Siege of Rees (1599)

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Siege of Rees (1599)
Part of the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604)
Alter Zollturm (im Hintergrund Pegeluhrturm).jpg
Photography of the old walls of Rees in 2011.
DateSeptember 10–12, 1599

Spanish victory [1] [2]

Statenvlag.svg United Provinces
Flag of The Electoral Palatinate (1604).svg Electoral Palatinate
Flag of England.svg  England
Coat of Arms of Brunswick-Luneburg.svg Brunswick-Lüneburg
Lower Saxon Circle
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg  Spain
Commanders and leaders
Kreiswappen des Kreises Lippe.svg Count of Lippe
Statenvlag.svg Count of Solms
Statenvlag.svg Philip of Hohenlohe
Supported by:
Statenvlag.svg Maurice of Nassau
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Ramiro de Guzmán
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Hendrik van den Bergh
Supported by:
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Francisco de Mendoza
Casualties and losses
Count of Lippe: 2,000 - 2,500 [2]
Hohenlohe & Solms: Unknown
1,500–3,000 [2]

The Siege of Ress of 1599, also known as the Relief of Ress (Socorro de Rees in Spanish ), 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 (Dutch : Maurits van Oranje), commanded by Philip of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein and the Count Ernst of Solms, to capture the strategic stronghold of Rees, Lower Rhine, Duchy of Cleves (present-day Germany) 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). [1] [2] 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. [2] [4]

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Simon VI, Count of Lippe Count of Lippe-Detmold

Count Simon VI of Lippe was an imperial count and ruler of the County of Lippe from 1563 until his death.

Maurice, Prince of Orange sovereign Prince of Orange from 1618

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.



In 1598, 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. [5] Spain gave up its conquests, except the occupation of the Prince-Archbishopric of Cambray, thereby restoring the situation of Cateau-Cambrésis. [5] On 5 September, following the orders of the Archduke Albert of Austria, Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands, Francisco de Mendoza at the head of the army, captured Orsoy from the Dutch defenders, a passage-town on the banks of the Lower Rhine. [6] [7] After the construction of a fort to defend the passage, the Spanish forces crossed over the Rhine and captured Alpen on 24 September, and the castle of Broich two days later. [6] In mid-October, after the capture of Meurs on 12 October, the Spanish forces defeated the Dutch forces at Rheinberg, and re-captured the fortress. [8] Then, Mendoza divided his forces, invaded the province of Gelderland, and seized the town of Doetinchem on 8 November. [9] [10] Meanwhile, the rest of the Spanish army marched over the Lippe, and on 30 October, captured Rees, forcing the garrison to surrender. [8] The Spanish army established its winter quarters in these environs, and in the Bishopric of Münster. [10]

Pope Leo XI 17th-century Catholic pope

Pope Leo XI, born Alessandro Ottaviano de' Medici, was Pope from 1 to 27 April 1605. His pontificate is one of the briefest in history having lasted under a month. He was from the prominent House of Medici originating from Florence. Medici's mother opposed his entering the priesthood and sought to prevent it by having him given secular honours, but after her death he eventually was ordained a priest in 1567. In his career he served as Florence's ambassador to the pope, Bishop of Pistoia, Archbishop of Florence, papal legate to France, and as the cardinal Prefect for the Congregation of the Bishops and Religious. He was elected to the papacy in the March 1605 papal conclave and served as pope for 27 days.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

In the spring of 1599, the Spanish army renewed the advance, and on May 15 the Spaniards besieged Zaltbommel, on the Waal river, but Maurice of Nassau, was able to keep a supply line open by means of a ship-bridge. On 13 June Mendoza retreated to the Fort San Andrés, a strategic place built by the Spaniards to control the rivers Meuse and Waal in the west of Heerewaarden. [9]

Siege of Zaltbommel

The Siege of Zaltbommel was a campaign that took place during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War from May 15 to July 22, 1599. The Spanish led by Francisco López de Mendoza y Mendoza launched an offensive campaign around Bommelerwaard which was defended by an Anglo-Dutch force under the command of Maurice of Orange. A siege on the town of Zaltbommel by Spanish troops was attempted but they had to lift the siege and were defeated in subsequent attempts to regain the initiative. Mendoza retreated and the Spanish army then found itself in chaos: mutinies took effect and as a result further operations were suspended for a number of years. As a result, the Dutch and English followed with a counter-offensive in the Spanish Netherlands.

Waal (river) river in the Netherlands

The Waal is the main distributary branch of the river Rhine flowing approximately 80 km (50 mi) through the Netherlands. It is the major waterway connecting the port of Rotterdam to Germany. Before it reaches Rotterdam, it joins with the Afgedamde Maas near Woudrichem to form the Boven Merwede. Along its length, Nijmegen, Tiel, Zaltbommel and Gorinchem are towns of importance with direct access to the river.

Heerewaarden Village in Gelderland, Netherlands

Heerewaarden is a village in the Dutch province of Gelderland. It is a part of the municipality of Maasdriel, and lies about 8 km south of Tiel.

Siege of Rees

Portrait of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, by Hugo Grotius. Hugo-de-Groot-Nederlandtsche-jaerboeken MG 0195.tif
Portrait of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, by Hugo Grotius.

In early September, 1599, the Protestant-Dutch forces, supported by a German-mercenary army of 25,000 men led by Count Simon of Lippe advanced over Rees and laid siege to the town. [2] [11] On September 10, after a series of skirmishes near the town, the Spanish forces of Don Ramiro de Guzmán, Governor of Rees, supported by reinforcements sent by Don Francisco de Mendoza, lifted the enemy lines around Rees, causing a decisive defeat to the Protestant forces. [2] [12] The Spanish troops was outnumbered eight to one, but after two decisive assaults over the Protestant positions led by the two veteran captains Andrés de Ontoria and Andrés Ortiz, was sufficient to destroy the formations and defenses of the undisciplined and inexperienced German soldiers of the Protestant army. [2] [13] Count of Lippe's forces suffered about 2,000 to 2,500 casualties, hundreds of prisones (about 400 prisoners), and great part of the artillery and supplies were destroyed or captured. On the other hand, the casualties of the Spaniards were minimum. [11] [13]

The offensive of the coalition forces of the Count of Lippe, Philip of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein, and the Count Ernst of Solms, despite the initial success in taking by surprise the fortress of Rheinberg on August 30, turned into a humiliation. [3] Thereafter, the German army evaporated, and the siege ended with the withdrawal of the rest of the Protestant forces. [3] [14]

Philip of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein Dutch army commander

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.

Rheinberg Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Rheinberg is a town in the district of Wesel, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is situated on the left bank of the Rhine, approx. 10 km north of Moers and 15 km south of Wesel.


Portrait of Don Francisco de Mendoza, by Jan Antonisz. van Ravesteyn. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Francisco Hurtado de Mendoza (J.A. van Ravesteyn).jpg
Portrait of Don Francisco de Mendoza, by Jan Antonisz. van Ravesteyn. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

Few days after, the Spanish forces re-established control over the fortress of Rheinberg. [3] By now, it had become clear that Spanish control of the Southern Netherlands was strong, and the threat of an invasion of the northern provinces was evident. [9]

In 1600, with the Army of Flanders now temporarily in disarray, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt spied a strategic opportunity to deal the Archduke Albert. [9] Prince Maurice advanced in direction of the port of Dunkirk that had grown into a hotbed of privateers (the "Dunkirkers") that did much damage to Dutch and English shipping, and with the support of a large amphibious operation from Flushing, started his advance to the coast. [9] The Spaniards, with the Army of Flanders ready, strengthened their positions along the coast, leading to the Battle of Nieuwpoort. [14] [15] Although the Dutch army led by Maurice of Nassau had driven a Spanish army from the field, a rare feat in the 16th century, the casualties on both sides were practically equal, and the battle achieved nothing. [9] [16] The Dutch lines of communication had already been stretched to the limit, and Maurice was forced to withdraw as well. [9] [17] Moreover, the great port of Dunkirk, which had been the principal objective of Maurice's campaign, lay out of reach and in Spanish hands. [9] [15]

The Siege of Rees of 1599 was the last action of the campaign of Don Francisco de Mendoza, Admiral of Aragon, of 1598-99, also called the Spanish Winter of 1598-99 (Invierno Español de 1598-99 in Spanish ). [18]

See also

Map of Rees in 1649. Atlas van Loon. Rhees - Rees (Atlas van Loon).jpg
Map of Rees in 1649. Atlas van Loon.


  1. 1 2 3 Robert Watson / William Thomson pp.41–42
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 De Soto & Clonard p.291
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Luc Duerloo p.107
  4. W. Crecelius pp.175–185
  5. 1 2 Van Nimwegen p.163
  6. 1 2 Juan Valera. Homenaje a Menéndez Pelayo. Estudios de Erudición Española. p.520
  7. Luc Duerloo p.105
  8. 1 2 Juan Valera p.521
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Marjolein 't Hart p.23
  10. 1 2 Van Nimwegen p.166
  11. 1 2 Robert Watson / William Thomson p.41
  12. De Soto & Clonard p.364
  13. 1 2 Juan Valera p.525
  14. 1 2 De Soto / Clonard p.291
  15. 1 2 De Soto / Clonard p.292
  16. Luc Duerloo pp. 121–122
  17. Luc Duerloo p.122
  18. Nachrichten über den Einfall der Spanier in den niederrheinisch westfälischen Kreis 1598 und 1599.

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