The new bishoprics set up in 1559 were resented by the great abbeys and collegiate churches, now obliged to submit to bishops and pay for their maintenance. At the same time, the king’s reliance on the advice of Cardinal Granvelle to the exclusion of other councillors of state irritated the great noblemen of the Low Countries. The intensification of persecution after 1550 drove Calvinists to desperation while alienating the civic magistracies who saw inquisitors infringe upon their jurisdictions. Very few of the powerful elements in society were entirely happy with royal policy in the 1550s and 1560s. Added to this, Antwerp’s commerce was meeting its first major setbacks. The Portuguese spice trade had left the city in 1548, as Spanish America had replaced Central Europe as the main source of silver. The English cloth trade went elsewhere in 1564, after a trade dispute, and in general the city was going through a recession.
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