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The Pelican and its Ungrateful Children: The Construction and Evolution of the Image of Dutch Rebelliousness in Golden Age Spain

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image of Journal of Early Modern History

The Dutch Revolt fundamentally changed the Spanish image of the Dutch. From ideal subjects, they became a pack of rebels and heretics who wished to liberate themselves from the so-called Spanish yoke. Of course, the Dutch and the Spanish viewed the Dutch Revolt very differently. What for the Dutch was a matter of resistance against an oppressive prince was in Spanish eyes an "extraordinary rebellion" against a merciful king, who like a protective pelican, treated his subjects as his own children. This essay studies the origins of and changes in the Spanish image of rebelliousness and heresy during the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century, but also Dutch perspectives. Spaniards were well aware of the arguments put forth by the Netherlanders to defend their revolt, as we will see by analyzing Pedro Cornejo's Antiapología, written in response to Orange's Apology (1581).

Affiliations: 1: Utrecht University


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