Gueux

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Gueux

Gueux (gö) [Fr.,=beggars], 16th-century Dutch revolutionary party. In 1566 more than 2,000 Dutch and Flemish nobles and burghers (both Protestants and Roman Catholics) signed a document—the so-called Compromise of Breda—by which they bound themselves in solemn oath to resist the curtailment of liberties imposed by the Spanish government in the Netherlands. The document was drafted chiefly by Philip van Marnix. Its radical tone displeased the great nobles; on the advice of William the Silent the original wording was considerably toned down when, in the same year, a petition on behalf of the signers of the compromise was presented to the Spanish regent, Margaret of Parma. Margaret's adviser, Barlaymont, referred to the petitioners as “these beggars,” whereupon the revolutionary party adopted both the sobriquet and the insignia of beggars. The “Beggars of the Sea” (Fr. Gueux de la mer) were crews of patriotic privateers first chartered in 1569 by William the Silent to harass Spanish shipping. Their most notable action was the raising of the siege of Leiden (1574). Their activity marked the beginning of Dutch sea power.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gueux

 

Geuzen, in the period of the bourgeois revolution of the 16th century in the Netherlands:

(1) The nickname of the members of the opposition league of nobles formed in 1565 for the purpose of defending “by lawful means” the country’s freedom against the attacks of Spanish absolutism.

(2) The partisans in the Netherlands who waged a struggle against the Spaniards and their supporters on land (wood- gueux) and at sea (sea-gueux). The capture by the sea-gueux of Brielle on Apr. 1, 1572, was the signal for a general uprising in the northern Netherlands.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.