Duke of Alba: biography

Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba, whose biography reports many interesting facts about his life and work, was born in 1507. He was a famous Spanish general, as well as a popular statesman. Because of his cruelty, he was nicknamed "The Iron Duke".

Childhood and youth of the bloody future duke

Fernando de Toleda was born on October 29, 1508 in one of the oldest and most respected noble families of Spain. His father died when Alvarez de Toledo was still at a young age, then his strict education was handled by a strict grandfather. He made every effort to grow out of the boy an ardent Catholic, loyal to the servant of the tsar and a disciplined soldier. At the age of sixteen, the Duke of Alba already serves as an officer in the campaigns of Emperor Charles the Fifth against the French.

Since 1531, Fernando played a leading role in the operations against the Turks. Moreover, he was promoted to generals two years later and distinguished himself during the siege of Tunis in 1535. After defending Perpignan from the French attack in 1542, he was appointed by Charles Fifth military adviser under his successor Philippe.

The most famous dates of battles

The Duke of Alba commanded the cavalry, which greatly contributed to the imperial victory at Mühlberg in 1547. And after five years Fernando Alvarez took over the general command of the Spanish forces in Italy. Nevertheless, the Duke can not prevent the defeat of the imperial forces, as a result, this led to the abdication of the emperor in 1556.

Philip II, becoming king of Spain, appointed Fernando de Toled as the governor of Milan, as well as the commander-in-chief of the military forces of Italy. There, the Duke of Alba waged war against the papal army of Paul the Fourth, who was a French ally, at the head of twelve thousand Spanish soldiers. Avoiding a direct attack on Rome, so that there would be no repetition of 1527.

The trick of the Pope, or Fernando's Complete Victory

The pope pretended to call on the opponents for a truce, hoping that at that time the French troops would catch up, but the Spaniards intercepted them and won the battle of San Quentin. And without the support of the expected armies, the papal troops were defeated. Fernando Alvarez forced the Pope to accept peace in 1557, which provided Spanish dominance in Italy for more than a hundred years.

In the same year, a truce was concluded between the monarchs of Spain and France in the city of Cato-Cambrese. While this treaty lasted, the Italian peninsula was in a prolonged state of rest. And the next significant stage in the biography of the famous Fernando is the campaign of the Duke of Alba in 1567 and his further reign in the Netherlands, which left a deep mark on history in connection with the brutal and bloody events.

Bloody deeds of the famous Duke

In August 1566, the Iconoclastic Rebellion took place in the Netherlands, during which a number of monasteries and churches were plundered or even destroyed, as well as Catholic statues. To resolve the civil and religious issues that have arisen, King Philippe II sent Fernando at the head of the best army in the Netherlands. There the Duke of Alba, whose biography dwells in detail on this period, left most bloody memories about himself.

Fernando entered the territory of Brussels on August 22, 1567 and took the post of Governor-General. And in a few days he founded the "Bloody Council" to suppress heresy and rebellion. This Council works with severe severity. Even the two most important and famous noblemen of the country, the counts, the heads of the Flemish nobility, Egmont and Horn, were arrested and brought to trial. Subsequently, they were executed.

New taxation system

More than one thousand men of all ranks were subjected to executions, and many fled abroad for security reasons. All those who were convicted were executed on June 5, 1568 at the Town Hall Square in Brussels. The Duke of Alba, who had a tough character, was not sure of Flemish justice. He perceived it as sympathy for the defendants. Therefore, Fernando Alvarez preferred execution with numerous witnesses.

The maintenance of troops in Flanders entailed considerable economic costs. And the bloody Duke of Alba decided to introduce a new type of taxation in the Benelux countries, based primarily on the Spanish tax system at a rate of ten percent on each transfer of goods. Many provinces at that time redeemed their way on lump sum payments, and deep concern was raised over this that the prosperity of the Benelux countries was being undermined.

Refusal to pay taxes, or rebellious rebellion

Some residents refuse to pay "tithes", as they called this tax, and a riot began, spreading rapidly across the Netherlands. The Prince of Orange, nicknamed William Quiet, addressed the French Huguenots to provide the necessary support, and began to support the rebels. He, along with the troops from France, took many territories.

And the siege of Haarlem is characterized by brutal actions on both sides. It ended with the surrender of the city and the loss of about two thousand people. Thanks to the lengthy military campaigns and brutal repression of the rebel citizens, conducted by the Duke of Alba, the Netherlands consolidated the nickname "Iron Duke" behind him.

His reputation was used to propagate among the rebels and to further influence anti-Spanish sentiment. Fernando remained popular in the Spanish troops, where he, without hesitation for a single minute, could always unerringly guess the mood of people.

Return to Spain, or the Last Years of Life

Despite the ongoing hostilities, the situation in the Netherlands is not in favor of Spain. After numerous repressions that lasted for five years, about five thousand executions and constant complaints, Philip II decided to ease the situation by allowing Fernando de Toleda to return to Spain.

The Duke sailed from Holland, still torn by insurrection, on December 18, 1573. On his return to Spain, Fernando was in disgrace with the king. Nevertheless, seven years later, Philippe II entrusted the conquest of Portugal to him.

Fernando Alvarez married in 1527 on his cousin Maria Enrique de Toledo. From this marriage he had four heirs: Garcia, Fadric, Diego and Beatrice. There are also documented information that his first child was illegitimate, who was born from the daughter of a miller.

The Duke of Alba, whose photo is of course little known to an ordinary person, but familiar to any historian who studies the biographies of such eminent personalities, died in Lisbon on December 11, 1582. Fernando's remains were transferred to Alba de Tormes and buried in the monastery of San Leonardo.

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