The Eighty Years’ War (Dutch: Tachtigjarige Oorlog; Spanish: Guerra de los Ochenta Años) or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces against the political and religious hegemony of 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 beginnings of the Dutch Colonial Empire, which at the time were conceived as carrying overseas the war with Spain. After a 12-year truce, hostilities broke out again around 1619, which can be said to coincide with the Thirty Years’ War. An end was reached in 1648 with the Peace of Münster (a treaty part of the Peace of Westphalia), when the Dutch Republic was recognised as an independent country (though the fact of its being such was evident long before).
Causes of the war
In the decades preceding the war, the Dutch became increasingly discontented with Habsburg rule. A major cause of this discontent was heavy taxation imposed on the population, while support and guidance from the government was hampered by the size of the Habsburg empire. At that time, the Seventeen Provinces were known in the empire as De landen van herwaarts over and in French as Les pays de par deça – “those lands around there”. The Dutch provinces were continually criticised for acting without permission from the throne, while it was impractical for them to gain permission for actions, as requests sent to the throne would take at least four weeks for a response to return. The presence of Spanish troops under the command of the Duke of Alba, brought in to oversee order, further amplified this unrest.
Spain also attempted a policy of strict religious uniformity for the Catholic Church within its domains, and enforced it with the Inquisition. The Reformation meanwhile produced a number of Protestant denominations, which gained followers in the Seventeen Provinces. These included the Lutheran movement of Martin Luther, the Anabaptist movement of the Dutch reformer Menno Simons, and the Reformed teachings of John Calvin. This growth led to the 1566 Beeldenstorm, the “Iconoclastic Fury”, in which many churches in northern Europe were stripped of their Catholic statuary and religious decoration.
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Battle of Jemmingen
After the Battle of Heiligerlee, the Dutch rebel leader Louis of Nassau (brother of William the Silent) failed to capture the city Groningen. Louis was driven away by Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba and defeated at the Battle of Jemmingen (also known as Battle of Jemgum, at Jemgum in East Frisia – now part of Germany) on 21 July 1568.
The Spanish army consisted of 12,000 infantry (4 tercios), 3,000 cavalry, and some cannons. Louis of Nassau opposed them with 10,000 infantry (2 groups), some cavalry, and 16 cannons.
After three hours of skirmishes, Louis’ army left its trenches and advanced. Pounded by effective musket fire and intimidated by the Spanish cavalry, the advance turned into a general retreat towards the river Ems.
On May 19, 1571 a statue of the Duke, cast from one of the captured bronze cannons, was placed in Antwerp citadel. After the Sack of Antwerp in 1576, the city joined the Dutch Revolt and in 1577 the statue was destroyed by an angry crowd.
1899 – Hart Crane, American poet (d. 1932)
Harold Hart Crane (July 21, 1899 – April 27, 1932) was an American poet. Finding both inspiration and provocation in the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Crane wrote modernist poetry that was difficult, highly stylized, and ambitious in its scope. In his most ambitious work, The Bridge, Crane sought to write an epic poem, in the vein of The Waste Land, that expressed a more optimistic view of modern, urban culture than the one that he found in Eliot’s work. In the years following his suicide at the age of 32, Crane has been hailed by playwrights, poets, and literary critics alike (including Robert Lowell, Derek Walcott, Tennessee Williams, and Harold Bloom), as being one of the most influential poets of his generation.
Life and work
Hart Crane was born in Garrettsville, Ohio, the son of Clarence A. Crane and Grace Edna Hart. His father was a successful Ohio businessman who invented the Life Savers candy and held the patent, but sold it for $2,900 before the brand became popular. He made other candy and accumulated a fortune from the candy business with chocolate bars. Crane’s mother and father were constantly fighting, and early in April, 1917, they divorced.[notes 1] Hart dropped out of high school during his junior year and left for New York City, promising his parents he would attend Columbia University later. His parents, in the middle of divorce proceedings, were upset. Crane took various copywriting jobs and jumped between friends’ apartments in Manhattan. Between 1917 and 1924 he moved back and forth between New York and Cleveland, working as an advertising copywriter and a worker in his father’s factory. From Crane’s letters, it appears that New York was where he felt most at home, and much of his poetry is set there.
Throughout the early 1920s, small but well-respected literary magazines published some of Crane’s lyrics, gaining him, among the avant-garde, a respect that White Buildings (1926), his first volume, ratified and strengthened. White Buildings contains many of Crane’s best lyrics, including “For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen”, and “Voyages”, a powerful sequence of erotic poems. They were written while he was falling in love with Emil Opffer, a Danish merchant mariner. “Faustus and Helen” was part of a larger artistic struggle to meet modernity with something more than despair. Crane identified T. S. Eliot with that kind of despair, and while he acknowledged the greatness of The Waste Land, he also said it was “so damned dead”, an impasse, and characterized by a refusal to see “certain spiritual events and possibilities”. Crane’s self-appointed work would be to bring those spiritual events and possibilities to poetic life, and so create “a mystical synthesis of America”.
Crane returned to New York in 1928, living with friends and taking temporary jobs as a copywriter or living off unemployment and the charity of friends and his father. For a time, he was living in Brooklyn at 77 Willow Street until his lover, Opffer, invited him to live in Opffer’s father’s home at 110 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights. Crane was overjoyed at the views the location afforded him. He wrote his mother and grandmother in the spring of 1924:
Just imagine looking out your window directly on the East River with nothing intervening between your view of the Statue of Liberty, way down the harbour, and the marvelous beauty of Brooklyn Bridge close above you on your right! All of the great new skyscrapers of lower Manhattan are marshaled directly across from you, and there is a constant stream of tugs, liners, sail boats, etc in procession before you on the river! It’s really a magnificent place to live. This section of Brooklyn is very old, but all the houses are in splendid condition and have not been invaded by foreigners…
His ambition to synthesize America was expressed in The Bridge (1930), intended to be an uplifting counter to Eliot’s The Waste Land. The Brooklyn Bridge is both the poem’s central symbol and its poetic starting point. Crane found what a place to start his synthesis in Brooklyn. Arts patron Otto H. Kahn gave him $2,000 to begin work on the epic poem. When he wore out his welcome at the Opffers’, Crane left for Paris in early 1929, but failed to leave his personal problems behind. It was during the late 1920s, while he was finishing The Bridge, that his drinking, always a problem, became notably worse.
In Paris in February 1929, Harry Crosby, who with his wife Caresse Crosby owned the fine arts press Black Sun Press, offered Crane the use of their country retreat, Le Moulin du Soleil in Ermenonville. They hoped he could use the time to concentrate on completing The Bridge. Crane spent several weeks at their estate where he roughed out a draft of the “Cape Hatteras” section, a key part of his epic poem. In late June that year, Crane returned from the south of France to Paris. Harry noted in his journal, “Hart C. back from Marseilles where he slept with his thirty sailors and he began again to drink Cutty Sark.” Crane got drunk at the Cafe Select and fought with waiters over his tab. When the Paris police were called, he fought with them and was beaten. They arrested and jailed him, fining him 800 francs. After Hart had spent six days in prison at La Santé, Harry Crosby paid Crane’s fine and advanced him money for the passage back to the United States where he finally finished The Bridge. The work received poor reviews, and Crane’s sense of his own failure became crushing.
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