The youngest son of Emperor Maximilian II, and nephew of Philip II of Spain, Archduke Albert (1559-1621) was originally destined for the church. However, dynastic imperatives decided otherwise and in 1598, upon his marriage to Philip's daughter, the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia, he found himself ruler of the Habsburg Netherlands, one of the most dynamic yet politically unstable territories in early-modern Europe. Through an investigation of Albert's reign, this book offers a new and fuller understanding of international events of the time, and the Habsburg role in them. Drawing on a wide range of archival and visual material, the resulting study of Habsburg political culture demonstrates the large degree of autonomy enjoyed by the archducal regime, which allowed Albert and his entourage to exert a decisive influence on several crucial events: preparing the ground for the Anglo-Spanish peace of 1604 by the immediate recognition of King James, clearing the way for the Twelve Years' Truce by conditionally accepting the independence of the United Provinces, reasserting Habsburg influence in the Rhineland by the armed intervention of 1614 and devising the terms of the OÃ±ate Treaty of 1617. In doing so the book shows how they sought to initiate a realistic policy of consolidation benefiting the Spanish Monarchy and the House of Habsburg. Whilst previous work on the subject has tended to concentrate on either the relationship between Spain and the Netherlands or between Spain and the Empire, this book offers a far deeper and much more nuanced insight in how the House of Habsburg functioned as a dynasty during these critical years of increasing religious tensions. Based on extensive research in the archives left by the archducal regime and its diplomatic partners or rivals, it bridges the gap between the reigns of Philip II and Philip IV and puts research into the period onto a fascinating new basis.
Luc Duerloo is professor of early modern political history at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. He has published on the Habsburgs, the politics of piety and the Belgian nobility.
A Yankee Book Peddler UK Core Title for 2012 'This book abounds with striking new insights... this is an outstanding study of an important yet overlooked European ruler and his world.' Geoffrey Parker, American Historical Review 'Luc Duerloo’s work on Archduke Albert has certainly been worth the wait... This really is a work that should be incorporated in all future textbooks on the Dutch Revolt, the Thirty Years’ War, and their related conflicts.' Renaissance Quarterly '... as a whole Duerloo has delivered an interesting overview of European politics in the early-seventeenth century in which he makes connections that most historians have overlooked, showing the influence of family matters on Habsburg international policy.' Catholic Historical Review 'This impressive study is concerned with three interrelated themes. It offers an up-to-date biography of Archduke Albert of Austria (1559-1621), analyses international relations in the early seventeenth century and assesses the forces behind Habsburg politics in this period. In all these areas it sheds authoritative new light... Duerloo’s book will be a point of reference for decades to come.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History 'Luc Duerloo nimmt eine schlÃ¼ssige Neubewertung der dynastischen Politik der ErzherzÃ¶ge Albrecht und Isabella im europÃ¤ischen Kontext vor. Seine prÃ¤zise Analyse bildet die Grundlage fÃ¼r jede weitere BeschÃ¤ftigung mit diesem Themenkomplex und macht 'Dynasty and Piety' zu einem Standardwerk zur Geschichte des Hauses Habsburg im ersten Viertel des 17. Jahrhunderts. ['Luc Duerloo makes a final revaluation of the dynastic politics of the Archdukes Albert and Isabella in a European context. His precise analysis will form the basis of any further research into the theme and makes ’Dynasty and Piety’ a standard work on the history of the Habsburg dynasty in the first quarter of the 17th century.] Francia-Recensio