From Landsknecht to Soldier: The Low German Foot Soldiers of the Low Countries in the Second Half of the Sixteenth Century

Erik Swart


In the decades after 1550 the soldiery of the Netherlands witnessed the
disappearance of the Landsknecht, who had the right to participate in decisionmaking and shape his daily life. He gradually became a mere soldier, subject to stricter discipline and control. This development accelerated after 1572 because William of Orange needed to maintain the support of the inhabitants of the Netherlands for the Revolt. Better discipline and control over his soldiers were imperative in this. Meanwhile, a progressive process of proletarianization left them largely unable to resist: they simply had nowhere else to go.
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