Netherlands: A Succession of Wars
A Succession of Wars
De Witt's administration was largely encompassed by the Dutch Wars with England (1652–54, 1664–67), arising out of the first of the English Navigation Acts (1651) and the Dutch-English commercial rivalry. The Treaty of Breda (1667) was advantageous to the Netherlands; it gained trade privileges and had its possession of Suriname recognized. The Netherlands reached the peak of political power when, by forming (1668) the Triple Alliance with Sweden and England, it forced Louis XIV of France to halt the War of Devolution against Spain.
Louis XIV took revenge by starting (1672) the third of the Dutch Wars, in which the French overran the Netherlands. In defense, the Dutch opened their dikes and flooded the country, creating a watery barrier that was virtually impenetrable. De Witt sought to negotiate peace but was murdered (1672) by a mob of Orange followers. The stadtholderate was restored to William III (after 1689 also king of England). The war devastated the provinces, but in the Treaty of Nijmegen (1678–79) the Dutch obtained important concessions from France.
The Netherlands again fought Louis XIV in the War of the Grand Alliance (1688–97) and in the War of the Spanish Succession. On the death (1702) of William III the stadtholderate was again suspended and the States-General resumed control of the government, but in 1747 the republican party lost power, and William IV of Orange became hereditary stadtholder. In the 18th cent. the relative commercial, military, and cultural positions of the United Provinces in Europe declined as those of England and France ascended. The Netherlands sided against England in the American Revolution and as a result lost several colonies at the Treaty of Paris of 1783 (see Paris, Treaty of).
A patriotic movement by J. D. van der Capellen (1741–84) began to popularize the ideas of the Enlightenment; when in the French Revolutionary Wars the French overran (1794–95) the Netherlands, there was much popular approval. William V fled abroad, and the Batavian Republic was set up (1795) under French protection. In 1806, Napoleon I established the Kingdom of Holland and made his brother Louis Bonaparte (see under Bonaparte, family) its first king. Bonaparte was deposed in 1810, and the kingdom was annexed by France, whereby French legal, financial, and educational reforms pervaded the Netherlands.
Sections in this article:
- The Postwar Years
- The Kingdom of the Netherlands
- A Succession of Wars
- The United Provinces
- Revolt in the Netherlands
- The Rise of the Netherlands
- Land and People
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