In 1648, the Treaty of Westphalia brought an end to the Eighty Years` War between Spain and the rebellious Dutch Republic. As part of this treaty, Spain finally recognized Dutch independence, which had been declared in 1581. But what was the specific agreement by which this recognition was achieved?

The answer is the Treaty of Münster. This treaty was one of two treaties signed at the conclusion of the wider peace negotiations at Westphalia (the other being the Treaty of Osnabrück, which dealt with the Holy Roman Empire and various German states). The Treaty of Münster specifically dealt with the Netherlands and Spain.

The negotiations leading up to the Treaty of Münster were long and complex, with various issues beyond just Dutch independence to be resolved. For example, Spain also had to recognize the Protestant religion in the Netherlands, which was a major sticking point given Spain`s staunchly Catholic history. Additionally, the Dutch wanted Spain to return certain territories and pay reparations for the damage caused by the war.

Despite these challenges, the Treaty of Münster was ultimately signed on January 30, 1648. Spain formally recognized Dutch independence and agreed to all of the Dutch demands. The treaty was a major victory for the Dutch Republic, which had struggled for decades to assert its independence and maintain its religious and political freedom.

The Treaty of Münster also had broader implications beyond just the Netherlands and Spain. It helped establish the principle of territorial sovereignty, which holds that each nation has the right to self-determination and control over its own territory. This principle remains a key element of international law today.

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