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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 NetherlandsNetherlands
, Du. Nederland or Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, officially Kingdom of the Netherlands, constitutional monarchy (2015 est. pop. 16,938,000), 15,963 sq mi (41,344 sq km), NW Europe.
..... Click the link for more information. . The document was drafted chiefly by Philip van MarnixMarnix, Philip van
, 1540–98, Flemish patriot, lord of Sainte-Aldegonde. He became a Calvinist in his youth and was the chief author of the Compromise of Breda (1566; see Gueux).
..... Click the link for more information. . 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 SilentWilliam the Silent
or William of Orange
(William I, prince of Orange), 1533–84, Dutch statesman, principal founder of Dutch independence. Early Life
..... Click the link for more information. to harass Spanish shipping. Their most notable action was the raising of the siege of LeidenLeiden
, city (1994 pop. 114,892), South Holland prov., W Netherlands, on the Old Rhine (Oude Rijn) River. Manufactures include medical equipment, machinery, graphic arts, and food products. The famous State Univ.
..... Click the link for more information. (1574). Their activity marked the beginning of Dutch sea power.
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.