggars from which it was impossible to dislodge them from.
  • Orange was once again in flight by November 1572 taking refuge in the unvanquished provinces of Holland and Zealand.

The Sea Beggars

  • A motley crew of pirates, exiled noblemen and Calvinist seafarers drawn to Orange's side to povide maritime support in 1568 invasion.
  • They survived mainly by piracy after Orange's defeat.
  • They harrassed the coast and attacked both Spanish and neutral shipping, selling captured vessels in England.
  • Their activities were so damaging to trade, Elizabeth expelled them in March 1572.
  • They sailed to holland and on 1st April seized the unguarded port of Brille, having nowhere else  to

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