Catalogue description Secretaries of State: State Papers Foreign, Flanders

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Details of SP 77
Reference: SP 77
Title: Secretaries of State: State Papers Foreign, Flanders

Correspondence and papers of the Secretary of State concerning the southern part of the Netherlands, known as the Spanish Netherlands (until 1713) or Austrian Netherlands (1713 onwards). The territory was also known colloquially as Flanders although Flanders was only one of the component provinces.

The records are mainly in-letters, mostly to the Secretary of State or his assistants from the English (later British) Envoy Extraordinary, Resident, Minister Plenipotentiary or Agent at Brussels, and the Consul, or Vice-Consul, at Ostend. Many draft replies are included in the series, though they are less frequently found in the earlier volumes. Some petitions, royal warrants and royal letters are also in the series. Most of the later volumes contain some printed papers. Affairs at Dunkirk are sometimes the subject of correspondence, and plans of Dunkirk and the 'new' canal and sluices are included.

Many of the earlier papers are dated at Antwerp, Bruges, and (occasionally) Dunkirk.

Date: 1585-1780

The records are arranged in chronological order except fot the intrusion of the papers of commissioners sent to Antwerp and Brussels to negotiate treaties, and miscellaneous papers at the end of the series.

Related material:

There is a calendar of documents regarding Flanders 1340-1603 in:

IND 1/6868

IND 1/6869

IND 1/6870

IND 1/6871

Separated material:

For the absence of correspondence between 1757 and 1763 see note in SP 77/102

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 112 bundles and volumes
Publication note:

Selected documents dated before August 1589 are described in the Calendar of State Papers Foreign Series of the Reign of Elizabeth I ed A J Butler S C Lomas and R B Wernham (London 1901-1950). For references to the more important papers for the period August 1589 to December 1595 see the List and Analysis of State Papers Foreign Series Elizabeth I I-VI ed by Richard Bruce Wernham (London 1964-1993). Please speak to staff at the Map and Large Document Room enquiry desk for the precise location.

Administrative / biographical background:

The Low Countries were part of the Spanish Empire from 1504, governed by Governors General. The formation in 1579 of the Union of Arras by the Catholic provinces of Artois and Hainault enabled the Spanish to resume the war against the Protestants of the Netherlands. By August 1585 the Spanish commander, the Duke of Parma, had control of Ypres, Dunkirk, Bruges, Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp, and the southern part of the Netherlands once more recognised the King of Spain as sovereign.

In the seventeenth century France took territory from the Spanish Netherlands: in 1640 the province of Artois was seized by France, and by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1668 part of Flanders was occupied by the French. In 1700 the Spanish Habsburg dynasty died out and the Spanish Netherlands thereafter came under French rule until occupied by British and Dutch troops in 1706.

In 1713 by the Peace of Utrecht the territory comprising present day Belgium and Luxembourg passed under the sovereignty of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI, head of the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg.

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