Battle of Mookerheyde

Last updated
Battle of Mookerheyde
Part of the Eighty Years' War
Slag op de Moockerheijde.jpg
Date14 April 1574
Result Decisive Spanish victory
Statenvlag.svg Dutch Rebels
German mercenaries
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Spain
Commanders and leaders
Statenvlag.svg Louis of Nassau  
Statenvlag.svg Henry of Nassau  
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Sancho d'Avila
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Bernardino de Mendoza
5,500 infantry
2,600 cavalry
5,000 infantry
800 cavalry
Casualties and losses
3,000 dead or wounded 150 dead or wounded

In the Battle of Mookerheyde, Spanish forces defeated Dutch forces composed of German mercenaries on 14 April 1574 during the Eighty Years' War near the village Mook and the river Meuse not far from Nijmegen in Gelderland. Two leaders of the Dutch forces, brothers of William the Silent, were killed: Louis of Nassau (born 1538) and Henry of Nassau-Dillenburg (born 1550). [1]

Eighty Years War 16th and 17th-century Dutch revolt against the Habsburgs

The Eighty Years' War or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg against Philip II of Spain, the sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands. After the initial stages, Philip II deployed his armies and regained control over most of the rebelling provinces. Under the leadership of the exiled William the Silent, the northern provinces continued their resistance. They eventually were able to oust the Habsburg armies, and in 1581 they established the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. The war continued in other areas, although the heartland of the republic was no longer threatened; this included the beginnings of the Dutch Colonial Empire, which at the time were conceived as carrying overseas the war with Spain. The Dutch Republic was recognized by Spain and the major European powers in 1609 at the start of the Twelve Years' Truce. Hostilities broke out again around 1619, as part of the broader Thirty Years' War. An end was reached in 1648 with the Peace of Münster, when the Dutch Republic was definitively recognised as an independent country no longer part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace of Münster is sometimes considered the beginning of the Dutch Golden Age.

Mook en Middelaar Municipality in Limburg, Netherlands

Mook en Middelaar is a municipality in the upper southeastern part of the Netherlands, at the northern tip of the province of Limburg and is a part of Stadsregio Arnhem Nijmegen. The municipality is located about 100 km from provincial capital Maastricht and has an area of 18.81 km2 (7.26 sq mi) of which 1.42 km2 (0.55 sq mi) is water.

Nijmegen City and municipality in Gelderland, Netherlands

Nijmegen is a city in the Dutch province of Gelderland, on the Waal river close to the German border.

During the winter of 1573/74, Louis and Henry of Nassau raised a mercenary army in Germany of 6500 infantry and 3000 cavalry. They proceeded towards Maastricht to rendezvous with their elder brother William the Silent, Prince of Orange, who led 6000 Dutchmen. They planned to march their combined forces toward Leiden, which was under siege by a large Spanish force since October 1573.

Louis of Nassau nobleman of the Netherlands; military leader in the Eighty Years War

Louis of Nassau was the third son of William, Count of Nassau and Juliana of Stolberg, and the younger brother of Prince William of Orange Nassau.

Henry of Nassau, count of Nassau-Dillenburg, was the youngest brother of William I of Orange-Nassau.

Maastricht City and municipality in Limburg, Netherlands

Maastricht is a city and a municipality in the southeast of the Netherlands. It is the capital and largest city of the province of Limburg. Maastricht is located on both sides of the Meuse, at the point where the Jeker joins it. It is adjacent to the border with Belgium.

The strength of Count Louis' forces diminished en route. More than a thousand men deserted and seven hundred were killed by the Spanish in a night attack. The remaining troops were mutinous because the Dutch had been unable to pay them. Louis crossed the Meuse with only 5,500 infantry and 2,600 cavalry. Before Louis could join forces with William, Luis de Requesens temporarily lifted the Siege of Leiden so that 5,000 infantry and 800 cavalry could counter Louis' advance. The Spanish army was led by Sancho d'Avila and Bernardino de Mendoza. The armies met near the village of Mook. Well timed attacks by the Spanish lancers destroyed the Dutch cavalry, [2] and the Spanish proved victorious.

Luis de Requesens y Zúñiga Spanish politician

Luis de Requeséns y Zúñiga also known as Luis de Zúñiga y Requeséns was a Spanish politician, soldier and diplomat.

Siege of Leiden siege

The Siege of Leiden occurred during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War in 1573 and 1574, when the Spanish under Francisco de Valdez attempted to capture the rebellious city of Leiden, South Holland, the Netherlands. In the end the siege failed when the city was successfully relieved in October 1574.

Sancho dAvila Spanish General

Sancho d'Avila was a Spanish general.

The Dutch suffered a disastrous defeat, losing at least 3,000 men. The Dutch army of mercenaries, still not paid, soon dispersed. William long hoped that his brothers had been captured, but Louis and Henry were apparently killed and their bodies were never recovered. [3]

The Spanish then resumed the siege of Leiden, which failed when Dutch forces relieved the city in October. [4]

In the course of the battle, Spanish forces seized the command baton that William the Silent had given his brother Louis. The baton, long forgotten, was discovered at the Jesuit residence in San Cugat in Catalonia. In 2017, the General Superior of the Jesuits, Arturo Sosa, returned the baton to King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in a ceremony at the Vatican. The transfer was symbolic, in that ownership of the baton is retained by Catalonia as part of its cultural and historic patrimony. [5] The baton had passed to the Jesuits as part of the estate of Luis de Requesens, Governor General of the Spanish Netherlands in 1574. The Dutch plan to display it at the National Military Museum. [6] [7]

Sant Cugat del Vallès Municipality in Catalonia, Spain

Sant Cugat del Vallès is a town and municipality north of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. Known as Castrum Octavianum in antiquity and as Pins del Vallès during the Second Spanish Republic, it is named after Saint Cucuphas, who is said to have been martyred on the spot now occupied by its medieval monastery. The final part of its toponym, del Vallès, is a reference to the historical county where the town is situated, Vallès.

Arturo Sosa Superior General of the Society of Jesus

Arturo Marcelino Sosa Abascal is the thirty-first and present Superior General of the Society of Jesus. He was elected Superior General by the Society's 36th General Congregation on 14 October 2016, succeeding Adolfo Nicolás. As a Venezuelan, he is the first person born in Latin America to lead the Jesuits.

Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands King of the Netherlands

Willem-Alexander is the King of the Netherlands, having ascended the throne following his mother's abdication in 2013.

Related Research Articles

William the Silent founder of the Dutch Republic, stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, leader of the Dutch Revolt

William I, Prince of Orange, also known as William the Silent or William the Taciturn, or more commonly known as William of Orange, was the main leader of the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs that set off the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1581. He was born in the House of Nassau as Count of Nassau-Dillenburg. He became Prince of Orange in 1544 and is thereby the founder of the branch House of Orange-Nassau and the ancestor of the monarchy of the Netherlands. Within the Netherlands he is also known as Father of the Fatherland.

Battle of Zutphen

The Battle of Zutphen was fought on 22 September 1586, near the village of Warnsveld and the town of Zutphen, the Netherlands, during the Eighty Years' War. It was fought by the forces of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, aided by the English, against the Spanish. In 1585, England signed the Treaty of Nonsuch with the States-General of the Netherlands and formally entered the war against Spain. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was appointed as the Governor-General of the Netherlands and sent there in command of an English army to support the Dutch rebels. When Alessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma and commander of the Spanish Army of Flanders, besieged the town of Rheinberg during the Cologne War, Leicester, in turn, besieged the town of Zutphen, in the province of Gelderland and on the eastern bank of the river IJssel.

Battle of Dahlen battle

The Battle of Dahlen was fought on April 23, 1568, between a Dutch rebel army led by Jean de Montigny, Lord of Villers, and a Spanish army commanded by Sancho Dávila y Daza. As a part of William of Orange's planned invasion, the Dutch rebels were trying to conquer the town of Roermond when the arrival of the Spanish force compelled them to withdraw. Dávila pursued the retreating force and inflicted a defeat upon Villers near the small town of Dahlen. The survivors of this encounter sought refuge under the walls of Dahlen, where the Spanish infantry finally defeated them. This battle is sometimes considered the official start of the Eighty Years' War.

Philip of Nassau Count of Nassau

Philip of Nassau or Filips of Nassau was a Count of Nassau, Katzenelnbogen, Vianden and Dietz, fought for the United Provinces during the Eighty Years' War. He was the son of John VI and Countess Elisabeth of Leuchtenberg.

Army of Flanders

The Army of Flanders was a multinational army in the service of the kings of Spain that was based in the Netherlands during the 16th to 18th centuries. It was notable for being the longest-serving standing army of the period, being in continuous service from 1567 until its disestablishment in 1706. In addition to taking part in numerous battles of the Dutch Revolt (1567–1609) and the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), it also employed many developing military concepts more reminiscent of later military units, enjoying permanent, standing regiments (tercios), barracks, military hospitals and rest homes long before they were adopted in most of Europe. Sustained at huge cost and at significant distances from Spain, the Army of Flanders also became infamous for successive mutinies and its ill-disciplined activity off the battlefield, including the Sack of Antwerp in 1576.

Siege of Leuven

The Siege of Leuven was an important siege in the Thirty Years' War in which a Franco-Dutch army under Frederick Henry of Orange and the French Marshals Urbain de Maillé-Brezé and Gaspard III de Coligny, who had invaded the Spanish Netherlands from two sides, laid siege to the city of Leuven, defended by a force of 4,000 comprising local citizen and student militias with Walloons, Germans and Irish of the Army of Flanders under Anthonie Schetz, Baron of Grobbendonck. Poor organization and logistics and the spread of sickness among the French, along with the appearance of a relief army of 11,000 Spanish and Italian troops under Ottavio Piccolomini, forced the invading army to lift the siege. This failure allowed the Spanish forces to take the initiative and soon the invaders were forced into a headlong retreat.

Battle of the Lippe

The Battle of the Lippe was a cavalry action fought on 2 September 1595 on the banks of the Lippe river, in Germany, between a corps of Spanish cavalry led by Juan de Córdoba and a corps of Dutch cavalry, supported by English troops, led by Philip of Nassau. The Dutch statholder Maurice of Nassau, taking advantage of the fact that the bulk of the Spanish army was busied in operations in France, besieged the town of Groenlo in Gelderland, but the elderly governor of the citadel of Antwerp, Cristóbal de Mondragón, organized a relief army and forced Maurice to lift the siege. Mondragón next moved to Wesel, positioning his troops on the southern bank of the Lippe river to cover Rheinberg from a Dutch attack. Maurice aimed then, relying on his superior army, to entice Mondragón into a pitched battle, planning to use an ambush to draw the Spanish army into a trap. However, the plan was discovered by the Spanish commander, who organized a counter-ambush.

Siege of Mons (1572) siege

The Siege of Mons of 1572 took place at Mons, capital of the County of Hainaut, Spanish Netherlands, between 23 June and 19 September 1572, as part of the Eighty Years' War, the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604), and the French Wars of Religion. In the spring of 1572, after the capture of Valenciennes by a Protestant force under Louis of Nassau, the Dutch commander continued with his offensive and took Mons by surprise on 24 May. After three months of siege, and the defeats of the armies of Jean de Hangest, seigneur d'Yvoy and Genlis, and William the Silent, Prince of Orange (Dutch: Willem van Oranje), by the Spanish army led by Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba, Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands, and his son, Don Fadrique de Toledo, Louis of Nassau's forces, isolated and without any hope of help, surrendered Mons to the Duke of Alba on 19 September.

Siege of Middelburg (1572–74)

The Siege of Middelburg (1572–1574) was a siege that lasted two years and took place in the years between 1572 and 1574 during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). A Dutch rebel army with the support of English laid siege to Middelburg which was being held by Spanish forces under Cristóbal de Mondragón. The Spanish held out and only capitulated when news of the relief effort to save Middelburg was defeated at Rimmerswiel.

Siege of Meurs (1597) conflict

The Siege of Meurs took place between 29 August to 3 September 1597 during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War. The Spanish occupied city of Moers under Governor Andrés de Miranda was besieged by Dutch and English troops under the command of Prince Maurice of Orange. The siege ended with the capitulation and the withdrawal of the Spanish garrison. The siege was part of Maurice's campaign of 1597 known as the Ten Glory Years, his highly successful offensive against the Spaniards.

Battle of Borgerhout

The Battle of Borgerhout was a battle during the Eighty Years' War, of the Spanish Army of Flanders led by Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, upon a fortified camp at the village of Borgerhout, near Antwerp, where several thousand French, English, Scottish and Walloon soldiers in service of the recently created Union of Utrecht were stationed. It took place during the reconquest by the armies of Philip II of Spain of the Burgundian Netherlands, whose different provinces had united in 1576 under the Pacification of Ghent to drive out the foreign troops out and to grant religious liberty to Protestants.

Siege of Rees (1599)

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.

Capture of Valkenburg (1574)

The Capture of Valkenburg of 1574, also known as the Capture of Valkenburg Castle, took place in early February 1574, at Valkenburg fortress, Limburg, Flanders, during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604), in the context of the Siege of Leiden. The fortress of Valkenburg, garrisoned by five English companies commanded by Colonel Edward Chester, was of strategic importance to facilitate the Spanish efforts at Leiden. In early February, when the Spanish troops advanced over Valkenburg Castle, the English troops surrendered the fortress to the Spaniards and fled towards Leiden. Then, the Spanish forces entered and took possession of the fortress. For the cowardice demonstrated at Valkenburg, the English troops were rejected by the Dutch rebel army at Leiden, and finally Chester's troops surrendered to the Spanish army.

Siege of Geertruidenberg (1593)

The Siege of Geertruidenberg was a siege of the city of Geertruidenberg that took place between 27 March and 24 June 1593 during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War. Anglo-Dutch troops under the commands of Maurice of Nassau and Francis Vere laid siege to the Spanish garrisoned city. The siege was unique in that the besiegers used a hundred ships, forming a semicircle in a chain on the Mass river to form a blockade. A Spanish relief force under the command of the Count of Mansfeld was attempted in May but this was defeated and he was later forced to withdraw. Three Governors of the city were killed - after the last fatality and as a result of the failed relief, the Spanish surrendered the city on 24 June 1593. The victory earned Maurice much fame and had thus become a steadfast strategist in the art of war.

Siege of Coevorden (1593)

The Siege of Coevorden was a thirty one week siege of the city of Coevorden in the province of Drenthe by the Spanish general Francisco Verdugo during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War. The siege first commenced in October 1593, but winter and shortages of food and supplies forced the Spanish into winter quarters. The siege however recommenced in March 1594, but on May 6 Maurice of Orange arrived with an Anglo-Dutch army to relieve Coevorden, forcing the Spanish army under Francisco Verdugo to retreat completing the victory.


  1. Arnade, Peter J. (2008). Beggars, Iconoclasts, and Civic Patriots: The Political Culture of the Dutch Revolt. Cornell University Press. pp. 240–1. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  2. van der Hoeven, Marco, ed. (1997). Exercise of Arms: Warfare in the Netherlands, 1568-1648. Brill. p. 85.
  3. Harrison, Frederic (1902). The Life of William the Silent. A. L. Burt Company. p. 150.
  4. Putnam, Ruth (1911). William the Silent Price of Orange and the Revolt of the Netherlands. G.P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 281–6.
  5. Scaramuzzi, Iacopo (22 June 2017). "Il superiore dei Gesuiti 'restituisce' uno scettro al re olandese". La Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  6. "Koning ontvangt eeuwenoude bevelhebbersstaf". Telegraaf (in Dutch). 22 June 2017. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  7. "Dutch royals return from Vatican with royal heirloom". Washington Post. Associated Press. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
Additional sources