the patriots 1782-1787
England 18th century
Foreign Policy
V.O.C. 1602-1798 W.I.C. 1621-1798

The Fourth Anglo-Dutch War 1780-1784

A.) The Diplomatic Pre-History of the Invasion

The Dutch Republic resented having lost its traditional domination of overseas trade due to a combination of military diplomacy (the Anglo-French anti-Dutch coalition of 1672) and protectionist economic policy, MERCANTILISM. The bone of contention, from the Dutch side, were not territorial disputes but the Dutch hatred of the English NAVIGATION ACT of 1651, over which already 3 Anglo-Dutch Wars had been fought.
The AMERICAN REVOLUTION provided the European seafaring nations having a grudge with Britain with the opportunity to form an anti-British alliance. The Dutch Republic declared war in 1780.

B.) The Military Course of Events

The war was fought on the seas; the British navy disposed over 122 ships-of-the-line, the Dutch Republic over 17. Thus it was incapable of providing effective protection for its merchant shipping, which suffered heavy damage. In February 1781 a British fleet under Sir Rodney took STATIA (St. Eustasius) in the Caribbean, the so-called Golden Rock (here American revolutionaries had acquired goods which they could not obtain directly from Europe).
On August 5th the BATTLE OF THE DOGGER BANK was fought, in which the Dutch fleet succeeded in repelling the attempt by the British navy to seize a number of Dutch merchant vessels; yet a number of the Dutch vessels were severely damaged.
The Dutch being unable to defend their own vast colonial empire, the CAPE COLONY experienced a period of (allied) French occupation 1781-1783.

C.) The Legacy

On April 19th 1783 the Dutch Republic recognized the independence of the United States.
In 1783 the preliminary Peace of Paris was signed, in 1784 the definitive Peace of Paris; the Dutch Republic (i.e. the V.O.C.) ceded NEGAPATNAM in India to Britain (i.e. the E.I.C.) and granted the E.I.C. free access to the Moluccas - the peace conditions thus indicating a British victory (although Britain, in the same peace, ceded territory to the USA, France and Spain).
The war caused severe damage to the V.O.C., which already in a severe crisis, was to go bankrupt just a few years later.
The mood in the Netherlands was explosive; many were dissatisfied with the economic condition, the political and social structure of the country. The PATRIOT movement emerged during the war, demanding numerous reforms; stadholder William V., limited in his function as the commander of the Dutch armed forces by the federalist constitution and his dependency on payments from the estates, most prominently from (pro-patriot) Holland, could only partially focus on the war. Soon after he lost control altogether, which he could regain only with the assistance of an invading Prussian army (1787).
The Dutch Republic was transformed into the BATAVIAN REPUBLIC in 1795 and underwent several thorough reforms in the subsequent wears.

The United States of America and the Netherlands, essay by George M. Welling
Dutch Naval Commanders, scroll down for Johan Arnold Zoutman and Jan Willem de Winter, the former of whom commanded the Dutch fleet in the Battle of Dogger Bank
Hyde Parker sails to restore his reputation, bt Mark v. Barker, on the battle of Dogger Bank; The Fleets involved from the same source
A Tale of Two Republics, from The Netherlands and the United States : a Story of Old Friends, posted by the Netherlands embassy, extensive on the 4th Anglo-Dutch War
REFERENCE H.P.H. Jansen, Kalendarium. Geschiedenis van de Lage Landen in Jaartallen. (Calendarium. History of the Low Countries by Years), Utrecht 1979

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 19th 2004

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