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Internal structure and hierarchy in the early army of Flanders

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Chapter Summary

Right from the start of his administration the Duke of Alba focused his efforts on the establishment of a clear and fi rm hierarchy in the Army of Flanders. In the fi rst place, Alba believed in the primacy of infantry and that the high command should operate in strict hierarchical fashion. During the first two decades of the war infantry was the standard-bearer branch of the Army of Flanders which was often metonymically called &t;the tercios.&t; Originally composed of five so-called nations: Spanish, Walloon- Flemish, German and Burgundian, to which the Italian, Scottish, Irish and English were later added, the Army of Flanders reflected the composite nature of the Spanish monarchy, headquartered in Castile but with dependencies and recruiting grounds across northern and southern Europe. In the 1580s and 90s three major national groups emerged within the army leadership: the Spaniards, the Italians and the Walloon-Flemish.

Keywords: Army of Flanders; Duke of Alba; Spanish monarchy; the Italians; the Spaniards; Walloon-Flemish



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