Spanish-held provinces in the southern Low Countries (roughly corresponding to modern Belgium and Luxembourg). In 1578 the diplomat Alessandro Farnese was sent to represent Spain in the Netherlands, and by 1585 he had reestablished Spanish control over the southern provinces, ending the union with the northern provinces that followed the Pacification of Ghent. In the 17th century the region saw a resurgence of economic and intellectual growth. As a buffer between Protestant and Catholic states, the region was the scene of constant warfare; areas were ceded to the Dutch Republic (1648) and France (1659). The territory began to decline in the late 17th century. Spanish control was lost after the War of the Spanish Succession, when the region passed to Emperor Charles VI and became the Austrian Netherlands.
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