Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba

Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba

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Don
Don (honorific)
Don, from Latin dominus, is an honorific in Spanish , Portuguese , and Italian . The female equivalent is Doña , Dona , and Donna , abbreviated "Dª" or simply "D."-Usage:...

 Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, 3rd Duke of Alba
(29 October 1507 – 11 December 1582) was a Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 general
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 and governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 of the Spanish Netherlands (1567–1573), nicknamed "the Iron Duke" in the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

 because of his harsh and cruel rule there and his role in the execution of his political opponents and the massacre of several cities.

Early life


Alba's grandfather, Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo
Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, 2nd Duke of Alba
Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo y Enríquez, 2nd Duke of Alba was a Spanish nobleman, military leader and politician....

, educated him in military science and politics; and he was engaged with distinction at the Battle of Pavia
Battle of Pavia
The Battle of Pavia, fought on the morning of 24 February 1525, was the decisive engagement of the Italian War of 1521–26.A Spanish-Imperial army under the nominal command of Charles de Lannoy attacked the French army under the personal command of Francis I of France in the great hunting preserve...

 in 1525, while still a youth.

Selected for a military command by Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

, he took part in the siege of Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

 (1535), and successfully defended Perpignan
Siege of Perpignan (1542)
The Siege of Perpignan took place in 1542, at Perpignan , between a larger French army commanded by Henry, Dauphin of France and the Spanish garrison at Perpignan. The Spaniards resisted until the arrival of the Spanish army under Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba, causing the withdrawal...

 against the dauphin of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. He was present at the Battle of Mühlberg
Battle of Mühlberg
The Battle of Mühlberg was a large battle at Mühlberg in the Electorate of Saxony during the Protestant Reformation at which the Catholic princes of the Holy Roman Empire led by the Emperor Charles I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire decisively defeated the Lutheran Schmalkaldic League of...

 (1547), and the victory gained there over the Prince-Elector Johann Friederich of Saxony was due mainly to his exertions. He took part in the subsequent successful siege of Wittenberg
Wittenberg
Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a city in Germany in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, on the river Elbe. It has a population of about 50,000....

 defended by the Electress, Sybille
Sybille of Cleves
Sybille of Cleves was Electress consort of Saxony.She was the eldest daughter of John III, Duke of Cleves, and a sister of Anne of Cleves and Amalia of Cleves. Sybille's mother was Maria of Jülich-Berg .In September, 1526 Sybille married John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony...

, following which Alba presided at the court-martial which tried the Prince-Elector and condemned him to death as a rebel against the Emperor, wringing from him the Capitulation of Wittenberg
Capitulation of Wittenberg
The Capitulation of Wittenberg was a treaty in 1547 by which John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony, was compelled to resign the electoral dignity. The Electorate of Saxony and most of his territory, including Wittenberg, passed from the elder, Ernestine line to the cadet branch, the Albertine line...

 (1547), in which he was compelled to resign the electoral dignity and a great part of his territory to his cousin Maurice
Maurice, Elector of Saxony
Maurice was Duke and later Elector of Saxony. His clever manipulation of alliances and disputes gained the Albertine branch of the Wettin dynasty extensive lands and the electoral dignity....

.

In 1552 Alba was entrusted with the command of the army intended to invade France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and was engaged for several months in an unsuccessful siege of Metz
Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

. In consequence of the success of the French arms in Piedmont, he was made commander-in-chief of all the emperor's forces in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, and at the same time invested with unlimited power. Success did not, however, attend his first attempts, and after several unfortunate attacks he was obliged to retire into winter quarters.

After the abdication of Charles V he was continued in the command by Philip II
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

, who, however, restrained him from extreme measures. Alba had subdued the whole Campagna and was at the gates of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, when he was compelled by Philip's orders to negotiate a peace.

Not long after this (1559) he was sent at the head of a splendid embassy to Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 to espouse, in the name of Philip, Elizabeth, daughter of Henry
Henry II of France
Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559.-Early years:Henry was born in the royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, the son of Francis I and Claude, Duchess of Brittany .His father was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 by his sworn enemy,...

, king of France. These negotiations led to the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis.

Netherlands


In 1567, Philip, who was a zealous opponent of Protestantism, sent Alba into the Netherlands at the head of an army of 10,000 men, with unlimited powers for the extirpation of the heretics. Alba quickly erected a tribunal, the Council of Troubles
Council of Troubles
The Council of Troubles was the special tribunal instituted on September 9, 1567 by Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba, governor-general of the Habsburg Netherlands on the orders of Philip II of Spain to punish the ringleaders of the recent political and religious "troubles" in the...

, which soon became known to the Calvinists as the "Council of Blood," to try all persons who had been engaged in the late commotions that the rule of Philip had excited. During the ten years it operated, thousands of people were executed. The precise number is disputed: Dutch sources cite 18,000 victims, while Spanish accounts mention only a few hundred. About 12,000 casualties can be considered as the most accurate estimate, of which 1,083 were executed. Alba imprisoned the Count of Egmont
Lamoral, Count of Egmont
Lamoral, Count of Egmont, Prince of Gavere was a general and statesman in the Habsburg Netherlands just before the start of the Eighty Years' War, whose execution helped spark the national uprising that eventually led to the independence of the Netherlands.The Count of Egmont headed one of the...

 and the Count of Hoorn
Philip de Montmorency, Count of Hoorn
Philip de Montmorency was also known as Count of Horn or Hoorne or Hoorn.-Biography:De Montmorency was born, between 1518 and 1526, possibly at the Ooidonk Castle, as the son of Jozef van Montmorency, Count of Nevele and Anna van Egmont...

, the two popular leaders of the dissatisfied Dutch nobles, and had them condemned to death even though they were Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

s.

Alba attempted to raise money by imposing the Spanish alcabala, a tax of 10% on all sales ("tenth penny" tax) on the Low Countries, and this aroused the opposition of many Catholic residents as well. The exiles from the Low Countries, who called themselves Geuzen
Geuzen
Geuzen was a name assumed by the confederacy of Calvinist Dutch nobles and other malcontents, who from 1566 opposed Spanish rule in the Netherlands. The most successful group of them operated at sea, and so were called Watergeuzen...

 (French gueux, "beggars"), encouraged by the general resistance to his government, fitted out a fleet of privateers, and after strengthening themselves by successful depredations, seized the town of Den Briel (Brielle
Brielle
Brielle , also called Den Briel is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland, on the north side of the island of Voorne-Putten, at the mouth of the New Maas. The municipality covers an area of 31.12 km² of which 3.63 km² is water...

). Thus Alba, by his unrelenting harshness, became the unwitting instrument of the future independence of the seven Dutch provinces.

On August 22, Alba, accompanied by a body of select Spanish troops, made his entry into Brussels. He immediately appointed a council to condemn without trial those suspected of heresy and rebellion. On June 1, 1568, Brussels witnessed the simultaneous decapitation of twenty-two noblemen; on 6 June followed the execution of the Counts of Egmond and Hoorne.

The fleet of the exiles, having met the Spanish fleet, defeated it and reduced Holland and Mons
Mons
Mons is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut, of which it is the capital. The Mons municipality includes the old communes of Cuesmes, Flénu, Ghlin, Hyon, Nimy, Obourg, Baudour , Jemappes, Ciply, Harmignies, Harveng, Havré, Maisières, Mesvin, Nouvelles,...

. The States of Holland
States of Holland
The States of Holland and West Frisia were the representation of the two Estates to the court of the Count of Holland...

, assembling at Dordrecht
Dordrecht
Dordrecht , colloquially Dordt, historically in English named Dort, is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, located in the province of South Holland. It is the fourth largest city of the province, having a population of 118,601 in 2009...

 in 1572, openly declared against Alba's government, and marshaled under the banners of the prince of Orange.

Alba's preparations to defeat the gathering storm were made with his usual rapidity and vigour, and he succeeded in recovering Mons
Mons
Mons is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut, of which it is the capital. The Mons municipality includes the old communes of Cuesmes, Flénu, Ghlin, Hyon, Nimy, Obourg, Baudour , Jemappes, Ciply, Harmignies, Harveng, Havré, Maisières, Mesvin, Nouvelles,...

, Mechelen
Mechelen
Mechelen Footnote: Mechelen became known in English as 'Mechlin' from which the adjective 'Mechlinian' is derived...

 and Zutphen, under the conduct of his son Don Fadrique
Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, 4th Duke of Alba
Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo y Enríquez de Guzmán, 4th Duke of Alba, Grandee of Spain, , , was a commander in the Spanish army during the Eighty Years' War....

. All three cities were sacked and many civilians killed. With the exception of Zeeland
Zeeland
Zeeland , also called Zealand in English, is the westernmost province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, consists of a number of islands and a strip bordering Belgium. Its capital is Middelburg. With a population of about 380,000, its area is about...

 and Holland, he regained all the provinces; and at last his son stormed Naarden, massacring every man, woman and child, proceeded to invest
Investment (military)
Investment is the military tactic of surrounding an enemy fort with armed forces to prevent entry or escape.A circumvallation is a line of fortifications, built by the attackers around the besieged fortification facing towards the enemy fort...

 the city of Haarlem
Haarlem
Haarlem is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic...

, which, after standing an obstinate siege
Siege of Haarlem
The siege of Haarlem was an episode of the Eighty Years' War. From December 11, 1572 to July 13, 1573 an army of Philip II of Spain laid bloody siege to the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands, whose loyalties had begun wavering during the previous summer...

, was taken and pillaged. Their next attack was upon Alkmaar
Alkmaar
Alkmaar is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of Noord Holland. Alkmaar is well known for its traditional cheese market. For tourists, it is a popular cultural destination.-History:...

; but there they were met with such desperate resistance that Alba was forced to retire.

Retirement and disgrace



Alba's feeble health and continued lack of success induced him to solicit his recall from the government of the Low Countries. In December 1573 Philip accepted his resignation and replaced him with Luis de Zúñiga y Requesens
Luis de Zúñiga y Requesens
Luis de Requesens y Zúñiga also known as Luis de Zúñiga y Requesens was a Spanish politician and diplomat.-Biography:Luis de Requesens y Zúñiga was born at Molins de Rei...

.

On his return he was treated for some time with great distinction by Philip. But then his son, Fadrique de Toledo, secretly wed the daughter of García de Toledo, against the king’s orders. The affair dragged both father and son into disgrace. Alba was banished from court and retired to the castle of Uceda
Uceda
Uceda is a municipality located in the province of Guadalajara, Castile-La Mancha, Spain. According to the 2004 census , the municipality has a population of 1,575 inhabitants....

.

Alba remained in exile at his castle up to 1580, when his leadership was sought again in the war against Portugal.

In Portugal



Alba remained in exile two years, when the success of António, Prior of Crato
António, Prior of Crato
António, Prior of Crato , was a grandson of King Manuel I of Portugal, claimant of the Portuguese throne during the 1580 dynastic crisis, who was King of Portugal as António I of Portugal during 33 days in the continent in 1580, and, after the crowning of Philip II of Spain as King of Portugal,...

, in assuming the crown of Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 caused Philip to turn to Alba as the man whose ability and fidelity he could most rely on.
Made supreme commander in Portugal in 1580, Alba soon defeated António in the Battle of Alcântara
Battle of Alcântara (1580)
The Battle of Alcântara took place on August 25, 1580, near the brook of Alcântara, in the vicinity of Lisbon, Portugal, and was a decisive victory of the Spanish Habsburg King Philip II over the Portuguese pretender to the Portuguese throne, Dom António, Prior of Crato.-Background:In Portugal, the...

, drove him from the kingdom, and reduced Portugal to the subjection of Philip. Entering Lisbon he seized an immense treasure, and allowed his soldiers to sack
Looting
Looting —also referred to as sacking, plundering, despoiling, despoliation, and pillaging—is the indiscriminate taking of goods by force as part of a military or political victory, or during a catastrophe, such as during war, natural disaster, or rioting...

 the suburbs and vicinity.
Alba, however, did not enjoy the honors and rewards of his last expedition, for he died at Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 on December 11, 1582.

Descendants


In 1527, the Duke married his cousin María Enríquez de Toledo y Guzmán, daughter of Diego Enríquez de Guzmán, 3rd Count of Alba de Liste, with whom he had four children.

By María Enríquez de Toledo:
  • García Álvarez de Toledo (1530–1548).
  • Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, 4th Duke of Alba
    Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, 4th Duke of Alba
    Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo y Enríquez de Guzmán, 4th Duke of Alba, Grandee of Spain, , , was a commander in the Spanish army during the Eighty Years' War....

     (1537–1583).
  • Diego Álvarez de Toledo (?–1583), Count of Lerin, married Briande de Beaumont (1540–1588).
  • Antonio Álvarez de Toledo y Beaumont, 5th Duke of Alba.
  • Beatriz Álvarez de Toledo, married Álvaro Pérez de Osorio, 5th Marquis of Astorga.


Illegitimate:
  • Fernando de Toledo
    Fernando de Toledo
    Fernando de Toledo, was a Spanish nobleman.He was the illegitimate and first son of Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba, "The Iron Duke", who had fathered Fernando de Toledo upon the daughter of a miller of La Aldehuela, in the province of Ávila, Spain.Not until 1546, when young...

     (1527–1591), recognized in 1546, Viceroy of Catalonia.

Ancestry




Sources


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