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Oath of Abjuration

From Academic Kids

The Oath of Abjuration or Plakkaat van Verlatinghe of July 26 1581, was the formal declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.

This point meant a climax in the Dutch Revolt, a point of no return, in which the Low Countries asserted they were no longer loyal to their king.

Sometimes, the oath is interpreted as a act of secession from Spain, but this is strictly speaking incorrect. Legally, the oath deposed the provinces' current ruler, Philip of Habsburg — who, by dynastic coincidence, was also king of Spain. Philip's attempts to unify his various realms under a more centralized government based in Madrid were the major drivers behind the oath. Philip used troops from Spain and other areas loyal to him (such as Wallonia and Italy) to fight the rebels.

In the Oath, the Staten-Generaal (General States' Assembly, a sort of parliament) states that a king is a servant of his people and should respect their laws and traditions. When he no longer does this, the people have the right to choose another ruler.

In the declaration, these states are mentioned (in order of appearance):

The provinces of Groningen and Overijssel (which included Drenthe) also seceded but are not separately mentioned as they strictly speaking were not separate entities but parts of Gelre and Utrecht, respectively.

Philip II did not accept this Oath, and made the duke of Parma, Alexander Farnese, governor of the Low Countries. Farnese began a conquest with Walloon, Spanish and German troops that ended in the occupation of most of Flanders and half of Brabant. The other regions gained their independence from Philip and became the federal Republic of the United Provinces (now the Netherlands), whereas the occupied parts of Brabant and Flanders became, together with loyal Wallonia, the Spanish Netherlands (now Belgium).

The Oath stood model for the American declaration of independence in 1776 and that of the Southern Netherlands in 1789/1790 (the United Belgian States).

External link

Site about the Plakkaat (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dutch/dutch/History1/index.html)fr:Acte de La Haye nl:Plakkaat van Verlatinghe

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