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The Dutch Revolt (1566 or 1568–1648) was the successful revolt of the northern, largely Protestant Seven Provinces of the Low Countries against the rule of the Roman Catholic King Philip II of Spain, who had inherited the region (Seventeen Provinces) from the defunct Duchy of Burgundy. (The southern Catholic provinces initially joined in the revolt, but later submitted to Spain.)

The religious 'clash of cultures' built up gradually but inexorably into outbursts of violence against the perceived repression of the Habsburg Crown. These tensions led to the formation of the independent Dutch Republic. The first leader was William of Orange, followed by several of his descendants and relations. This revolt was one of the first successful secessions in Europe, and led to one of the first European republics of the modern era, the United Provinces.

King Philip was initially successful in suppressing the rebellion. In 1572, however, the rebels captured Brielle and the rebellion resurged. The northern provinces became independent, first in 1581 de facto, and in 1648 de jure. During the revolt, the United Provinces of the Netherlands, better known as the Dutch Republic, rapidly grew to become a world power through its merchant shipping and experienced a period of economic, scientific, and cultural growth. The Southern Netherlands (situated in modern-day Belgium, Luxembourg, northern France and southern Netherlands) remained under Spanish rule. The continuous heavy-handed rule by the Habsburgs in the south caused many of its financial, intellectual, and cultural elite to flee north, contributing to the success of the Dutch Republic. The Dutch imposed a rigid blockade on the southern provinces which prevented Baltic grain relieving famine in the southern towns, especially from 1587 to 1589. By the end of the war in 1648 large areas of the Southern Netherlands had been lost to France which had, under the guidance of Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIII of France, allied itself with the Dutch Republic in the 1630s against Spain.

The first phase of the conflict can be considered to be the Dutch War of Independence. The focus of the latter phase was to gain official recognition of the already de facto independence of the United Provinces. This phase coincided with the rise of the Dutch Republic as a major power and the founding of the Dutch Empire.



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