Origins of the “Troubles”
After Charles V, worn out by the cares of a world-wide empire, abdicated at Brussels in 1555, he was succeeded in the Low Countries, as in Spain, by his elder son, Philip II. Where the father was a man who combined stubbornness on what he saw as essentials with flexibility on tactics, the son was a narrower man, equally tenacious but lacking the familiarity with local conditions that Charles had acquired by constant travel. Philip was a Spaniard through and through, where the emperor had been a European and a dynast above all. Philip remained in the Low Countries until 1559, when the French acknowledged their defeat on the battlefield by accepting the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis; then he sailed to Spain, never to return. He had acquired no fondness for the Netherlanders, no intimacy with the great nobles and the wider reaches of the people which could tie the nation and the king to each other by affection and understanding. He left his half-sister, Margaret of Parma, as governor-general, but the real head of his government was Antoine Perrenot, bishop of Arras, who became Cardinal Granvelle in 1561, when new bishoprics were established in the country and he was set over them as archbishop of Mechelen (Malines). All the forces that Charles V had successfuly kept down—resistance to persecution of heretics, localism and provincialism hostile to centralization within the Low Countries, and an incipient nationalism equally hostile to foreign overlordship—welled up against the person of Granvelle.
KeywordsReal Head Common Enemy Early Modern Time Charles Versus Constant Travel
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