About Albrecht VII von Habsburg, Erzherzog von Österreich
Archduke Albert of Austria (1559–1621)
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Archduke Albert by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz
Archduke of Austria, Duke of Lothier, Brabant, Limburg, Luxemburg and Guelders; Count of Flanders, Artois, Count Palatine of Burgundy; Hainaut, Holland (titular), Zeeland (titular), Namur, and Zutphen (titular)
Reign 6 May 1598–13 July 1621
Predecessor Philip II of Spain
Successor Philip IV of Spain
Spouse Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain
House House of Habsburg
Father Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria of Spain
Born 13 November 1559
Died 13 July 1621 (aged 61)
Archduke Albert of Austria (sometimes called Albrecht of Austria or Albert VII) (13 November 1559 – 13 July 1621) was, together with his wife Infanta Isabella of Spain, the daughter of Philip II of Spain, co-sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands between 1598 and 1621, ruling the Habsburg territories in the southern Low Countries and the north of modern France. Prior to this, he had been Governor of these territories since 1596.
* 1 Early life
* 2 Governor General of the Habsburg Netherlands
* 3 The years of war
* 4 The years of peace
* 5 Death and succession
* 6 Artistic patronage
* 7 Titles
* 8 Ancestors
* 9 References
* 10 See also
 Early life
Albert VII was the fifth son of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor, and the Infanta Maria of Spain, daughter of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Isabella of Portugal. He was sent to the Spanish Court at the age of eleven, where his uncle Philip II looked after his education. Initially he was meant to pursue an ecclesiastical career. In 1577 he was appointed cardinal at the age of eighteen and was given the Santa Croce in Gerusalemme as his titular church. Philip II planned to make him archbishop of Toledo as soon as possible, but the current incumbent, Gaspar de Quiroga y Sandoval, lived much longer than expected. In the mean time Albert only took lower orders. He would never be ordained priest, nor bishop. His clerical upbringing did however have a lasting influence on his lifestyle.
After the dynastic union with Portugal, Albert became the first viceroy of the kingdom and its overseas empire in 1583. He was likewise appointed Papal Legate and Grand Inquisitor for Portugal. As viceroy of Portugal, he took part in the organization of the Great Armada of 1588 and beat off an English counter-attack on Lisbon in 1589. In 1593 Philip II recalled him to Madrid, where he would take a leading role in the government of the Spanish Monarchy.
 Governor General of the Habsburg Netherlands
After the death of Archduke Ernst in 1595, Albert was sent to Brussels to succeed his elder brother as Governor General of the Habsburg Netherlands. He made his entry in Brussels on 11 February 1596. His first priority was restoring Spain's military position in the Low Countries. She was facing the combined forces of the Dutch Republic, England and France and had known nothing but defeats since 1590. During his first campaign season, Albert surprised his enemies by capturing Calais and nearby Ardres from the French and Hulst from the Dutch. These successes were however offset by the third bankruptcy of the Spanish crown later that year. As a consequence, 1597 was marked by a series of military disasters. Stadholder Maurice of Orange captured the last Spanish strongholds that remained north of the great rivers, as well as the strategic town of Rheinberg in the Electorate of Cologne. Still, the Spanish Army of Flanders managed to surprise Amiens, thereby stalling the counter offensive that Henry IV was about to launch. With no more money to pay the troops, Albert was also facing a series of mutinies.
While pursuing the war as well as he could, Albert made overtures for peace with Spain's enemies, but only the French King was disposed to enter official negotiations. Under the mediation of the papal legate Cardinal Alessandro de'Medici — the future Pope Leo XI — Spain and France concluded the Peace of Vervins on 2 May 1598. Spain gave up its conquests, thereby restoring the situation of Cateau Cambrésis. France tacitly accepted the Spanish occupation of the prince-archbishopric of Cambray. It pulled out of the war, but maintained its financial support for the Dutch Republic. Only a few days after the treaty, on 6 May 1598, Philip II announced his decision to marry his eldest daughter, the Infanta Isabella to Albert and to cede them the sovereignty over the Habsburg Netherlands. The Act of Cession did however stipulate that if the couple would not have children, the Netherlands would return to Spain. It also contained a number of secret clauses that assured a permanent presence of the Spanish Army of Flanders. After obtaining the pope's permission, Albert formally resigned from the College of Cardinals on 13 July 1598 and left for Spain on 14 September, unaware that Philip II had died the night before. Pope Clement VIII celebrated the union by procuration in Ferrara on 15 November, while the actual marriage took place in Valencia on 18 April 1599.
 The years of war
Arms of Albert VII and Isabella Clara Eugenia as Sovereigns of the Habsburg Netherlands.
The first half of the reign of Albert and Isabella was dominated by war. After overtures to the United Provinces and to Queen Elizabeth I proved unsuccessful, the Habsburg policy in the Low Countries aimed at regaining the military initiative and isolating the Dutch Republic. The strategy was to force its opponents to the conference table and negotiate from a position of strength. Even if Madrid and Brussels tended to agree on these options, Albert took a far more flexible stance than his brother in law, the new Spanish king Philip III. Albert had first hand knowledge of the devastation wrought by the Dutch Revolt and had come to the conclusion that it would be impossible to reconquer the northern provinces. Quite logically, Philip III and his councillors felt more concern for Spain's reputation and for the impact that a compromise with the Dutch Republic might have on Habsburg positions as a whole. Spain provided the means to continue the war. Albert took the decisions on the ground and tended to ignore Madrid's instructions. Under the circumstances, the division of responsibilities repeatedly led to tensions.
Albert's reputation as a military commander suffered badly when he was defeated by the Dutch stadtholder Maurice of Orange in the battle of Nieuwpoort on 2 July 1600. His inability to conclude the lengthy siege of Ostend (1601-1604), resulted in his withdrawal from the tactical command of the Spanish Army of Flanders. From then on military operations were led by the Genuese Ambrogio Spínola. Even though he could not prevent the almost simultaneous capture of Sluys, Spínola forced Ostend to surrender in September 1604. He seized the initiative during the next campaigns, bringing the war north of the great rivers for the first time since 1594.
Meanwhile the accession of James VI of Scotland as James I in England had paved the way for a separate peace with England. On 24 July 1604 England, Spain and the Archducal Netherlands signed the Treaty of London. The return to peace was severely hampered by differences over religion. Events such as the Gunpowder Plot caused a lot of diplomatic tension between London and Brussels. Yet on the whole relations between the two courts tended to be cordial.
Spínola's campaigns and the threat of diplomatic isolation induced the Dutch Republic to accept a ceasefire in April 1607. The subsequent negotiations between the warring parties failed to produce a peace treaty. They did lead however to conclusion of the Twelve Years' Truce in Antwerp on 9 April 1609. Under the terms of the Truce, the United Provinces were to be regarded as a sovereign power for the duration of the truce. Albert had conceded this point against the will of Madrid and it took him a lot of effort to persuade Philip III to ratify the agreement. When Philip's ratification finally arrived, Albert's quest for the restoration of peace in the Low Countries had finally paid off.
 The years of peace
Portrait of Albert VII (c. 1615), by Peter Paul Rubens. São Paulo Museum of Art collection
Archduke Albert and his wife, Infanta Isabella
The years of the Truce gave the Habsburg Netherlands a much needed breathing-space. The fields could again be worked in safety. The archducal regime encouraged the reclaiming of land that had been inundated in the course of the hostilities and sponsored the impoldering of the Moeren, a marshy area that is presently astride the Belgian–French border. The recovery of agriculture led in turn to a modest increase of the population after decades of demographic losses. Industry and in particular the luxury trades likewise underwent a recovery. International trade was however hampered by the closure of the river Scheldt. The archducal regime had plans to bypass the blockade with a system of canals linking Ostend via Bruges to the Scheldt in Ghent and joining the Meuse to the Rhine between Venlo and Rheinberg. In order to combat urban poverty, the government supported the creation of a network of Monti di Pietà based on the Italian model.
Meanwhile the archducal regime ensured the triumph of the Catholic Reformation in the Habsburg Netherlands. Most Protestants had by that stage left the Southern Netherlands. After one last execution in 1597, those that remained were no longer actively persecuted. Under the terms of legislation passed in 1609, their presence was tolerated, provided they did not worship in public. Engaging in religious debates was also forbidden by law. The resolutions of the Third Provincial Council of Mechlin of 1607 were likewise given official sanction. Through such measures and by the appointment of a generation of able and committed bishops, Albert and Isabella laid the foundation of the catholic confessionalisation of the population. It should be noted however, that the same period saw important waves of witch-hunts.
In the process of recatholisation, new and reformed religious orders enjoyed the particular support of the Archdukes. Even though Albert had certain reservations about the order, the Jesuits received the largest cash grants, allowing them to complete their ambitious building programmes in Brussels and Antwerp. Other champions of the Catholic Reformation, such as the Capuchins, were also given considerable sums. The foundation of the first convents of Discalced Carmelites in the Southern Netherlands depended wholly on the personal initiative of the Archdukes and bore witness to the Spanish orientation of their spirituality.
Albert's reign saw a strengthening of princely power in the Habsburg Netherlands. The States-General of the loyal provinces were only summoned once in 1600. Thereafter the government preferred to deal directly with the provinces. The years of the Truce allowed the archducal regime to promulgate legislation on a whole range of matters. The so called Eternal Edict of 1611, for instance, reformed the judicial system and ushered in the transition from customary to written law. Other measures dealt with monetary matters, the nobility, duels, gambling, etc.
Driven by strategic as well as religious motives, Albert intervened in 1614 in the squabbles over the inheritance of the United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg. The subsequent confrontation with the armies of the Dutch Republic led to the Treaty of Xanten. The episode was in many ways a rehearsal of what was to come in the Thirty Years' War. After the defenestration of Prague, Albert responded by sending troops to his cousin Ferdinand II and by pressing Philip III for financial support to the cause of the Austrian Habsburgs. As such he contributed considerably to the victory of the Habsburg and Bavarian forces in the Battle of the White Mountain on 8 November 1620.
 Death and succession
As the years passed, it became clear that Albert and Isabella would never have children. When Albert's health suffered a serious breakdown in the winter of 1613-1614, steps were taken to ensure the succession of Philip III in accordance to the Act of Cession. As a result, the States of the loyal provinces swore to accept the Spanish King as heir of the Archdukes in a number of ceremonies between May 1616 and January 1617. Philip III however predeceased his uncle on 31 March 1621. The right to succeed the Archdukes thereupon passed to his eldest son Philip IV.
Albert had a precarious health and it deteriorated markedly in the closing months of 1620. As the Twelve Years' Truce would expire the next April, he devoted his last energies to securing its renewal. In order to reach this goal he was prepared to make far reaching concessions. Much to his frustration neither the Spanish Monarchy, nor the Dutch Republic took his pleas for peace seriously. His death on 13 July 1621 therefore more or less coincided with the resumption of hostilities between the two.
 Artistic patronage
Virtually nothing remains of the Archdukes' palace on the Koudenberg in Brussels, their summer retreat in Mariemont or their hunting lodge in Tervuren. Their once magnificent collections were scattered after 1633 and considerable parts of them have been lost. Still, the Archdukes Albert and Isabella enjoy a well merited reputation as patrons of the arts. They are probably best remembered for the appointment of Peter Paul Rubens as their court painter in 1609. They likewise gave commissions to outstanding painters such as Frans Pourbus the Younger, Otto van Veen and Jan Brueghel the Elder. Less well known painters such as Hendrik de Clerck, Theodoor van Loon and Denis van Alsloot were also called upon. Mention should furthermore be made of architects such as Wenzel Cobergher and Jacob Franquart, as well as of the sculptors de Nole. By far the best preserved ensemble of art from the archducal period is to be found at Scherpenheuvel where Albert and Isabella directed Cobergher, the painter Theodoor van Loon and the de Noles to create a pilgrimage church in a planned city.
As co-sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands: Albert and Isabella Clara Eugenia, Infanta of Spain, by the grace of God Archdukes of Austria, Dukes of Burgundy, Lothier, Brabant, Limburg, Luxembourg and Guelders, Counts of Habsburg, Flanders, Artois, Burgundy, Tyrol, Palatines in Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland, Namur and Zutphen, Markgraves of the Holy Roman Empire, Lord and Lady of Frisia, Salins, Mechlin, the City, Towns and Lands of Utrecht, Overijssel and Groningen.
For use in correspondence with German princes: The Most Serene, Highborn Prince and Lord, Lord Albert, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Lothier, Brabant, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Limburg, Luxembourg, Guelders and Württemberg, Count of Habsburg, Flanders, Tyrol, Artois, Burgundy, Palatine in Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland, Namur and Zutphen, Markgrave of the Holy Roman Empire, Lord of Frisia, Salins, Mechlin, the City, Towns and Lands of Utrecht, Overijssel and Groningen.
Ancestors of Albert VII, Archduke of Austria[show]
16. Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (=24)
8. Philip the Handsome (=12)
17. Mary of Burgundy (=25)
4. Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
18. Ferdinand II of Aragon (=26 & 30)
9. Joanna of Castile (=13)
19. Isabella I of Castile (=27 & 31)
2. Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
20. Casimir IV of Poland
10. Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary
21. Elisabeth of Bohemia and Austria
5. Anna of Bohemia and Hungary
22. Gaston de Foix, Count of Candale
11. Anna of Foix-Candale
23. Catherine (de Foix) of Navarre
1. Albert VII, Archduke of Austria
24. Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (=16)
12. Philip the Handsome (=8)
25. Mary of Burgundy (=17)
6. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
26. Ferdinand II of Aragon (=18 & 30)
13. Joanna of Castile (=9)
27. Isabella I of Castile (=19 & 31)
3. Maria of Spain
28. Infante Fernando, Duke of Viseu
14. Manuel I of Portugal
29. Beatriz of Portugal
7. Isabella of Portugal
30. Ferdinand II of Aragon (=18 & 26)
15. Maria of Aragon
31. Isabella I of Castile (=19 & 29)
* Luc Duerloo; Werner Thomas; eds Albrecht & Isabella, 1598–1621: Catalogus. Turnhout, Berpols, 1998.
* Werner Thomas; Luc Duerloo; eds Albert & Isabella, 1598–1621: Essays. Turnhout, Brepols, 1998.
* Paul C. Allen; Philip III and the Pax Hispanica, 1598-1621: The Failure of Grand Strategy. New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2000.^
* Luc Duerloo; Marc Wingens; Scherpenheuvel: Het Jeruzalem van de Lage Landen. Leuven, Davidsfonds, 2002.
Archduke Albert of Austria
House of Habsburg, Austrian Branch
Born: 13 November 1559 Died: 13 July 1621
Pedro Henriquez de Acevedo, Count of Fuentes Governor of the Spanish Netherlands
Title next held by
Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain
Philip II of Spain Archduke of Austria, Duke of Lothier, Duke of Brabant, Limburg, Luxemburg and Guelders; Count of Flanders, Artois, Count Palatine of Burgundy; Hainaut, Holland (titular), Zeeland (titular), Namur and Zutphen (titular)
6 May 1598 – 13 July 1621
with Isabella Clara Eugenia (6 May 1598 – 13 July 1621) Succeeded by
Philip IV of Spain
v • d • e
Frederick V · Albert VI · Sigismund
Archduke Cristopher · Maximilian I · Archduke John · Archduke Wolfgang
Philip I of Castile · Archduke Francis
Charles I · Ferdinand I
Philip II of Spain* · Maximilian II · Ferdinand II · Archduke Ferdinand* · Archduke John* · Archduke John · Archduke Ferdinand* · Charles II
Charles, Prince of Asturias* · Archduke Ferdinand · Rudolf V · Archduke Ernest · Matthias · Maximilian III · Albert VII · Archduke Wenzel · Archduke Frederick · Archduke Charles · Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias* · Archduke Ferdinand · Archduke Carlos Lorenzo* · Diego, Prince of Asturias* · Philip III of Spain* · Ferdinand III · Archduke Charles · Archduke Maximilian Ernest · Leopold V · Archduke Charles
Archduke Charles · Philip IV of Spain* · Archduke Philipp · Archduke John-Charles · Archduke Albert · Archduke Charles* · Ferdinand IV · Archduke Ferdinand* · Archduke Alfonso Mauricio · Leopold Wilhelm · Ferdinand Charles · Sigismund Francis
Balthasar Charles, Prince of Asturias* · Ferdinand IV of Hungary · Archduke Francisco Fernando* · Archduke Philip August · Archduke Maximilian Thomas · Leopold VI · Archduke Charles Joseph · Archduke Ferdinand Joseph Alois · Philip Prospero, Prince of Asturias* · Archduke Ferdinand Thomas* · Charles II of Spain*
Archduke Ferdinand Wenzel · Archduke John Leopold · Joseph I · Archduke Leopold Joseph · Charles III
Archduke Leopold Joseph · Archduke Leopold John
Joseph II** · Archduke Charles Louis** · Leopold VII** · Archduke Ferdinand** · Maximilian Franz, Archbishop-Elector of Cologne**
Emperor Francis I** · Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany** · Charles, Duke of Teschen** · Alexander Leopold, Palatine of Hungary** · Joseph, Palatine of Hungary** · Archduke Anton Victor** · Archduke John** · Archduke Rainier Joseph** · Archduke Louis** · Cardinal-Archduke Rudolf** · Archduke Josef Franz*** · Francis IV, Duke of Modena*** · Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph*** · Archduke Maximilian*** · Karl, Primate of Hungary***
Emperor Ferdinand I · Francis Leopold, Grand Prince of Tuscany** · Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany** · Archduke Joseph Franz · Archduke Franz Karl · Archduke Johann Nepomuk · Albert, Duke of Teschen · Stephen, Palatine of Hungary · Archduke Karl Ferdinand · Francis V, Duke of Modena*** · Archduke Frederick Ferdinand · Archduke Ferdinand Karl Viktor*** · Archduke Rudolf · Archduke Leopold Ludwig · Archduke Ernest Karl · Archduke Alexander · Archduke Sigismund Leopold · Archduke Rainer Ferdinand · Archduke Wilhelm Franz · Archduke Heinrich Anton · Archduke Maximilian Karl · Archduke Joseph Karl
Emperor Franz Joseph I · Maximilian I of Mexico · Archduke Charles Louis · Archduke Ludwig Viktor · Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany** · Archduke Karl Salvator** · Archduke Rainier** · Archduke Ludwig Salvator** · Archduke John Salvator** · Archduke Karl · Archduke Franz Joseph · Friedrich, Duke of Teschen · Archduke Charles Stephen · Archduke Eugen · Archduke Joseph August · Archduke Ladislaus
Crown Prince Rudolf · Archduke Franz Ferdinand*** · Archduke Otto Francis · Archduke Ferdinand Karl · Archduke Leopold Ferdinand** · Archduke Joseph Ferdinand** · Archduke Peter Ferdinand** · Archduke Heinrich Ferdinand** · Archduke Robert Ferdinand** · Archduke Leopold Salvator** · Archduke Franz Salvator** · Archduke Albrecht Salvator** · Archduke Rainier Salvator** · Archduke Ferdinand Salvator** · Albrecht Franz, Duke of Teschen · Archduke Karl Albrecht · Archduke Leo Karl · Archduke Wilhelm · Archduke Joseph Francis · Archduke Ladislaus Joseph · Archduke Matthias
Emperor Charles I · Archduke Maximilian Eugen · Archduke Gottfried** · Archduke Georg** · Archduke Rainier** · Archduke Leopold Maria** · Archduke Anton** · Archduke Franz Joseph** · Archduke Karl Pius** · Archduke Franz Karl** · Archduke Hubert Salvator** · Archduke Theodor Salvator** · Archduke Clemens Salvator** · Archduke Joseph Arpád · Archduke Itsván · Archduke Géza · Archduke Michael Koloman
Crown Prince Otto · Archduke Robert*** · Archduke Felix · Archduke Carl Ludwig · Archduke Rudolf · Archduke Ferdinand Karl · Archduke Heinrich Maria · Archduke Leopold Franz** · Archduke Guntram** · Archduke Radbot** · Archduke Johann** · Archduke Georg** · Archduke Stephan** · Archduke Dominic** · Archduke Friederich Salvator** · Archduke Andreas Salvator** · Archduke Markus** · Archduke Johann** · Archduke Michael** · Archduke Franz Salvator** · Archduke Karl Salvator** · Archduke Joseph Karl · Archduke Andreas Agustinus · Archduke Nicholas Franz · Archduke Johann Jacob · Archduke Edward Karl · Archduke Paul Rudolf
Archduke Karl · Archduke Georg · Archduke Lorenz*** · Archduke Gerhard*** · Archduke Martin*** · Archduke Karl Philipp · Archduke Raimund Joseph · Archduke Itsván · Archduke Rudolf · Archduke Carl Christian · Archduke Karl Peter · Archduke Simeon · Archduke Johannes · Archduke Maximilian Heinrich · Archduke Philipp Joachim · Archduke Ferdinand Karl · Archduke Konrad · Archduke Sigismund** · Archduke Georg** · Archduke Guntram** · Archduke Leopold** · Archduke Alexander Salvator** · Archduke Thaddäus Salvator** · Archduke Casimir Salvator** · Archduke Matthias** · Archduke Johannes** · Archduke Bernhard** · Archduke Benedikt · Archduke Joseph Albrecht · Archduke Paul Leo · Archduke Friedrich Cyprian · Archduke Benedikt Alexander · Archduke Nicolás · Archduke Santiago · Archduke Paul Benedikt
Archduke Ferdinand Zvonimir · Archduke Karl Konstantin · Archduke Amedeo*** · Archduke Joachim*** · Archduke Bartholomaeus*** · Archduke Emmanuel*** · Archduke Felix Carl · Archduke Andreas Franz · Archduke Paul Johannes · Archduke Carl Christian · Archduke Johannes · Archduke Thomas · Archduke Franz Ludwig · Archduke Michael · Archduke Joseph · Archduke Imre · Archduke Imre · Archduke Christoph · Archduke Alexander · Archduke Lorenz Carl · Archduke Wilhelm · Archduke Johannes · Archduke Ludwig · Archduke Philipp · Archduke Nicholas · Archduke Constantin · Archduke Jacob Maximilian · Archduke Leopold Amedeo** · Archduke Maximilian** · Archduke Leopold** · Archduke Constantin Salvator** · Archduke Paul Salvator**
- also an infante of Spain
- also a prince of Tuscany
- also a prince of Modena
- also a prince of Tuscany
 See also
* History of Luxembourg
This page was last modified on 5 May 2010 at 20:21