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Maurice of Orange
Portrait by Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, 1607
|Prince of Orange|
20 February 1618 –23 April 1625
|Preceded by||Philip William|
|Succeeded by||Frederick Henry|
|Stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland|
1 November 1585 –23 April 1625
|Preceded by||William the Silent|
|Succeeded by||Frederick Henry|
|Stadtholder of Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel|
1590 –23 April 1625
|Preceded by||Adolf van Nieuwenaar|
|Succeeded by||Frederick Henry|
|Stadtholder of Groningen|
1620 –23 April 1625
|Preceded by||William Louis|
|Succeeded by||Ernst Casimir|
|Born||14 November 1567|
Dillenburg, County of Nassau, Holy Roman Empire
|Died||23 April 1625 57) (aged|
The Hague, County of Holland, Dutch Republic
|Resting place||Nieuwe Kerk, Delft, Netherlands|
Maurice of Orange (Dutch : Maurits van Oranje; 14 November 1567 – 23 April 1625) was stadtholder of all the provinces of the Dutch Republic except for Friesland from 1585 at earliest until his death in 1625. Before he became Prince of Orange upon the death of his eldest half-brother Philip William in 1618, he was known as Maurice of Nassau.
In the Low Countries, stadtholder was an office of steward, designated a medieval official and then a national leader. The stadtholder was the replacement of the duke or earl of a province during the Burgundian and Habsburg period.
The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or simply United Provinces, and commonly referred to historiographically as the Dutch Republic, was a confederal republic formally established from the formal creation of a confederacy in 1581 by several Dutch provinces—seceded from Spanish rule—until the Batavian Revolution of 1795. It was a predecessor state of the Netherlands and the first fully independent Dutch nation state.
Maurice spent his youth in Dillenburg in Nassau, and studied in Heidelberg and Leiden. He succeeded his father William the Silent as stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland in 1585, and became stadtholder of Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel in 1590, and of Groningen in 1620. As Captain-General and Admiral of the Union, Maurice organised the Dutch rebellion against Spain into a coherent, successful revolt and won fame as a military strategist. Under his leadership and in cooperation with the Land's Advocate of Holland Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, the Dutch States Army achieved many victories and drove the Spaniards out of the north and east of the Republic. Maurice set out to revive and revise the classical doctrines of Vegetius and pioneered the new European forms of armament and drill. During the Twelve Years' Truce, a religious dispute broke out in the Republic, and a conflict erupted between Maurice and Van Oldenbarnevelt, which ended with the latter's decapitation. After the Truce, Maurice failed to achieve more military victories. He died without legitimate children in The Hague in 1625, and was succeeded by his younger half-brother Frederick Henry.
Dillenburg, officially Oranienstadt Dillenburg, is a town in Hesse's Gießen region in Germany. The town was formerly the seat of the old Dillkreis district, which is now part of the Lahn-Dill-Kreis.
The County of Nassau was a German state within the Holy Roman Empire and later part of the German Confederation. Its ruling dynasty, the male line of which is now extinct, was the House of Nassau.
Heidelberg University is a public research university in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Founded in 1386 on instruction of Pope Urban VI, Heidelberg is Germany's oldest university and one of the world's oldest surviving universities. It was the third university established in the Holy Roman Empire.
Maurice was a son of William the Silent and Anna of Saxony and was born at the castle of Dillenburg. He was named after his maternal grandfather, the Elector Maurice of Saxony, who was also a noted general.
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.
Anna of Saxony was the heiress of Maurice, Elector of Saxony, and Agnes, eldest daughter of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. Maurice's only son, Albert, died in infancy. Anna was the second wife of William the Silent.
A castle is a type of fortified structure built during the Middle Ages predominantly by the nobility or royalty and by military orders. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. This is distinct from a palace, which is not fortified; from a fortress, which was not always a residence for royalty or nobility; and from a fortified settlement, which was a public defence – though there are many similarities among these types of construction. Usage of the term has varied over time and has been applied to structures as diverse as hill forts and country houses. Over the approximately 900 years that castles were built, they took on a great many forms with many different features, although some, such as curtain walls, arrowslits, and portcullises, were commonplace.
Maurice never married but was the father of illegitimate children by Margaretha van Mechelen (including Willem of Nassau, lord of the Lek and Louis of Nassau, Lord of De Lek and Beverweerd) and Anna van de Kelder. He was raised in Dillenburg by his uncle Johan of Nassau (Jan the Old).
Margaretha van Mechelen was a noblewomen of the Southern Netherlands and the mistress of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, with whom she had 3 sons:
Louis of Nassau, Lord of De Lek and Beverweerd was a Dutch soldier. He was the illegitimate son of Margaretha van Mechelen and Maurice, Prince of Orange, and so a collateral member of the House of Orange-Nassau. He was a Lord of the heerlijkheid De Lek and Beverweerd. From his father he inherited the estate of Beverweerd; and when his older brother Willem died in 1627 he inherited his estate as well.
Together with his cousin Willem Lodewijk he studied in Heidelberg and later in Leiden where he met Simon Stevin. The States of Holland and Zeeland paid for his studies, as their father had run into financial problems after spending his entire fortune in the early stages of the Dutch revolt.
William Louis of Nassau-Dillenburg was Count of Nassau-Dillenburg from 1606 to 1620, and stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen, and Drenthe.
Leiden is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. The municipality of Leiden had a population of 123,856 in August 2017, but the city forms one densely connected agglomeration with its suburbs Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp, Voorschoten and Zoeterwoude with 206,647 inhabitants. The Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) further includes Katwijk in the agglomeration which makes the total population of the Leiden urban agglomeration 270,879, and in the larger Leiden urban area also Teylingen, Noordwijk, and Noordwijkerhout are included with in total 348,868 inhabitants. Leiden is located on the Oude Rijn, at a distance of some 20 kilometres from The Hague to its south and some 40 km (25 mi) from Amsterdam to its north. The recreational area of the Kaag Lakes (Kagerplassen) lies just to the northeast of Leiden.
Simon Stevin, sometimes called Stevinus, was a Flemish mathematician, physicist and military engineer. He made various contributions in many areas of science and engineering, both theoretical and practical. He also translated various mathematical terms into Dutch, making it one of the few European languages in which the word for mathematics, wiskunde, was not a loanword from Greek but a calque via Latin.
Only 16 when his father was murdered in Delft in 1584, he soon took over as stadtholder (Stadhouder), though this title was not inheritable. The monarchs of England and France had been requested to accept sovereignty, but had refused. This had left Maurice as the only acceptable candidate for the position of Stadtholder. He became stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland in 1585, of Guelders, Overijssel and Utrecht in 1590 and of Groningen and Drenthe in 1620 (following the death of Willem Lodewijk, who had been Stadtholder there and in Friesland).
Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam, to the southeast, and The Hague, to the northwest. Together with them, it is part of both Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area and the Randstad.
Holland is a region and former province on the western coast of the Netherlands. The name Holland is also frequently used informally to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. This usage is commonly accepted in other countries, and sometimes employed by the Dutch themselves. However, some in the Netherlands, particularly those from regions outside Holland, may find it undesirable or misrepresentative to use the term for the whole country.
Zeeland is the westernmost and least populous province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, consists of a number of islands and peninsulas and a strip bordering Belgium. Its capital is Middelburg. Its area is about 2,930 square kilometres (1,130 sq mi), of which almost 1,140 square kilometres (440 sq mi) is water, and it has a population of about 380,000.
Protestant Maurice was preceded as Prince of Orange (not a Dutch title) by his Roman Catholic eldest half-brother Philip William, Prince of Orange, deceased 1618. However, Philip William was in the custody of Spain, remaining so until 1596, and was thus unable to lead the Dutch independence cause.
Maria of Nassau (1556–1616), was a full sister of Philip William from the first marriage of William I, Prince of Orange, (assassinated 1584), to wealthy and powerful aristocrat Anna van Egmont, (1533–1558), and a contender to Maurice over the estate of their father.
He was appointed captain-general of the army in 1587, bypassing the Earl of Leicester, who returned to England on hearing this news.
Maurice organised the rebellion against Spain into a coherent, successful revolt. He reorganised the Dutch States Army together with Willem Lodewijk, studied military history, strategy and tactics, mathematics and astronomy, and proved himself to be among the best strategists of his age. The Eighty Years' War was a challenge to his style, so he could prove himself a good leader by taking several Spanish Outposts. Paying special attention to the siege theories of Simon Stevin, he took valuable key fortresses and towns during a period known as the Ten Glory Years: Breda in 1590, Zutphen, Knodsenburg in 1591, Steenwijk and Coevorden in 1592, Geertruidenberg in 1593, and Groningen in 1594. In 1597 he went on a further offensive and took Rheinberg, Meurs, Groenlo, Bredevoort, Enschede, Ootmarsum, Oldenzaal and closed off the year with the capture of Lingen. These victories rounded out the borders to the Dutch Republic, solidifying the revolt and allowing a national state to develop behind secure borders. They also established Maurice as the foremost general of his time. Many of the great generals of the succeeding generation, including his brother Frederick Henry and many of the commanders of the English Civil War learned their trade under his command.
For a series of maps showing Maurice's campaigns to extend and consolidate the borders of the Republic, see Gallery of Maps of the 80 Years War (in Dutch).
His victories in the pitched battles at Turnhout (1597) and at Nieuwpoort (1600) were dependent on his innovation of cooperation between arms, with his cavalry playing a major role. The victories earned him military fame and acknowledgement throughout Europe. Despite these successes, the House of Orange did not attain great respect among European royalty, as the Stadtholdership was not inheritable.
The training of his army was especially important to early modern warfare and the Military Revolution of 1560–1650. Previous generals had made use of drill and exercise in order to instill discipline or to keep the men physically fit, but for Maurice, they "were the fundamental postulates of tactics."This change affected the entire conduct of warfare, since it required the officers to train men in addition to leading them, decreased the size of the basic infantry unit for functional purposes since more specific orders had to be given in battle, and the decrease in herd behavior required more initiative and intelligence from the average soldier. One major contribution was the introduction of volley fire, which enabled soldiers to compensate for the inaccuracy of their weapons by firing in a large group. It was first used in European combat at the battle of Nieuwpoort in 1600.
As part of his efforts to find allies against Spain, Maurice received Moroccan envoys such as Al-Hajari. They discussed the possibility of an alliance between Holland, the Ottoman Empire, Morocco and the Moriscos, against the common enemy Spain.Al-Hajari's journey chronicles, authored in 1637, mentions in detail the discussion for a combined offensive against Spain.
Maurice was known in his time and by historians as the first general of his age. His reputation rests not as much on his ability to win and exploit field battles as it does on this expertise as a siege commander, military organizer and innovator. Of his two great adversaries, Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma and Ambrogio Spinola, he cautiously never allowed himself to be brought to battle with Parma, and did not follow up chances to offer Spinola battle with forces in his favour on the Yssel in 1606. He was, however, dealt a defeat by the Spanish general at the battle of Mülheim in October 1605.Based on his preference for sieges and small-scale actions, historian David Trim states that it is difficult to reach a verdict on his ability as a tactician. Jonathan Israel notes that on one of the rare occasion when he did have to fight a major battle in the open – the 1600 Battle of Nieuwpoort – it did end with a Dutch victory, but this outcome was highly risky and Maurice took care to extricate his army and avoid a second such battle.
Maurice founded a whole new school of military professional practice. These pointed the way to the professional armies of the future by reapplying Roman tactics and innovating in the fields of logistics, training, and economics (e.g.paying troops regularly and on time). Many graduates of service under Maurice, such as his nephew the Marshal Turenne, or his disciples such as Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, applied the Mauritian reforms to great effect in the remainder of the 17th century.
Maurice started out as the protégé of Landsadvocaat (Land's Advocate, i.e. secretary to the nobility of Holland and legal counsel to the States of Holland, but functioning as de facto chief minister of Holland and the States-General) Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. But gradually tensions rose between these two men. Against Maurice's advice, and despite his protests, Van Oldenbarnevelt decided to sign the Twelve Years' Truce with Spain, which lasted from 1609 to 1621. The required funds to maintain the army and navy, and the general course of the war were other topics of constant struggle.
With the religious troubles between Gomarists (strict Calvinists) and Arminians (more liberal Calvinists), the struggle between Van Oldenbarnevelt and Maurice reached a climax. Van Oldenbarnevelt was arrested, tried and decapitated despite numerous requests for mercy. From 1618 till his death Maurice now enjoyed uncontested power over the Republic. He expanded the Stadtholder's palace at the Binnenhof in the Hague. The Maurice Tower is nowadays part of the building complex of the Senate of the Netherlands. In 1618, he also succeeded his elder half-brother, Philip William as Prince of Orange, a title he seems rarely to have used.
Maurice urged his cadet half brother, Frederick Henry to marry in order to preserve the dynasty.
Jonathan Israel places upon Maurice part of the responsibility for the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War in which Germany was devastated and large part of its population killed. As noted by Israel,German Protestants were not eager for an all-out confrontation with the Catholics. Maurice significantly helped precipitate such a confrontation by persuading his nephew Frederick V, Elector Palatine, to accept the Bohemian Crown, as well as actively encouraging the Bohemians to confront Habsburg rule, providing them 50,000 Guilders as well as sending Dutch troops to fight in the doomed Battle of the White Mountain. This ill-considered decision proved disastrous to the Bohemians, who were thereby plunged into prolonged oppression, and to Frederick who lost his ancestral lands. It also worsened the Dutch Republic's own strategic position.
In 1621 the war with Spain resumed after a 12-year period of truces. The Spanish, led by Ambrogio Spinola, had notable successes, including the siege of Breda, the old family residence of the Nassau's, in 1625.
Maurice died on 23 April 1625, with the siege still underway. Justin of Nassau surrendered Breda in June 1625 after a costly eleven-month siege.
Maurice participated in these battles as principal commander of Dutch forces:
Maurice, besides being Stadholder of several provinces and Captain-General, both non-hereditary and appointive titles, was the hereditary sovereign of the principality of Orange in what is today Provence in France. He also was the lord of many other estates, which formed his wealth:
During his lifetime he kept using the arms as during his father's life-time shown here, and never changed to the simpler arms used by his father and half brothers.
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|Ancestors of Maurice, Prince of Orange|
Maurice never married but was the father of several illegitimate children:
by Margaretha van Mechelen:
by Cornelia Jacobsdochter:
by Ursula de Rijck:
by Anna van de Kelder:
by Deliana de Backer:
The House of Orange-Nassau, a branch of the European House of Nassau, has played a central role in the politics and government of the Netherlands and Europe especially since William the Silent organized the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, which after the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) led to an independent Dutch state.
Ambrogio Spinola Doria, 1st Marquess of The Balbases was an Italian condottiero and nobleman of the Republic of Genoa, who served as a Spanish general and won a number of important battles. He is often called "Ambrosio" by Spanish speaking people and is considered one of the greatest military commanders of his time and in the history of the Spanish army. His military achievements earned him the title of Marquess of Balbases in the Spanish peerage, as well as the Order of the Golden Fleece and Order of Santiago.
Frederick Henry, or Frederik Hendrik in Dutch, was the sovereign Prince of Orange and Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from 1625 till his death in 1647. The last seven years of his life he also was the Stadtholder of Groningen (1640-1647). He was the grandfather of William III of England.
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.
Ernst Casimir I of Nassau-Dietz was count of Nassau-Dietz and Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe.
The Siege of Grol or Groenlo in 1595 was a siege of Groenlo by States forces under Maurice of Nassau during the Eighty Years' War in an attempt to capture it from the Spanish Empire. It lasted from 14 to 24 July 1595, ending with the arrival of a Spanish relief force under Cristóbal de Mondragón and Maurice's retreat. Two years later, in 1597, Maurice returned to carry out another Siege of Groenlo. Both these sieges formed part of what would later be called the Ten Years.
The Siege of Groenlo was a siege of Groenlo during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War by a Dutch and English army led by Maurice of Nassau after it had followed an unsuccessful siege by Maurice in 1595.
Frederik van den Bergh was a soldier in the Eighty Years' War. His titles included Lord of Boxmeer.
Philip of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein, Count of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, was an army commander in service of the Dutch Republic. Philip was the son of Ludwig Kasimir von Hohenlohe-Waldenburg and Anna zu Solms-Lich. On 7 February 1595 he married Maria of Nassau at Buren. The marriage was childless, but shortly before his death Philip adopted the nine-year-old Margrita Maria, countess of Falckenstein.
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.
The Siege of Lingen took place during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War by a Dutch and English army led by Maurice of Orange. Frederik van den Bergh defended Lingen for Philip II of Spain which was besieged from 25 October 1597. After a siege of more than two weeks, Van den Bergh surrendered on 12 November 1597. The siege was part of Maurice's successful 1597 campaign against the Spaniards.
The Capture of Enschede took place during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War on 18 and 19 October 1597. A Dutch and English army led by Maurice of Orange took the city after a very short siege and threatening that they would destroy the city. The siege was part of Maurice's campaign of 1597, a successful offensive against the Spaniards during what the Dutch call the Ten Glory Years.
The Siege of Oldenzaal was a short siege that took place during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War by a Dutch and English army led by Maurice of Orange of the city of Oldenzaal from 20 to 23 October 1597. The city surrendered to the overwhelming Dutch and English force. The siege was part of Maurice's campaign of 1597 known as the Ten Glory Years, his highly successful offensive against the Spaniards.
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.
The Siege of Rheinberg took place from the 9 to 19 August 1597 during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War by a Dutch and English army led by Maurice of Orange. The siege ended with the capitulation and the withdrawal of the Spanish after much unrest in the garrison. The liberation of the city of Rheinberg was the commencement of Maurice's campaign of 1597, a successful offensive against the Spaniards during the period known as the Ten Glory Years.
The Capture of Ootmarsum in 1597 was a short siege, that took place during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War by a Dutch and English army led by Count Van Duivenvoorde while Maurice of Nassau was besieging Oldenzaal. The siege lasted from 19 to 21 October, where the Spanish garrison of Ootmarsum under the governor, Otto Van Den Sande surrendered and was then occupied by the besiegers. The siege was part of Maurice's successful offensive against the Spaniards during the same year.
The Siege of 's-Hertogenbosch of 1601(Sitio de Bolduque de 1601 in Spanish) was an unsuccessful Dutch attempt led by Prince Maurice of Nassau and William Louis of Nassau-Dillenburg to capture the city of 's-Hertogenbosch, North Brabant, Spanish Netherlands, garrisoned by about 1,500–2,000 Spanish soldiers led by Governor Anthonie Schetz, Baron of Grobbendonck, between 1 and 27 November 1601, during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604), in the context of the long and bloodiest Siege of Ostend.
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.
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Maurice, Prince of Orange
Cadet branch of the House of NassauBorn: November 14 1567 Died: 23 April 1625
| Prince of Orange |
Baron of Breda
William of Orange
| Stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland |
Adolf van Nieuwenaar
| Stadtholder of Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel |
| Stadtholder of Groningen |