Pragmatic Sanction of 1549

The Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 was an edict, promulgated by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, reorganizing the Seventeen Provinces.

It was his plan to centralize the administrative units of the Holy Roman Empire. The Pragmatic Sanction transformed this agglomeration of lands into a unified entity, of which the Habsburgs would be the heirs. By streamlining the succession law in all Seventeen Provinces and declaring that all seventeen provinces would be inherited by one heir, Charles effectively united the Netherlands as one entity.

After Charles' abdication in 1555, the Seventeen Provinces passed to his son Philip II of Spain.

The Pragmatic Sanction is said to be one example of the Habsburg contest with particularism that contributed to the Dutch Revolt. Each of the 17 provinces had its own laws, customs and political practices. This new policy imposed from the outside angered many inhabitants, who viewed their provinces as distinct entities. This and other monarchical acts, such as the creation of bishoprics and promulgation of laws against heresy, stoked resentments that fired the eruption of the Dutch Revolt.

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