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Jacob Bernoulli's father, Nicolaus Bernoulli (1623-1708) inherited the spice business in Basel that had been set up by his own father, first in Amsterdam and then in Basel. The family, of Belgium origin, were refugees fleeing from persecution by the Spanish rulers of the Netherlands. Philip, the King of Spain, had sent the Duke of Alba to the Netherlands in 1567 with a large army to punish those opposed to Spanish rule, to enforce adherence to Roman Catholicism, and to re-establish Philip's authority. Alba set up the Council of Troubles which was a court that condemned over 12000 people but most, like the Bernoulli family who were of the Protestant faith, fled the country