Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alva

General and statesman; born in 1508; died in 1582, Thomar, Spain. Sent by King Philip II of Spain to subdue the rebellious Netherlands in 1557, his stern measures caused him to be known as the Iron Duke. He executed rebels, destroyed towns, and exacted exorbitant taxes. The statue of himself which he erected in Antwerp was later destroyed. The Dutch rebelled under William of Orange, but Alva held them in check until their desperate resistance at Alkmaar gained them the victory. In 1573 he resigned his post. In 1580 he completely subdued rebellious Portugal in three weeks.

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