Maurice of Nassau

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Maurice of Nassau

Maurice of Nassau (môr´Ĭs, năs´ô), 1567–1625, prince of Orange (1618–25); son of William the Silent by Anne of Saxony. He became stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland after the assassination (1584) of his father. He was later appointed (1588) captain general and admiral of the United Netherlands and became (1589) stadtholder of Utrecht, Gelderland, and Overijssel. In 1618 he succeeded his elder brother, Philip William, as prince of Orange. Throughout his career the Netherlands continued to struggle for independence from Spain. In 1590 he took the offensive against the Spanish under Alessandro Farnese. His campaigns were primarily distinguished by his skill in siegecraft. His successes on land and on sea enabled the Netherlands to conclude (1609) a 12-year truce with the Spanish (then commanded by Spinola). The truce virtually established the independence of the seven United Provinces. During the first part of Maurice's career his principal adviser was Oldenbarneveldt, chief author of the truce of 1609. Relations between the two men were, however, strained after 1600 and flared into open conflict when the struggle between Remonstrants and strict Calvinists broke out. Maurice took the part of the Calvinists and in 1618 compelled the summoning of the Synod of Dort, which suppressed the Remonstrants. Oldenbarneveldt, as a leader of the Remonstrants, was arrested, tried, and executed. Thus the house of Orange became dominant in the Netherlands. Maurice's campaigns after the resumption (1621) of hostilities with Spain met with little success. He was succeeded by his brother Frederick Henry.

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