Farnese, Alessandro
(1545-1592)
   Born in Rome on 27 August 1545, Alessandro Farnese, duke of Parma and Piacenza (1586-92), was the son of Duke Ottavio Farnese and Margaret of Parma and thus a nephew of King Philip II and Don John of Austria, under whom he distinguished himself at the battle of Lepanto (7 October 1571). He was brought up in Spain and married Princess Marie of Portugal in the Chapel of the Coudenberg Palace on 18 November 1565. In 1577, Farnese joined Don John in the Netherlands to fight the rebels in the wars of religion. Appointed governor of the Netherlands (1578), he led the armies that restored Tournai, Maastricht, Breda, Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp to Spanish rule, laid siege to Brussels in 1584, and took the surrender of the city on 10 March 1585. Farnese's military exploits secured possession of the southern provinces of the Netherlands for Spain and the ending battle lines that marked the struggle broadly follow the modern boundary between Belgium and the Netherlands. In 1590, he was sent to France to lead a Spanish army in assisting the Catholic League against Henry IVof France. Wounded in the fighting, he retired to Arras, where he died on 3 December 1592. He was buried in Parma.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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  • Farnese family — Italian family that ruled the duchy of Parma and Piacenza from 1545 to 1731. The family became noted for its statesmen and soldiers, especially in the 14th–15th century, as well as by contracting politically useful marriages. In 1545 Pope Paul… …   Universalium

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