top of page
  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

January 31st, 1578 - The Battle of Gemblours

Conflict: Eighty Years' War

Combatants: Dutch vs. Spanish

Location: Belgium

Outcome: Spanish victory

Following failed negotiations between the rebellious States General of the Netherlands and Spain, the Dutch assembled an army of 20,000 men.

On January 31st of 1578, Don Juan of Austria met the Dutch forces at Gemblours with a Spanish army of equal size. The Spanish managed to envelope the Dutch cavalry and drive them into their own retreating infantry. The Dutch suffered as many as 6,000 casualties while the Spanish lost only about 20 soldiers killed.

The Battle of Gemblours from Histoire de la guerre des Païs-Bas, by Famien Strada

Points of Interest:

  • Don Juan de Austria (or John of Austria) was the son of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, and a woman not of noble birth. Due to the circumstances of his birth, Don Juan was brought up in secret but was later recognized by his half-brother King Phillip.

  • Don Juan died of illness just ten months after Gemblours at the age of 31.

Don Juan of Austria by unknown artist



Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).

Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.

Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page