William The Silent of Orange


William The Silent of Orange
(1533-1584)
   William "the Silent" of Orange was born in Dillenburg near Wiesbaden, Germany, to the Protestant Count William of Nassau and Juliana of Stolberg. In 1544, William became the prince of Orange when his cousin René de Châlon, who held the position, died without leaving any heirs. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who acted as William's regent until he came of age, insisted that the boy receive a Catholic education at the court in Brussels. In 1559, Philip II of Spain, Charles' son, appointed William stadtholder (governor) of Holland, Utrecht, and Zeeland. The king's persecution of Protestants in the region and his curtailment of freedom prompted William to lead the revolt against the Spanish crown that resulted in the declaration of emancipation by the United Dutch provinces in 1579. In 1581, Philip denounced William as a traitor and offered a reward on his head, at the same time as Brabant, Flanders, Utrecht, Gelderland, Holland, and Zeeland declared Philip's deposition from sovereignty over them. A Catholic fanatic assassinated William in Delft in 1584.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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