This Man Went To Astounding Lengths To Avenge His Wife's Murder
We’re going to take you back, right back, to tell you about a giant of a man who went on a Hollywood style rampage to avenge the rape and murder of his wife, except this isn’t Hollywood, this was real life.
In the year 1515 a civil war in the Netherlands was on the horizon. In an effort to stop this, George, Duke of Saxony, sent the Black Band (an army regiment notorious for its force and brutality) into where the two families who were at war with each other lived.
In the midst of this a farmer named Pier Gerlofs Donia was, in essence, in the wrong place at the wrong time as the Black Band pillaged his village and raped his wife before killing her.
After that, they burned the village down, bringing Donia’s estate with it. Left with little to nothing, Donia raged war on the authorities as he saw them responsible for sending out the Black Band.
Now it’s probably worth mentioning how we believe Pier Gerlofs Donia appeared… Legend has it that he was near 7 feet tall with the broadest build imaginable and he was so strong that he could bend a coin with his thumb and forefinger.
So he was big…
He amassed an army of peasants, despite having never used a gun or boat before, and took to the seas to defeat the Navy and the army of the House of Habsburg.
So what could a man with no military experience and no professional soldiers do to the King’s army?
Successfully sieging two Hollandic castles was a good start. Followed by overthrowing the city of Medemblik, it looked like Donia knew what he was doing.
Now with his Ox-like strength and his Mammoth size, Donia wielded a 7 foot sword and was apparently capable of decapitating several people simultaneously with one blow which, perhaps, came in handy when he took over the castles.
However, what is wildly regarded as his greatest success was when he sunk 28 Dutch Navy ships that were sent to destroy his fleet.
In 1519, despite his success, Pier Gerlofs Donia could not overthrow the House of Habsburg and he also worried that he had become the very thing that he swore to defeat so he retired, disillusioned.
He died of natural causes the next year and is buried in the Dutch town of Sneek.
Pier Gerlofs Donia was a man who was driven on the path to revenge. Blinded by rage, he couldn’t see that he was bestowing the same hardship on many of his victims as he burned down villages of the enemy.
Perhaps he is best summed up by the 19th-century historian, Conrad Busken Huet :
“A tower of a fellow as strong as an ox, of dark complexion, broad shouldered, with a long black beard and moustache. A natural rough humourist, who through unfortunate circumstances was recast into an awful brute. Out of personal revenge for the bloody injustice that befell him with the killing of kinsfolk and destruction of his property he became a freedom fighter of legendary standing.”