To what extent were the grandees responsible for the events of 1566-67

HideShow resource information



  • Philip was convinced that the heretics would be content only with the complete destruction of the Catholic faith and was determined to prevent heresy taking root in the Netherlands.
  • Philip was left with only one choice-force.
  • Duke of Alva headed a 'war party' in the Spanish court which had recently emerged.
  • In the first years of Philip's rule, the dominant faction was a 'concession' faction lead by the Duke of Eboli, that promoted a decentralisation of the empire.
  • It was this faction that convinced the Grandees their assault on Granvelle would win as Granvelle and Eboli were bitter enemies.
  • However, the calamities after Granvelle's fall undermined Eboli's standing.

The dismissal of Granvelle, instigated by the Grandees, led to the emergence of the pro-war faction and the decline of Eboli and the concessions faction. Therefore, indadvertedly, the Grandees lead to the revolt in 1566 as they set a precedent for demanding local liberties and privileges.


  • In his place, the Duke of Alva, an advocate for a more rigidly structured empire, became the King's main advisor.
  • Under Alva's influence by September 1566, Philip was ready to use troops to support Margaret.
  • In June 1567, the Spanish troops began their passage across the Alps with Alva as commander.
  • By this time the rebellion had been been crushed, but Philip did not trust in Margaret's letters advising him to call off the expedition as she had previously stated 200,000 were on the verge of mutiny.
  • Reports also stated that Margaret was so indebted to the Grandees that she couldn't restrain their ambition to control the country.

Although the Grandees had helped to put the rebellion down and stop it from escalating thereby contributing to its deescalation rather than escalation, they undoubtedly preferred rebellion as it gave them more control over their states by reducing the government's control. Decentralisation was essentially beneficial to them if the regent and King were not willing to compromise with them and allow the Council of States to have more power.

Alva's Mission

  • With news of Alva's mission and imminent arrival, those who had played a part in the recent rising did their best to flee, joined by Orange.
  • Although he had helped Margaret, his earlier plotting had not endeared him to the regent.
  • Orange had been warned that the King regarded him as a dangerous meddler who should be punished.
  • He fled for Germany in April 1567.
  • 4 months later, Alva's army entered the Netherlands.
  • Alva was a grizzled veteran of 60 years old, having served in the German, French and Italian wars.
  • Alva's orders were to restore peace and eliminate heresy in the Netherlands.
  • Alva did not consider himself as subordinate of the regent but as immediately responsible to Philip.
  • Alva ignored Margaret on matters of religious and public order.
  • Margaret and Alva fell out.
  • When Alva arrested Horne and Egmont to later execute them, Margaret resigned, so that ALva was made her replacement as Governor-General.

Orange ran away, allowing him to appear as the opposition…


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all The Revolt in the Spanish Netherlands resources »