Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around. — G. K. Chesterton

Duke of Alva

(Fernando Alvarez de Toledo)

1567–1573
Civilization: Hispanic — Spain
   Field of Renown:  statesman — Governor
Era:  Hapsburg
Duke of Alva
IN THE CENTER OF THE SQUARE, A SCAFFOLD HAD BEEN ERECTED.

The Duke of Alva, who was appointed governor of the Netherlands during the early years of the Dutch revolt, did much to provoke the Protestant cause in the region, and his heavy handed methods of suppressing heresies did much to unite the country against Spain. Before his appointment to the Spanish Netherlands, Alva had distinguished himself as a top Spanish general, trusted by both Charles V and his successor Philip II. He fought against France in the Italian Wars and was commander of the Spanish troops in Italy at the close of the Valois-Hapbsurg war in 1559. He also fought for Spain against the Ottomans, most notably at the Battle of Pavia.

Alva led a Spanish army into the Netherlands in 1567 and almost immediately made himself hated by executing two popular leaders, Counts Horn and Egmond. There only crimes had been advocating for the historical rights of the states of Holland, and voicing Dutch grievances. They were loyal Catholics rather than Protestant rebels, and their execution greatly incensed the entire country, including many Catholic loyalists. Alva's continued repressive measures held down the rebels for a short time, but when he raised taxes without the consent of the local councils, the states openly rebelled against him. This time, the rebellion was much harder to put down and his iron-fisted measures only served to alienate those moderates who did not desire a break from the Crown.

Soon after, Alva was recalled to Spain and replaced with Requessens, a general that the Spanish hoped would deal more diplomatically with the rebels. A few years later Alba was recalled to lead the Spanish army against a Portuguese prince who had usurped the throne from the Spanish-backed claimant. He died soon after.


Key events during the life of Duke of Alva:


Year
Event
1507
Birth of Fernando Alvarez de Toledo to a noble family in Spain.
1525
Distinguished himself at the Battle of Pavia, during the Italian Wars.
1535
Took part in the siege of Tunis, where Spain retook the city from the Ottomans.
1547
Led Spain to victory at the battle of Muhlberg over a league of German Protestant princes.
1552
Led the unsuccessful siege of Metz during the Italian War of 1551-1559.
1554
Placed in command of all Spanish forces in Italy.
1559
Married a princess of France, and negotiated a peace to end the Italian Wars.
1567
Appointed governor of the Spanish Netherlands—assigned to abolish Protestant heresies.
1568
Arrested and executed Counts Egmont and Horne, popular Dutch leaders.
1572
States of Holland unite under the Prince of Orange against the Duke of Alva.
1573
Recovered much of Holland for the Spanish Crown. Besieged Haarlem Alkmar, Leiden and others.
1573
Decisive victory for the Dutch at the Naval battle of Zunderzee.
1573
Resigned as governor of the Netherlands due to "ill-health".
1580
Defeated Dom Antonio at the battle of Alcantar during the War of the Portuguese Succession.
1582
Died in Lisbon.

We are here
We are here
We are here

Other Resources


Story Links
Book Links
The Duke of Alva  in  A Child's History of Spain  by  John Bonner
Orange Leaves the Netherlands. Alva Arrives  in  The Netherlands  by  Mary Macgregor
Storm Bursts  in  The Awakening of Europe  by  M. B. Synge

We are here
We are here

Image Links


Alva's Council of Blood
 in 

Alva's Statue Dragged through the Antwerp Streets
 in 


Contemporary
Short Biography
Charles V 16th century Hapsburg Emperor who ruled Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and parts of Italy.
Philip II Catholic king of Spain during Netherland revolt and Anglo-Spanish Wars. Great enemy of Protestant Reformers.
Count Egmont Powerful Noble in Low Countries during Dutch Revolt. Protested Inquisition and was beheaded.
Count Hoorn Admiral of the Dutch Navy. With Egmont, protested Inquisition and was beheaded.
William the Silent Hero of the Dutch Revolt. Led resistance to the Inquisition and Spanish tyranny.
Cardinal Granvelle Dutch Cardinal who implemented the Spanish Inquisition in the Dutch Netherlands.
Don Fadrique Son of the Duke of Alba. Led Spanish armies against Dutch towns.