William of Orange and the Revolt of the Netherlands, 1572-84: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

William of Orange and the Revolt of the Netherlands, 1572-84

1st Edition

By K.W. Swart


300 pages

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Hardback: 9780754632245
pub: 2003-11-27
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315234014
pub: 2017-05-15
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The figure of Prince William of Orange (1572-84) dominates the political landscape of the sixteenth century Netherlands, and in many ways personifies the Dutch revolt against Spanish hegemony. Yet despite the European significance of his struggle, there has not been a major English-language study of William since C.V. Wedgwood's biography published in 1944. As such, scholars will welcome this publication of Koen Swart's distinguished and authoritative biography of the first of the hereditary stadholders of the United Provinces. Originally available only in Dutch, this edition provides an English speaking audience for the first time with a detailed account of William's role in the Dutch Revolt that reflects the vast amount of scholarship undertaken in the field of European political and religious history over the last few decades. In the book, Swart explores the means by which William established his rule in Holland and Zeeland in the 1570s, and provides an analysis of William's relations with the provincial states, the States-General and the towns, and the creation of a new system of government and finance. Within this framework of national history, he is always careful to locate the subject in its broad international context, thus adding to our wider understanding of this turbulent period. Moreover, Swart avoids the uncritical glorification of William evident in some previous works, and asks searching and pertinent questions concerning the wisdom of William's decisions, such as that to break up the pre-1572 unity of the Habsburg Netherlands. In so doing, Swart provides a much more balanced view than has hitherto been available, that not only takes Protestant views into account, but also contemplates the Revolt form the perspective of the Catholic population, and shows sympathy for Charles V's and Philip II's predicament. In so doing, this book provides the most important revision of William for a century, and will undoubtedly have repercussions upon many studying the history of Europe in the age of Reformations. Published posthumously, this book also includes introductory material written by leading scholars H.F.K. van Nierop, M.E.H.N. Mout, J. Israel and A.C. Duke.


'… both the best and the most revisionist account of the life of William the Silent to appear for almost a century.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword, H.F.K. van Nierop and M.E.H.N. Mout, K.W. Swart: his career as a historian, Jonathan I. Israel, From 'Loyal Servant' to 'Irreconcilable Opponent' of Spain: Koenraad Swart's Interpretation of William of Orange, 1533-72, Alastair Duke, The Defence of Holland and Zeeland, 1572-76: Orange's finest hour; The religious revolution; The new political order; The baptism of fire withstood; Fruitless attempts to win foreign support; Marriage to Charlotte de Bourbon; Better war than an uncertain peace; Renewed Spanish offensive; The offer of supreme authority; Abandoned by the whole world; The Whole Fatherland in Revolt, 1576-77: Orange's triumph; The Brussels coup d'état; The Pacification of Ghent; Triumph in the duel with Don John; Orange becomes one of Queen Elizabeth's best friends; Entrusted with the leadership of the country's government; Plans for marriages between Orange's and Aerschot's children; The mutability of all earthly things; The General Union Falls Apart, 1578-79: Holding court in the castle of Antwerp; The beginning of Orange's conflict with Ghent; Holland and Zeelan'd stubborn self-will and the Union of Utrecht; Money is the sinew of war; Ghent temporarily taken in hand; Parma's first successes; The failure of the Cologne peace negotiations; Declining popularity; Outlawry and Apology, 1580; Fruitless Attempts to Turn The Spanish Tide, 1579-83: The war drags on at a snail's pace; Failed attempts to reform the government; Anjou chosen as overlord; Reasons for Orange's unfortunate French policy; Anjou's short-lived rule; The Bitter End, 1583-84; The disastrous consequences of the French Fury; Reconcilation with Anjou; Return to Holland; Further enemy gains of territory; Count of Holland; Orange's political testament; The assassination of Orange; Bibliography: Archives, Pamphlets, Published sources and literature to 1800, Literature since 1800; Index.

About the Series

St Andrews Studies in Reformation History

With the publication of its 100th book in 2012, the St Andrews Studies in Reformation Studies series celebrated an impressive publishing achievement. Since its establishment in 1995 the series has consistently offered high-quality, innovative and thought-provoking research in the field of early modern religious history. By encouraging authors to adopt a broad and inclusive interpretation of ’Reformation’, the resultant publications have done much to help shape current interdisciplinary interpretations of early-modern religion, expanding attention far beyond narrow theological concerns. Each title within the series has added to a body of international research showing how the ripples of the Reformation spread to virtually every corner of European society, both Protestant and Catholic, and often beyond. From family life, education, literature, music, art and philosophy, to political theory, international relations, economics, colonial ventures, science and military matters, there were few aspects of life that remained untouched in some way by the spirit of religious reform. As well as widening conceptions of the Reformation, the series has for the last fifteen years provided a publishing outlet for work, much of it by new and up-and-coming scholars who might otherwise have struggled to find an international platform for their work. Alongside these monographs, a complementary selection of edited volumes, critical editions of important primary sources, bibliographical studies and new translations of influential Reformation works previously unavailable to English speaking scholars, adds further depth to the topic. By offering this rich mix of approaches and topics, the St Andrews series continues to offer scholars an unparalleled platform for the publication of international scholarship in a dynamic and often controversial area of historical study.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General