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Francisco Verdugo

Francisco Verdugo, Spanish military commander in the Dutch Revolt, born in 1537 in (Talavera de la Reina, province of Toledo, died in Luxembourg, 1595), became Maestre de Campo General, in the Spanish Netherlands. He was also the last Spanish Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe and Overijssel between 1581 and 1594.

He has been described as a brave, courteous and very experienced soldier, who rose from the rank of musketter, which he held at the siege of Haarlem, to the governor of Frisia.[1]

When he was 20 he participated in the Battle of Saint-Quentin in August 1557.

Nominated Governor of Haarlem in 1573, as an Admiral of the Spanish Fleet he helped to conquer Flanders. In 1576, he became Councilor of State for several of the Flemish territories.

After the arrival in Brussels in 1577 of Juan of Austria, (1547–1578, aged 31), the half brother of King Philip II of Spain, religious Catholic zealots were kept at bay and Verdugo was promoted to Governor of Breda, and later of Thionville and Namur. He married in 1578, aged 41, Dorothea von Mansfeld, one of the daughters of Graf, or Count, Peter Ernst I von Mansfeld-Vorderort, (1517–1604) being thus the brother in law of his famous bastard son Ernst von Mansfeld, (1580 - Rakovica, near Sarajevo, present day Bosnia, November 29, 1626).

In 1581 he was a Governor and Captain General of the Dutch provinces of Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe and Overijssel. This year he won the Battle of Noordhorn over a Dutch States' army led by the English general John Norreys. In 1586 he successfully commanded Spanish forces at the Battle of Zutphen. But from then on, he lost more and more terrain to Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange and William Louis, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg until by 1595, he had only the city of Groningen and Twente left. He couldn't prevent the Capture of Groningen on July 22, 1594, and left the Low Countries to participate in the War against France.

Francisco Verdugo died on 22 September 1595, and is buried in the Convent of Sancti Spiritus, (Orden de Santa Clara), in Luxembourg.


  1. Duffy p.76


  • Duffy, Cristopher. Siege Warfare: The fortress in the early modern world, 1494-1660 Routledge Publishing (1997) ISBN 0-415-14649-6

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