|Ce ne sont que des gueux - 'They are nothing but beggars'|
|Orientation:||PvP, PvE, Economy|
Beggars (French: Les Gueux, Dutch: Geuzen) was a name assumed by the confederacy of Calvinist Dutch nobles and other malcontents, who from 1566 opposed Spanish rule in the Netherlands. The most successful group of them operated at sea, and so were called Sea Beggars (French: Gueux de mer, Dutch: Watergeuzen). In the Eighty Years' War, the Capture of Brielle by the Watergeuzen in 1572 provided the first foothold on land for the rebels, who would conquer the northern Netherlands and establish an independent Dutch Republic. They can be considered either as privateers or pirates, depending on the circumstances or motivations.
Origin of the name
The leaders of the nobles who signed a solemn league known as the Compromise of Nobles, by which they bound themselves to assist in defending the rights and liberties of the Netherlands against the civil and religious despotism of Philip II of Spain were Louis, Count of Nassau, and Henry, Count of Bréderode. On April 5, 1566 permission was obtained for the confederates to present a petition of grievances, called the Request, to the regent, Margaret, Duchess of Parma. About 250 nobles marched to the palace accompanied by Louis of Nassau and Bréderode. The regent was at first alarmed at the appearance of so large a body, but one of her councillors, Berlaymont, was heard to exclaim, "What, madam, is your highness afraid of these beggars (ces gueux)?"
The appellation was not forgotten. At a great feast held by some 300 confederates at the Hotel Culemburg three days later, Bréderode in a speech declared that if need be they were all ready to become beggars in their country's cause. The name became henceforward a party title. The patriot party adopted the emblems of beggarhood, the wallet and the bowl, as trinkets to be worn on their hats or their girdles, and a medal was struck having on one side the head of Philip II, on the other two clasped hands with the motto Fidèle au roy, jusqu'à porter la besace ("Loyal to the King, up to carrying the beggar's pouch"). The original league of Beggars was short-lived, crushed by Alva, but its principles survived and were to be ultimately triumphant.
In the Dutch language the word geuzennaam is used for linguistic reappropriation: a pejorative term used with pride by the people called that way.