Under what conditions were limited forms of self-government possible in medieval and early modern Europe? While many historians have sought an answer by focusing on the development of parliamentary institutions in emerging national monarchies, or investigating the wider autonomy enjoyed by various city-states within their own borders, James Tracy looks instead at an intermediate level of political organization, the self-governing province. Readers of medieval and early modern European history will learn here how the province of Holland, during the reigns of Charles V and Philip II (1506-1566), effectively underwent an apprenticeship in self-government.