Union of Brussels

Union Of Brussels

Union of Brussels

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There were two Unions of Brussels, both formed in the end of the 1570s, in the opening stages of the Eighty Years' War, the war of secession from Spanish control, which lasted from 1568 to 1648. Brussels was at that time the capital of the Spanish Netherlands.

First Union of Brussels

A part of the Netherlands, the counties of Holland and Zeeland rebelled in 1572, when Calvinists took over control of most of the cities. The Spanish army tried to reconquer them but failed during the Siege of Leiden in 1574. In 1575 Philip II had to declare bankruptcy. As a result the Spanish soldiers did not receive any payment, and they mutinied, pillaging the countryside of Brabant and Flanders and the city of Antwerp, where 10,000 inhabitants in a city with 100,000 people were killed by the Spanish soldiers, who tried to kill all the local Protestants.

This event discredited the Spanish army enormously. The Estates-General of the Netherlands, sitting in Brussels, wanted to end the war in 1577. However, some of the fervently Roman Catholic provincial Estates did not want to invite the Calvinists of Holland and Zeeland to join. The Estates-General, without Holland and Zeeland, founded the first Union of Brussels. King Philip II of Spain agreed with this.

Second Union of Brussels

The leader of the resistance, Prince William of Orange, went to Brussels in 1577 to try to convince the General Estates to accept the Calvinist provincial Estates of Holland and Zeeland. The population of...
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