xxiv History. BELGIUM.
Spanish troops, and other grievances led to numerous tumults, to
suppress which the king dispatched the Duke of Alva or Alba to the
Netherlands with an army of 20,000 men. The extreme cruelty
with which Alva fulfilled his task resulted in the famous revolt
of the United Netherlands in 1568. Success was achieved by the
N. provinces only, which now constitute the Kingdom of Holland,
whilst the S. districts, the present Kingdom of Belgium, after
protracted and fierce struggles, still continued to groan under the
oppressive yoke of the Spaniards. At length, under the régime of
Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma (1578-92), the third governor after
Alva, Belgium also succeeded in recovering some, at least, of the
civic liberties in behalf of which the war had originally broken out.
In 1598 the ‘Spanish Netherlands’ were ceded by Philip II. as
a fief to his daughter Clara Isabella Eugenia on the occasion of her
marriage with Albert, Archduke of Austria, the Spanish governor.
Under their régime the wounds which the country had suffered
during the war began to heal. The princely pair exerted themselves
im every way to promote the welfare of the provinces under their
care; industry and commerce once more flourished, and the ad-
ministration of justice was reorganized. Their religious zeal was
displayed in the foundation of new monasteries, colleges, and other
Roman Catholic institutions, but at the same time materially con-
tributed to the development of art. Numerous churches, in the
gorgeous but somewhat degraded taste of the period, were built
and decorated with brilliant altar-pieces. The Archduke and his
wife, moreover, rendered the country an important benefit by se-
curing the services of Rubens, who in 1609 had made up his mind
to settle in Italy. They appointed him their court-painter, per-
mitting him at the same time to reside at Antwerp, the centre of
Flemish art. After Albert’s death without issue (1621) the Nether-
lands reverted to Spain, which during the wars of the latter half of
the 17th cent. was obliged to cede many of its provinces (Artois,
Thionville, etc.) to France. Ini714 these provinces were awarded
by the Peace of Rastadt to the House of Austria.
The ‘Austrian Netherlands’ were wisely and beneficently govern-
ed by imperial stadtholders, such as Prince Charles of Lorraine
(1744-80), brother-in-law of Maria Theresa, and the Archduchess
Maria Christina and her husband, Albert of Saxe-Teschen (1784-92),
and for a brief period the glorious days of the Burgundian régime
appeared to have returned. But the opposition aroused by the re-
forms of the Emp. Joseph II. expressed itself in 1787 by a refusal
to pay taxes and in 1789 by a declaration of independence on the
part of the Hstates of Brabant. Though the Austrian domination was
soon restored, it was of short duration. The French Revolutionary
forces defeated the Austrians at Jemappes (p. 246) in 1792 and,
though repulsed at Neerwinden (p. 237), again at Fleurus (p. 245)
in 1794, and Belgium was incorporated with France until 1844,
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K 29612:[a,1,11], Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience
Baedeker, Karl, Belgium and Holland, including the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg: handbook for travellers, K 29612:[a,1,11], Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience