Thursday, January 15, 2015
Willem of Oranje (1533-84) 23.8/1.9.1984
My friend Gerda from Holland sent me this very interesting First Day Cover featuring the famous William of Orange.
William I, Prince of Orange (24 April 1533 – 10 July 1584), also widely known as William the Silent or William the Taciturn (translated from Dutch:Willem de Zwijger), or more commonly known as William of Orange, was the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs that set off the Eighty Years' War and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1648. He was born in the House of Nassau as Count of Nassau-Dillenburg. He became Prince of Orange in 1544 and is thereby the founder of the branch House of Orange-Nassau and the ancestor of the monarchy of the Netherlands.
A wealthy nobleman, William originally served the Habsburgs as a member of the court of Margaret of Parma, governor of the Spanish Netherlands. Unhappy with the centralisation of political power away from the local estates and with the Spanish persecution of Dutch Protestants, William joined the Dutch uprising and turned against his former masters. The most influential and politically capable of the rebels, he led the Dutch to several successes in the fight against the Spanish. Declared an outlaw by the Spanish king in 1580, he was assassinated by Balthasar Gérard (also written as "Gerardts") in Delft in 1584.
In the 19th century the Netherlands became a constitutional monarchy, currently with King Willem-Alexander as head of state: he has cognatic descent from William of Orange. All stadtholders after William of Orange where drawn from his descendants or the descendants of his brother.