The Low Countries consist of a number of duchies, counties, and Prince-bishoprics, almost all of which are under the supremacy of the Holy Roman Empire, with the exception of the county of Flanders, which was under the Kingdom of France. Most of the Low Countries had come under the rule of the House of Burgundy. Charles was succeeded by his son, King Philip II of Spain. The Netherlands, led by William I of Orange, revolted against Philip II because of high taxes, religious persecution by the government, and Philip’s efforts to modernize and centralize the devolved-medieval government structures of the provinces. This was the start of the Eighty Years’ War. A number of the northern provinces of the Low Countries signed the Union of Utrecht, in which they promised to support each other in their defense against the Spanish army. This was followed by the Act of Abjuration, the declaration of independence of the provinces from Philip II. The United Provinces invited Francis, Duke of Anjou to lead them; but after a failed attempt to take Antwerp, the duke left the Netherlands again. After the assassination of William of Orange, both Henry III of France and Elizabeth I of England declined the offer of sovereignty. However, the latter agreed to turn the United Provinces into a protectorate of England, and sent the Earl of Leicester as governor-general. This was unsuccessful and the provinces became a confederacy.
Burgundian Netherlands (Personal union of Imperial and French fiefs)
The Seventeen Provinces
The County of Artois, The Duchy of Brabant, The County of Drenthe, the County of Flanders. The Lordship of Frisia, The Lordship of Groningen, The Duchy of Guelders,The County of Hainaut. The County of Holland,
The Duchy of Limburg, The Duchy of Luxemburg. The Lordship of Mechelen, The County of Namur. The Lordship of Overijssel, The Prince-Bishopric of Utrecht The County of Zeeland The County of Zutphen,
The County of Burgundy