12 Apr 2022


Discussion: Spanish Religious Wars, 1566-1648

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According to Geert (2011), the Spanish religious war, or the Dutch revolt, was caused mainly by religious reasons following the Peace of Augsburg in 1955 that declared the religion of the Prince of Spain to be the country’s official religion. Angered by what they saw as attempts by King Phillip II to try and prevent the spread of Protestantism and that the taxes they had paid in royalties would benefit Spain; the Dutch revolted thus resulting in the war. The Dutch Calvinists were resentful of the Catholic religion hence leading to the revolt and eventually into war. However, it was also an order by William of Orange’s decision and order for pirates or Sea Beggars to invade the coastal ports that further incensed the war as the Spanish troops responded with rage in the city of Antwerp. Over seven thousand people were killed in less than a fortnight. Pepijn (2007) argues that despite religion being the key cause of this war, a social analysis reveals that it is issues of money and economics, land and political power that created religious animosity and led to the war. 

The social conflict that is happening now and which shares similar features with this war is probably the current religious war between Muslims and Christians in the form of terrorism mostly in the Muslim dominated countries. The major similarity between these two events is that both of them are fought on the basis of or because of religious intolerance and differences. Furthermore, both of these wars involve a situation where one group is trying to impose its religious beliefs on another and wishing to declare one religion to be dominant over the other. However, the Spanish war differs from the contemporary religious war since while the former was fought mainly between two or three countries, the latter has transformed into a transnational movement that affects many countries globally. 

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Geert, J. (2011). Quo vadis? Catholics perceptions of flight and review of low countries1566-1609. Rennaissance Quarterly Journal, 64 (62), 472-499.

Pepijn, B. (2007). The Dutch revolt: Social analysis. International Socialism Journal: A Quarterly Review of Socialist Theory, 1 (116), 1-26.

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