A Haven for Refugees William III., 1672-1702

The First Era of Liberty (1650-1672)

Stadholder William II. (1647-1650) strove to strengthen his position at the expense of the estates, especially the powerful ESTATES OF HOLLAND. In late July he sent troops to occupy Amsterdam, the wealthiest city. The attack failed, as the city was warned while the troops were upheld by bad weather. When Stadholder William II. suddenly died of smallpox, his wife was pregnant with his son, future stadholder William III.
The position of stadholder was an elected one, and every province used to elect it's own stadholder (often one stadholder held several, if not all stadholderships). The Estates of Holland, paying 57 % of the country's revenue, in 1650 decided not to elect any stadholder for the time being (the first stadholderless period or ERA OF LIBERTY). The most powerful politician in the republic now was the RAADSPENSIONARIS OF HOLLAND. In 1653, JAN DE WITT, Regent from Dordrecht, was elected into that office. He was a proponent of the TRUE LIBERTY (ware vrijheid), a political program stressing that it was not necessary for the country to have a ruler (stadholder).

In 1651, England passed the NAVIGATION ACT, a statute according to which wares could only be imported on ships of the country of origin or on British ships. The act was directed against Dutch trade, and the Dutch, the world's leading trading nation, were very well aware of that. The act lead to the FIRST ANGLO-DUTCH WAR of 1652-1654, in which the English had the better of it. When Denmark had to cede part of the SOUND LEVY to Sweden in 1658, the Dutch Republic regarded it's Baltic Sea trade threatened and sent it's fleet, defeating the Swedes and inducing them to cede the Sound Levy back to Denmark. In 1661 the Dutch Republic signed a peace treaty with Portugal, accepting that Brazil was a Portuguese possession. In 1665-1667, the SECOND ANGLO-DUTCH WAR was fought. In June 1667, Dutch ADMIRAL MICHIEL ADRIAANSZ DE RUYTER broke the Thames river chains and destroyed the English fleet anchored at CHATHAM, which was burnt down. In the PEACE OF BREDA, the Netherlands ceded NEW NETHERLANDS (New York) to England, while England ceded SURINAME to the Netherlands. The treaty was regarded a gain for the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, the French pressed on the Spanish Netherlands, which Spain proved unable to defend. France, traditionally an ally of the Dutch Republic, increasingly posed a threat.

The first era of liberty in Dutch history is also known as the later part of the GOLDEN AGE of the Dutch Republic. Amsterdam was Europe's leading market, the V.O.C. importing riches from Asia. Dutch painting thrived (REMBRANDT); the Netherlands became the center of cartography (BLAEU) and book printing (Elzevier). In the 1660es, the Dutch realized the immense expenses of an expansionist colonial policy and pursued a policy of austerity. When Brazil (1654) and Taiwan (1662) were lost, the recovery was regarded too costly.
On the Seas, the lack of the leadership provided by the stadholders was not felt; the Republic produced numerous excellent admirals. But the French getting dangerously close to the Republic showed how vulnerable the Republic really was.

Dutch Republic History Site, bibliography, compiled at Univ. Leiden
Golden Age Web
Biography of Jan de Witt (1625-1672) from the MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive
Biography of the Blaeus, from antiquemapsandprints.com
The Dutch in the Medway - June 1667, by Ben Levick
From Stichting Michiel A. de Ruyter : biography, timetable (both in Dutch)
Oorlogsvaart in de Gouden Eeuw, from Kees Mooyer (in Dutch)
De Zeven Provincien, from Bataviawerf, English language site on a Dutch 17th century warship, built 1656, illustrated
Johan de Witt, from Galileo Project
Anglo-Dutch Wars, from Five Major Eras in the Netherlands' History
De belangrijkste gebeurtenissen uit de periode 1648 - 1702, from geschiedenis.com, detailed chronological list, in Dutch
Timeline of the Netherlands and Scandinavia relating to North America, posted by New Netherland Museum
Biography Anthoni van Leeuwenhoek, from BBC Online
Biography Christian Huygens, from BBC Online
Dutch Wars : War of 1652-1654, from infoplease
Dutch Wars : War of 1664-1667, from infoplease
Second Battle of Dover, Sept. 28th 1652, from Dictionary of Battles
Second Anglo-Dutch War 1664-1667, from regiments.org
DOCUMENTS Blaeu Atlas, 1664, illustrated description from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek
Images from Blaeu's Theatrum Vrbium Belgica Libera (1652), (city maps); provincial maps from Janssonius, 1658, both from the John R. Borchert Historic Map Library, Univ. of Minnesota
Map Amsterdam c. 1650, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis / Mees, Historische Atlas 1865
Pamphlet : Resonnantie van den Munsterschen Trommelslagh, op den Hollandschen Toon, 1665 (reacting on the invasion of the Bishop of Munster
English Treaties with the States General (Chalmers, Vol.1) : April 11th 1661, The Convention 11 April, 1661, relating to the Posts, pp.128ff
July 21st/31st 1667, Peace of Breda, pp.133ff
July 21st/31st 1667, Commercial Treaty, pp.151ff
Feb. 7th/17th 1668 The Articles touching Navigation and Commerce, 7/17 February, 1667/8, pp.161ff
Jean Dumont: Nouveau recueil de traitez... (Amsterdam, 1710) vol. 1 only (1647 to 1694), toc Jan. 8 1647 Traite entre PHILIPPE IV. Roi d'Espagne, & FREDERIC HENRI Prince d'Orange, sur les pretentions de ce dernier. A Munster le 8. Janvier 1647. pp.1ff
Aug. 30th 1647 Confirmation & Approbation des Prelats de Brabant sur ce Traite. A Bruxelles le 30. Aout 1647, pp.6f
Dec. 27th 1647 Traite entre PHILIPPE IV. & GUILLAUME II. Prince d'Orange. A Munster le 27. Decembre 1647, pp.7ff
July 6th 1648 Acte de Neutralite donne par l'Empereur FERDINAND III a leurs Hautes Puissances les ETATS GENERAUX des Provinces Unies des Pais-Bas. A Lintz le 6. Juillet 1648. En Latin. pp.12ff
July 12th 1652 Instruction pour les Juges Delegues a la Chambre Mipartie, conclue & arretee entre l'Ambassadeur de PHILIPPE IV. Roi d'Espagne, & les Deputes de L. H. P. les ETATS GENERAUX des Provinces Unies. A la Haye le 12. Juillet 1652 avec la Ratification de leurs Hautes Puissances, pp.14ff
Sept. 21st 1660, Acoort en verdrag russchen de Koning van SPANJEN en do Heeron STAATEN GENERAAL, rakende den Ophef der Schattingen van de Collaterale Successien, over de Geestelyke goederen, pp.71ff
n.d. Accord & Convention pour le reglement & la promte Expedition des Postes entre L'ANGLETERRE & les PROVINCES UNIES, pp.78ff
1662 Accort tusschen d'Hoogh Mogende Heeren Staten Generaal der VEREENIGDE NEDERLANDEN, ende syn Hoogheyd den Aartshertog LEOPOLDUS, als Groot-Meester, ende d'Heeren van de Duytsche Ordre ter sake van de Souverainiteyd ende Heerlikheyd van Gemert. pp.112ff
March 14th 1663 Contract, Alliance & Confederation entre la COMPAGNIE des INDES ORIENTALES des Provinces Unies des Pais-Bas: le Roi de COCHIN & le RADIA DE PORCA. pp.122ff
n.d. Contrat & Alliance perpetuelle faite entre la COMPAGNIE des INDES ORIENTALES des Provinces Unies des Pais-Bas par l'Amiral Hollandois RYCLOF VAN GOENS, au nom du Gouverneur General & le Conseil des Indes d'une part, & MOETEDAVILLE Roi de COCHIN, & ses Princes de l'autre. pp.125ff
Apr. 4th 1664 Acte & Declaration par lequel le Comte D'OOSTFRISE engage aux Seigneurs Etats Generaux des PROVINCES-UNIES les Places d'Eylerschans & Jemgummer - Duinger. pp.136ff
June 3rd 1664 Acte d'Accord & Transaction, entre le Conseil d'Etat des PROVINCES UNIES des Pais-Bas, & le Doyen & Chapitre de l'Eglise Collegiale de COURTRAY. pp.130ff
March 9th/13th 1668 Traitez faits entre les Seigneurs de la COMPAGNIE ORIENTALE Hollandoise, & le RADIA TELLO, & CRAIN LINQUES, les 2 & 13 Mars 1668. pp.160ff
Louis XIV's Declaration of War against the Dutch, from Hillsdale
Dutch Medals, from Medal Web, Collection Benjamin Weiss
REFERENCE Golden Age of the Dutch Republic, pp.260-271 in : John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe
H.P.H. Jansen, Kalendarium. Geschiedenis van de Lage Landen in Jaartallen (History of the Low Countries by Years), Utrecht : Prisma (1971) 4th edition; in Dutch 1979 [G]
Maarten Prak, The Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century, Cambridge : UP 2005, KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.2 P898d
Jan de Vries and Ad van der Woude, The First Modern Economy. Success, Failure, and Perseverance of the Dutch Economy, 1500-1815, Cambridge : UP 1997, KMLA Lib.Sign. 330.9492 V982f

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First posted in 2000, last revised on April 4th 2006

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