Duke of Alba, Fernando Alvarez de Toledo


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(c. 1507–82)

Spanish statesman and general. He rose to prominence in the armies of Emperor Charles V. A stickler for discipline and a master of logistics, he contributed significantly to the defeat of the German Protestants at the battle of Mühlberg (1547). Philip II sent him as governor‐general to deal with unrest in the Netherlands in 1567, but his notorious ‘Council of Blood’ executed or banished over a thousand men, and was responsible for sparking off the Dutch Revolts against Spanish rule. He was recalled to Spain at his own request in 1573, and in 1580 Philip gave him command of the forces which conquered Portugal.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700).

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