William I, Prince of Oranje, Adriaen Thomasz. Key, c. 1579
Of the noblemen who rebelled against Phillip II’s Spanish rule of the Netherlands, William of Orange (1533–1584) rose to become the great leader of the Dutch Revolt. He defended his own interests, strove for greater independence and advocated freedom of religion. In 1580 Phillip II put a price on his head, and he was assassinated four years later.