Alba, Fernando Alvarez de Toledo

Alba, Fernando Alvarez de Toledo

 

Born Oct. 29, 1507; died Dec. 11, 1582, in Lisbon. Duke, Spanish military leader, and statesman.

Alba distinguished himself in the Schmalkalden War of 1546–48 against the German Protestants and in the Spanish war against Pope Paul IV (1556–57). Thanks to his bravery, Catholic fanaticism, and dedication to the monarchy, he enjoyed the special confidence of the Spanish king, Philip II. Appointed as ruler by Philip in the insurrectionary Netherlands, Alba invaded the country with a strong army in the summer of 1567. After establishing a terrorist dictatorship (“Council of Troubles” and others), he condemned thousands to death, including Egmont and Horn. However Alba’s policy and his introduction in 1571 of a tax—alcabala—led to a new revolutionary outburst in 1572, with which he was unable to cope. In 1573 he was recalled to Spain. In 1580 he led the Spanish army that conquered Portugal.