The Dutch Revolt
Therefore, despairing of all means of reconciliation and left without any other remedies and help, we have been forced (in conformity with the law of nature and for the protection of our own rights and for those of our fellow-countrymen... so that they should not fall into Spanish slavery) to abandon the king of Spain and to pursue such means as we think likely to secure our rights, privileges and liberties.
Therefore we make it known that for all these reasons, forced by utter necessity, we have declared and declare herewith by a common accord, decision and agreement that the king of Spain has ipso facto forfeited his lordship, jurisdiction and inheritance of these provinces, that we do not intend to recognize him in any matters concerning him personally, his sovereignty, jurisdiction and domains in these countries, nor to use or to permit others to use his name as that of our sovereign. Consequently we declare all officers, judges... and all other inhabitants of these provinces, whatever their conditon or quality, to be henceforward released from all obligations and oaths they may have sworn to the king of Spain.
Quoted in Ernst Kossman and Albert Mellink, editors, Texts Concerning the Revolt of the Netherlands ( Cambridge, 1974), pp. 225-26. The Dutch Declaration of Independence was approved by the States General of the six Dutch provinces in 1581.
A dying Philip II was willing to make peace with Henry IV, his long time foe; but even on his deathbed he was not prepared to treat with a more bitter enemy, the Dutch, whom he regarded not only as heretics but also as traitors. By 1598 the Dutch revolt was already thirty years old, but the fighting would continue for another fifty years, leading the Dutch to refer to their war of independence as the Eighty Years War. Especially in its middle years, it was far more productive of innovation in warfare than were the French Wars of Religion.