Orange and the Revolt 1577-84 p. 2

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Don John

  • New Governor-General Don John of Austria
  • Swore in the Perpetual Edict in February 1577 to maintain Pacification of Ghent
  • In May, after the Spanish troops had left for Italy, Don John entered Brussels
  • His task was now to restore Spanish prestige and authority in the Netherlands
  • Don John's orders were to 'save what we can preserving religion an my authority as much as may be'; with Philip's attentions elsewhere Don John was not to follow a policy of brute force like Alva and Requesens.
  • Don John tried to work with political leaders in the Netherlands
  • Realised Spanish rule could not be restored completely without support of William of Orange
  • William had forces behind him while Don John did not as they had left
  • In addiion, Orange had a ********* of followers in the States-General
  • However, Orange refused to cooperate with Don John as he suspected that once philip had gathered sufficient funds, the war would be renewed
  • Don John, impatient and fustrated, recalled the Spanish troops in July 1577
  • The King gave permission for the war to be renewed
  • Don Jon's treachery confirmed that Orange had been right all along
  • Orange came to the States-General's aid and crowds welcomed him in Brussels.
  • The faithlessness of Don John had lent Orange prestige and credibility throughout the Netherlands and he became de-facto leader

The Unions of Arras and Utrecht

  • In Autumn 1577, there was an opportunity for a united front to be set up in the Netherlands under the leadership of Orange
  • This opportunity was ruined by social and religious strife combined with differing local interests which created disharmony and division
  • During chaos of 1576-77, the guilsdmen of Brussels and Ghent seized power from patricians 

Calvinist Revolution

  • In the wake of these urban revolutions, Calvinist exiles from the north entered the towns and stirred up the townsfolk against Catholicism
  • In 1578, Clavinists from Ghent marched on the neighbouring town and imposed their own faith on the town.
  • Revolutions such as this occured across Flanders, Brabant, and Artois accompanied by iconoclasm and the banning of Catholic worship
  • Orange tried in vain to impose religious peace with a scheme allowing both religions to be practised
  • The advance of Calvinism into the south alarmed moderate Catholics and led to their return to the Spanish fold

The intrigues of the Grandees: Matthias and Anjou

  • The Grandees drew into the enemy's camp not because of religion but because of what Orange stood for
  • Many Grandees nursed deep suspicions of Orange, especially Aerschot from the House of Croy, a traditional rival
  • The support Orange drew from the lower orders and his readiness to advance the power of the States-General offended the aristocracy 
  • Grandees were convinced they alone should administer the country and were disdainful of the townsmen and lesser nobles who attended the States-General
  • They plotted to outmanoeuvare Orange but they outmanoeuvared themselves
  • The grandees invited Archduke Matthias instead of Orange as the new governor
  • Orange pushed the States-General into recognising the new governor but…

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