Willem van Oranje
b.24 Apr 1533 Dillenburg, Lahn-Dill-Kreis, Gießen, Hessen, Germany
d.10 Jul 1584 Delft, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
m. 20 Sep 1531
m. 8 Jul 1551
m. 24 Aug 1561
m. 12 Jul 1575
m. 12 Apr 1583
Facts and Events
William I, Prince of Orange (24 April 1533 – 10 July 1584), also widely known as William the Silent, or simply William of Orange, was the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish that set off the Eighty Years' War and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1648. He was born in the House of Nassau as Count of Nassau-Dillenburg. He became Prince of Orange in 1544 and is thereby the founder of the branch House of Orange-Nassau.
A wealthy nobleman, William originally served the Habsburgs as a member of the court of Margaret of Parma, governor of the Spanish Netherlands. Unhappy with the centralisation of political power away from the local estates and with the Spanish persecution of Dutch Protestants, William joined the Dutch uprising and turned against his former masters. The most influential and politically capable of the rebels, he led the Dutch to several successes in the fight against the Spanish. Declared an outlaw by the Spanish king in 1580, he was assassinated by Balthasar Gérard (also written as "Gerardts") in Delft four years later.