The state treasury chest > The war against Spain the Republic (1579-1795)

Tiranny of Alva
In 1579, Holland, Zeeland and a couple of other provinces and cities formed an alliance: the Union of Utrecht. Henceforth they would join forces to fight the war against their lord, King Philip II of Spain, and his governor the Duke of Alva.

The members of the Union agreed to levy the same taxes everywhere. The proceeds would serve to finance the war. In practice, however, hardly anything came of the plan for a uniform tax system. Still there was one exception: the convoy and trade licence taxes (a kind of customs duties), because these clearly served the general interest by paying for the safeguarding of sea transports, not only of the united provinces, but also of merchantmen and fishing boats.

In 1588, the provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Groningen, Gelderland Overijssel decided to cooperate even more closely in the Republic of the United Netherlands. The new Republic was resolved to defend its independence from Spain at all costs.

According to its means, each province contributed to part of the costs (the quota system). The provinces imposed all kinds of taxes to raise the needed money and did so at their own discretion. However, they did not keep their mutual agreement on uniform taxation of products such as cloth, cattle, gold, silver, beer, wine and salt.

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