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|Reign||6 May 1598 – 13 July 1621|
|Co-monarch||Isabella Clara Eugenia|
|Archduke of Lower and Upper Austria|
|Reign||20 March – 9 October 1619|
|Viceroy of Portugal|
|Reign||11 February 1583 - 5 July 1593|
|Predecessor||Duke of Alba|
|Successor||1st Regency Council|
|Monarch||Philip I of Portugal|
|Born||13 November 1559|
|Died||13 July 1621 61) (aged|
Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain (m. 1599)
|Father||Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor|
|Mother||Maria of Spain|
Albert VII (German : Albrecht VII) (13 November 1559 – 13 July 1621) was the ruling Archduke of Austria for a few months in 1619 and, jointly with his wife, Isabella Clara Eugenia, sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands between 1598 and 1621. Prior to this, he had been a cardinal, archbishop of Toledo, viceroy of Portugal and Governor General of the Habsburg Netherlands. He succeeded his brother Matthias as reigning archduke of Lower and Upper Austria, but abdicated in favor of Ferdinand II the same year, making it the shortest (and often ignored) reign in Austrian history.
Archduke Albert was the fifth son of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Isabella of Portugal. He was sent to the Spanish Court at the age of eleven, where his uncle, King Philip II, looked after his education. Initially he was meant to pursue an ecclesiastical career. On 3 March 1577 he was appointed cardinal by Pope Gregory XIII, with a dispensation because of his age of eighteen, and was given Santa Croce in Gerusalemme as his titular church. [ further explanation needed ]Philip II planned to make Albert archbishop of Toledo as soon as possible, but the incumbent, Gaspar de Quiroga y Sandoval, lived much longer than expected; he died on 12 November 1594. In the meantime Albert only took lower orders. He was never ordained priest or bishop, and thus he resigned the See of Toledo in 1598. He resigned the cardinalate in 1598. His clerical upbringing did however have a lasting influence on his lifestyle.
After the dynastic union with Portugal, Albert became the first viceroy of the kingdom and its overseas empire in 1583. At the same time he was appointed Papal Legate and Grand Inquisitor for Portugal.As viceroy of Portugal he took part in the organization of the Great Armada of 1588 and beat off an English counter-attack on Lisbon in 1589. In 1593 Philip II recalled him to Madrid, where he would take a leading role in the government of the Spanish Monarchy. Two years later, the rebellious Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone and Hugh Roe O'Donnell offered Albert the Irish crown in the hope of obtaining Spanish support for their cause.
After the death of Archduke Ernest of Austria in 1595, Albert was sent to Brussels to succeed his elder brother as Governor General of the Habsburg Netherlands. He made his entry in Brussels on 11 February 1596. His first priority was restoring Spain's military position in the Low Countries. Spain was facing the combined forces of the Dutch Republic, England and France and had known nothing but defeats since 1590. During his first campaign season, Albert surprised his enemies by capturing Calais and nearby Ardres from the French and Hulst from the Dutch. These successes were however offset by the third bankruptcy of the Spanish crown later that year. As a consequence, 1597 was marked by a series of military disasters. Stadholder Maurice of Orange captured the last Spanish strongholds that remained north of the great rivers, as well as the strategic town of Rheinberg in the Electorate of Cologne. Between 13 May and 25 September 1597, the Spanish, who had sent a large army in March, had captured the city of Amiens easily in a ruse. Finally the Spanish Army of Flanders lost Amiens in September the same year to Henry IV of France despite desperate efforts to relieve the place by Albert and Ernst von Mansfeld. With no more money to pay the troops, Albert was also facing a series of mutinies.
While pursuing the war as well as he could, Albert made overtures for peace with Spain's enemies, but only the French King was disposed to enter official negotiations. Under the mediation of the papal legate Cardinal Alessandro de'Medici — the future Pope Leo XI — Spain and France concluded the Peace of Vervins on 2 May 1598. Spain gave up its conquests, thereby restoring the situation of Cateau Cambrésis. France tacitly accepted the Spanish occupation of the prince-archbishopric of Cambray and pulled out of the war, but maintained the financial support for the Dutch Republic. Only a few days after the treaty, on 6 May 1598, Philip II announced his decision to marry his eldest daughter, Isabella Clara Eugenia, to Albert and to cede them the sovereignty over the Habsburg Netherlands. The Act of Cession did however stipulate that if the couple would not have children, the Netherlands would return to Spain. It also contained a number of secret clauses that assured a permanent presence of the Spanish Army of Flanders. After obtaining the pope's permission, Albert formally resigned from the College of Cardinals on 13 July 1598 and left for Spain on 14 September, unaware that Philip II had died the night before. Pope Clement VIII celebrated the union by procuration on 15 November at Ferrara, while the actual marriage took place in Valencia on 18 April 1599.
The first half of the reign of Albert and Isabella was dominated by war. After overtures to the United Provinces and to Queen Elizabeth I of England proved unsuccessful, the Habsburg policy in the Low Countries aimed at regaining the military initiative and isolating the Dutch Republic. The strategy was to force its opponents to the conference table and negotiate from a position of strength. Even if Madrid and Brussels tended to agree on these options, Albert took a far more flexible stance than his brother-in-law, King Philip III of Spain. Albert had first hand knowledge of the devastation wrought by the Dutch Revolt and had come to the conclusion that it would be impossible to reconquer the northern provinces. Quite logically, Philip III and his councillors felt more concern for Spain's reputation and for the impact that a compromise with the Dutch Republic might have on Habsburg positions as a whole. Spain provided the means to continue the war. Albert took the decisions on the ground and tended to ignore Madrid's instructions. Under the circumstances, the division of responsibilities repeatedly led to tensions.
Albert's reputation as a military commander suffered badly when he was defeated by the Dutch stadtholder Maurice of Orange in the battle of Nieuwpoort on 2 July 1600. His inability to conclude the lengthy siege of Ostend (1601–1604), resulted in his withdrawal from the tactical command of the Spanish Army of Flanders. From then on military operations were led by the Genuese Ambrogio Spínola. Even though he could not prevent the almost simultaneous capture of Sluis, Spínola forced Ostend to surrender on 22 September 1604. He seized the initiative during the next campaigns, bringing the war north of the great rivers for the first time since 1594.
Meanwhile, the accession of James VI of Scotland as James I in England had paved the way for a separate peace with England. On 24 July 1604 England, Spain and the Archducal Netherlands signed the Treaty of London. The return to peace was severely hampered by differences over religion. Events such as the Gunpowder Plot caused a lot of diplomatic tension between London and Brussels. Yet on the whole relations between the two courts tended to be cordial.
Spínola's campaigns and the threat of diplomatic isolation induced the Dutch Republic to accept a ceasefire in April 1607. The subsequent negotiations between the warring parties failed to produce a peace treaty. They did lead however to conclusion of the Twelve Years' Truce in Antwerp on 9 April 1609. Under the terms of the Truce, the United Provinces were to be regarded as a sovereign power for the duration of the truce. Albert had conceded this point against the will of Madrid and it took him a lot of effort to persuade Philip III to ratify the agreement. When Philip's ratification finally arrived, Albert's quest for the restoration of peace in the Low Countries had finally paid off.
The years of the Truce gave the Habsburg Netherlands a much needed breathing-space. The fields could again be worked in safety. The archducal regime encouraged the reclaiming of land that had been inundated in the course of the hostilities and sponsored the impoldering of the Moeren, a marshy area that is presently astride the Belgian–French border. The recovery of agriculture led in turn to a modest increase of the population after decades of demographic losses. Industry and in particular the luxury trades likewise underwent a recovery. International trade was however hampered by the closure of the river Scheldt. The archducal regime had plans to bypass the blockade with a system of canals linking Ostend via Bruges to the Scheldt in Ghent and joining the Meuse to the Rhine between Venlo and Rheinberg. In order to combat urban poverty, the government supported the creation of a network of Monti di Pietà based on the Italian model.
Meanwhile, the archducal regime ensured the triumph of the Catholic Reformation in the Habsburg Netherlands. Most Protestants had by that stage left the Southern Netherlands. After one last execution in 1597, those that remained were no longer actively persecuted. Under the terms of legislation passed in 1609, their presence was tolerated, provided they did not worship in public. Engaging in religious debates was also forbidden by law. The resolutions of the Third Provincial Council of Mechlin of 1607 were likewise given official sanction. Through such measures and by the appointment of a generation of able and committed bishops, Albert and Isabella laid the foundation of the catholic confessionalisation of the population. The same period saw important waves of witch-hunts.
In the process of recatholisation, new and reformed religious orders enjoyed the particular support of Albert and Isabella. Even though the Archduke had certain reservations about the order, the Jesuits received the largest cash grants, allowing them to complete their ambitious building programmes in Brussels and Antwerp. Other champions of the Catholic Reformation, such as the Capuchins, were also given considerable sums. The foundation of the first convents of Discalced Carmelites in the Southern Netherlands depended wholly on the personal initiative of the archducal couple and bore witness to the Spanish orientation of their spirituality.
The reign of Albert and Isabella Clara Eugenia saw a strengthening of princely power in the Habsburg Netherlands. The States General of the loyal provinces were only summoned once in 1600. Thereafter the government preferred to deal directly with the provinces. The years of the Truce allowed the archducal regime to promulgate legislation on a whole range of matters. The so-called Eternal Edict of 1611, for instance, reformed the judicial system and ushered in the transition from customary to written law. Other measures dealt with monetary matters, the nobility, duels, gambling, etc.
Driven by strategic as well as religious motives, Albert intervened in 1614 in the squabbles over the inheritance of the United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg. The subsequent confrontation with the armies of the Dutch Republic led to the Treaty of Xanten. The episode was in many ways a rehearsal of what was to come in the Thirty Years' War. After the defenestration of Prague, Albert responded by sending troops to his cousin Ferdinand II and by pressing Philip III for financial support to the cause of the Austrian Habsburgs. As such he contributed considerably to the victory of the Habsburg and Bavarian forces in the Battle of the White Mountain on 8 November 1620.
Albert and Isabella Clara Eugenia had three children who died at a very young age, in 1605, 1607 and 1609. As the years passed, it became clear that they would have no more offspring. When Albert's health suffered a serious breakdown in the winter of 1613-1614, steps were taken to ensure the accession of Philip III of Spain in accordance to the Act of Cession. As a result, the States of the loyal provinces swore to accept the King as heir of the Archduke and Archduchess in a number of ceremonies between May 1616 and January 1617. Philip III however predeceased his uncle on 31 March 1621. The right to succeed the couple thereupon passed to his eldest, Philip IV.
Albert's health again deteriorated markedly in the closing months of 1620. As the Twelve Years' Truce would expire the next April, he devoted his last energies to securing its renewal. In order to reach this goal he was prepared to make far reaching concessions. Much to his frustration, neither the Spanish Monarchy, nor the Dutch Republic took his pleas for peace seriously. His death on 13 July 1621 therefore more or less coincided with the resumption of hostilities.
Virtually nothing remains of Albert and Isabella Clara Eugenia' palace on the Koudenberg in Brussels, their summer retreat in Mariemont or their hunting lodge in Tervuren. Their once magnificent collections were scattered after 1633 and considerable parts of them have been lost. Still, the Archdukes Albert and Isabella enjoy a well merited reputation as patrons of the arts. They are probably best remembered for the appointment of Peter Paul Rubens as their court painter in 1609. They likewise gave commissions to outstanding painters such as Frans Pourbus the Younger, Otto van Veen and Jan Brueghel the Elder. Less well known painters such as Hendrik de Clerck, Theodoor van Loon and Denis van Alsloot were also called upon. Mention should furthermore be made of architects such as Wenzel Cobergher and Jacob Franquart, as well as of the sculptors de Nole. By far the best preserved ensemble of art from the archducal period is to be found at Scherpenheuvel where Albert and Isabella directed Cobergher, the painter Theodoor van Loon and the de Noles to create a pilgrimage church in a planned city.
As co-sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands, the title was: "Albert and Isabella Clara Eugenia, Infanta of Spain, by the grace of God Archdukes of Austria, Dukes of Burgundy, Lothier, Brabant, Limburg, Luxembourg and Guelders, Counts of Habsburg, Flanders, Artois, Burgundy, Tyrol, Palatines in Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland, Namur and Zutphen, Margraves of the Holy Roman Empire, Lord and Lady of Frisia, Salins, Mechlin, the City, Towns and Lands of Utrecht, Overijssel and Groningen".
For use in correspondence with German princes: "The Most Serene, Highborn Prince and Lord, Lord Albert, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Lothier, Brabant, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Limburg, Luxembourg, Guelders and Württemberg, Count of Habsburg, Flanders, Tyrol, Artois, Burgundy, Palatine in Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland, Namur and Zutphen, Margrave of the Holy Roman Empire, Lord of Frisia, Salins, Mechlin, the City, Towns and Lands of Utrecht, Overijssel and Groningen".
|Ancestors of Albert VII, Archduke of Austria|
The Southern Netherlands, also called the Catholic Netherlands, was the part of the Low Countries largely controlled by Spain (1556–1714), later Austria (1714–1794), and occupied then annexed by France (1794–1815). The region also included a number of smaller states that were never ruled by Spain or Austria: the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, the Imperial Abbey of Stavelot-Malmedy, the County of Bouillon, the County of Horne and the Princely Abbey of Thorn. The Southern Netherlands were part of the Holy Roman Empire until the whole area was annexed by Revolutionary France.
The Treaty of London, signed on 18 August O.S. 1604, concluded the nineteen-year Anglo-Spanish War on peace terms which were better received in Spain than in England, as they were seen there to let down the Netherlands, a well-regarded ally. The negotiations probably took place at Somerset House in Westminster and are sometimes known as the Somerset House Conference.
Isabella Clara Eugenia was sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands in the Low Countries and the north of modern France, together with her husband Albert VII, Archduke of Austria. In some sources, she is referred to as Clara Isabella Eugenia. By birth, she was an infanta of Spain and Portugal.
Spanish Netherlands was the name for the Habsburg Netherlands ruled by the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs from 1556 to 1714. They were a collection of States of the Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries held in personal union by the Spanish Crown. This region comprised most of the modern states of Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as parts of northern France, southern Netherlands, and western Germany with the capital being Brussels.
The Twelve Years' Truce was the name given to the cessation of hostilities between the Habsburg rulers of Spain and the Southern Netherlands and the Dutch Republic as agreed in Antwerp on 9 April 1609. It was a watershed in the Eighty Years' War, marking the point from which the independence of the United Provinces received formal recognition by outside powers. For Spain the Truce was seen as a humiliating defeat as they were forced to make several sacrifices but they scarcely got anything in return. For the time of its duration however the Truce allowed King Philip III and his favorite minister the Duke of Lerma to disengage from the conflict in the Low Countries and devote their energies to the internal problems of the Spanish Monarchy. The Archdukes Albert and Isabella used the years of the Truce to consolidate Habsburg rule and to implement the Counter-Reformation in the territories under their sovereignty.
The Count of Hainaut was the ruler of the county of Hainaut, a historical region in the Low Countries. In English-language historical sources, the title is often given the archaic spelling Hainault.
Habsburg Netherlands, also referred to as Belgica or Flanders, is the collective name of Holy Roman Empire fiefs in the Low Countries held by the House of Habsburg. The rule began in 1482, when after the death of the Valois-Burgundy duke Charles the Bold the Burgundian Netherlands fell to the Habsburg dynasty by the marriage of Charles's daughter Mary of Burgundy to Archduke Maximilian I of Austria. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor was born in the Habsburg Netherlands and made Brussels his imperial capital.
Princely Count Charles of Arenberg, duke of Aarschot, baron of Zevenbergen, knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece, was the second Princely Count of Arenberg and a leading aristocrat of the Habsburg Netherlands, who served as a courtier, soldier, minister and diplomat.
Lamoral, 1st Prince of Ligne was a diplomat in the 17th century.
Jean Grusset dict Richardot, knight was a statesman and diplomat from the Franche-Comté, who held high political office during the Dutch Revolt and played an important role in restoring Habsburg rule in the Southern Netherlands.
The Siege of Calais of 1596, also known as the Spanish conquest of Calais, took place at the strategic port-city of Calais, between April 8–24, 1596, as part of the Franco-Spanish War (1595–1598), in the context of the French Wars of Religion, the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604), and the Eighty Years' War. The siege ended when the city fell into Spanish hands after a short and intense siege by the Spanish Army of Flanders commanded by Archduke Albert of Austria, Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands. The French troops in the citadel of Calais resisted for a few days more, but finally on April 24, the Spanish troops led by Don Luis de Velasco y Velasco, Count of Salazar, assaulted and captured the fortress, achieving a complete victory. The Spanish success was the first action of the campaign of Archduke Albert of 1596.
The Mutiny of Hoogstraten was the longest mutiny by soldiers of the Army of Flanders during the Eighty Years' War. Frederick Van den Berg's attempt to end the mutiny by force, with a siege to recapture the town, ended in defeat at the hands of an Anglo-Dutch army under of Maurice of Nassau. After a period of nearly three years the mutineers were able either to join Maurice's army or rejoin the Spanish army after a pardon had been ratified.
The Siege of Ress of 1599, also known as the Relief of Ress, was an unsuccessful attempt by Protestant-German forces led by Count Simon VI of Lippe, and Anglo-Dutch forces sent by Prince Maurice of Nassau, commanded by Philip of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein and the Count Ernst of Solms, to capture the strategic stronghold of Rees, Lower Rhine, Duchy of Cleves from the Spanish forces of Don Francisco de Mendoza, Admiral of Aragon, second-in-command of the Army of Flanders, and Governor Don Ramiro de Guzmán, between 10–12 September 1599, during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). This Spanish victory was part of the campaign of Francisco de Mendoza and Cardinal Andrew of Austria of 1598-1599, also called the Spanish Winter of 1598-99.
The Capture of Geertruidenberg of 1589, also known as the English betrayal of Geertruidenberg, took place on April 10, 1589, at Geertruidenberg, Duchy of Brabant, Flanders, during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604).
Events from the 1590s in the Spanish Netherlands and Prince-bishopric of Liège.
Don Íñigo de Borja y Velasco (1575–1622) was a Spanish nobleman and military commander who served as governor of Antwerp Citadel.
Decio Carafa (1556–1626) was an Archbishop of Naples who had previously served as papal nuncio to the Spanish Netherlands (1606–1607) and to Habsburg Spain (1607–1611).
The Siege of San Andreas also known as the Siege of Sint-Andries was a military event that took place during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War from 28 January to 6 march 1600. The Spanish garrison of San Andreas was besieged by an Anglo-Dutch force led by Maurice of Nassau. A Spanish relief force under the command of Luis de Velasco failed to relieve the fort after having been turned back by the besiegers. The fort surrendered after the garrison mutinied and accepted payment from Maurice.
Netherlands–Spain relations are the bilateral and diplomatic relations between these two countries. Spain has an embassy in The Hague and a consulate general in Amsterdam. The Netherlands has an embassy in Madrid and nine honorary consulates in Barcelona, Bilbao, Ceuta, Gijón, Palma, Benidorm, Sevilla, Tenerife, Torremolinos and Valencia. The relations between both countries are defined mainly by their membership in the European Union and by being allies in the NATO, as well as belonging to numerous International Organizations.
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Archduke Albert of AustriaBorn: 13 November 1559 Died: 13 July 1621
|Catholic Church titles|
Jorge de Almeida
| Grand Inquisitor of Portugal|
1586 – 1593
António de Matos de Noronha
Gaspar de Quiroga y Vela
| Archbishop of Toledo |
1595 – 1598
Garcia Loayasa y Giron
Pedro Henriquez de Acevedo
| Governor of the Spanish Netherlands |
Title next held byIsabella Clara Eugenia of Spain
Fernando Álvarez de Toledo
| Viceroy of Portugal |
Title next held byCristóvão de Moura
Philip II of Spain
| Duke of Lothier, Brabant, Limburg,|
Luxemburg and Guelders;
Margrave of Namur;
Count Palatine of Burgundy;
Count of Flanders, Artois and Hainaut
1598 – 1621
with Isabella Clara Eugenia (1598 – 1621)
Philip IV of Spain
| Archduke of Lower and Upper Austria |