Acting chief of state ("raadspensionaris") of the revolting Dutch republic, Van Oldenbarneveldt rose to prominence when the Dutch, revolting against the Spanish throne, had failed to find a capable monarch, and declined to see their military commander, Maurits, promoted to that role. Van Oldenbarneveldt more or less represented the civilian interests. During the Twaalfjarig Bestand (12-year cease-fire) with Spain, 1609-1621, tensions between military Maurits and civilian Van Oldenbarneveldt rose, and eventually, the latter was beheaded on an accusation of treason.

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