The Treaty of Nonsuch was signed on 20th August 1585 and it was a key turning point in the Dutch Revolt. Elizabeth I of England became involved in the revolt directly for the first time and her support of the rebels was key not only in rebel defence but more importantly in distracting Philip's attention away from the Netherlands.

The treaty agreed the following:

The Treaty was a success at first but Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who had been chosen as Governor General, quickly proved to be incompetent and incapable of working with the rebels. He possessed little military skill and failed to have a significant effect on events. He had also been given the job of overseeing the implementation of a new government and command structure in the United Provinces but there was disagreement over what this new structure should be. Holland did not want a new central authority as they feared it would threaten their autonomy and as the richest and most powerful state their opinion mattered a great deal. In 1586 Leicester attempted to rally the other states against Holland but Elizabeth I recalled him to England before he could alienate the powerful state of Holland.

During Leicester's absence the English army drifted into mutiny and two officers even betrayed Deventer to Parma and the Spanish in February 1587. However Leicester returned to the Netherlands again in March 1587 only to be withdrawn in May to defend against England against the imminent Spanish invasion.

Leicester's successor, Sir Francis Vere, was a marked improvement on the Earl and he is regarded as a big success. He assisted Maurice of Nassau in many of his campaigns in conjunction with his three subordinate commanders, Williams, Morgan and Norris. It has been remarked that, "Had Elizabeth I chosen to support the rebels earlier on, the North might not just have been preserved but the rebels might have conquered all the Southern provinces".

The Treaty was very useful as aid to the rebels but it was far more important to them as a distraction to Philip II. He saw the Treaty as necessitating an invasion of England and so much money and resources were diverted to this and away from the Netherlands. The fact that Parma was unable to continue his previously successful campaign against the rebels past 1588, when he had to prefer to rendezvous with the Armada, was vital in their survival and following reconquest of large parts of the Netherlands.


My own notes made in class
"The Netherlands: Revolt and Independence, 1550-1650" - Martyn Rady, Arnold 1987
"Years of Renewal: European History 1470-1600" - Edited by John Lotherington, Hodder and Stoughton, 1991
"The Dutch Revolt, 1559-1648" - Peter Limm, Longman 1989
Albert Herring - corrections, thnx

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