William I of Orange was the main leader of the Dutch revolt against
the Spanish that set off the Eighty Years' War and resulted in the
formal independence of the Netherlands in 1648. A wealthy nobleman,
William originally served at the court of the Spanish regent. Unhappy
with the lack of political power for the local nobility and the
Spanish persecution of Dutch Protestants, William joined the Dutch
uprising and turned against his former masters. The most influential
and politically capable of the rebels, William led the Dutch to
several military successes in the fight against the Spanish. Declared
an outlaw by the Spanish king in 1580, he was assassinated by
Balthasar Gérard in Delft at a time when his popularity was waning.
In the Netherlands, he is also known as the Vader des vaderlands
("Father of the Fatherland") and the Dutch national anthem, the
Wilhelmus, is named for him and commemorates his life.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
1644 Areopagitica, a speech to Parliament for freedom of
printing, was published by John Milton.
1869 In Dumbarton, Scotland the clipper ship Cutty Sark was
1890 King William III of the Netherlands died without a male
heir and a special law was passed to allow his daughter
Princess Wilhelmina to become Queen.
1971 The People's Republic of China was given China's
permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
2003 Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze resigned following
weeks of mass protests over flawed elections.
Wikiquote of the day:
"I'd rather be a climbing ape than a falling angel." ~ Terry