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Balthasar Gérard (alternative spellings Gerards or Gerardts; c. 1557 – 14 July 1584) was the assassin of the Dutch independence leader, William I of Orange (William the Silent). He killed William I in Delft on 10 July 1584, by shooting him twice with a pair of pistols, and was afterwards tried, convicted, and gruesomely executed.
Gérard was born in Franche-Comté (then belonging to Spain, afterwards to France). He came from a Roman Catholic family with 11 children and was a great admirer of Philip II, king of Spain and the Netherlands. He studied law at the University of Dole. On 15 March 1580, King Philip had offered a reward of 25,000 crowns to anyone who killed William the Silent, to whom he referred as a “pest on the whole of Christianity and the enemy of the human race”