Today in History - May 13th. 1619 - Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (The Netherlands)

Johan van Oldenbarnevelt was born on September 14th. 1547 in Amersfoort,
a beautiful city in The Netherlands.


Remembrance Plaque - Amersfoort 
 Picture taken by Oscar Meijer 
from the Dutch blog: 'De Staat van Oranje'.


Johan van Oldenbarnevelt learned Latin in Amersfoort. Later he studied law in
Leuven, Bourges, Heidelberg and Padua.

After his studies Johan van Oldenbarnevelt traveled to France and Italy before he was
settled in The Hague.

johan van oldenbarneveld statue the hague the netherlands

Statue in The Hague - taken in 2013


Later Johan van Oldenbarnevelt supported William the Silent in his revolt 
against Spain. He even fought in William's army.

In 1575, he married Maria van Utrecht and obtained the important post 
as pensionary of Rotterdam.

On March 15th. 1586, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt became a 
Land's Advocate of Holland.

What's a Land's Advocate of Holland?
This was the person who acted as chairman of the states of Holland.
The office started in the 14th. century and ended in 1619. 


johan van oldenbarneveld statue the hague the netherlands


Johan van Oldenbarnevelt played an important role in the foreign policy.

In 1598 he took part in special diplomatic missions to King Henry IV of France 
and Queen Elizabeth I of England. 

In 1600, a military expidition in Nieuwpoort (now located in Belgium)
became a disaster. This caused a first conflict with Maurice, Prince of Orange
and Stadtholder of Holland.

In 1606 Johan van Oldenbarnevelt negotiated about peace with
Albert VII of Austria and Isabella of Spain, but Maurice didn't feel much
about that, which caused a dissatisfaction to the stadtholder.

Around 1610, a religious conflict between two professors of Leiden led to
a division of the Reformed Church. 

Due to the religious conflicts, a lot of riots took place in different cities.
Johan van Oldenbarnevelt issued a law that cities could hire their own troups.
This questioned the power of Maurice, Prince of Orange (who was the chief
of the army).

Afterwards Prince Maurice staged a coup. On August 23rd. 1618 he arrested
Johan van Oldenbarnevelt and his chief supporters (Hugo Grotius,
Gilles van Ledenberg, Rombout Hogerbeets and Jacob Dirckz de Graef).

On May 12th. 1619, a 'Special' Court accused Johan van Oldenbarnevelt of
High Treason.

The next day, on May 13th. 1619, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt was beheaded 
at the Binnenhof in The Hague. 

His last words would have been: "Make it short, make it short."


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