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Frisia, Lordship of (1524 - 1581)

The Lordship of Frisia or Lordship of Friesland (West Frisian: Hearlikheid Fryslân, Dutch: Heerlijkheid Friesland) was a feudal dominion in the Netherlands. It was formed in 1524 when Emperor Charles V finally conquered Frisia.

Frisia was a possession of Albert's son Duke George of Saxony, but he also failed to subdue Frisia during the Guelders Wars. Frisia was largely controlled by local rebels, supported by troops of Duke Charles II of Guelders, who had been at war with Burgundy and Saxony for several years. In 1515, George sold his title to Frisia to Charles (then Duke of Burgundy), and heir of the House of Habsburg). However, by the purchase Charles gained control of only a few cities: Leeuwarden, Harlingen, and Franeker. In 1519, Charles succeeded to his full inheritance. In 1522, he sent a Habsburg army under Georg Schenck van Toutenburg to subdue the rebellious parts of the Netherlands. In 1523, Van Toutenburg drove the Guelders forces out of Frisia. Van Toutenburg also defeated the Frisians rebels under Wijerd Jelckama, who was publicly beheaded in Leeuwarden. Frisia was now firmly in the hands of Charles and incorporated into the Seventeen Provinces of the Habsburg Netherlands. Van Toutenburg became Stadtholder and ruled the province for him.

When Charles abdicated in 1556, Frisia was inherited by Philip II of Spain with the rest of the Netherlands. In 1566, Frisia joined the rebellion against Spanish rule.

In 1577, George van Lalaing (Count Rennenburg) was appointed Stadtholder of Frisia and other provinces. A moderate, trusted by both sides, he tried to reconcile the rebels with the Crown. But in 1580, Rennenburg declared for Spain. The States (parliament) of Frisia raised troops and took his strongholds of Leeuwarden, Harlingen and Stavoren.

Rennenburg was deposed and Frisia became the fifth Lordship to join the rebels' Union of Utrecht. From 1580 onwards, all stadtholders were members of the House of Orange-Nassau. With the Peace of Münster in 1648, Frisia became a full member of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.

When the Batavian Republic was created in 1795, the Lordship of Frisia was abolished as a relic of the Ancien Régime.

Frisia, Lordship of: Details
Official NameLordship of Frisia
From1524
To1581
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