Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Alva, or Alba, Feedinand Alvarez de Toledo, Duke of, the Spanish prime minister and general, under Charles V. and Philip II., born in 1508. His great military abilities first displayed themselves in 1547, when he defeated the Elector of Saxony at Muhlberg. He fought with great skill and courage against the French in Lorraine, though he failed to take Metz, and in 1556 he completely crushed the Papal forces in Italy. Ten years later he was appointed Viceroy in the Netherlands for the purpose of reducing that country to submission. His rule was marked by unparalleled barbarity, but by undoubted military talent. The Counts Egmont and Horn were the most illustrious of his victims, but he is said to have boasted of having put to death 18,000 persons judicially, apart from those slain in war. In 1573 he was recalled, and lived for some time in disgrace through the conduct of his son, but in 1581 his services were required against Portugal, where he succeeded in driving Don Antonio from the throne. He died in 1582. His actions and character will be found ably described in Motley's Rise of the Dutch Republic.