Austrian Netherlands


Austrian Netherlands
(1713–95) Provinces located in the southern part of the Low Countries, roughly comprising modern Belgium and Luxembourg.

In 1713, the Peace of Utrecht gave Emperor Charles VI control of what had been called the Spanish Netherlands. Administration of the region continued under the Habsburg rulers Maria Theresa and later Joseph II, until the Austrian Netherlands was annexed to France in 1795.

* * *

▪ historical province, Europe
      (1713–95), provinces located in the southern part of the Low Countries (roughly comprising present Belgium and Luxembourg), which made up what had been the major portion of the Spanish Netherlands.

      Following the death of the Habsburg Charles II of Spain (1700), Spain and the Spanish territories had passed to the Bourbon grandson of Louis XIV, Philippe d'Anjou (Philip V). None of the other major powers in Europe—the Habsburgs, the Dutch Republic, and the English—would accept French succession: the War of the Spanish Succession ensued. When the Spanish possessions were divided in the Treaties of Utrecht (Utrecht, treaties of) in 1713, the Spanish Netherlands fell to the Holy Roman emperor Charles VI. It was known as the Austrian Netherlands until 1795.

      The Treaty of Antwerp (also known as the Treaty of the Barriers, 1715) further provided that the Austrian administration of the southern Low Countries would remain essentially unchanged from the Spanish rule; the official organ of the region was simply transferred from Madrid to Vienna. As the natural prince of the Austrian Netherlands, Charles VI was subject to the same agreements as his predecessors. The autonomy of the cities and states and the ascendancy of the Roman Catholic Church were to remain intact. The one exception to this continuance of conditions was the quartering of Dutch troops against French invasion.

      Charles's initial attempt to improve the economy of the region—the establishment of a trading company—was blocked by the Dutch and the English. He eventually dissolved the company and turned his attentions to the problem of Habsburg succession. Despite his efforts on his daughter's behalf, Maria Theresa was challenged as soon as she took up the sceptre in 1740. During the subsequent War of the Austrian Succession (Austrian Succession, War of the), the French took advantage of the Prussian challenge to Maria Theresa and invaded Flanders in 1744. Soon all the Austrian Netherlands except Limburg and Luxembourg fell to the French. They were restored to Austria in 1748.

      During the rule of Maria Theresa, the Austrian Netherlands again began to prosper as it had during the first half of the Spanish regime. Still, the Austrians were unused to the republican spirit of the southern provinces. When Joseph II succeeded his mother to the throne in 1780, he attempted to force his Enlightenment ideas on the people. In 1783 he abolished contemplative orders, declaring them useless. In 1786 individual religious fraternities were regrouped into a single entity. Seminaries were disbanded and replaced with state schools. In 1787 Joseph negated the centuries-old privileges he had sworn to uphold and eliminated the ruling councils and judiciary bodies on which the people had come to depend. The people were outraged at his interference. Their objection caused some of his edicts to be suspended, but the spirit of the acts remained. When certain rebellious leaders were castigated, a revolution centred in the province of Brabant erupted (1789–90).

      The Brabant Revolution was for a time successful. A republic was proclaimed by the rebels, but it was unable to withstand internal conflicts and external pressures. Regardless of revolutions, the peasants continued to support the emperor. The republic fell within a year. In 1790 Joseph died and the new emperor, Leopold II, offered a restoration of all rights. When for various reasons his offer was refused, the Austrian resorted to military action. Into this confusion rode the French Revolutionaries in 1792, and they were welcomed as liberators. Austrian rule held sway in 1792–93, but the French were determined to stay. On Oct. 1, 1795, after a period of arbitrary rule, the Austrian Netherlands was annexed to France. After the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, it was merged with the Dutch provinces to become the Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815). An independent Belgium was established in 1831.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Austrian Netherlands kronenthaler — The kronenthaler was the currency of the Austrian Netherlands (modern Belgium). It was subdivided into 254 liards. Following the French occupation of the Austrian Netherlands in 1794, the kronenthaler was replaced by the French franc …   Wikipedia

  • List of plenipotentiaries of Austrian Netherlands — This is the list of the plenipotentiaries of Austrian Netherlands: List of plenipotentiaries *1743 1744: Karl Ferdinand von Königsegg Erps *1744 1746: Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz Rietberg *1748 1749: Károly Batthyány *1749 1753: Antoniotto Botta… …   Wikipedia

  • Netherlands, The — officially Kingdom of The Netherlands byname Holland Country, northwestern Europe. Area: 16,033 sq mi (41,526 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 16,142,000. Capital: Amsterdam; Seat of Government: The Hague. Most of the people are Dutch. Languages:… …   Universalium

  • Austrian Regime — (1714 1794)    Brussels became the capital of the Austrian Netherlands following incorporation of the provinces of the former Spanish Netherlands into the Austrian Empire as stipulated by the Treaty of Rastatt (6 March 1714). The new governor,… …   Historical Dictionary of Brussels

  • Netherlands (terminology) — More than one name is used to refer to the Netherlands, both in English and in other languages. Some of these names refer to different, but overlapping geographical, linguistic and political areas of the country. This is a common source of… …   Wikipedia

  • Netherlands — Netherlander /nedh euhr lan deuhr, leuhn /, n. Netherlandian, adj. /nedh euhr leuhndz/, n. the, (used with a sing. or pl. v.) a kingdom in W Europe, bordering on the North Sea, Germany, and Belgium. 15,653,091; 13,433 sq. mi. (34,790 sq. km).… …   Universalium

  • Netherlands (disambiguation) — The Netherlands is a European country with territories in the Caribbean. Netherlands may also mean: Kingdom of the Netherlands, consisting of the countries Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands; The geographical region of the Low… …   Wikipedia

  • Austrian Succession, War of the — (1740–48) Group of related wars that took place after the death (1740) of Emperor Charles VI. At issue was the right of Charles s daughter Maria Theresa to inherit the Habsburg lands. The war began when Frederick II of Prussia invaded Silesia in… …   Universalium

  • Austrian colonial policy — The Austrian Colonial empire= From the 17th century through to the 19th century, the Austrian Empire and Austro Hungarian Empire attempted to profit from colonial trade and to establish their own colonies. Due to pressures by the other colonial… …   Wikipedia

  • Austrian — See Austria. * * * (as used in expressions) Austrian Netherlands Austrian school of economics Austrian Succession War of the * * * …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.