Part One: The Background
DOI link for Part One: The Background
Part One: The Background book
In 1627 the Spanish councillor of state Fernando Giron considered the struggle between the Spanish crown and its rebels in the Low Countries to be ‘the biggest, bloodiest and most implacable of all the wars which have been waged since the beginning of the world’ (28, p. 58). By that date the war had already lasted sixty years and still had another twenty to run. There was continuous fighting from April 1572 to April 1607 (apart from a cease-fire of six months’ duration in 1577) and from April 1621 to June 1647. Yet as one historian has written recently: ‘There can no longer be any doubt that the Spanish crown had come to accept the principle of Dutch political and religious independence by 1606, and that there was never subsequently any Spanish ambition or plan for reconquering the break-away northern Netherlands’ (54, p. xiv). Why, then, did the war continue for as long as it did?