In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands were a number of Imperial and French fiefs ruled in personal union by the House of Valois-Burgundy in the period from 1384 to 1482 and their Habsburg heirs. The area comprised large parts of present-day Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as Luxembourg and parts of northern France. A fair share of these territories were inherited by the Burgundian dukes, a younger branch of the French royal House of Valois in 1384, upon the death of Count Louis II of Flanders, his heiress, Margaret III of Flanders in 1369 had married Philip the Bold, youngest son of King John II of France and the first of the Valois dukes of Burgundy at Dijon, who thus inherited the County of Flanders. The Flemish comital House of Dampierre had been French vassals, who held territory around the affluent cities of Bruges and Ghent, but adjacent lands in former Lower Lorraine east of the Scheldt river including the exclave of Mechelen, which were a fief of the Holy Roman Empire, furthermore the neighbouring French County of Artois.
Together they initiated an era of Burgundian governance in the Low Countries. The Dampierre legacy further comprised the French counties of Rethel in northern Champagne and Nevers west of Burgundy proper, both held by Philip's younger son Philip II from 1407, as well as the County of Burgundy east of it, an Imperial fief, part of the former Kingdom of Arles. In the following decades, the Burgundian dukes expanded their territories in the Low Countries by the acquisition of several Imperial States: Duke Philip the Good purchased the County of Namur in 1421, inherited the Duchies of Brabant and Limburg in 1430, seized the Counties of Hainaut and Zeeland in 1432, the Duchy of Luxembourg in 1441, his son, the last Burgundian duke Charles the Bold, in 1473 annexed the Duchy of Guelders, pawned by late Arnold of Egmond. The Valois era would last until 1477, when Duke Charles the Bold died at the Battle of Nancy leaving no male heir; the territorial Duchy of Burgundy reverted to the French crown according to Salic law, King Louis XI of France seized the French portion of the Burgundian possessions in the Low Countries.
The Imperial fiefs passed to the Austrian House of Habsburg through Charles' daughter Mary of Burgundy and her husband Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg, son of Emperor Frederick III. Maximilian however regarded the Burgundian Netherlands including Flanders and Artois as the undivided domains of his wife and himself and marched against the French; the conflict culminated at the Battle of Guinegate in 1479. Though Maximilian was victorious, he was only able to gain the County of Flanders according to the 1482 Treaty of Arras after his wife Mary had died, while France retained Artois. In her testament, Mary of Burgundy had bequested the Burgundian heritage to her and Maximilian's son, Philip the Handsome, his father, dissatisfied with the terms of the Arras agreement, continued to campaign the seized French territories. In 1493, King Charles VIII of France according to the Treaty of Senlis renounced Artois, which together with Flanders was incorporated into the Imperial Seventeen Provinces under the rule of Philip.
The Burgundian dukes who ruled the Burgundian territories were: House of Valois, territorial Dukes of Burgundy Philip the Bold, son of King John II of France, by his wife Margaret III of Flanders John the Fearless, son Philip the Good, son Charles the Bold, sonHouse of Valois, titular Duchess of Burgundy Mary of Burgundy, Charles' daughter, married Maximilian I of Habsburg in 1477House of Habsburg, titular Dukes of Burgundy Philip the Handsome, Mary's son. Attempts at enlarging personal control by the dukes resulted in revolts among the independent towns and bloody military suppression in response. An modernized central government, with a bureaucracy of clerks, allowed the dukes to become celebrated art patrons and establish a glamorous court life that gave rise to conventions of behavior that lasted for centuries. Philip the Good extended his personal control to the southeast, he channeled the traditional independence of the cities through such mechanisms as the first Estates-General, consolidating of the region's economy.
The first Estates General of the Burgundian territories met in the City Hall of Bruges on 9 January 1464. It included delegates from the Duchy of Brabant, the County of Flanders, Lille and Orchies, the County of Artois, the County of Hainaut, the County of Holland, the County of Zeeland, the County of Namur, the Lordship of Mechelen, the Boulonnais. Up to 1464, the Duke only maintained ties with each of the provincial States separately. In principle, the provincial Estates were composed of representatives of the three traditional estates: clergy and the Third Estate, but the exact composition and influence of each estate could differ. Convening an Estates General in which all provincial Estates w
Battle of Sprimont
The Battle of Sprimont, Battle of Esneux or Battle of the Ourthe was a battle between French Republican and Austrian troops on the plateau between the valleys of the Vesdre, the Ourthe and the Amblève, 20 kilometres south of Liège. It was a French Republican victory; the battle put a final end to the Ancien Régime in what is now Belgium essentially the Austrian Netherlands, Principality of Liège and the Principality of Stavelot-Malmedy. French troops dislodged Austrian troops occupying the plateau, though the French suffered heavy losses. Associated with the battle are the villages of Sprimont, Esneux and the site of the La Redoute, whose name originates in a redoubt involved in the battle. Thiry, Louis. La Bataille de Sprimont. Falk fils ed. "Centre liégeois d'Histoire et d'Archéologie militaire". Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original
Antwerp is a city in Belgium, is the capital of Antwerp province in Flanders. With a population of 520,504, it is the most populous city proper in Belgium, with 1,200,000 the second largest metropolitan region after Brussels. Antwerp is on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the river's Westerschelde estuary, it is about 40 kilometres north of Brussels, about 15 kilometres south of the Dutch border. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking second in Europe and within the top 20 globally; the city is known for its diamond industry and trade. Both economically and culturally, Antwerp is and has long been an important city in the Low Countries before and during the Spanish Fury and throughout and after the subsequent Dutch Revolt. Antwerp was the place of the world's oldest stock exchange building built in 1531 and re-built in 1872; the inhabitants of Antwerp are nicknamed Sinjoren, after the Spanish honorific señor or French seigneur, "lord", referring to the Spanish noblemen who ruled the city in the 17th century.
The city hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics. According to folklore, notably celebrated by a statue in front of the town hall, the city got its name from a legend about a giant called Antigoon who lived near the Scheldt river, he extracted a toll from passing boatmen, for those who refused, he severed one of their hands and threw it into the river. The giant was killed by a young hero named Silvius Brabo, who cut off the giant's own hand and flung it into the river. Hence the name Antwerpen, from Dutch hand werpen, akin to Old English hand and wearpan, which has evolved to today's warp. A longstanding theory is that the name originated in the Gallo-Roman period and comes from the Latin antverpia. Antverpia would come from Ante Verpia, indicating land that forms by deposition in the inside curve of a river. Note that the river Scheldt, before a transition period between 600 and 750, followed a different track; this must have coincided with the current ringway south of the city, situating the city within a former curve of the river.
However, many historians think it unlikely that there was a large settlement which would be named'Antverpia', but more something like an outpost with a river crossing. However, John Lothrop Motley argues, so do a lot of Dutch etymologists and historians, that Antwerp's name derives from "anda" and "werpum" to give an't werf. Aan't werp is possible; this "warp" is a man-made hill or a river deposit, high enough to remain dry at high tide, whereupon a construction could be built that would remain dry. Another word for werp is pol hence polders. Alfred Michiels has suggested that derivations based on hand werpen, Antverpia, "on the wharf", or "at the warp" lack historical backing in the form of recorded past spellings of the placename, he points instead to Dado's Life of St. Eligius from the 7th century, which records the form Andoverpis, he sees in it a Celtic origin indicating "those who live on both banks". Historical Antwerp had its origins in a Gallo-Roman vicus. Excavations carried out in the oldest section near the Scheldt, 1952–1961, produced pottery shards and fragments of glass from mid-2nd century to the end of the 3rd century.
The earliest mention of Antwerp dates from the 4th century. In the 4th century, Antwerp was first named; the Merovingian Antwerp was evangelized by Saint Amand in the 7th century. At the end of the 10th century, the Scheldt became the boundary of the Holy Roman Empire. Antwerp became a margraviate in 980, by the German emperor Otto II, a border province facing the County of Flanders. In the 11th century, the best-known leader of the First Crusade, Godfrey of Bouillon, was Margrave of Antwerp, from 1076 until his death in 1100, though he was also Duke of Lower Lorraine and Defender of the Holy Sepulchre. In the 12th century, Norbert of Xanten established a community of his Premonstratensian canons at St. Michael's Abbey at Caloes. Antwerp was the headquarters of Edward III during his early negotiations with Jacob van Artevelde, his son Lionel, the Duke of Clarence, was born there in 1338. After the silting-up of the Zwin and the consequent decline of Bruges, the city of Antwerp part of the Duchy of Brabant, grew in importance.
At the end of the 15th century the foreign trading houses were transferred from Bruges to Antwerp, the building assigned to the English nation is mentioned in 1510. Antwerp became the sugar capital of Europe, importing the raw commodity from Portuguese and Spanish plantations; the city attracted Italian and German sugar refiners by 1550, shipped their refined product to Germany Cologne. Moneylenders and financiers developed a large business lending money all over Europe including the English government in 1544–1574. London bankers were too small to operate on that scale, Antwerp had a efficient bourse that itself attracted rich bankers from around Europe. After the 1570s, the city's banking business declined: England ended its borrowing in Antwerp in 1574. Fernand Braudel states that Antwerp became "the centre of the entire international economy, something Bruges had never been at its height." Antwerp was the richest city in Europe at this time. Antwerp's golden age is l
Enclave and exclave
An enclave is a territory, or a part of a territory, surrounded by the territory of one other state. Territorial waters have the same sovereign attributes as land, enclaves may therefore exist within territorial waters. An exclave is a portion of a state or territory geographically separated from the main part by surrounding alien territory. Many exclaves are enclaves. Enclave is sometimes used improperly to denote a territory, only surrounded by another state. Vatican City and San Marino, enclaved by Italy, Lesotho, enclaved by South Africa, are enclaved states. Unlike an enclave, an exclave can be surrounded by several states; the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan is an example of an exclave. Semi-enclaves and semi-exclaves are areas that, except for possessing an unsurrounded sea border, would otherwise be enclaves or exclaves. Enclaves and semi-enclaves can exist as independent states, while exclaves always constitute just a part of a sovereign state. A pene-enclave is a part of the territory of one country that can be conveniently approached—in particular, by wheeled traffic—only through the territory of another country.
Pene-enclaves are called functional enclaves or practical enclaves. Many pene-exclaves border their own territorial waters, such as Point Roberts, Washington. A pene-enclave can exist on land, such as when intervening mountains render a territory inaccessible from other parts of a country except through alien territory. A cited example is the Kleinwalsertal, a valley part of Vorarlberg, accessible only from Germany to the north; the word enclave is French and first appeared in the mid-15th century as a derivative of the verb enclaver, from the colloquial Latin inclavare. It was a term of property law that denoted the situation of a land or parcel of land surrounded by land owned by a different owner, that could not be reached for its exploitation in a practical and sufficient manner without crossing the surrounding land. In law, this created a servitude of passage for the benefit of the owner of the surrounded land; the first diplomatic document to contain the word enclave was the Treaty of Madrid, signed in 1526.
The term enclave began to be used to refer to parcels of countries, fiefs, towns, etc. that were surrounded by alien territory. This French word entered the English and other languages to denote the same concept, although local terms have continued to be used. In India, the word "pocket" is used as a synonym for enclave. In British administrative history, subnational enclaves were called detachments or detached parts, national enclaves as detached districts or detached dominions. In English ecclesiastic history, subnational enclaves were known as peculiars; the word exclave, modeled on enclave, is a logically extended back-formation of enclave. Enclaves exist for a variety of historical and geographical reasons. For example, in the feudal system in Europe, the ownership of feudal domains was transferred or partitioned, either through purchase and sale or through inheritance, such domains were or came to be surrounded by other domains. In particular, this state of affairs persisted into the 19th century in the Holy Roman Empire, these domains exhibited many of the characteristics of sovereign states.
Prior to 1866 Prussia alone consisted of more than 270 discontiguous pieces of territory. Residing in an enclave within another country has involved difficulties in such areas as passage rights, importing goods, provision of utilities and health services, host nation cooperation. Thus, over time, enclaves have tended to be eliminated. For example, two-thirds of the then-existing national-level enclaves were extinguished on August 1, 2015, when the governments of India and Bangladesh implemented a Land Boundary Agreement that exchanged 162 first-order enclaves; this exchange thus de-enclaved another two dozen second-order enclaves and one third-order enclave, eliminating 197 of the Indo-Bangladesh enclaves in all. The residents in these enclaves had complained of being stateless. Only Bangladesh's Dahagram–Angarpota enclave remained. For illustration, in the figure, A1 is a semi-enclave. Although A2 is an exclave of A, it cannot be classed as an enclave because it shares borders with B and C; the territory A3 is both an exclave of A and an enclave from the viewpoint of B.
The singular territory D, although an enclave, is not an exclave. An enclave is a part of the territory of a state, enclosed within the territory of another state. To distinguish the parts of a state enclosed in a single other state, they are called true enclaves. A true enclave cannot be reached without passing through the territory of a single other state that surrounds it. Vinokurov calls this the restrictive definition of "enclave" given by international law, which thus "comprises only so-called'true enclaves'". Two examples are Büsingen am Hochrhein, a true enclave of Germany, Campione d'Italia, a true enclave of Italy, both of which are surrounded by Switzerland; the definition of a territory comprises territorial waters. In the case of enclaves in territorial waters, they are called maritime (those surrounded by ter
The lion is a common charge in heraldry. It traditionally symbolises courage, royalty, strength and valour, because it has been regarded as the "king of beasts". Lion refers to a Judeo-Christian symbolism; the Lion of Judah stands in the coat of arms of Jerusalem. Similar looking lion can be found e.g. in the coat of arms of the Swedish royal House of Bjelbo, from there in turn derived into the coat of arms of Finland belonging to Sweden, many others examples for similar historical reasons. The animal designs in the heraldry of the high medieval period are a continuation of the animal style of the Viking Age derived from the style of Scythian art as it developed from c. the 7th century BC. Symmetrically paired animals in particular find continuation from Migration Period art via Insular art to Romanesque art and heraldry; the animals of the "barbarian" predecessors of heraldic designs are to have been used as clan symbols. Adopted in Germanic tradition around the 5th century, they were re-interpreted in a Christian context in the western kingdoms of Gaul and Italy in the 6th and 7th centuries.
The characteristic of the lion as royal animal in particular is due the influence of the Physiologus, an early Christian book about animal symbolism written in Greek in the 2nd century and translated into Latin in about AD 400. It was a predecessor of the medieval bestiaries; the lion as a heraldic charge is present from the earliest development of heraldry in the 12th century. One of the earliest known examples of armory as it subsequently came to be practiced can be seen on the tomb of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, who died in 1151. An enamel commissioned by Geoffrey's widow between 1155 and 1160, depicts him carrying a blue shield decorated six golden lions rampant and wearing a blue helmet adorned with another lion. A chronicle dated to c. 1175 states that Geoffrey was given a shield of this description when he was knighted by his father-in-law, Henry I, in 1128. Earlier heraldic writers attributed the lions of England to William the Conqueror, but the earliest evidence of the association of lions with the English crown is a seal bearing two lions passant, used by the future King John during the lifetime of his father, Henry II, who died in 1189.
Since Henry was the son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, it seems reasonable to suppose that the adoption of lions as an heraldic emblem by Henry or his sons might have been inspired by Geoffrey's shield. John's elder brother, Richard the Lionheart, who succeeded his father on the throne, is believed to have been the first to have borne the arms of three lions passant-guardant, still the arms of England, having earlier used two lions rampant combatant, which arms may have belonged to his father. Richard is credited with having originated the English crest of a lion statant. Apart from the lions of the Plantagenet coat of arms, 12th-century examples of lions used as heraldic charges include the Staufen and Wittelsbach coats of arms, both deriving from Henry the Lion, the royal coat of arms of Scotland, attributed to William the Lion, the coat of arms of Denmark, first used by Canute VI, the coat of arms of Flanders, first used by Philip I, the coat of arms of León, an example of canting arms attributed to Alfonso VII, the coat of arms of Bohemia, first granted to Vladislaus II.
Coats of arms of the 13th century include those of the House of Sverre, the Ludovingians, the kingdom of Ruthenia, the House of Habsburg, the kingdom of Bulgaria and the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Unlike the eagle, comparatively rare in heraldry because it was reserved as an imperial symbol, the lion became a symbol of chivalry and was not restricted to royal coats of arms; the Zürich armorial has a number of coats of arms with lions, most of them of ministeriales of the House of Habsburg. The lion in the coat of arms of Bohemia is depicted with two tails. According to Ménestrier, this is due to a jest made by Emperor Frederick, who granted Vladislaus II, Duke of Bohemia a coat of arms with a lion coué, that is, with its tail between its legs. Vladislaus' men refused to follow this emblem, calling it an ape, so that Frederick agreed to improve the arms by giving the lion not just one but two erect tails; as many attitudes now exist in heraldry as the heraldist's imagination can conjure, as a result of the ever-increasing need for differentiation, but few of these were known to medieval heralds.
One distinction made, although it may be of limited importance, is the distinction of lions in the walking positions as leopards. The following table summarizes the principal attitudes of heraldic lions: Other terms are used to describe the lion's position in further detail; each coat of arms has a right and left side - with respect to the person carrying the shield - so the left side of the shield as drawn on the page is called the dexter side. The lion's head is seen in agreement with the overall position, facing dexter unless otherwise stated. If a lion's whole body is turned to face right, he is to sinister or contourné. If his whole body faces the viewer, he is affronté. If his head only faces the viewer he is guardant or gardant, if he looks back over his shoulder he is
The Dutch Revolt was the revolt of the northern Protestant Seven Provinces of the Low Countries against the rule of the Roman Catholic Habsburg King Philip II of Spain, hereditary ruler of the provinces. The northern provinces separated from the southern provinces, which continued under Habsburg Spain until 1714; the religious "clash of cultures" built up but inexorably into outbursts of violence against the perceived repression of the Habsburg Crown. These tensions led to the formation of the independent Dutch Republic, whose first leader was William the Silent, followed by several of his descendants and relations; this revolt was one of the first successful secessions in Europe, led to one of the first European republics of the modern era, the United Provinces. King Philip was successful in suppressing the rebellion. In 1572, the rebels captured Brielle and the rebellion resurged; the northern provinces became independent, first in 1581 de facto, in 1648 de jure. During the revolt, the United Provinces of the Netherlands, better known as the Dutch Republic grew to become a world power through its merchant shipping and experienced a period of economic and cultural growth.
The Southern Netherlands remained under Spanish rule. The continuous heavy-handed rule by the Habsburgs in the south caused many of its financial and cultural elite to flee north, contributing to the success of the Dutch Republic; the Dutch imposed a rigid blockade on the southern provinces that prevented Baltic grain from relieving famine in the southern towns from 1587 to 1589. By the end of the war in 1648, large areas of the Southern Netherlands had been lost to France, which had, under the guidance of Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIII of France, allied itself with the Dutch Republic in the 1630s against Spain; the first phase of the conflict can be considered the Dutch War of Independence. The focus of the latter phase was to gain official recognition of the de facto independence of the United Provinces; this phase coincided with the rise of the Dutch Republic as a major power and the founding of the Dutch Empire. In a series of marriages and conquests, a succession of Dukes of Burgundy expanded their original territory by adding to it a series of fiefdoms, including the Seventeen Provinces.
Although Burgundy itself had been lost to France in 1477, the Burgundian Netherlands were still intact when Charles V was born in Ghent in 1500. He was raised in the Netherlands and spoke fluent Dutch, French and some German. In 1506, he became lord of the Burgundian states, among. Subsequently, in 1516, he inherited several titles, including that of King of Spain, which had become a worldwide empire with the Spanish colonization of the Americas. In 1519, Charles became ruler of the Habsburg empire, he gained the title Holy Roman Emperor in 1530. Although Friesland and Guelders offered prolonged resistance all of the Netherlands had been incorporated into the Habsburg domains by the early 1540s. Flanders had long been a wealthy region, coveted by French kings; the other regions of the Netherlands had grown wealthy and entrepreneurial. Charles V's empire had become a worldwide empire with large European territories; the latter were, distributed throughout Europe. Control and defense of these were hampered by the disparity of the territories and huge length of the empire's borders.
This large realm was continuously at war with its neighbors in its European heartlands, most notably against France in the Italian Wars and against the Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean Sea. Further wars were fought against Protestant princes in Germany; the Dutch paid heavy taxes to fund these wars, but perceived them as unnecessary and sometimes downright harmful, because they were directed against their most important trading partners. During the 16th century, Protestantism gained ground in northern Europe. Dutch Protestants, after initial repression, were tolerated by local authorities. By the 1560s, the Protestant community had become a significant influence in the Netherlands, although it formed a minority then. In a society dependent on trade and tolerance were considered essential. Charles V, from 1555 his successor Philip II, felt it was their duty to defeat Protestantism, considered a heresy by the Catholic Church and a threat to the stability of the whole hierarchical political system.
On the other hand, the intensely moralistic Dutch Protestants insisted their theology, sincere piety and humble lifestyle were morally superior to the luxurious habits and superficial religiosity of the ecclesiastical nobility. The harsh measures of suppression led to increasing grievances in the Netherlands, where the local governments had embarked on a course of peaceful coexistence. In the second half of the century, the situation escalated. Philip sent troops to make the Netherlands once more a Catholic region. Although failing in his attempts to introduce the Spanish Inquisition directly, the Inquisition of the Netherlands was sufficiently harsh and arbitrary in nature to provoke fervent dislike. Part of the shifting balance of power in the late Middle Ages meant that besides the local nobility, many of the Dutch administrators by now were not traditional aristocrats but instead stemmed from non-noble families that had risen in status over previous centuries. By the 15th century, Brussels had thus become the de facto