The Creation of the Dutch Republic
The goals sought by William of Orange in the Pacification of Ghent and the “Peace of Religion”—the unity of the Netherlands upon the basis of religious toleration and the expulsion of the Spaniards—continued to prove elusive. The Spanish commander-in-chief and governor-general who took over from Don Juan in October, 1578, was Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, who combined extraordinary political and military gifts. He began a methodical reconquest of the Low Countries which in seven years drove the Prince of Orange and his supporters out of the southern Netherlands. At the same time he softened the policies of his master so as to win back to Philip II’s allegiance the Catholics who opposed Orange’s predominance. But Parma could not dislodge Orange from his stronghold north of the great rivers in the provinces of Holland and Zeeland. Thus a fateful separation of the North and South began to take shape, the origin of modern Holland and Belgium as separate states.
KeywordsNorthern Province Great River United Province Religious Toleration Legitimate Power
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