Philip II of Spain decided to crush the rebellion in the Netherlands. He sent the Duke of Alba, a man known for his hatred of the Protestant Reformation, to the Netherlands. The Duke of Alba formed the Council of Troubles, also called the Council of Blood, to persecute the Calvinist Dutch. This council oversaw large arrests, trials, and executions, sometimes up to 40 to 50 people at a time.
William the Silent was declared an outlaw. He organized several armies and fought against the Spanish armies, although he lost nearly every battle.
Other segments of the Dutch population formed their own armies. The revolution turned into a messy war. Both armies would sometimes force people in their conquered area to convert to either Catholicism or Calvinism.
Even though the war waged back and forth across the land, for the most part, the Spanish under the Duke of Alba controlled the southern provinces, what today is Belgium and Luxemburg. William the Silent and his Calvinist army controlled the northern provinces of what is today the country of the Netherlands.
In 1584, William the Silent was assassinated by a Spanish sympathizer. When he died, his armies were on the verge of defeat. It looked like the Netherlands’ attempt at revolution would be defeated and the Reformation crushed in the Netherlands.