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During the 16th century, Protestantism rapidly gained ground in northern Europe.Dutch Protestants, after initial repression, were tolerated by local authorities.
The latter were, however, distributed throughout Europe.
In 1506, he became lord of the Burgundian states, among which were the Netherlands.
Subsequently, in 1516, he inherited several titles, including that of King of Spain, which had become a worldwide empire with the Spanish colonization of the Americas.
The focus of the latter phase was to gain official recognition of the already de facto independence of the United Provinces.
This phase coincided with the rise of the Dutch Republic as a major power and the founding of the Dutch Empire.
The harsh measures of suppression led to increasing grievances in the Netherlands, where the local governments had embarked on a course of peaceful coexistence.