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The French Wars of Religion Conflict Between Catholics and Huguenots

The Anti-Protestant Crusade of King Philip II

Spain remained a strongly Catholic country and made a major contribution to the Catholic struggle against the Protestant Reformation.

Domains of King Philip I1

In the late sixteenth century, Spain was ruled by King Philip II (r. 1556-1598), the son of the Hapsburg Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (r. 1519-1556), who had also been King Charles I of Spain (r. 1516- 1556). At this time, Spain was the world’s strongest military and naval power. Philip 11’s domains included not only Spain and the Spanish empire but also the Netherlands, the Free County of Burgundy (Franche Comte), the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Sardinia, and the Balearic Islands in the western Mediterranean. In 1580, Philip I1 gained Portugal, thus securing control of the Portuguese empire.

Philip I1 hoped to use Spanish power in support of the Catholic cause against both the Protestants and the Moslem Turks. He became involved in war on several fronts, in the Netherlands, against England, and against the Turks.

The Dutch Revolt

In the Netherlands, Philip confronted a serious revolt against Spanish rule. Many Netherlanders resented foreign rule, and the northern provinces had adopted Calvinism. In addition, there was a widespread feeling among the Netherlanders that their industry and trade were being taxed too highly by the Spanish. The revolt in the Netherlands thus involved an explosive mixture of nationalism, religion, and money.

The Duke of Alva’s Reign of Terror

In 1567, Philip sent the Duke of Alva (1508-1582) to the Netherlands with orders to suppress both the revolt against Spanish rule and Calvinism. The duke’s reign of terror lasted for six years, resulting in the execution of several thousand rebels. Despite Spanish repression, the revolt continued.

Dutch Independence

In 1579, Spanish rule was restored in the ten southern provinces (modem Belgium), which had remained Catholic. The seven northern provinces, which were predominantly Calvinist, formed the Union of Utrecht (1579) and continued the struggle against Spain. The Dutch of the northern provinces found an effective leader in William of Orange (1533-1584), known as William the Silent. In 1584, Spanish agents assassinated William the Silent, but the Dutch struggle for independence continued. Finally, in 1609, Spain agreed to a twelve-year truce. This represented a virtual Spanish acceptance of Dutch independence, which was formally recognized by the Peace of Westphalia of 1648.

 

The Spanish Armada At the beginning of his reign, Philip I1was allied with England as a consequence of his marriage to Queen Mary (seeChapter 4), but this alliance ended with Mary’s death and the accession of Queen Elizabeth I in 1558. The Spanish king hoped both to conquer England and to restore that country to the Roman Catholic fold. For several years, he encouraged conspiracies against Elizabeth. ’When these failed, he decided to take more direct action, launching the Spanish Armada against England in 1588. The plan called for the Armada to join forces with a Spanish army near Dunkirk in the Netherlands and then to carry out an invasion of England. Most of the English ships that fought the Armada were smaller than the Spanish vessels, but they were fast and easily maneuvered. In addition, they were armed with heavier long-range guns. English Victory On July 21,1588, the Armada entered the English Channel, headed toward Dunkirk. For eight days, the English ships fought the Spanish, aided by a furious storm, which became known as the “Protestant wind.” On July 28, the Armada was dispersed and fled to the north, around the tip of Scotland. The Spanish Armada lost about forty ships, and many of those that made their way back to Spain were unfit for further service. Spanish deaths totaled in the thousands. The English lost no ships and about 100 men. The defeat of the Spanish Armada dealt a serious blow to its prestige and marked the first step in the long process of Spain’s decline as a major power prestige

 



The French Wars of Religion Conflict Between Catholics and Huguenots

France remained a predominantly Catholic country. Of a total population of about 16 million, some 1.2 million embraced Calvinism. However, a larger proportion of the French nobility became Calvinists, at least temporarily.

Conflict between Catholics and Calvinists, known as Huguenots, led to more than three decades of civil war. This conflict involved both religious and political issues, since some elements of the French nobility supported the Huguenot cause as a part of their struggle against the power of the monarchy.


Date: 2016-04-22; view: 510


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