|Siege of Breda|
|Part of the Eighty Years' War, Anglo-Spanish War and the Thirty Years' War|
The Surrender of Breda by Diego Velázquez. Oil on canvas, 1635.
|Commanders and leaders|
| 7000 (Dutch garrison)|
7000 (Dutch relief force)
7000 (English relief force)
|Casualties and losses|
|10,000 dead, wounded or captured||3,000 dead, wounded or captured|
The siege of Breda of 1624–25 occurred during the Eighty Years' War. The siege resulted in Breda, a Dutch fortified city, falling into the control of the Army of Flanders.
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 origins of the Dutch colonial empire, which began with Dutch attacks on Portugal's overseas territories, which at the time was conceived as carrying overseas the war with Spain due to Portugal being in a dynastic union 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.
Breda is a city and municipality in the southern part of the Netherlands, located in the province of North Brabant. The name derived from brede Aa and refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa.
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.
Following the orders of Ambrogio Spinola, Philip IV's army laid siege to Breda in August 1624. The siege was contrary to the wishes of Philip IV's government because of the already excessive burdens of the concurrent Eighty and Thirty Years' wars. The strategically located city was heavily fortified and strongly defended by a large and well prepared garrison of 7,000 men, that the Dutch were confident would hold out long enough to wear down besiegers while awaiting a relief force to disrupt the siege. Yet despite the Spanish government's opposition to major sieges in the Low Countries and the obstacles confronting any attack on such a strongly fortified and defended city, Spinola launched his Breda campaign, rapidly blocking the city's defences and driving off a Dutch relief army under the leadership of Maurice of Nassau that had attempted to cut off the Spanish army's access to supplies. In February 1625, a second relief force, consisting of 7,000 English troops under the leadership of Horace Vere and Ernst von Mansfeld, was also driven off by Spinola. After a costly eleven-month siege, Justin of Nassau surrendered Breda on 2 June 1625. Only 3,500 Dutchmenand fewer than 600 Englishmen had survived the siege.
Philip IV was King of Spain and Portugal. He ascended the thrones in 1621 and reigned in Portugal until 1640. Philip is remembered for his patronage of the arts, including such artists as Diego Velázquez, and his rule over Spain during the Thirty Years' War.
Maurice of Orange 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.
Peter Ernst, count of Mansfeld, or simply Ernst von Mansfeld, was a German military commander who, despite being a Catholic, fought for the Protestants during the early years of the Thirty Years' War.
The siege of Breda is considered Spinola's greatest success and one of Spain's last major victories in the Eighty Years' War. The siege was part of a plan to isolate the Republic from its hinterland, and co-ordinated with Olivare's naval war spearheaded by the Dunkirkers, to economically choke the Dutch Republic. Although political infighting hindered Spinola's freedom of movement, Spain's efforts in the Netherlands continued thereafter. The siege of 1624 captured the attention of European princes and, along with other battles like White Mountain (1620), played a part in the Spanish army regaining the formidable reputation it had held throughout the previous century.
Hinterland is a German word meaning "the land behind". The term's use in English was first documented by geographer George Chisholm in his Handbook of Commercial Geography (1888).
Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel, 1st Duke of Sanlúcar, 3d Count of Olivares, GE, KOA, known as the Count-Duke of Olivares, was a Spanish royal favourite of Philip IV and minister. As prime minister from 1621 to 1643, he over-exerted Spain in foreign affairs and unsuccessfully attempted domestic reform. His policy of committing Spain to recapture Holland led to a renewal of the Eighty Years' War while Spain was also embroiled in the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). In addition, his attempts to centralise power and increase wartime taxation led to revolts in Catalonia and in Portugal, which brought about his downfall.
During the Dutch Revolt (1568–1648), the Dunkirkers or Dunkirk Privateers were commerce raiders in the service of the Spanish monarchy. They were also part of the Dunkirk fleet, which consequently was a part of the Spanish monarchy's Flemish fleet(Armada de Flandes). The Dunkirkers operated from the ports of the Flemish coast: Nieuwpoort, Ostend, and Dunkirk. Throughout the Eighty Years' War, the fleet of the Dutch Republic repeatedly tried to destroy the Dunkirkers. The first Dunkirkers sailed a group of warships outfitted by the Spanish government, but non-government investment in privateering soon led to a more numerous fleet of privately owned and outfitted warships.
In the latter stages of the combined Eighty and Thirty Years' wars that had greatly strained Spanish resources, Breda was lost to the Dutch under Frederick Henry after a four-month siege. In the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia that ended the Thirty and Eighty Years' wars, it was ceded to the Dutch Republic.
The fifth siege of Breda was an important siege in the Eighty Years' War in which stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange retook the city of Breda, which had last changed hands in 1625 when the Spanish general Ambrogio Spinola conquered it for the Spanish Habsburgs. Hereafter, the city would remain in the hands of the Dutch Republic until the end of the war.
There were several motives for Spinola's siege of Breda. Because the Dutch regularly used the town as a base for raiding Spanish Brabant, the parts of Brabant under royal rule would be better protected if the city were conquered. In addition, neighbouring towns occupied by the States, such as Bergen op Zoom, would be easier to conquer with a foothold in Breda.
In 1590, Breda was captured from the Spanish using the stratagem with the peat boat. [ citation needed ]The conquest of a well-defended city like Breda would erase this disgrace. More importantly, Spinola personally felt that the failure of the siege of Bergen-op-Zoom (1622) was a blot on his reputation.
The Siege of Bergen-op-Zoom (1622) was a battle during the Eighty Years' War.
Furthermore, Spain wanted to have a strong position in potential peace negotiations. The conquest of Breda would enable Spain to put forward stronger demands concerning religious freedom for Catholics in the Republic and lifting the blockade of the Scheldt.[ citation needed ]
Breda was one of the strongest cities in the defence of the Republic between the States of Holland and royal Brabant. The city was strategically located on a navigable river, Mark, and near several roads.
Henry III of Nassau, Lord of Breda from 1509 to 1538, had been commissioned by Charles V to travel through Europe. In Italy, he came into contact with modern defences. Thus, in 1531 he inspired the construction of the late medieval style walls of Breda. These were later replaced by modern fortifications.In 1587 and 1622, the defences were further expanded and updated.
The Breda fortress consisted of a very high earthen thoroughfare with 15 bastions and a moat. The 55-to-117-metre-wide (180 to 384 ft) canal was five feet deep and was provided with water from Mark. Access to the city was made possible by four brick gates. Crescent ravelins were applied in the ditches. Hornwork was placed on the gates and at the monastery. Stakewall were built to complicate assault by horsemen and foot soldiers and simultaneously prevent desertion. The fortifications were in excellent condition and served as a state of the art example of fortification.
Around Breda, forests formed an obstacle for the cavalry and artillery of any besieging army and the high water level of the Mark posed challenges to attacking infantry. The rivers Mark and Aa and other streams also hampered besiegers. By using an inundation sluice near the Ginnekense gate, the area south of Breda could be put underwater if opened. The north side had a lock near Terheijden that functioned.
Because the States of Holland and West Friesland knew that the Spanish army might attempt to conquer Breda, they left the city with enough food, supplies, and weapons for an eight-month siege. The city council refused to store more food than was necessary for a nine-month siege. Nobody knew what tactics the Spanish army would apply. Therefore, the possibility of a direct assault was also considered. To prevent this, a State army was stationed near Breda with the aim of disrupting any direct assault on the city.
The garrison in Breda consisted of 17 companies in peacetime, each of which consisted of 65 men and 5 cavalry squadrons of 70 riders each. When it was probable that the city would become besieged, the squadrons were supplemented by another 30 riders each; the infantry was supplemented with 28 companies of 135 men. To save food, three squadrons were sent to Geertruidenberg shortly before a siege. The castle held approximately 100 civilians out of the 5,200 soldiers. The male inhabitants of Breda between 20 and 70 years, about 1,800 men, were armed to support the soldiers.
The governor of the city was Justin of Nassau, an illegitimate son of William I, Prince of Orange. His deputy was Dyrcx Cornelis van Oosterhout, but his role was insignificant during the siege.
In addition to the soldiers, others stayed in the city. Ordinary citizens, farmers, spouses and children of soldiers, came to the town to seek protection against the Spanish army. The soldiers' wives were responsible for cooking and washing for the soldiers and caring for the sick and wounded. The total number of inhabitants in the city is estimated at 13,111. They are believed to have been housed in about 1,200 homes.
Conflicting and incomplete data does not allow for an accurate calculation of the size of the Spanish army. On 30 September the number was probably around 40,000 soldiers and on about 2 May 1625, approximately 80,000 soldiers. 25,000 were encamped along the supply corridor, another 25,000 men were used for the containment of the city, and 30,000 served as general reserves.
According to the text on the map by Blaeu, “[This was] so large an army, as had not been seen in the Netherlands in living memory.”
|5%||British and Irish||Infantry|
The composition of the Spanish army was diverse, as shown in the table above. The army consisted primarily of infantry, with a small number of riders. Members of the infantry were equipped with either a rapier and a five-metre-long (16 ft) pike, or a rapier with a musket; members of the cavalry were equipped with either a lances and two pistols, or a musket and two pistols.
The infantry was mainly used for the lines to raise and to guard and defend against an army and State terror against sorties from the city. In the supply corridor, the foot soldiers deployed to protect the convoys. The cavalry was more mobile than the infantry and was therefore mainly used to inspect the area and to protect convoys.
The cannons could fire 10 shots per hour and were operated by gunners. The exact number of the Spanish guns is not precisely known, but there were certainly more than 30.Sappers engaged in building bridges, maintaining roads, and other activities.
The commander of the Spanish army was Ambrogio Spinola, 1st Marquis of the Balbases, a known military strategist from Italy. His deputies were the regimental commanders Hendrik, count van den Bergh, who was also commander of the supply corridor, and John VIII, Count of Nassau-Siegen. Spinola was the commander of the reserve forces until 31 October when he was succeeded by Carlos Coloma.
Because of the vastness of Breda, Spinola had his troops divided into four compartments. The four subjects with commanders were:
The siege of 1624–1625 is the subject of the 1998 novel El sol de Breda (The Sun Over Breda) by the Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte, as part of the Captain Alatriste series. The events of the siege – including both the gruelling fighting with the Dutch and the infighting among the Spanish, including a major mutiny by unpaid Spanish troops – are depicted from the point of view of a boy serving with the Spanish forces. The realistic depiction of war and soldiers' daily life seems influenced by the writer's own long experience as a war correspondent.
The siege appears in the film Alatriste adapted from the novel series.
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.
The Battle of Fleurus of August 29, 1622 was fought in the Spanish Netherlands between a Spanish army, and the Protestant forces of Ernst von Mansfeld and Christian of Brunswick during the Eighty Years' War and Thirty Years' War. The bloody struggle left the Protestants mangled and the Spanish masters of the field, but unable to block the enemy's march.
Horace Vere, 1st Baron Vere of Tilbury was an English military leader during the Eighty Years' War and the Thirty Years' War, a son of Geoffrey Vere and brother of Francis Vere. He was sent to the Palatinate by James I in 1620. He was created Baron Vere of Tilbury, and died without a male heir.
The Capture of Breda or the Siege of Breda was a short battle during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War during which a Dutch and English army led by Maurice of Nassau captured the heavily protected city of Breda. Using a clever tactic reminiscent of the Trojan horse a small assault force hid in a peat barge, entered the city of Breda, and proceeded to take it over resulting in a minimum number of casualties. It was the turning point of the war as the forces under Maurice were able to take the offensive.
La rendición de Breda is a painting by the Spanish Golden Age painter Diego Velázquez. It was completed during the years 1634–35, inspired by Velázquez's visit to Italy with Ambrogio Spinola, the Genoese-born Spanish general who conquered Breda on June 5, 1625. The painting depicts the exchange of the key of Breda from the Dutch's possession, to the Spanish.
The Siege of Grol in 1627 was a battle between the Army of the Dutch Republic commanded by Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange and the Spanish controlled fortified city of Grol, during the Eighty Years War and the Anglo–Spanish War in 1627. The Spanish army led by Hendrik van den Bergh came to relieve Grol, but it came too late. The siege lasted from 20 July until 19 August 1627, resulting in the surrender of the city to the army of the United Provinces.
The Anglo–Spanish War was a war fought by Spain against the Kingdom of England and the United Provinces from 1625 to 1630. The conflict formed part of the Eighty Years' War and the Thirty Years' War.
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.
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.
The Siege of Saint-Omer was a siege in the Thirty Years' War in which a French army under Gaspard III de Coligny, Maréchal de Châtillon, laid siege to the Flemish city of Saint-Omer, defended by a small garrison in command of Lancelot II Schetz, count of Grobbendonck. Despite several initial successes in the capture of the minor forts around Saint-Omer, on the night of 8/9 June a Spanish relief army under Thomas Francis, Prince of Carignano surprised Châtillon's troops and established a small fort in the middle of the French lines. An entire army corps under Maréchal de La Force was ordered to move towards Saint-Omer to support Châtillon siege, but on July 12 a further Imperial-Spanish force commanded by Ottavio Piccolomini entered Saint-Omer, resolving the French marshals to withdraw.
The Siege of Venlo was an important siege in the Eighty Years' War that lasted from 20 to 25 August 1637. The Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria, Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, retook the city of Venlo from the United Provinces, which had taken control of it in 1632 during the offensive of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange against Maastricht. The capture of Venlo and Roermond, which was surrendered to the Cardinal-Infante a week later, effectively cut Maastricht from the Dutch Republic, thus preventing further attacks on the Spanish Netherlands from the east. In the southern front Ferdinand lost the towns of La Capelle, Landrecies, and Damvillers to the French, but then he forced them to retreat south of Maubeuge.
The Siege of Aachen took place in late August 1614, when the Spanish Army of Flanders, led by Ambrogio Spinola, 1st Marquis of the Balbases, marched from Maastricht to Germany to support Wolfgang Wilhelm, Count Palatine of Neuburg, during the War of the Jülich Succession. Despite its status as a free imperial city, Aachen was under the protection of John Sigismund of Brandenburg, Neunburg's ally, and then rival, in the battle for the United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg. In 1611, the Protestant population of Aachen had revolted against the Catholic city council and had seized power. When the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, observing the Peace of Augsburg, had ordered the previous state to be restored, the Protestants had allied themselves with the Margraviate of Brandenburg. The unexpected arrival of a Spanish army at the gates of the city, however, caused the Protestants to lose courage and surrender Aachen to Spinola. A Catholic garrison was installed and a process of re-Catholicization began.
The Siege of Lingen of 1605 took place between 10 August and 19 August 1605, at Lingen, District of Emsland, Lower Saxony, between Spain and the United Provinces, during the Eighty Years' War. Prince Maurice of Nassau tried to preserve Lingen at all costs. The Dutch garrison led by Captain Maerten Cobben, expecting to be aided by Maurice's army, held out for nine days, but were finally forced to surrender. The siege was part of Spinola's successful campaign of 1605-1606.
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 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.
The Siege of Eindhoven, also known as the Capture of Eindhoven of 1583, took place between 7 February and 23 April 1583 at Eindhoven, Duchy of Brabant, Spanish Netherlands during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). On 7 February 1583 a Spanish force sent by Don Alexander Farnese, Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands, commanded by Karl von Mansfeld and Claude de Berlaymont laid siege to Eindhoven, an important and strategic city of Brabant held by Dutch, Scottish and French soldiers under the States' commander Hendrik van Bonnivet. After three months of siege, and the failed attempts by the States-General to assist Bonnivet's forces, the defenders surrendered to the Spaniards on 23 April.
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 Sluis (1604) also known as the Sluis Campaign or the Battle of the Oostburg Line was a series of military actions that took place during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War from 19 May to 19 August 1604. A States and English army under Prince Maurice of Orange and Horace Vere respectively crossed the Scheldt estuary and advanced on land taking Cadzand, Aardenburg and IJzendijke in the Spanish Netherlands. This soon led to the culmination of the siege of the Spanish held inland port of Sluis.
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