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Sack of Antwerp

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The Sack of Antwerp, often known as the Spanish Fury at Antwerp, was an episode of the Eighty Years' War. It is the greatest massacre in Belgian history.

Sack of Antwerp
Part of the Eighty Years' War

Anonymous contemporary depiction of the "Spanish Fury" at Antwerp (Museum Aan de Stroom)
Date4 November 1576
Location
Result Dutch rebels unite against Spanish crown
Decline of Antwerp as commercial hub
Belligerents
Mutinying Spanish Tercios (Army of Flanders) People of Antwerp
German and Walloon troops
Commanders and leaders
Sancho d'Avila
Julian Romero
Juan del Águila
Count Erberstein
Governor Compagny
Marquis d’Havré
Strength
6,000 20,000 (civilians included)
Casualties and losses
very light (possibly 14) 7,000–18,000

On 4 November 1576, mutinying Spanish tercios of the Army of Flanders began the sack of Antwerp, leading to three days of horror among the population of the city, which was the cultural, economic and financial center of the Low Countries. The savagery of the sack led the provinces of the Low Countries to unite against the Spanish crown. The devastation also caused Antwerp's decline as the leading city in the region and paved the way for Amsterdam's rise.

Contents

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by . Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(August 2020) ()

The principal cause of the sack was the delay in payment due to the soldiers by Philip II. Spain had recently declared bankruptcy. The bankers refused to perform the transactions asked of them by the king of Spain until they had reached a compromise. Case in point, the transfer from Spain of the troops' salary could not be performed by letter of exchange (the 16th-century equivalent of a money order). So the Spanish government had to transfer the actual cash by sea – a much more expensive, slow and perilous operation. Unfortunately for Philip, 400,000 florins intended as payment to the troops were seized by the government of Elizabeth I when ships containing the florins sought shelter from a storm in English ports.

The Spanish soldiers, angry at fighting without rest or pay against the rebels, had already sacked Zierikzee and Aalst, causing the fifteen loyal provinces (Holland and Zeeland were in the hands of the rebels) to come together in States-General with the purpose of removing the mercenaries from the Netherlands. It was common procedure with the soldiery at that time, and their procedure was invariable. Without breaking their celebrated discipline, they would choose a new leader, or Eletto, from their number, and march in perfect order under him to whatever their target was. In this instance the Spanish soldiers decided to find for themselves their belated pay, by looting Antwerp.

Antwerp is sacked

The idea to sack Antwerp came from the Spanish commander of the Citadel of Antwerp, Sancho d'Avila. He tried to convince the commander of the German troops in the city, Count Otto IV van Eberstein, son of William IV of Eberstein, to deliver the city to the Spanish.

However, Eberstein warned Governor Compagny (or Champagny) of Antwerp, and together, they improvised defences against the Spanish. On 3 November, Compagny let a force of 6,000 Walloon troops under the Marquis of Havré into the city. That was a risk because these troops were not very trustworthy.[citation needed] Some 10,000 civilians also helped to raise improvised defences against the Citadel. D'Avila had also prepared his attack and contacted other Spanish mutinous troops in Aalst, Lier, Breda and Maastricht, which converged on the city.

On November 4 at 11:00, the Spanish attacked. The civilian defenses were useless against the battle-hardened Spaniards, who swarmed into the city. As had been feared, the Walloons did not fight but fled or even participated in the looting, according to different sources.[citation needed] The Germans and civilians tried to resist but were no match for the Spaniards. Eberstein drowned in the Schelde when he tried to escape.

At least 7,000 lives and a great deal of property were lost. The deaths were assessed at 17,000 by George Gascoigne an English writer who was a witness. The cruelty and the destruction of the three days of pillage became known as the Spanish Fury.

This shocking event stiffened many in the Netherlands, even many Catholics, against the Spanish Habsburg monarchy; and further tarnished Philip's declining reputation. The States General, influenced by the sack, signed the Pacification of Ghent only four days later, unifying the rebellious provinces with the loyal provinces with the goal of removing all Spanish soldiers from the Netherlands, as well as stopping the persecution of heretics. This effectively destroyed every accomplishment the Spanish had made in the past 10 years, since the start of the Dutch Revolt.

Furthermore, it brought about the ruin of the Antwerp Cloth Market. English traders, not wishing to risk visiting a town that now resembled a war zone, sought out new commercial links. By 1582, all English trade to Antwerp had ceased. The city's large Jewish population was especially hard hit and Antwerp subsequently lost its status as one of the richest, most influential cities in Europe; it recovered but was never to recapture its former glory.

The sack led to Antwerp's decline from the economic, financial and cultural center of the Netherlands and paved the way for Amsterdam's rise.

This event also added to Spain's Black Legend.

  1. Nolan, Cathal (2006). The Age of Wars of Religion, 1000–1650: Encyclopedia of Global Warfare and Civilization, Volume 2. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 799.
  2. Ireland: 1641: Contexts and Reactions. Oxford University Press. 2013. p. 179.
  3. Kamen, Henry (2005). Spain, 1469–1714: a society of conflict (3rd ed.). Harlow, United Kingdom. p. 326. ISBN 0-582-78464-6.
  4. Carey, John (1987). Faber Book of Reportage. faber and faber. p. 121. ISBN 0-571-13716-4.
  5. Motley, John Lothrop (1855). The Rise of the Dutch Republic. Harper & Brothers.

Sack of Antwerp
Sack of Antwerp Language Watch Edit This article needs additional citations for verification Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources Sack of Antwerp news newspapers books scholar JSTOR August 2020 Learn how and when to remove this template message The Sack of Antwerp often known as the Spanish Fury at Antwerp was an episode of the Eighty Years War It is the greatest massacre in Belgian history Sack of AntwerpPart of the Eighty Years WarAnonymous contemporary depiction of the Spanish Fury at Antwerp Museum Aan de Stroom Date4 November 1576LocationAntwerp Spanish Netherlands present day Belgium ResultDutch rebels unite against Spanish crown Decline of Antwerp as commercial hubBelligerentsMutinying Spanish Tercios Army of Flanders People of Antwerp German and Walloon troopsCommanders and leadersSancho d Avila Julian Romero Juan del AguilaCount Erberstein Governor Compagny Marquis d HavreStrength6 00020 000 civilians included Casualties and lossesvery light possibly 14 7 000 18 000 1 2 On 4 November 1576 mutinying Spanish tercios of the Army of Flanders began the sack of Antwerp leading to three days of horror among the population of the city which was the cultural economic and financial center of the Low Countries The savagery of the sack led the provinces of the Low Countries to unite against the Spanish crown The devastation also caused Antwerp s decline as the leading city in the region and paved the way for Amsterdam s rise Contents 1 Causes 2 Events 3 Consequences 4 See also 5 References 6 SourcesCauses EditThis section does not cite any sources Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed August 2020 Learn how and when to remove this template message The principal cause of the sack was the delay in payment due to the soldiers by Philip II Spain had recently declared bankruptcy The bankers refused to perform the transactions asked of them by the king of Spain until they had reached a compromise Case in point the transfer from Spain of the troops salary could not be performed by letter of exchange the 16th century equivalent of a money order So the Spanish government had to transfer the actual cash by sea a much more expensive slow and perilous operation Unfortunately for Philip 400 000 florins intended as payment to the troops were seized by the government of Elizabeth I when ships containing the florins sought shelter from a storm in English ports The Spanish soldiers angry at fighting without rest or pay against the rebels had already sacked Zierikzee and Aalst causing the fifteen loyal provinces Holland and Zeeland were in the hands of the rebels to come together in States General with the purpose of removing the mercenaries from the Netherlands It was common procedure with the soldiery at that time and their procedure was invariable Without breaking their celebrated discipline they would choose a new leader or Eletto from their number and march in perfect order under him to whatever their target was In this instance the Spanish soldiers decided to find for themselves their belated pay by looting Antwerp Events Edit Antwerp is sacked The idea to sack Antwerp came from the Spanish commander of the Citadel of Antwerp Sancho d Avila He tried to convince the commander of the German troops in the city Count Otto IV van Eberstein son of William IV of Eberstein to deliver the city to the Spanish However Eberstein warned Governor Compagny or Champagny of Antwerp and together they improvised defences against the Spanish On 3 November Compagny let a force of 6 000 Walloon troops under the Marquis of Havre into the city That was a risk because these troops were not very trustworthy citation needed Some 10 000 civilians also helped to raise improvised defences against the Citadel D Avila had also prepared his attack and contacted other Spanish mutinous troops in Aalst Lier Breda and Maastricht which converged on the city On November 4 at 11 00 the Spanish attacked The civilian defenses were useless against the battle hardened Spaniards who swarmed into the city As had been feared the Walloons did not fight but fled or even participated in the looting according to different sources citation needed The Germans and civilians tried to resist but were no match for the Spaniards Eberstein drowned in the Schelde when he tried to escape At least 7 000 lives and a great deal of property were lost 3 The deaths were assessed at 17 000 by George Gascoigne an English writer who was a witness 4 The cruelty and the destruction of the three days of pillage became known as the Spanish Fury Consequences EditThis shocking event stiffened many in the Netherlands even many Catholics against the Spanish Habsburg monarchy and further tarnished Philip s declining reputation The States General influenced by the sack signed the Pacification of Ghent only four days later unifying the rebellious provinces with the loyal provinces with the goal of removing all Spanish soldiers from the Netherlands as well as stopping the persecution of heretics This effectively destroyed every accomplishment the Spanish had made in the past 10 years since the start of the Dutch Revolt Furthermore it brought about the ruin of the Antwerp Cloth Market English traders not wishing to risk visiting a town that now resembled a war zone sought out new commercial links By 1582 all English trade to Antwerp had ceased The city s large Jewish population was especially hard hit and Antwerp subsequently lost its status as one of the richest most influential cities in Europe it recovered but was never to recapture its former glory The sack led to Antwerp s decline from the economic financial and cultural center of the Netherlands and paved the way for Amsterdam s rise This event also added to Spain s Black Legend 5 See also EditSpanish Fury at Mechelen English Fury at Mechelen French Fury Sack of Rome 1527 the unpaid Imperial troops loot Rome References Edit Nolan Cathal 2006 The Age of Wars of Religion 1000 1650 Encyclopedia of Global Warfare and Civilization Volume 2 Greenwood Publishing Group p 799 Ireland 1641 Contexts and Reactions Oxford University Press 2013 p 179 Kamen Henry 2005 Spain 1469 1714 a society of conflict 3rd ed Harlow United Kingdom p 326 ISBN 0 582 78464 6 Carey John 1987 Faber Book of Reportage faber and faber p 121 ISBN 0 571 13716 4 Motley John Lothrop 1855 The Rise of the Dutch Republic Harper amp Brothers Sources EditThe Baldwin Project University of Leiden Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Sack of Antwerp amp oldid 1053735158, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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