Margaret of Austria
(1480-1530)
   The second child and only daughter of Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian of Austria, Margaret was born in Brussels on 10 January 1480. When her brother Philip I died unexpectedly in Burgos, Spain, on 26 September 1506 she was named regent of the Netherlands (18 March 1507). After her ceremonial entry into Brussels, she chose to establish the court at Mechelen partly to remove herself from the sometimes-turbulent politics of Brussels and partly because of ongoing construction at the Coudenberg Palace. She acted as intermediary between her father and his subjects and as guardian for her nephew Charles V. After his majority (1515), Charles rebelled against her influence. He moved to Brussels and, when he departed for Spain to assume his titles there, he left his aunt as regent. Soon realizing the value of her counsel, he appointed her governor-general on an occasional basis. Margaret advocated strict persecution of Protestant dissenters and fought the craft guilds, which steadfastly refused to approve taxes. Exasperated, she issued an ordinance in 1528 reducing the number of persons allowed to attend deliberations of the nine nations and, in July, forbade the crafts from gathering in a general assembly or keeping the minutes of their meetings. A patron of the arts, she ordered processions through the streets in 1529 in supplication for a release from the plague, which began a tradition that endured for centuries. Margaret died on 1 December 1530 in Mechelen.
   See also Spanish Regime.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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