The Seizure of Brill by the Sea Beggars
In 1572, writes S.F.C. Moore, Brill was the scene of a dramatic action in the Dutch revolt against the rule of Spain.
On the afternoon or early evening of Tuesday, April 1st, 1572, the townspeople of Brill, a small seaport at the mouth of the Maas, saw a fleet of some twenty-six ships anchor off their quays. Since it was obviously not a Spanish royal fleet, nor a merchant fleet, it was soon appreciated that it must be the ‘Sea Beggars’. This caused consternation among the richer citizens of the town, and many promptly fled with much of their wealth.
The first use of the name ‘Sea Beggars’ is traditionally ascribed to Count Berleymont, stadhouder of Namur and a member of the Council of State in the time of the Regent Margaret of Parma. In 1566 discontent in the Netherlands had reached the point where the more extreme members of the nobility, generally Protestants, could gain enough support among their peers, many Catholics, to present a petition of complaint, known as the Compromise, to the Regent Margaret.