Netherlands, Austrian and Spanish

Netherlands, Austrian and Spanish,

that part of the Low Countries that, from 1482 until 1794, remained under the control of the imperial house of HapsburgHapsburg
or Habsburg
, ruling house of Austria (1282–1918). Rise to Power

The family, which can be traced to the 10th cent., originally held lands in Alsace and in NW Switzerland. Otto (d.
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. The area corresponds roughly to modern Belgium and Luxembourg.

The Low Countries passed from the house of Burgundy to that of Hapsburg through the marriage (1477) of Mary of BurgundyMary of Burgundy,
1457–82, wife of Maximilian of Austria (later Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I), daughter and heiress of Charles the Bold of Burgundy. The marriage of Mary was a major event in European history, for it established the Hapsburgs in the Low Countries and
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 to Archduke Maximilian (later Emperor Maximilian I); their son Philip (later Philip IPhilip I
(Philip the Handsome), 1478–1506, Spanish king of Castile (1506), archduke of Austria, titular duke of Burgundy, son of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and Mary of Burgundy.
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 of Castile) inherited FlandersFlanders
, former county in the Low Countries, extending along the North Sea and W of the Scheldt (Escaut) River. It is divided among East Flanders and West Flanders provs., Belgium; Nord and Pas-de-Calais depts., France; and (to a small extent) Zeeland prov., the Netherlands.
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, BrabantBrabant, duchy of,
former duchy, divided between Belgium (Brabant and Antwerp provs.) and the Netherlands (North Brabant prov.). Louvain, Brussels, and Antwerp were its chief cities. The duchy of Brabant emerged (1190) from the duchy of Lower Lorraine.
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, ArtoisArtois
, region and former province, in Pas-de-Calais dept., N France, near the English Channel, between Picardy and Flanders. Arras is the chief city. Largely agricultural, it contains diverse industries, and occupies part of the once-productive Franco-Belgian coal basin.
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, HainautHainaut
, Du. Henegouwen, province (1991 pop. 1,278,791), 1,437 sq mi (3,722 sq km), S Belgium, bordering on France in the south. The chief cities of the predominately French-speaking province are Mons, the capital; Charleroi; and Tournai.
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, the duchy of LuxembourgLuxembourg
or Luxemburg
, officially Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, grand duchy (2005 est. pop. 469,000), 998 sq mi (2,586 sq km), W Europe. Roughly triangular, it borders on Belgium in the west and north, Germany in the east, and France in the south.
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, LimburgLimburg
, province (1994 pop. 1,125,200), c.850 sq mi (2,200 sq km), SE Netherlands, bordering on Belgium in the west and south and Germany in the east. Maastricht, on the Meuse (Maas) River, is the province's capital and chief industrial center.
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, HollandHolland,
former county of the Holy Roman Empire and, from 1579 to 1795, chief member of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Its name is popularly applied to the entire Netherlands. Holland has been divided since 1840 into two provinces, North Holland and South Holland.
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, and Zeeland. His son, Emperor Charles V, added UtrechtUtrecht
, province (1994 pop. 1,056,000), c.500 sq mi (1,290 sq km), central Netherlands. Utrecht (the capital) and Amersfoort are the chief cities. It largely comprises low-lying land and is drained by the Lower Rhine (Neder Rijn) River.
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, GelderlandGelderland,
 Guelderland
, or Guelders
, province (1994 pop. 1,851,400), c.1,940 sq mi (5,000 sq km), E central Netherlands. It borders on Germany in the east. Arnhem, the capital, as well as Nijmegen and Apeldoorn are the chief cities.
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, OverijsselOverijssel
, province (1994 pop. 1,044,600), c,1,500 sq mi (3,885 sq km), E central Netherlands; it borders on Germany in the east. Zwolle is the capital; other cities include Almelo, Deventer, Enschede, Kampen, and Zutphen.
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, FrieslandFriesland
or Frisia
, province (1994 pop. 607,000), c.1,325 sq mi (3,430 sq km), N Netherlands. Leeuwarden is the capital. The province includes several of the West Frisian Islands along the North Sea coast and borders on the IJsselmeer in the southwest.
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, and DrentheDrenthe
, province (1994 pop. 451,400), c.1,030 sq mi (2,670 sq km), NE Netherlands, bordering Germany in the east. Assen is the capital, and Emmen is the chief industrial center. The province is comprised largely of heath country where farming is pursued.
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 and in 1547 declared the entire Netherlands hereditary Hapsburg possessions. In 1555 he abdicated the Netherlands in favor of his son, Philip IIPhilip II,
1527–98, king of Spain (1556–98), king of Naples and Sicily (1554–98), and, as Philip I, king of Portugal (1580–98). Philip's Reign
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 of Spain. The provinces of the Netherlands retained their individual institutions and provincial estates, thereby limiting the powers of the Spanish governors at Brussels.

The harsh regime of the duke of AlbaAlba or Alva, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, duque de
, b. 1507 or 1508, d. 1582, Spanish general and administrator.
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, who replaced (1567) Margaret of Parma as governor and suspended constitutional procedure, provoked the opposition of the Dutch and Flemish, led by William the Silent of Orange; Lamoral, count of Egmont; Hendrik, lord of Brederode; Marnix; and others. In 1576 the opposition united in the Pacification of GhentGhent
, Du. Gent, Fr. Gand, city (1991 pop. 230,246), capital of East Flanders prov., W Belgium, at the confluence of the Scheldt and Leie rivers. Connected with the North Sea by the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal and by a network of other canals, Ghent is a major port and
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. Despite the ruthless campaigns of Alba and his successors—Requesens, John of Austria, and the more diplomatic Alessandro FarneseFarnese, Alessandro
, 1545–92, duke of Parma and Piacenza (1586–92), general and diplomat in the service of Philip II of Spain. He was the son of Duke Ottavio Farnese and Margaret of Parma and thus a nephew of Philip II and of John of Austria, under whom he
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—Spain recovered only the southern provinces while the seven United Provinces of the NetherlandsNetherlands
, Du. Nederland or Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, officially Kingdom of the Netherlands, constitutional monarchy (2005 est. pop. 16,407,000), 15,963 sq mi (41,344 sq km), NW Europe.
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 gained independence. The bloody struggle ruined the prosperous Flemish cities, particularly AntwerpAntwerp,
Du. Antwerpen, Fr. Anvers, city (1991 pop. 467,518), capital of Antwerp prov., N Belgium, on the Scheldt River. It is one of the busiest ports in Europe; a commercial, industrial, and financial center; and a rail junction.
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. Protestantism was expelled in the Spanish Netherlands; Catholicism grew rapidly, and has become a significant religion in both Belgium and Luxembourg.

The provinces were a battleground in every major European war from the 17th cent. to World War II, but after each war their industry and commercial enterprise enabled a quick recovery. Spain lost North Brabant and part of Limburg to the United Provinces at the Peace of Westphalia (1648); Artois and parts of Hainaut and Luxembourg provs. to France at the Peace of the Pyrenees (1659); and parts of Flanders (including DunkirkDunkirk
, Fr. Dunkerque, town (1990 pop. 71,071), Nord dept., N France, on the North Sea. It is a leading French port with daily ferry service to Ramsgate and Dover, England.
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 and Lille) to France in the treaties of Aix-la-Chapelle (1668) and Nijmegen (1678–79). The remaining Spanish possessions in the Low Countries were transferred (1714) to the Austrian branch of the Hapsburgs by the Peace of Utrecht. The bishopric of LiègeLiège,
Du. Luik, Ger. Lüttich, city (1991 pop. 194,596), capital of Liège prov., E Belgium, at the confluence of the Meuse and Ourthe rivers, near the Dutch and German borders.
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, an ecclesiastic principality, was not part of the Hapsburg possessions; it fell under Spanish and (after 1714) Austrian influence. After 1780 Emperor Joseph II ordered anticlerical reforms and measures for administrative and judicial centralization, which aroused the opposition of Catholic and conservative leaders and enlightened democrats.

Finally, late in 1789, the States-General of the Austrian Netherlands officially deposed Joseph and proclaimed the republic of the United States of Belgium. Joseph's successor, Leopold II, succeeded in conciliating the States-General, which in 1790 elected his son Charles as hereditary grand duke. The Austrian recovery of Belgium was short-lived, for by 1794 the French Revolutionary WarsFrench Revolutionary Wars,
wars occurring in the era of the French Revolution and the beginning of the Napoleonic era, the decade of 1792–1802. The wars began as an effort to defend the Revolution and developed into wars of conquest under the empire.
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 had brought the entire area under French control. In 1797 it was formally ceded to France in the Treaty of Campo Formio.

For the history of the area after its incorporation (1815) into the kingdom of the Netherlands, see BelgiumBelgium
, Du. België, Fr. La Belgique, officially Kingdom of Belgium, constitutional kingdom (2005 est. pop. 10,364,000), 11,781 sq mi (30,513 sq km), NW Europe.
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 and LuxembourgLuxembourg
or Luxemburg
, officially Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, grand duchy (2005 est. pop. 469,000), 998 sq mi (2,586 sq km), W Europe. Roughly triangular, it borders on Belgium in the west and north, Germany in the east, and France in the south.
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, grand duchy.

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