William of Orange was a German Noble that helped start the Dutch Revolution/Independence from Spain, and the 80 years war.
William was born on April 24th, 1533 to Juliana of Stolberg-Werningerode, and William, the Count of Nassau. William’s parents raised him in the Lutheran faith, but when a relative, Rene of Chalon, died and left William the Princehood of Orange, (so now he was the Prince of Orange) for that position, he was required to get a catholic education, so when he was eleven, he left for the Netherlands to go get his Catholic Education. He got taught by the Holy Roman Emperor’s (Charles V) Sister, so as you can imagine, he had the Royal family’s favor.
In 1551, the eighteen-year-old William married Anna van Egmond en Buren. The same year, Charles V appointed William as the Captain of the Cavalry. He and Anna had 3 children together and were very happy. Unfortunately, Anna died in March, of 1558. By the year of 1559, William of Orange was also the governor of the provinces of Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht. Over the years, William had 3 more wives, and 16 Children in all.
The Spanish part of the Hapsburg Dynasty was in charge of the Netherlands, and they were catholic. William believed that there should be freedom of religion, and so he started speaking out against the Catholics. William was also part of some revolts that were taking place against the Catholics, by the Lutherans. They would go into the cathedrals and throw down all the Icons and things like that the Catholics practically worshiped.
William and 10,000 other people that were a part of the revolts were all summoned by the Spanish Authorities to be judged and sentenced for their involvement in the revolts. William didn’t show up, so he was proclaimed an Outlaw, and his property was confiscated. Since he had been a big man in the world of politics he was able to raise an army against the Spaniards. This was the beginning of the 80 years war. It would take to long in this essay to write about the 80 years war too, but I will tell you that the Dutch people gained independence from Spain.
William of Orange was shot in the chest in his home in July of 1548. Balthasar Gérard was paid 25,000 crowns by Philip II for assassinating him. His last words were:
“My God, have pity on my soul; my God, have pity on this poor people”
Although William died, the 80 years war went on for many more years.