Big Piers, a Dutch farmer turned rebel, formed a band called Arumer Zwarte Hoop and wreaked havoc on the Habsburg Empire in revenge for the rape and murder of his wife and workers.
Pier Gerlofs Donia, also known as “Big Piers,” was a Dutch farmer who became a rebel and declared a personal war on the Habsburg Empire. The Habsburgs had mercenary landsknechts, called the Black Band, to put down a rebellion, but they ended up looting Pier’s village and killing his wife and workers. Pier sought revenge and formed a band called Arumer Zwarte Hoop, made up of other peasants, minor nobles, and pirates who fought an outnumbered war against Habsburg-allied soldiers and mercenaries. They sacked and razed several towns and captured and burned war fleet ships. Pier retired in 1520, and his lieutenant took over his band until it was defeated in 1523. Pier was described as eight feet tall and built of pure muscle, with a giant sword and amazing strength that allowed him to behead multiple enemies in a single swing.