An Alternate History of the Netherlands

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold][FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]This is from my Alternate History of the Netherlands, that I wrote last year. I'm still working on various other parts of the world. Right now I'm starting my chapters on the Union of Balkan Socialist Republics. Keep in mind this is only the 1st Edition. That means you don't have to nit-pick it to death.[/FONT][/FONT]​

This is actually chapter 2. The first chapter deals with the history of the provences before 1568, and has no alternate history in it, so I did not include it.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold][FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]II) The Forty Years War[/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Prelude to Rebellion[/FONT]
In the first years of Habsburg dominion, the Netherlanders barely noticed Spanish
Overlordship. In fact Charles V was born in Ghent, and spoke fluent Dutch, French, Castillian1 and
some German. In 1506, he gained lordship of the Burgundian states, among which included all the
Dutch provinces. Subsequently in 1516, he inherited several titles, including the King of Aragon,
King of Castile and Leon, which soon faced full political union as the Kingdom of Spain. In 1530,
he reached the pinnacle of power when he was elected the Holy Roman Emperor. However, it was
not to last. A combination of events, including funding the Habsburg’s world-wide empire, and
religious turmoil in Germany would soon lead to revolution.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Protestant Reformation[/FONT]
By the 1560s, the Protestant community grew in influence across Northern Europe. Dutch
Protestants, after initial backlash, were generally tolerated by local authorities. Their wealth made
them influential, and in a society based on trade and commerce, both freedom and tolerance were
essential. Local lords were far more interested in wealth than conforming to Spanish law. They were
a vital minority, but a minority nonetheless. In 1560, the majority of Netherlanders still follow to
path laid down by the Holy Church.
With little to no regard for Dutch customs, Charles V believed it his duty to battle
Protestantism, which under Spanish and Church law was considered heresy. His son, Philip II, struck
out at the heretics far harsher than Charles V. By Phillip’s reign, the situation escalated to the point
where Spanish soldiers were sent in to crush what Phillip viewed as Rebellion, and restore the
authority of the Church to the Netherlands. The harsh measures led to increasing grievances, where
local government had embarked on a course of coexistence. With the arrival of the Inquisition, Spain
proved it was not interested in coexistence or tolerance.
The Dutch Protestants compared their humble values favorably against the luxurious habits
of the ecclesiastical nobility. The Protestant movement initially emphasized such virtues of modesty,
cleanliness, frugality and hard work. The so-called Protestant work ethic helped drive the
Netherlands, even the Catholic citizens, into the world-striding Dutch Commonwealth of Nations
of later centuries. Biblical stories of fishermen, ship builders and other humble occupations resonated
among the seafaring Dutch. The moral elements of the Reformation represented a challenge to the
Spanish Empire.
The provinces of the Netherlands have grown into wealthy and entrepreneurial regions within
the Habsburg’s private empire by the middle of the Sixteenth Century. Neighboring states often
turned coveting eyes towards the provinces, Flanders in particular caught the attention of French
kings for decades. Its wealth would make it a welcome addition to the French state. During the reign
of Charles V, Spain blossomed into a world-wide empire, with territories not only across Europe,
but engulfing most of the New World.
Control and defense of these lands were hampered by the very size of the Spanish Empire.
Spain also had to face rivals who were more than eager to take a piece of its empire for themselves.
Both Spain and France were locked into near continuous conflict in the Italian Wars, and Spain also

French word, translates as ‘beggars’

must contest the Turks across the Mediterranean. For wars were waged in holy spirit across the

heretical states in Germany. These wars impacted Spain’s treasury severely, and the Netherlands
were forced to pay dearly to support them.
The provinces viewed these wars as unnecessary, or flat out harmful, as they were waged
against important trading partners. No consideration was given to the markets built up in
Amsterdam, Flanders or Antwerp when it came to Spain’s ‘divine’ right to spread the faith. By 1571,
Spain imposed a ten percent sales tax on all land within the Netherlands. Harsher measures would
soon follow. It was becoming increasingly clear that the Netherlands were not the provinces they had
been beneath Burgundy rule, but rather viewed not much differently than its colonies.
By the later Middle Ages, most of the administrators in the Netherlands were not the tradition
aristocracy (the old families), but rather stemmed from non-noble families that worked their way into
power over the previous century (the new families). Under the rule of Burgundy, the provinces
enjoyed a degree of autonomy in appointing its own governors and councils. Thus the Netherlands
represented a loose confederation of high independent-minded citizenry.
Spanish rule changed much of this. The Kings of Spain set out to improve their empire by
increasing the authority of the central government in matters concerning taxation and laws. It was
a policy which caused great suspicion among the Netherlands’ nobility and merchant classes. An
example of Spain’s takeover of power occurred in 1528, when Charles V supplanted the council of
guildmasters in Utrecht and replaced it with a regent answerable only to him. Under the regency of
Mary of Hungary, tradition power had for a large part been stripped from the governors of the
provinces and from the Dutch nobility, whose members were being replaced by Spanish jurists in
the Council of State.
Phillip II went even further in appointing members to the Dutch Staaten-General, placing his
confidante, Granvelle, as head of the assembly, and furthermore he appointed Margaret of Parma as
Governor of all the Netherlands. By 1558, the situation grew worse, and the provinces began to
openly contradict the Spanish King’s wishes. Many of the Staaten-General withdrew, including the
Count of Egmont, Count of Horne and William of Orange, until Granville was recalled. Phillip II’s
responded with even sterner oppression.
During the same time, religious protests increased in spite of the oppression and inquisition.
In 1566, four hundred members of the high nobility petitioned the governor to suspend persecution.
Count Berlaymont called the petition and act of gueux2, a name taken up as an honor by the
petitioners, soon called Geuzen. Margaret accepted the petition, and sent in to Spain, for the King’s
final verdict.
The atmosphere in the Netherlands grew tense following the bad harvest of 1565, and
economic difficulties caused by wars in Northern Europe. Hunger, hardship and the rebellious
preaching of Calvinist leaders brought tensions to a boiling point. In August of 1566, a Calvinist
mob stormed the church of Hondschoote in Flanders. This one incident sparked a massive iconoclast
movement, where Calvinists raided churches and other religious centers, destroying all statues and
imaged of Catholic Saints they could lay their hands upon.
The number of vandals was likely small, and their exact background is debated, but local
authorities did little to rein in the enthusiastic iconoclasts. Their action drove the Dutch nobility into
two camps. One camp, lead by William of Orange, opposed the destruction. Others, most notably
Henry of Brederode, openly supported the movement, a dangerous statement in a world were a word
from the Spanish Governor could cost you your head.
Before the petition of the Guezen could even be read, Phillip II knew he lost control in the
troublesome provinces. He had little option but to send an army to suppress the rebellion. On August
22, 1567, Fernando Alvarez of Toledo, the 3rd Duke of Alba, marched into the city of Brussels at the
head of an army numbering ten thousand strong. The ‘Iron Duke’ entered the Netherlands with
unlimited power and replaced Margaret as governor. Alba took harsh measures and quickly
established a series of special courts to judge all in opposition to the king.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Blood Council[/FONT]
Alba established a tribunal which was soon known by the locals as the ‘Blood Council’ or
‘Blood Court’. During his six years of governorship, thousands of people were brought forth to these
courts, convicted and executed. The exact number of the condemned is not known, the Dutch claim
eighteen thousand, while the Spanish history only recorded a few hundred. No matter the cost, the
Duke of Alba failed in his quest. Instead of quelling the rebellion, his measures helped fuel the
unrest. He unwittingly became the instrument of future independence of the Seventeen Provinces.
His ruthless ‘justice’ extended beyond the Protestant trouble makers. He had both Lamoral,
Count of Egmont, and Philip of Montmorency, Count of Hoorn imprisoned. Both were very popular
leaders of the dissatisfied nobility, and both were Catholic. Nonetheless, Alba condemned both as
traitors to the crown without benefit of a trial, and sentenced them to death. On June 1, 1568, six
days before the deaths of Egmont and Hoorn, twenty-two noblemen of Brussels were simultaneously
beheaded. Deaths ordered by an overlord, rather than judged in court, sparked a wave of outrage
across the Netherlands, both Protestant and Catholic alike.
The Duke of Alba entered the Netherlands with the explicit goal of crushing the rebellion.
Instead, he managed to unite what should have been a very volatile sectarian conflict. Instead of
gathering the support of the majority of the Netherlands, he managed to drive even the most loyal
of Spain’s supporters into the rebels camp. The Staaten-General met at Dordrecht, minus the Spanish
appointees, and openly declared against Alba’s government, and marshaled beneath the banners of
the Prince of Orange.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]William of Orange[/FONT]
Willem van Oranje, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Friesland, was born into
the House of Orange on April 24, 1533. In his day, he was widely known as William the Silent, so
much so that William Shakespear wrote a play by the same name though [FONT=TimesNewRoman,Italic]William the Silent [/FONT]dealt
mostly with the exploits of Earl of Leicester, a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, and his campaign
against the Spanish in the Netherlands. In Tudor England, a writer could not live long unless he was
on the Queen’s good side.
The Prince of Orange came from the castle of Dillenburg in Nassau, in present day Germany.
He was the eldest son of the Count of Nassau and Juliana of Stolberg-Werningerode. Unlike many
across the mostly Catholic low countries, William was raised a Lutheran. By principle, this made
him a target in the eyes of the Holy Inquisition. William’s rise to power started in 1544, when his
cousin, the former Prince of Orange died without an heir. William inherited his cousin’s title and
vast estates throughout the Netherlands. Because of his young age, Charles V (both King of Spain
and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire) served as regent until his was fit to rule.
In order for the Lutheran to gain his rightful lands from his regent, he had no choice but to
study beneath Mary of Hungary in Brussels. Charles V insisted that William receive a Catholic
The Greatest being,

3 of course, the Queen of England.

education. In Brussels, he was taught foreign languages, such as Spanish, and received military and

diplomatic education. On July 6, 1551, William married his first wife, Anna of Egmont, a wealthy
heiress of her father’s lands and title.
In the same year of his marriage, William was appointed captain in the cavalry. Despite the
taint of Lutheranism that would haunt him during Phillip II’s reign, William rapidly grew into
Charles V’s favor, and became commander of one of the Emperor’s armies by the age of twenty-two.
Both marital education and experience in the Holy Roman Empire would serve William well in his
future struggle for Dutch Independence. When Charles abdicated, it was on William’s shoulder the
former Emperor leaned as he stepped down in favor for his son, Phillip. When standing there,
watching his father abdicate, did Phillip know then man by his side would one day become Spain’s
second greatest enemy of the Sixteenth Century3?
Phillip II’s relations with William remained positive in William’s early years. It was Phillip
who appointed William as Stadtholder of Holland, and thus greatly increased his political power.
The year before, tragedy struck his life. His first wife died on March 24, 1558. Though a personal
tragedy, the death of Anna permitted William to take another wife, and sire more children, one of
which would be the founder of a dynasty.
William, brought up a Lutheran and given a Catholic education was a strong proponent of
religious freedom. Like those to follow, he believed that one’s religion was a private matter. In deed,
he was very dissatisfied by the growing persecution of Protestants throughout his provinces.
Ironically, the persecution angered the Catholic population more so than the intended targets. Those
who were assumed to be loyal to Spain grew in opposition to foreign rule.
On August 25, 1561, William married for a second time, this time to an ill-tempered woman
known as Anna of Saxony. It is generally believed that William married Anna to increase his power
and gain influence over the German states of Saxony and Hesse. William did gain more power, but
more importantly, the Netherlands gained one of their greatest leaders when Anna gave birth to their
first son, Maurice.
During the Blood Council, William was one of the thousands summoned to stand in
judgement before the Iron Duke. He failed to show, and was subsequently declared an outlaw, his
lands seized immediately afterward. As a popular leader in the Staaten-General, William emerged
as leader to the armed rebellion against Spain. In pamphlets and letters spread across the
Netherlands, William called attention to the right of subjects to renounce their oath of obedience if
their sovereign refused to respect their rights.
William raised an army to battle the Duke of Alba, containing of mostly German
mercenaries. Contingents of his army, lead by his brothers Louis and Adolf, engaged and defeated
a Spanish army of three thousand at Heiligerlle in Groningen. The Battle of Heiligerlle marks the
start of the Forty Years War. The victory turned into a hollow one. Instead of pressing the campaign
onward, William ran short of funds and his army disintegrated. Armies raised by his allies were
handily defeated and destroyed by the Duke of Alba.
William went into hiding as soon as the initial fires of rebellion died out. He was only one
of the grandees still able to offer resistance. With his ancestral lands of Orange, in Breda, remained
under Spanish occupation, William moved his court to Delft, in Holland. Delft would remain
William’s base of operation until his death, in 1584.
On March 1, 1572, Queen Elizabeth of England ousted thousands of Dutch exiles within her
own nation. She walked a fine line in regards to Spain, and could not afford to provoke Phillip II.
Though Spain was distracted by wars against the Turks, they were still more than a match for
England’s small army. To appease Phillip, she had little option but to kick out the Gueux. The
ejection forces the beggars to return home.
Under the command of Lumey, the Gueux captured the unguarded town of Brielle. By
grabbing a toe hold in the northern Netherlands, the rebels let the Protestants populace know the time
to rebel had returned. As far as morale was concerned, Brielle turned out to be an important victory.
In reality, it was little more than a token defeat of a nonexistent occupying force. Cities across
Zeeland and Holland quickly renewed their support for the rebels. The most conspicuous absence
in support came from Amsterdam itself.
With rebellion back in swing, William of Orange came out of hiding to take command. In
July of 1572, the Staaten-General assembled in Dordrecht, and agreed to recognize William as
Governor-General of the Netherlands. It was agreed upon that William would share his new found
power with the Provinces. Sharing of power eventually metamorphosed into the separation of powers
soon to be the cornerstone of the United Provinces.
However, by declaring for the Protestants, the Gueux handed William an assortment of
problems. The minority Calvinists were bent on converting all of the Netherlands to their way of
thinking. Meanwhile, the Catholic Dutch maintained no permanent allegiance, instead wanting to
simply eject the Duke of Alba and his army of Spaniards and mercenaries. A majority of the Dutch
were reluctant to rebel at all. Though they were no fans of Spain, they still wished to live their lives
in peace and earn a decent income. By making an enemy of Spain, merchants had difficulty in
trading abroad. William was the key figure in directing the various factions to a common goal.
It is doubtful that William would have been successful if not for an outside enemy to unite
all the Dutch. Tension between Calvinists and Catholics threatened to tear apart the rebellion. No
matter how hard William tried to convince the masses he was fighting for nationalism, the fanatical
Calvinists would quickly open their collective mouths and insert their collective feet. William had
little choice but to work with the Calvinists, since they were fighting the Spanish harder than any
other Netherlander. As with much during the Forty Years War, it was not what the Dutch leaders
said, but what the Spanish did that strengthened the unity between Provinces.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Spanish Fury[/FONT]
Being unable to squash the rebellion, the Duke of Alba was replaced in 1573, by Luis of
Requesnes. Requesnes came to the Netherlands with what he considered a policy of moderation. He
would punish rebels, but cease harassment of those who would swear loyalty to the King. His policy
was poorly managed, and by the time of his death in 1576, moderation was swept from the table.
What struck William’s army years before, now struck the Spanish. In 1575, because of wars
abroad and at home, Spain declared bankruptcy. The inability to pay their army, particularly their
mercenaries, would have dire consequences for Spanish rule in the Netherlands. Mutinies followed
lack of pay, and on November 4, 1576, troops from the Spanish Tercois entered the wealthy port of
Tired of fighting numerically superior rebels without their salary, the mercenaries decided
to ‘pay themselves’ by looting Antwerp. The out-of-control army indulged in a wave of violence that
claimed some eight thousand lives and untold quantities of lost property. For three days, the
mercenaries pillaged, plundered and looted anything not nailed down. For locals, the Sack of
Antwerp became a reference point in their lives. Antwerpers soon began to refer to events in their
lives as ‘before the sacking’ or after it.
Instead of crushing the rebellion, the mutinous army managed to turn even the harshest critics
of the rebellion into its most adherent followers. The most reluctant of Dutch took up arms and
pledged to fight together against the Spanish. Those provinces and cities still loyal to Spain were
quickly alienated by the carnage seen at Antwerp and joined the rest of the Netherlands in open
rebellion. In one single act of greed and brutality, the modern Dutch state was born.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Pacification of Ghent[/FONT]
Following the Spanish Fury, the Provinces of the Netherlands negotiated an internal treaty,
in which all Dutch put aside their religious difference to combat the foreigners who so ravished their
lands. William of Orange was instrumental in forming the alliance, and more importantly, of finally
pushing the religious question out of public domain. The declaration was also the first major
expression of Dutch national self-consciousness.
To make this work, William allied himself with the most powerful of southern nobles, the
Duke of Aerschott. Aerschott himself was no fan of William, and was opposed to the rebellion up
until the Sacking of Antwerp. What he wanted more than to see William’s downfall, was the
restoration of the old privileges and his rights, both revoked by Phillip of Spain. In order to achieve
his goals, he teamed up with William. William’s ultimate ambition, a United Netherlands strong
enough to resist Spanish domain, was nearing a reality.
The Pacification of Ghent, aside from making religious tolerance law, also called for the
expulsion of all Spanish armed forces and restoration of local and provincial prerogatives. If Phillip
II did not take a simple petition well, such a bold declaration infuriated him. Who were these Dutch
upstarts, to make demands of their anointed king? Answering the only way he knew how, with a
heavy hand, he sent Alessandro Farnes, the Duke of Parma, to crush these traitors. The Duke of
Parma was appointed Governor-General, the same title held by the Prince of Orange. Clearly the
Netherlands were not large enough for the both of them. Aided by a shipment of bullion just arrived
from the New World, the Duke of Parma formed his army and set out to destroy the Dutch rebellion
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Oath of Abjuration[/FONT]
In Sixteenth Century Europe, it was not conceivable that a country could be governed by
anyone other than high nobility, if not a king, so the Staaten-General sought out a suitable
replacement for their current ‘king’ Phillip of Spain. They first courted Elizabeth of England, but in
1581, she was in no position to displace Phillip II. Spain still eyed England, and would jump at the
slightest provocation to invade the island nation and destroy it Protestant institutions. Thus,
Elizabeth rejected the offer of protectorship.
With one rejection on its list, the Staaten-General turned to Elizabeth’s one-time suitor, the
Duke of Anjou. The younger brother to the French King accepted the offer, under one condition; the
Netherlands must denounce any loyalty to Phillip II. In 1581, the Oath of Abjuration was issued, in
which the Netherlands proclaimed the King of Spain did not uphold his responsibilities to the Dutch
population and thus no longer accepted as their rightful ruler. In other words, on July 22, 1851, the
Provinces declared independence.
Anjou did not stay long in the Netherlands. He was, naturally for a French noble, deeply
disturbed by the limited influence and power the Staaten-General was willing to grant him. The
French were accustomed to rule by edict, and in a sense were little different from Spanish. Both
believed strongly that their right to rule was divine, and that God anointed them ruler over all their
subjects and their lives. After some attempt to increase his power via a coup, the Duke of Anjou was
rapidly ridden out of the Netherlands, losing any chance of ever being King.
A third, and obvious choice presented itself. Many of his followers and allies suggest that
William himself take up the crown of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. William considered
the offer, but put it on hold for the time being. The alliance between provinces was shaky at best, and
William’s opponents might use it as a chance to move against him. He could ill afford to have the
rebellion turn in on itself.
After Spain was defeated? William was unsure even then. If he became King, how many of
the Provinces would follow him? Catholic nobles were suspicious since he was born a Lutheran.
Protestant nobles were suspicious because he obtained a Catholic education. Lastly, the Calvinists
were suspicious because he himself was not one of them. Though he was not King, he was still seen
as head of the rebellion. As such, the King of Spain placed a bounty on his head, one that many were
intent on collecting.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Fall of Antwerp[/FONT]
By 1584, the King of Spain was through playing games with the rebels. He called upon the
Duke of Parma to restore ‘peace and orthodoxy’ to his Netherlands. Parma met various Dutch militia
in battle after battle, defeating the untrained men with ease. In the first half of the 1580s, Parma tried
to force William into a decisive battle, where he could tear out the heart of the rebellion. IN July of
1584, Parma led his army to encircle the focal point of resistance, Antwerp.
Less than a decade earlier, Antwerp faced the wrath of mutinous Spaniards. Thousands of
Dutch were slaughtered in the ensuing sacking, and hundreds of houses put to the torch. At the time,
Antwerp was not only the largest Dutch city, but also the financial, cultural and economic center of
Sixteenth Century Netherlands. Its trade even eclipsed Amsterdam, granary of the north.
Parma’s first act was the construction of a bridge across the Scheldt River, to isolate Antwerp
from the growing Dutch Navy. After the Spanish Fury, rebels flocked to Antwerp, transforming it
into the capital of the Dutch rebellion. By taking the city, Parma hoped to break the will of the rebels
and force them back into the Spanish fold. After a year long siege, the city surrendered.
After the siege, Parma kept the bridge across Scheldt in place, blocking all traffic and trade
to the port. Protestants were forced to leave town before the fall, to keep ahead of the Inquisition.
They were not the only ones to leave. Tens of thousands fled northward, reducing Antwerp’s
population from nearly one hundred thousand down to forty thousands. What was the golden century

of Antwerp came to an end on August 17, 1585.


William continued his struggle, now with a twenty-five thousand crown reward on him. In

what was to be his last year, William married for a fourth and final time, this time to Louise of
Coligny, a Huguenot. She bore him one child, Frederick Henry, future king. William, himself, given
up the idea of becoming king. He had enough trouble already. The Duke of Parma’s campaign
threatened to break his alliance. Many Catholic communities, seeing Spain back on the rise, wavered
in their loyalty. Wavered, but did not break. Too many times the Spanish broke the Dutch Catholic’s
hearts, and they were not about to trust them again.
William’s demise came from the hand of Balthasar Gerard. When William was declared an
outlaw, back in 1581, Gerard decided to travel to the Netherlands and collect on the bounty. He
served in the army of Luxembourg for two years, hoping to get close enough to take a shot at
William. Alas, the two armies never joined, and in 1584, Gerard left the army. He presented the
Duke of Parma his plans, but the Duke was hardly impressed, but permitted the would-be assassin
to go ahead.
In May of 1584, Gerard presented himself to William as a French Nobleman, and presented
him with the seal of the Count of Mansfelt. This seal would permit forgeries of messages of
Mansfelt. William sent Gerard back to France, to pass the seal to his French allies. Gerard returned
in July, having bought pistols on his return voyage. On July 10, he made an appointment to meet
William in his residence, in Delft.
What happened next altered the course of Dutch history, and is, in fact the first recorded
assassination of a head of state by a fire arm. It would not be the last. Gerard shot William in the
chest at close range and fled. According to official reports, Williams last words were said to be “My
God, have pity on my soul; my God, have pity on this poor people”. The assassin failed to flee Delft
before his apprehension and imprisoned. His fate was the same as to befall anyone who committed

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Earl of Leicester[/FONT]

By 1585, the Staaten-General signed the Treaty of Nonsuch with England. As per the treaty,

Elizabeth I sent an army numbering six thousand to do battle with the Spanish. She found appeasing
Phillip II now impossible, and decided it best to beat him over there than in her own backyard.
Leading the English Army was Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. Long since a favorite of the
Queen, and rumored to be her lover at one point, Leicester remains a controversial character in Dutch
history. It was not the first time Leicester was the center of controversy; years earlier, his wife was
found dead at the bottom of a stair case. Though the death was ruled accidental, his closeness to the
Queen, and the vacant Kingship, made her death more than a little convenient. He spent the
following years laying low and out of sight.
Leicester was offered the Governor-Generalship, though he could not rule with a free hand.
His Queen forbade him from making any agreements with Spain without her consent. Further more,
he did not share the secular values laid down by the Pacification of Ghent. He immediately sided
with the Calvinists, drawing distrust from everyone else. He also butted heads with Stadtholders and
nobles across the Netherlands when he tried to strengthen his own power by robbing the Provinces
of theirs. He was not the first to make this error, but he would be the last.
Leicester proved to be a poor commander, hardly worthy of a staring role in [FONT=TimesNewRoman,Italic]William the[/FONT]
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Italic]Silent[/FONT]. Nor did he understand the delicate balance between trade and war. The Dutch, by 1586, were
fully committed to independence, however this was by no means an abandonment of commerce.
Within a year of his arrival, the Earl of Leicester lost the support of the Staaten-General and
population at large. He returned to England, after which the Staaten-General was unable to find any
other suitable regent. This was not the way either government envisioned an Anglo-Dutch Alliance
to begin.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Spanish Armada[/FONT]

The turning point in the Forty Years War came in August of 1588. Under the command of

the notorious privateer, Sir Francis Drake, a fleet of English and Dutch ships defeated the Spanish
Armada at the Battle of Gravelines. Finally tired of the resistance offered by the Protestant Queen
of England, Phillip II assembled a vast armada, consuming most of Spain’s treasury, for an invasion
of the island nation.
At the command of twenty-two warships and one hundred eight converted transports, the
King appointed the Duke of Medina-Sidonia. He was to sail to the Netherlands and ferry the Duke
of Parma’s army across the sea. Twenty thousand Spanish and mercenary soldiers awaited the
Armada at Dunkirk. In May, Medina-Sidonia set sail from Lisbon on what he expected to be an easy
conquest. After all, the English Army was pathetic in comparison to Spain’s.
Following a running fight, and a night attack by fireships in July, Medina-Sidonia was forced
to take the Armada into port. He chose Gravelines in Flanders as a base to reform his scattered fleet.
Its proximity to the English coast made it as good a spot as any to embark Parma’s army. Parma was
taken by surprise by the Armada’s choice of ports, and required six days to bring his troops up for
Those six days gave England enough room to maneuver. In that time, Drake learned more
of the Armada’s strengths and weaknesses through a series of skirmished in the Channel. What they
learned gave Drake the edge. Spanish guns were very unwieldy and their crews poorly trained, a far
cry from the Royal Navy. Spain preferred to board enemy ships and fight them hand-to-hand. In this
way, Spain held the upper hand.
Drake was not about to allow the Spanish to close in for boarding. His own strengths lay in
cannon fire. On August 8, Drake lead the fleet of English and Dutch vessels into battle. With its
superior maneuverability, the English provoked the Spanish into firing while they stayed out of
range. Once the Armada expended their heavy shot, Drake moved in for the kill, firing repeated
broadsides into the enemy ships. Though only eleven of the Spanish ships were sunk or crippled,
Drake cancelled the Armada’s plans to embark Parma’s army. Medina-Sidonia left port and set sail
towards home. Both English and Dutch ships hounded the Armada across the North Sea, but in the
end, rough seas and not rough marines destroyed the Armada. Upon returning to Spain, it is reported
the Phillip II responded by saying ‘I sent my ships to fight against the English, not against the

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Maurice of Orange[/FONT]

In looking for a new commander for the rebellion, by 1587, the

Staaten-General turned to twenty year old Maurice of Orange. Born on
November 14, 1567, to William’s second wife, Maurice inherited his
father’s leadership abilities, though not his serial monogamy. Maurice
never married, though he did father two illegitimate children. At the age
of sixteen, when his father was gunned down, Maurice inherited his
titles and lands (though the latter were still occupied).
The borders of the United Provinces are largely defined by the
campaigns of Maurice. Was it his genius that lead the Dutch nation to
independence or fiscal burdens placed on Spain by the loss of its naval
investments? What can be said is, that it was Maurice who organized
the rebellion against Spain into a coherent and successful revolution. In
the early 1590s, Maurice lead the rebel army to victory in sieges against
Breda, Steenwijk and Geertruidenberg.
Following campaigns chased the demoralized Spanish army across much of the Netherlands,
driving them from Groningen, Holland, Zeeland and Friesland by 1595. Spain experienced setbacks
before in the Dutch revolt, and figured this would be no different. Sooner or later, the Provinces
would bicker and divide themselves, where the Spanish could move in and reassert itself. This grand
illusion was forever shattered in 1600, at a town called Nieuwpoort.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Battle of Nieuwpoort[/FONT]

On July 2, 1600, Maurice of Orange met the Spanish Army, commanded by the Archduke of Austria,

near the city of Nieuwpoort. By mid-June, Maurice managed to raise an army of over ten thousand
men. Again the Spanish army faced mutiny, one that made it impossible for a relief army to be raised
by the Archduke. The only way to keep the army together was the promise of free plunder. The
workings of a second Spanish Fury were on the drawing board.
The desire of freedom outweighed greed, and in the end, Maurice managed to drive the
Spanish from the field of
battle, a rare feat in the
Sixteenth Century, but
soon to become all too
common during the
Seventeenth. Dutch lines
of communication were
stretched to vulnerable
limits, forcing Maurice to
withdraw as well.
Spanish strength along
the Dutch coast was
sapped by the battle,
paving the way for a
future campaign against
Dunkirker pirates.
Following the
battle, the Dutch were
finally able to dismantle the bridge Spain built fifteen years earlier to block Antwerp trade.
Nieuwpoort offered another turning point in the war. Never again could Spain threaten the northern
Provinces. Further more, Spain’s stranglehold on the south was now in danger. Maurice portrayed
the next nine years as a campaign to liberate all the Netherlands from Spanish hands. In truth, the
northern Provinces view eliminating threats to trade as a notch above freeing their own brethren, and
nearly forced Maurice to halt his campaign, five years later.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Dunkirkers[/FONT]

Pirate nests plagued Dutch trade all through the Forty Years War. Instead of destroying the

pirates, as was the Spanish King’s responsibility to the Netherlands, he encouraged it. Such actions
were understandable [FONT=TimesNewRoman,Italic]after [/FONT]the Oath of Abjuration, but not before. Since the defeat of the Spanish
Armada, the Dutch navy grew from a gaggle of converted merchant ships into a force that rivaled
any on the sea. Even England’s Royal Navy was second to that of the Netherlands. Pirates on the
open seas were little threat to the Dutch Navy, were they would meet untimely ends very quickly.
In order to root out the pirates, the army must march on Dunkirk and its surrounding regions
to burn out the nests. In 1606, that was precisely what Maurice set out to do. With an army of eleven
thousand men, Maurice attempted to force the pirates into battle on the field. Instead, most fled from
the sight of a large army descending upon them. Maurice sent detachments to hunt down the pirates,
and set into motion of literally smoking them out. Each pirate den his army stumbled upon was put
to the torch, and each pirate found mercilessly cut down. By October of 1606, the Dunkirker threat
was destroyed, and the southern Netherlands free for commerce to once again thrive.


Out of all the Provinces, only Liege maintained loyalty to Spain. Despite the Spanish Fury,

the Bishopric could not bring itself to turn on who they saw as Defender of the Faith. Its location
right smack in the middle of the southern Provinces, Liege could not be bypassed or ignored.
Luxembourg alone was completely cut off from the rest of the Netherlands by Liege.
In 1608, Maurice already had the bulk of the remaining Spanish army bottled up under siege
in the city of Brussels, former capital of the Spanish Netherlands. The Staaten-General was not
content with having a huge hole in its new nation. While the Siege of Brussels was nearing its final
days, the Staaten-General ordered Maurice to deal with Liege. Against his better judgement, Maurice
divided his forces, and lead seven thousand infantry and cavalry into the Bishopric of Liege.
He did not fear Papal retribution. The fact that the Netherlands was already home to many
Protestants made them suspect. His only real concern was that the Spanish commander in Brussels
might rally his forces and break out. If they did, and linked up with the Spanish army assembling
near Mons, they could threaten all the southern Provinces. By now, the King of Spain knew keeping
all the Netherlands under his thumb was all but impossible. Instead, he was forced to focus on the
Catholic region, hoping it would stay true to the faith. This goes to show how little Spain understood
the revolution. Religion was never the top concern (with the possible exception of the Calvinists),
but the right of the people to decide their own fate.
The Bishop of Liege failed to muster any army worthy of the name. When Maurice arrived
in Liege, the Bishop commanded barely one thousand men, most of them mercenaries. He knew the
sell-swords would not fight to defend the church. When the battle turned against them, they might
very well run. Though Liege stayed loyal to Spain after ‘the fury’, they lost any trust for mercenaries.
The Bishop knew any battle would end in defeat, and loss of power.
Instead of fighting, the Bishop decided to cut a deal with Maurice and the Staaten-General.
Under the white flag of truce, the two met between the lines of armies. It was here, that the Bishop
saw just how puny his own force was in comparison. The Bishop agreed to join the United Provinces
under one condition; he would stay in power. Maurice could not agree to this, for the Staaten-
General was a forum where faith did not belong. His father dedicated his life to the very concept of
freedom of religion.
The Bishop could not stomach being part of such a ‘godless’ state, but he could not fight
either. Martyrdom did not appeal much to him, the Bishop thought he would be more use to God
alive, and leading his flock. In the end, with much convincing to the Staaten-General, Maurice
managed to strike a compromise. Liege would become part of the United Provinces, and the Bishop
would stay in power, but only as spiritual leader. For the interim, Maurice would select a regent to
rule as secular ruler. It was not until the end of the Forty Years War would Liege’s government be

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Surrender at Mons[/FONT]

Much to Maurice’s fears, some of the defenders of Brussels managed to escape the siege and

link up with remaining forces massing at Mons. By the end of 1608, Brussels had little choice but
to surrender. Some of the Spanish soldiers cast off their uniforms, deserted and simply merged with
the crowds. There was no love for Spain in Brussels, and many deserters were turned in by locals.
In response to their actions, Dutch authorities tired them as spies, and hung more than one.
With Brussels secure and Liege now conforming to Staaten-General, Maurice of Orange had
only the enemy ahead. The last bastion of Spanish authority within the Netherlands lay in the city
of Mons. Ironically, the last battle of the Forty Years War was fought upon what is now French

Though in personal union, both nations g
4 overned their colonies separately.

territory. At the time, it lay within the reaches of the low countries, and would eventually be ceded

to the French in the Eighteenth Century.
The Duke of Parma assembled his army outside of Mons. He considered holing up in the city,
but unlike Brussels, he knew no reinforcements were waiting. To the Duke there was great honor in
dying in the field of battle, but none to be gain by starving to death. His six thousand soldiers faced
Maurice and some ten thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry. Parma was badly outnumbered,
but he still would fight the battle on his terms. He would utilize what cavalry and artillery remained
in hopes of punching a hole in Maurice’s lines.
The Prince of Orange outgunned Parma as well as outnumbered. He would not give Parma
the opportunity to turn his few remaining guns upon Dutch forces. Shortly after seizing a modest hill
near the battlefield, Maurice ordered all his guns to open fire on the enemy, who had yet to organize
into lines. The hour long bombardment disrupted the Spanish forces, driving some of the less reliable
men and units to desert the field. Parma quickly ordered his own men to cut down any who retreated
without his command.
Parma still hoped to rally his army into one glorious charge, but Maurice would not have it.
He was not about to lose, not this close to victory. Shortly after the guns fell silent, Dutch heavy
cavalry charged forward, catching the disorganized Spanish forces and scattering them. Behind the
horsemen, thousand of soldiers marched forward, mopping up any and all Spanish pockets of
resistance remaining. The excellent execution of this early combined-arms assault rolled up the last
Spanish presence in less than an hour.
Mortally wounded during the fighting, the Duke of Parma had little choice but to parley. He
sent his emissaries under the flag of truce to meet with Maurice. Over two thousand Spaniards died
that day, but the survivors were surprised by Maurice’s leniency. Like all Dutch, he wanted the
Spanish gone more than anything else. The enemy were disarmed and escorted to Dunkirk. Here they
were herded on board ships and sent home. Their arrival in Seville was a message to the Spanish
King, a message declaring it was time to negotiate. For all intent purpose, the war at home was over.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Victory Abroad[/FONT]

In the middle of the Sixteenth Century, Phillip inherited the throne of Portugal. Both nations

were soon brought into personal union, and the King wasted no time in using Portuguese resources.
Their army left something to desire, but their navy, and their trade routes to the east, added to Spain’s
power4. By a technicality in the Treaty of Tordelles, Portugal laid claim to a large stretch of eastern
South America, Brazil. It was a land, that by 1600, the Dutch decided to take for themselves.
By the Seventeen Century, sugar was all the rage in Europe. The Portuguese turned vast
swaths of Brazil into sugarcane fields, bringing them nearly as much wealth as the gold sent to Spain.
A variety of food and luxury crops were grown in the wide expanses of Brazil, a colony many times
larger than the United Provinces. The Dutch population grew over the past century, forcing them to
rely upon importation of food to prevent famine. Brazil offered more than enough land for the Dutch
to farm, plus it would remove any dependancy on importation of grain from foreign states.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Ernst van Bohr[/FONT]

Born in 1561, little is known about one of the Netherlands’ most famous admirals. Bohr

found himself a sailor by the age of sixteen. In 1588, he commanded one of the Dutch ships during
the engagement with the Spanish Armada. During the battle, Bohr earned the reputation as a reckless
leader, willing to throw himself into the line of fire to obtain victory. Unlike many Dutch, Bohr had
little interest in business. He lacked the patience to gradually earn wealth, and preferred the glories
of conquest over the subtleties of trade.
By 1602, Bohr rose to the rank of Admiral, commanding 18 ships, led a raid on Aviliz, on
the Spanish mainland. For twelve days, his sailors and marines occupied the Spanish port. Bohr
resupplied his fleet courtesy of the Spanish, and looted both silver and gold before abandoning the
city. The Netherlands were interested in freedom, not overthrowing the Habsburgs. Whomever
headed the United Provinces would have their hands full trying to govern the Provinces, much less
occupied territories that have no desire to be ruled by the Dutch.
Bohr’s biggest acclaim to fame was as Conqueror of Brazil. In 1604, he landed eighteen
hundred men in the Brazilian port of Salvador. No resistance to speak of was offered, and the only
combat within the town came from a lone colonist mistaking patrolling Dutch for game. After
assembling his force in Salvador, Bohr threw off his admiral’s hat and took up the mantle of general.
He lead his small army towards Recife, to battle the Portuguese garrison stationed there.
The Battle of Recife, future capital of Brazil, occurred on May 8, 1604. Bohr now lead only
one thousand men. Five hundred were left to hold Salvador, while nearly three hundred already
succumbed to tropical disease. Portugal mustered only a few hundred colonial militia to combat a
vastly larger invasion fort. Bohr’s five cannon helped decide the outcome before the battle even
began. Militia charged into a volley of fire, falling before they could come into range of sword and
Bohr wasted no time in fortifying his new conquests. Months passed before word of the fall
of Recife reached the Iberian Peninsula. Spain could spare little in combating the Dutch in distant
Brazil. However, they were deeply concerned that the Dutch would not be satisfied with Brazil. They
might very well make a grab at Mexico or Peru, both rich in gold and silver. Fear of losing their
bullion supply was the primary motivating factor in the King’s decisions to engage the Dutch across
the Atlantic. A small armada of thirty-one ships and three thousand men were assembled in Seville,
with the explicit goal of eliminating Ernst van Bohr. In early 1605, the Spanish and Portuguese set
sail for Brazil, meeting the Dutch fleet off the coast of Natal.
Unlike the much larger battle with the Spanish Armada, the Battle of Natal ended far more
decisively. Twenty-seven Dutch ships encountered thirty-one ships early in the morning of March
15, 1605. After a two day battle, the Dutch all but destroyed the combined fleet. Bohr proved once
again a master admiral, while the Spanish and Portuguese failed to achieve any cohesion. Using one
of the oldest strategies in the book,
Bohr managed to divide the enemy
fleet, and destroy it a few ships at a
time. In the end, the only reason any
Spanish ships escaped was due to
exhaustion of ammunition and
powder on the Dutch side. For his
actions, the Staaten-General awarded
Bohr land in Brazil, and the title
Count of Natal.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Battle of Cape Verde[/FONT]

When the Dutch began their

rebellion, their could scarcely hope to
gain their freedom from the masters
of Europe. By 1608, not only was that goal inevitable, but the Dutch were on their way to empire.
The biggest losers of the Forty Years War were not the Spanish, but rather Portugal. September 15,
1608, sounded the death nail of the Portuguese Empire. What remained of the Portuguese Navy,
twiddled down by attrition by the Dutch across the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, were ambushed
twelve kilometers southwest of Cape Verde.
The Count of Natal, Grand Admiral of the Netherlands, led his battle hardened fleet in an
attack against the Portuguese remnants. Natal divided his fleet into three sections, each crossing the
‘T’ at the appropriate time. After the first cross, Portugal’s ships scattered, and became easy pickings
for the Dutch. Had the Portuguese Navy held formation, it would likely have fought its way through
the battle and managed to reach home. As it happened, the ships were sunk to the last, guaranteeing
Portugal’s colonies would sit on the negotiating table.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Treaty of Calais[/FONT]

In mid 1609, the belligerent parties of Spain, the Netherlands and England, along with

observers for Portugal, met in the town of Calais. After surrendering at Mons, two months earlier,
a general armistice was agreed upon. Spain lost too much in retaining such a small piece of territory.
Portugal lost far more, and they were not even the Dutch’s real enemy. Spain had the option of
continuing the war, but after Mons, there was no real hope at victory. The Dutch Navy was too
powerful, and any attempt to land would be disastrous. Overland routes were off the table, for France
was at war with Spain as well.
The first order of business was decided by the end of the first day; Spain would recognize
Dutch Independence. That much was never in doubt. What came into doubt was the future of
colonial possessions. The Dutch had no interest in Spain’s holding, but demanded Portugal surrender
all of its remaining colonies and trading posts to the United Provinces. Fleets in the Indian Ocean
either captured or destroyed posts along the African coast, conquered Ceylon and virtually drove the
Portuguese out of India.
Brazil was already home to hundreds of Dutch colonists looking for new opportunities, along
with the new Count of Natal. Portugal resisted the idea, but Spain gave them no say in the decision.
If they did not cede their colonial possessions, the Dutch would continue the war and leave Portugal
in ruins. Some in Portugal dreamed about putting a native king back on the throne, and losing their
empire would only strengthen Spain’s position.
Spain was already looking forward to political unification of Iberia, and surmised it could
take back Brazil at a later date. For now, it must rest and recuperate. In return for Portugal’s colonies,
the Dutch agreed not to interfere with Spanish shipping, and would allow what would now days be
called ‘favored trade status’ with Spain, by lowering tariffs on Spanish goods. Considering the
amount of wealth that would flow out of the East Indies and Brazil, the United Provinces could
afford to wave a few import fees.
Spain was forced to give up one of its possessions, however, to England. In 1604, the English
managed to capture Manilla and its harbor. Once entrenched in the Philippines, England decided they
would not give it up. Manilla offered an excellent harbor from which to center English trade in the
Far East. England gobbled up many Portuguese trading posts in West Africa, along with their slave
trade. Portugal’s final indignity came with the dismantling of its colonial companies, and end of its
commercial enterprise. As far as Portugal was concerned, whether the war continued or ended, they
were lost.
The Treaty was finalized by November, and signed by all parties. The Staaten-General
ratified to treaty only after an hour’s worth of debate, when all sides praised the treaty. On November
17, 1609, the United Provinces of the Netherlands were officially born. With the war against Spain
over, the real challenge began; governing diverse provinces, and just what to do with all the colonial

spoils of war.
And here are the United Provinces of the Netherlands at the time of Independence. I still have a bit of touching up to do on this map. :D

1609 United Provinces of the Netherlands.png
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold][FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]III) The United Province of the Netherlands[/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Dutch State: Kingdom or Republic?[/FONT]
By the start of 1610, the Staaten-General faced its first post-war crisis; just what sort of
government would govern the United Provinces. Many opted for the more traditional approach,
declaring that no nation could exist without a King. The idea of a kingless state was not unheard of;
many of the mercantile republics of Italy, such as Venice and Genoa, did find without any king. In
fact, the Netherlands won their independence without any sort of monarch, or singular Head of State.
Many in the Protestant north called for the United Provinces to be a republic, governed by the
Staaten-General itself.
It was a sound plan, and the perfect way to preserve provincial rights1. However, those same
rights threatened to tear the newly freed nation apart. Some sought such a loose confederation, that
a neighboring province was not even obliged to help another if that one was invaded. The thought
of a kingdom without a king did not set well with the Catholic south. They opened up the case once
again for kingship, and sought out suitable candidates across Europe.
A foreign king was enough to repel most Provinces from the idea. One too many foreigners
ruled the Netherlands. In the end, the Staaten-General did something unprecedented in most
European nations. They voted on the matter. Seven Provinces were for Republicanism, seven were
for Monarchy, while three abstained from voting. Liege was holding out for which side would
respect the Bishop’s position, while Limburg and Brabant remained undecided.
They could be brought to vote for Monarchy, but not for a foreign king. If one would assume
the as-of-yet unbuilt throne, he must be through-and-through Dutch. All voters knew the issue must
be settled quickly. With Spain out of the Netherlands, there was no longer an outside force holding
the Provinces together. Without a common goal, the Netherlands would splinter and decay into civil
war. The Duke of Brabant stood up before the Staaten-General at the height of the crisis, and
declared that the Provinces needed a symbol of unity, and only a king could bring that. Who would
be king, his fellow nobles asked. ‘Would you pick James of England and Scotland?’ ‘Or perhaps the
Prince of Hesse?’ ‘Maybe the Tsar of Russia?’ ‘Or just maybe you want the crown for yourself.’ In
his heart, the Duke might have been tempted, but he stood before the jeers and spoke. “Not I. There
is only one man I can think of who all of the Provinces would stand behind.’
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]King Maurice I[/FONT]
The classic definition of compromise; a decision that nobody likes, but everyone could live
with, though Maurice of Orange did not fully fall into this category. He had his supporters in the
Staaten-General, as well as his opponents. One of those opponents was in fact, the Duke of Brabant.
Why did the Duke nominate a rival? For starters, he knew all the Dutch would never accept himself
as king. Maurice was popular with the people. He was the one leader that the Dutch press claimed
single-handedly drove the Spanish from the Netherlands.
His opponents agreed to make Maurice king simply because Maurice did not want the job.
His apparent lack of ambition sat well with Provinces looking to preserve their rights. Maurice
would be king, but a constitutional one, answerable before the Dutch parliament. In most ways, he
would have even less power than the King of England, James I. However, the nobles did not take
Maurice’s wishes into account. Had his father lived long enough, the assembly would have insisted
William become king. As their heir to his lands and titles, not to mention his legacy in creating a free
Netherlands, Maurice was the natural choice.
At first, like his father, Maurice refused the offer. Commanding a combined Dutch army,
with the Spanish breathing down their necks, was hard enough. Ruling an entire nation of Dutch,
each with their own opinion, and without outside threats, struck him as an impossible task.
Throughout the year 1610, the United Provinces remained without a king, a grew increasingly
divided. Hollanders wondered why they should listen to Luxembourgers. Zeelanders refused to speak
with Flanders. And the Calvinist were lighting fires under everyone who was not a Calvinist.
By 1611, seeing the disunity of the nation he fought so hard to create, Maurice relented and
accepted the crown. Though the United Provinces would have a secular government, it was the
Bishop of Liege who crowned Maurice on March 14, 1611. When asked by what name he would be
known, Maurice contemplated taking up the name of his father. In a sense, William the Silent is the
patron saint of the Dutch state, and Maurice decided he was not worry of the name William I.
The Coronation was an attempt by one of Maurice’s enemies to curry favor with the new
king. And true to his word, Maurice never interfered in the spiritual affairs of Liege or its Bishop.
Maurice was crowned Maurice I, King of the United Provinces of the Netherlands before he had a
palace from where to reign, or the country as a whole even had a permanent capital.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Capital[/FONT]
Much debate raged about where the Staaten-General should convene. Naturally, each
Province decided it was the best place to from where to manage affairs of state. The Staaten-General
failed to agree upon anything, how could they possibly decide which Province would have the honor
of hosting them. Some called for a rotational schedule, each year the assembly would meet in a new
Province. The cost of shipping the government from city to city exceeded the noble’s plans.
As his first act as king, Maurice I was asked to decide where the assembly should met. After
all, he was king, and would preside over the Staaten-General, and how could he be expected to lead
a nation if he could not decide from where to lead. Amsterdam was his first choice, given the
importance of the trading center, especially after the damage sustained to Antwerp. Maurice struck
down the idea quickly, not wanting to give too much power to the city.
Throughout 1611, he sent commissions to various cities across the Provinces. They would
scout the city, determine its suitability to house a growing governing bureaucracy. Several cities were
on his first list, and systematically Maurice crossed each one off his list. After months of
investigation and study, Maurice settled upon a town just north of Delft, his own home. The new
capital of the United Provinces. By 1618, all the institutions of government would move into its new
home in the Hague. The Hague turned out to be an agreeable location, a place the Staaten-General
convened many times, dating back to 1584.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The New Staaten-General[/FONT]
In 1612, the Staaten-General itself received an overhaul. Established during the Fifteenth
Century, the Staaten-General was supposedly a tricameral establishment. After the Pacification of
Ghent, the clergy lost all its political power, though its chamber continued to exist despite
secularism. Clergy combined with nobility easily outvoted the Third Estate, despite the fact the
former represented about one percent of the population.
Even after the United Provinces became a Monarchy, Republicanism would not die. In
various parts of the Provinces, the people took it upon themselves to elect mayors, militias elected
commanders, and even Maurice was elected, same as his father before. The concept of democracy
terrified the Stadtholders. The very idea of the ‘ignorant masses’ having their say on subjects beyond
their comprehension was appalling.
Upon abolishing the clergy’s Estate2, the Staaten-General was reorganized into two
Chambers. The First Chamber, or to use an English term, ‘House of Lords’, would consist of the
Stadtholders and Lords of the Provinces. They would control affairs of State and the Provinces.
Declaring war, ratifying treaties, setting tarriffs and budgeting for the year, none of these the nobility
would trust to the commoners. However, what was the point in gaining freedom, if the populace
lacked self-determination. The Second Chamber, a house of the people, would consist of electorates,
whom would serve for five years, from the Provinces and cities represented within the Staaten-
General. They would decide upon laws concerning the daily lives of the people.
The first elections for the Second Chamber occurred in April of 1613. Unlike today’s
elections, these early elections ranged from bribery to drunken brawls. The average Netherlander was
hardly qualified to run for office, nor did they have the resources to compete with the merchants who
would naturally fill the niche as community leader in the Seventeenth Century United Provinces.
Out of the two hundred Chambermen, only a handful were farmers, fishermen and artisans. Thirty
lawyers and doctors grabbed seats in middle-sized cities.
The big cities, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Antwerp and so on, fell into the hands of wealthy
merchants and shareholders of overseas trading companies. Campaigning in the early days was a
rather straightforward affair, and seldom involved candidates explaining why they were the right
choice to represent the people. More often than not, those running for office would enter a pub and
buy everyone a round of beer, and reminded the constituents of their name as they down their mugs.
Most of the time, many of the merchants won by default. In the case of Rotterdam, Frederick
van Haarlem was both well known and respected, a natural born leader. The average Netherlander
looked up these merchants as living symbols of success. The wealthy merchant is considered
pinnacle of a mercantile society, a goal that every man who spoke Dutch strove. In contrast, most
merchants wanted a say in government, especially laws passed concerning tariffs and taxation.
Not every city had a clear cut leader. Amsterdam was renown for some of the most violent
election campaigns in Dutch history. Two of the largest companies in the world headquartered in
Amsterdam; the Dutch East India Company, and the South Atlantic Company. Both were formed
during the twilight days of the Forty Years War, in order to better manage the new colonies the
United Provinces would acquire.
In most elections during the Seventeenth Century, both companies expended large amounts
of capital to buy votes. In the beginning of the United Provinces, suffrage only extended to landowning
men over the age of twenty-five. If anybody attempted to buy every vote in the Twenty-first
Century, an era of universal suffrage, would bankrupt even the mighty East India Company.
Candidates competed in pubs, markets and churches for the attention of the voters. Supporters
flocked to their favorite, and the elections became so divisive that it wore away at lifelong
One of the bloodiest elections was the Election of 1628. Supporters of both East India and
South Atlantic representatives were so divided that they no longer ate at the same inns, or drank at
the same pubs. On the night of February Twenty-seventh, the two crowds spilled out into the street
at the same time. Each group spent the evening drinking in pubs on opposite sides of the street, and
by nightfall were far from sober. At first, the confrontation was nothing more that an exchange of
taunts and insults, until somebody in the South Atlantic camp fired into the opposing crowd.
More than a few Dutch were armed when near the docks in Amsterdam. It was a rough
neighborhood, prone to mugging, theft and impressment. After the initial exchange, three of the East
India supporters lay dead, and four more wounded. That did not stop the South Atlantic camp from
descending upon them with fist and foot. After beating the opposition, the South Atlantic voters
moved on to set fire to East India pubs. The confrontation soon turned to a riot, with non-voters
entering the fray, looting shops that either side already trashed. Some South Atlantic supporters even
approached East India ships, threatening the cargo. The ship’s captain called out his marines to drive
off the mob. In those days, the Dutch East India Company was not the world power it is today, but
their soldiers were well trained and many veterans of the Forty Year’s War.
The riot died down by morning, but by nightfall, enough alcohol filled the voters to ignite
the riot once again. The Count of Holland called forth his militia to put down the riot. Out of the
numerous issues dividing the Dutch; religion, class and regional pride, nobody ever expected the
election of two company’s candidates came close to sparking civil war. Holland’s own provincial
assembly passed numerous laws to control elections, including establishing of a city constabulary
for Amsterdam. Constables tripled their patrols during election time, and had authority to break up
any night-time meeting exceeding more than three persons. The law is still technically on the books,
but need for police monitoring of elections long since grew obsolete.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Dutch East India Company[/FONT]
In 1602, the Staaten-General granted a twenty-one year monopoly to the Dutch East India
Company (VOC). The VOC had its beginnings in the various trading companies during the Sixteenth
Century. At the time, a company was little more than a group of investors gathering together, pooling
resources, and funding a trading expedition to the Far East. In 1596, a group of Dutch merchants
decided to circumvent the Portuguese monopoly. A four ship expedition, lead by Cornelis de
Houtman made contact with Indonesia. On Banten, the main pepper port of western Java, the Dutch
clashed with both Portuguese and natives. Over the course of the voyage, conflict claimed nearly half
the crew, however, the expedition returned to the Netherlands with enough spices for an impressive
Normally, this would be the end. The investors would liquidate the company and take their
profits. At the time, trade routes were constantly threatened, and investors were not willing to risk
their gains by pressing their luck on another expedition. In the case of the VOC, the profit was so
much, the investors decided to not liquidate, but rather fund another, larger expedition in 1598.
Again expeditions were funded for 1599, and 1600, though eight ships were lost, the expedition
earned a four hundred percent profit for the lucky investors.
In 1603, the first Dutch trading post in Indonesia was established in Banten. By 1605, the
Portuguese were driven from the East Indies by superior Dutch firepower. Another post was
established in 1611, at Jayakarta, named Batavia after the legendary founders of the Dutch nation.
The trading post thrives and grew, fortified by 1619, and eventually transforming into the modern
day Javanese capital of Jakarta. A year earlier, the VOC established their own Governor-General to
enable firmer control of their Asian affairs.
Though the modern VOC is the most powerful and wealthiest corporation in the world, its
first incarnation’s power exceeded it. The monopoly granted to it by the Dutch government gave the
VOC the right to not only establish its own navy, but to mint its own coins, sign its own treaties and
even form its own military alliance. Over the span nearly two hundred years, up to the American
Revolution, the VOC competed, and occasionally engaged in open warfare, with the British East
India Company. Only after Chittagong fell in 1782, did the VOC dominate India. Ironically, after its
greatest victory, the VOC faced bankruptcy and an uncertain future.
In 1602, the most influential currency in the history of humanity came into existence; the
Dutch Guilder. At its inception, one Guilder divided into twenty Stuiver, which divided into eight
Duit, and again into sixteen Penning. The complex arrangement of fractions still gives accountants
nightmares. In today’s world, with decimalization virtually everywhere, it is difficult to contemplate
just what the Staaten-General and the Dutch banks were thinking when the Guilder was first
introduced. The only non-decimal system widely used is the clock, and that came out of twenty-four
was divided by twelve, six, four, three, two and one, and easily understood system that even the
Ancient Egyptians understood.
However, King Maurice was not an Egyptian, and he did not have time to waste on complex
numerical equations pertaining to financial transactions. The fractions had to go, and as his first
edict, he commanded the Staaten-General do something about it. Maurice proposed the
decimalization of currency well over a century before the metric system came into use. Instead of
twenty, eight and sixteen, the new currency would be divided into either; ten Decs, one hundred
Cens, and one thousand Mils. For the new names, the average Netherlands simply supplanted to old
name, fore example, a Dec was called a Stuiver.
An issue this big required both Chambers to vote. The First Chamber insisted currency was
the domain of the state, while the Second Chamber insisted it was the people who must suffer any
changes. The chancellor of the Second Chamber demanded that his King have the issue voted on by
both chambers. In England, if anyone from the House of Commons made demands from James I,
they likely ended up in more trouble than they dreamed possible. Maurice I might not have been
pleased by his chancellor’s tone, but he did see the legitimacy in his argument.
The nobility passed the law swiftly through the First Chamber, with only a few opposing. In
the Second Chamber, the Act of Standardization of the Guilder hit a roadblock. Both the Banks and
the Companies owned many members of the elected government. Changing from tradition
denominations into this radical decimal system would take years and cost both parties a fortune. The
banks would suffer the most. They already minted coins of carefully measured quantities of silver
and gold. TO have a Stuiver all of a sudden worth twice what it was, made no sense, neither did the
sharp drop in value of the Penning. The same chancellor who demanded the vote, also opposed it.
He was a well known for living deep in the Bank of Amsterdam’s pockets.
By April of 1613, the King forced the issue before the Second Chamber. He called for a vote,
where a simply majority of fifty percent plus one would pass the bill. He pleaded for the
representatives to vote yes, if for no other reason than a future standardization would cost far more
than on now. Three days passed in which each representative took the floor and gave his reason that
his colleagues should vote either yes or no. In the end, the yes vote won by fifteen votes, though it
would be many years before the new currency completely phased out the last.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]King Frederick I[/FONT]
On April 23, 1625, the United Provinces lost their King. Maurice’s death was sudden and
shocking, when on a horse ride early in the morning, his horse was spooked and threw him to the
ground, breaking his neck. For his day, Maurice lived a long life, and for his times, it was indeed a
very eventful one, but his death threw the United Provinces into somewhat of a constitutional crisis.
Who would succeed Maurice to the throne?
Maurice had two children, both to mistresses and both illegitimate. By law, only an offspring
born to a wife was permitted to inherit their father’s holdings. Maurice had no such heir. Some in
the Staaten-General called for the Provinces to become an elected monarchy, such as the Vatican or
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. That begged the question, who would be nominated, and by
whom. After various votes in the Second Chamber, especially the Act of Standardization, none of
the members of the First Chamber wanted a king who was owned by either the Bank of Amsterdam
or the VOC.
The search for an heir did not last long. The Staaten-General approached one of Maurice’s
still living half-brothers, Frederick Henry. Born to the fourth wife of William the Silent, about six
months before his untimely death, the younger Prince of Orange happened to be the protégée of
Maurice. Trained in arms by his older brother, Frederick Henry proved himself nearly as good a
general as his brother, commanding elements of the rebel army during the Dunkirk campaign and
again at Brussels and Mons. While in the First Chamber, he proved himself a superior politician and
statesman. Best of all, Frederick Henry was married, to Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, just months
before his brother’s death. He would provide what Maurice could not, a legitimate heir to the throne
and the start of a royal dynasty that prevails even today.
After Maurice was entombed at the family mausoleum in Delft, Frederick Henry was
crowned King Frederick I by the Bishop of Liege. What started out as a way to curry favor soon
turned into a tradition spanning the history of the United Provinces. Every monarch, with the
exception Maurice II, would be crowned by the Bishop in the cathedral at Liege.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Land Reclamation[/FONT]
One of Frederick I’s acts happens to be the one with the longest ranging consequence.
Centuries before, Hollanders, Zeelanders and various Dutch cities across the Netherlands battled
against great rivers and swamps. Over the course of decades, marshes were drained, rivers dammed
and the mighty North Sea held back. By the time of Frederick I, all the land above the sea was dry
and utilized. Frederick I decided to go farther.
The County of Holland decided to go farther than simply holding the sea back. They would
push the North Sea outwards. In the first act of land reclamation, less than a square kilometer of the
sea was blocked off by sea walls and dikes, then systematically drained. Their attempt to claim more
living space cost years worth of effort and funding. The Netherlands would grow over the centuries,
one of the few countries to literally expand its boundaries.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Thirty Years War[/FONT]
In 1618, war boiled over in the Holy Roman Empire. Protestants in the Kingdom of Bohemia,
concerned their religious rights would be revoked in the face of their new king, took up arms in
support of the Protestant contender Frederick V, elector of the Palatinate. Normally, a conflict within
the bordering, and disunited Empire would cause the Hague no grief. However, by 1636, France
invaded the Empire in its quest to destroy the Protestant Reformation. A hundred years too late to
make a difference in the spiritual future of Central Europe, all the invasion did was disrupt trade
along the Rhine River.
The United Provinces would not go to war over another nation religious turmoil, but it would
wage war to defend trade. When French, along with a contingent of Spanish mercenaries invaded
Luxembourg, and laid siege to the city, the Staaten-General declared war upon France. Frederick I,
learned much from his brother in the art of war, and broke the siege within two weeks, driving the
French across the Rhine.
Simply expelling the French was not enough to satisfy the Provinces. As long as France
remained poised along the Rhine, it would threaten inland Dutch trade. It was feared that Spain,
recovered after its defeat decades earlier, may use some of the Habsburg holdings in Germany as
springboards of invasion. In 1641, Frederick lead the Dutch army across the Rhine, attacking the
Spanish and French at their stronghold in Koln.
After three months, Frederick forces Koln to surrender. As part of the conditions of
surrender, the Spanish were expelled from Germany, and the French were forced across the Rhine.
The future king, Louis XIV would be content at the Rhine, for he would declare that same river the
natural boundary of France, and launch several invasions of the southern Provinces. The Thirty Years
War ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia. The United Provinces received no territorial gain,
but their trade along the Rhine remained secure until England passed the Act of Navigation in the
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Colonies[/FONT]
At the same time Holland was expending so much effort to capture a small piece of the sea
floor, the rest of the Dutch people spread across the globe. Colonies taken from the defunct
Portuguese Empire were immediately put to use by enterprising Netherlanders. Sugar from the New
World, spices from the Indies, and grain from North America and South Africa, were soon flooding
into ports such as Amsterdam.
All the imports were not so beneficial. With the acquisition of Brazil, and Angola, the socalled
Dutch Empire inherited one of humanity’s greatest banes; slavery. During the Seventeenth
Century, Amsterdam had the dishonor of being the biggest port of slavery in Europe. More slaver
ships were registered in the United Provinces than any other nation. The same Dutch who fought
forty years for their freedom were quick to subjugate and exploit.
In 1605, following the successful invasion of Brazil, merchants in Amsterdam formed the
Dutch South Atlantic Company. The initial goal of this company was to ship massive quantities of
sugar, white gold, into Dutch ports. In the following year, the Staaten-General granted the South
Atlantic Company a twenty-year monopoly on all trade in Brazil, along with the responsibility of
administrating the colony in Brazil and Angola.
An ocean apart, both colonies share a common thread. Though Angola was not fully
exploited until the Nineteenth Century, its people were already victim to profit-seeking companies.
The largest, and most lucrative crop in Brazil, sugar, required an enormous amount of manpower to
cultivate. Indentured servants from the Provinces, which served farms and plantations in New
Amsterdam well, did not flourish in the tropical climate. Too many would-be colonist from Northern
Europe fell victim to the Brazilian jungle.
Logic dictated that the only people who could survive
jungle climate, were jungle men. Most of the natives in
coastal Brazil were already dead, or severely depleted due to
diseases brought in from Europe. Like the Europeans had little
defense to Yellow Fever, the natives had no defense to Small
Pox. In an event that would repeat itself across the Americas,
more than half the native population would die with each
Portuguese plantations solved the problem by
importing workers from Portuguese possessions along the
western African coast. After the Treaty of Calais, the largest
producers of slaves fell into English control. In order to
expand newly established Dutch sugar, tobacco, cocoa, coffee
and later cotton, plantations, the South Atlantic Company, as
well as transporting their goods to market for a reasonable
profit, were more than happy to import labor.
Slavery made the South Atlantic Company very wealthy, and eventually lead to its downfall.
The life of a slave, began in tribal Africa. When tribes waged war, they, like the Romans, Greeks and
various ancient Mediterranean societies, would enslave the defeated foe. As such, battles tended to
be fierce, since the loser, assuming they were not lucky and killed outright, were in for a long and
painful life.
After conquest and enslavement, the victorious tribe would march their captives down to the
coast, to one of the various trading posts. Luanda served as the South Atlantic Company’s trading
hub for Angola. Thousands of slaves encountered the first day of the rest of their lives here. In
exchanged for their own brethren, the slavers would receive fabrics, iron tools, weapons and luxuries
found nowhere in southern Africa. In today’s world it is impossible to fathom trading one’s fellow
man for a simple iron hatchet.
To maximize profits, and with no consideration to their cargo, the Company crammed as
many slaves into cargo holds. Often there was just enough room for a slave to lay down. No more
than five hundred millimeters would exist between one bunk and the next. Each morning, handlers
would enter the foul holds, filled with the stench of death, and check on the cargo. Often slaves did
not survive the night. Those were unshackled and unceremoniously tossed overboard, into the
waiting jaws of shark. There was always sharks.
With the dead disposed of, the live were kept living. When a slave refused to eat, handlers
would go as far as knocking out their teeth and forcing gruel down a tube and into their stomachs.
For over a month, slaves endured the inhuman conditions. The lucky died, the rest arrived at port,
where the true suffering began. Paraded before auctions, with as much consideration as a prize horse
or bovine, slaves were bid upon. Female slaves faced an especially miserable life, subject to the
whims of their new owners, and worse yet, their slave drivers.
The Dutch populace where blind to this suffering before monks exposed it during the early
Eighteenth Century. Before the Enlightenment, it was doubtful any of them would care about the
suffering across the ocean. As long as their houses were filled with previously unknown luxuries,
coffee, chocolate and sugar, they were content. As long as the population was content, the Second
Chamber felt little motivation to change.
A more pressing matter was what to do with thousands of Portuguese colonists. For the most
part, the European population consisted of mostly men, who would marry native woman. It was
roughly the same proportion as Spain in Mexico and Inca. Portuguese did not venture to Brazil to
start over or raise families, they did so to grow rich, return home then settle down. The United
Provinces, under the command of Governor van Bohr, Count of Natal, left a sizable army in the
The question as to what to do about so many men who were hostile towards Dutch rule
remained at the top of the Count’s list of concerns. The Dutch came to Brazil, not only to grow rich,
but to start their lives over. Many were displaced by the Spanish during the Dutch revolution, and
later by the Thirty Years War. Most found their ports of call in Natal, Recife, Salvador and
Mauristadt. The opened shops, started farms, and brought with them comforts from home, including
Over the course of decades, the Portuguese Question essentially solved itself. With years, the
Dutch-speaking population outnumbered the Portuguese. In order to do business, the Portuguese had
little choice but to learn Dutch (or hire a translator). When Dutch woman arrived, the Portuguese
quickly remembered some of the comforts of home. They intermarried with the newcomers, and
were subsequently assimilated.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]New Amsterdam[/FONT]
In 1609, under contract with VOC, Henry Hudson set sail to the New World in search of a
shortcut to the Indies. Whomever could find the fabled Northwest Passage would have a decisive
advantage in the spice trade. Sailing the Halve Maen (Half-moon) past Manhattan Island, what
Hudson found was not a passage across the continent, but many tribes of natives along with a wealth
of fur. Hudson named the waterway the Mauritius River, in honor of the hero of the Forty Years
Upon arriving home, Hudson did not return with new of a passage, but rather a land wealthy
in beavers. At the time, beaver pelts were prized in Europe, because the fur could be ‘felted’ to make
waterproof hats. In following the following year, 1611 to 1614, expeditions surveyed and charted
the region between the thirty-eighth and forty-fifth parallel. These expeditions entitled the charters
to a five year monopoly as per the rules set down by the Staaten-General. Several trading posts were
established, the furthest one Fort Orange, now the city of Albany, near the modern day state borders
of New Amsterdam and the Iroquois Confederacy.
Fort Amsterdam, established in 1615, quickly grew into the city of New Amsterdam.
According to legend, the Dutch purchased Manhattan Island from the natives for sixty guilders worth
of beads. At the mouth of Mauritius River, it was a normally ice-free harbor throughout the year. As
well as hordes of trappers, the New Amsterdam Company soon opened land on Manhattan to settlers
from back home. The first families arrived at Fort Amsterdam in 1624, followed by a second wave
of families the following year.
The early years of the colony, trade with the natives dominated the economy. As they would
in Angola, the Dutch would trade common items of the United Provinces for the goods they sought.
In this case, instead of enslaving hundreds of thousands of humans, business led to the extermination
of the beaver throughout the region. By 1626, the colony elected its first governor, Peter Minuit.
During the building of New Amsterdam, the Mohawk-Mahican war further north forced many
settlers in Upper New Amsterdam down to the easily defensible island. With the threat of Indian
wars spreading to the city, New Amsterdammers built a wall of stone and clay. In the process, they
failed to predict expanding population. Within a decade, built up area appeared north of the wall. The
wall was hence demolished, but its existence gave name to one of the wealthiest streets in the world;
Wall Street.
By the 1640s, the beaver population in the Mauritius River Valley thinned to the point where
profits of the colony became threatened. A timber mill was built upon Governor’s Island, in hope
that lumber could supplement some of the lost income. By 1648, settlers expanded beyond New
Amsterdam to found neighboring settlements of Haarlem, Staaten Island, and vast orchards sprout
along the banks of the river.
Wheat from Long Island and apples and pears from Nassau poured through the port of New
Amsterdam and were soon shipped eastward across the sea. In the case of the fruit, it was quickly
fermented and transformed into brandy, the only practical way to transport fruit in the day. With the
devastation waged across Germany during the Thirty Years War, where nearly thirty percent of the
population was wiped out, the Netherlands were desperate for food. Brazilian colonists were more
interested in cash crops than foodstuffs. New Amsterdam profited greatly by Brazil’s greed. By the
First Anglo-Dutch War, New Amsterdam spread its borders to encompass all the lands between the
Delaware and Connecticut Rivers, right smack between two English Colonies; Plymouth and
In the waning days of the Forty Years War, the Kandyan Kings of Ceylon found themselves
subject of the Portuguese King. Portugal brought with them their culture, and imposed both language
and religion upon. Ceylonese nobility were educated by Portuguese teachers. The Kandyan court had
Portuguese advisors. Portugal arrived claiming to come in peace; the naivete of the natives made it
possible for the foreigners to become the masters.
The Ceylonese were very unhappy about losing their freedom and lands to the Portuguese.
When Dutch ships arrived in force in 1607, the natives thought them as nothing more than more
foreigners. When the Dutch landed and communicated with the King of Kandy for an alliance
against the Portuguese. King Rajasinghe immediately seized at the chance to rid his land of his hated
masters. With much of the Portuguese Navy depleted from battling the VOC and other Dutch traders,
defending their holding on Ceylon proved impossible. By 1609, the Portuguese were out, and the
VOC had in their hands a treaty with the Kandyan King, paving the way for trade and eventual
The natives preferred the Dutch infinitely over the Portuguese. Where the Portuguese came
to impose their ways, the Dutch were simply interested in trade. As per the Treaty of Kandy, the
VOC would defend the Kandyan people from foreign invasions, in return for exclusive rights to
export native spices. The influx of many Netherlanders concerned the natives at first, but once it was
made known the Dutch would respect the native ways, the newcomers were tolerated.
Most of these newcomers, totaling two thousands, hailed from Antwerp. During the Thirty
Years War, the French never gained a foothold in the Netherlands, but they managed to raid
repeatedly. Their favorite target was Antwerp. Thousand of Netherlanders died in the raids, and
thousands more fled, some to Brazil, some to New Amsterdam, and some to the East. The sad saga
of the Antwerp Diaspora would continue until the Seven Years War, in the middle of the Eighteenth
From the port of Columbo, the VOC not only administered Ceylon, but also various posts
on the Indian Mainland taken from the Portuguese. Chiefly among these was the Port of Goa. The
Dutch would do little to India until the following century, the settlers preferring Ceylon and Formosa
over the crowded subcontinent. Trade did bloom, and with the space of two decades, the VOC
gained a monopoly over all trade in southern India.
In 1603, the VOC established its first
trading post on the island of Java. Their sole goal,
which they achieved within two decades, was
complete domination over the cinnamon trade.
Cinnamon, a popular spice in Europe, made it
possible for trading expeditions to return with four
or more times the amount of profit required to fund
them. Such wealth would make any measure worth
the risk.
In 1604, the VOC did battle with the British
East India Company, killing many sailors.
Competition between the two companies would continue to be brutal, leading to the Amboyna
massacre, where ten English, and ten Japanese sailors were arrested and tried for treason by the
VOC. How one could commit treason against a company it did not even work for was never made
clear. The English were not the exclusive target of attack. In 1619, Governor-General Jan
Pieterszoon led a force of nineteen ships to storm Jayakarta, burn out the natives, and establish
Batavia atop the ashes.
Java was never a popular destination for settlers during the Seventeenth Century. Its
tormenting heat and endemic disease kept all but the merchants away. The VOC established posts
all along the Javanese coast, using these to dominate trade. They saw little reason to conquer the
interior, when they could just control the access ports for trade. The VOC gained its cinnamon trade
and soon carried the spice to Dutch ports and beyond.
In 1624, the VOC established the first European settlement upon Formosan soil. After
establishing Tayoan City, the VOC discovered that no legitimate nation existed on the island. The
VOC used the aboriginals to hunt the Sika deer that inhabited the island, eventually leading to its
disappearance in the wild. Hides of the Sika were valued as leather by samurai in construction of
their armor.
The purpose in colonizing Formosa was to open up trade with both China and Japan. In
construction of Fort Zeelandia, and further cultivation of mulberry plantations, the VOC imported
large number of Chinese workers from Fujian province. The Dutch further employed the Chinese
to work sugarcane fields and rice paddies. The sugar they exported to China and Japan, the rice they
used to feed Formosa.
The VOC ruled the island like a legitimate government. It set up a system of taxation for the
natives, which in turn paid for building of an infrastructure. The VOC schools taught a romanized
script of the native language. While the VOC employed Chinese, the VOC Dutch employees hired
on many native woman and children to work as servants in their growing manors in both Tayoan and
the new posts at Taipei.
Pirates operating out of the South China Sea plagued Ming, Manchu and various European
traders for decades. The first attack on a VOC fleet, three ships, was also their last. The VOC
amassed ships from as far as Ceylon into a fleet of nearly one hundred ships, manned by well trained
sailors and marines. From 1641 to 1644, the VOC cleared out the pirates, island by island. Over the
ensuing decades, pirates around the world soon learned to avoid the VOC flag.
Dutch culture influenced the natives, but native cultures from Capestaat to Formosa
influenced the United Provinces. The VOC valued merit over any family connections in the
Netherlands. VOC ships hired sailors from their colonies, sometimes for lifelong employment,
sometimes just for the voyage to the next port. Over the course of three decades, Buddhist monks
from Ceylon worked their way across the Dutch Empire. Upon arriving in the United Provinces, the
first Buddhist temples were built just outside of Amsterdam. Their monasteries would soon expend
from the fjords of Norway into the mountains of Sardinia.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Rising Power in Europe[/FONT]
With control over a large portion of trade between Europe and the outside world, the United
Provinces were soon on the rise. Their army was still no match for the full might of France of
Sweden, but their wealth gave them influence over many princely courts. The Netherlands preferred
to expand through trade and negotiating. During the course of the 1640s, Frederick I opened up a
series of negotiating with Christian IV and the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Union of Kopenhagen[/FONT]
A treaty of alliance between Denmark-Norway was Frederick I’s goal near the end of his life.
The growing power of Sweden threatened Dutch trade in the Baltic. Sweden’s navy was no match
for the United Provinces, at least not for the time being. By allying with Denmark-Sweden, Frederick
hoped to contain Sweden. With bases in the Danish Isles, the Dutch could strike at Swedish positions
across the Baltic Sea.
Just weeks before the death of Frederick I, his only son, William, was wed to the daughter
of the Danish King, Christina of Denmark. The ceremony was a happy one, soon followed by a
sorrow. In August of 1647, Frederick I died of natural causes. He worked most of his later life away,
often before sunrise until after sunset. Frederick is known as the hardest working king in Dutch
history. Since William was legitimate, he immediately ascended the throne.
When asked which name he would take, he chose his own, but he refused the addition of The
First. William hailed his grandfather, William the Silent, as the spiritual first king of the United
Provinces. The new king was crowned King William II. His reign was short with little to distinguish
himself. He opposed the Treaty of Münster, only to be overruled by the Staaten-General. In 1650,
a smallpox outbreak spread across Holland, eventually working its way into the Hague. William II
died of smallpox, just one week before the birth of his only son, also named William.
Smallpox infections spread across Europe, infecting Kopenhagen as well. Princes Frederick
and George were killed by the epidemic. Though some nationalistic groups in modern Denmark
claim that it was Dutch assassins that in fact killed George, using the outbreak as a cover. With
Christian IV’s other son, Christian killed in another war with Sweden, all of the princes were dead
without heirs. The only candidate available according to Danish law was Christian’s grandson,
William. Upon his death, William was crowned King William I of Denmark-Norway, along with his
previous title, William III of the United Provinces. With his mother as regent, the United Provinces
and Denmark-Norway entered a state of personal union.
Last edited:
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold][FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]For those who might be curious, there really was a raid on the Medway, and the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War is the only war I can think of off the top of my head that the Royal Navy ever lost.[/FONT][/FONT]​

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold][FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]IV) The Anglo-Dutch Affair[/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]King William III[/FONT]
Many princes are destined to become kings before they are born, few actually obtain the title
before birth. Such is the case with King William III, though he was not called that until after his
official coronation fifteen years later. Throughout his life, William III would be the Dutch monarch
most closely tied with England. Two wars would be waged against their neighbors across the North
Sea (though Princess Christina was regent through the first war), followed by an alliance through
marriage, ending with William III landing in England and installing his English wife as Queen.
By the age of fifteen, Princess Christina died, leaving young William an orphan. Much debate
raged within the Staaten-General as what to do next. Was William too young to take the throne?
There was some discussion as to appointing a regent until William proved himself capable of taking
the crown. That begged the question who would decide when he was worthy? None of the Second
Chamber were for keeping William from his rightful throne. A few in the First mused over being
regent themselves, and perhaps king.
In the end, it was William’s other holding, the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway that decided
the issue. Nobility ranging from Kopenhagen to Oslo to Bergen refused to accept any Netherlander
the Staaten-General appointed as their regent. William would be their king. Before the Danes could
crown him, the Dutch coronation went forward in Liege, and William III was crowned king of the
United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the King of Denmark-Norway. His first act as King would
be to wage was against the English and Scottish in the Second Anglo-Dutch War.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Portuguese Restoration[/FONT]
In the second year of William II’s reign, Portugal declared independence from Spain. For
eighty years, both Portugal and Spain shared the same king, and following their defeat during the
Forty Years War, Spain pressed for full political union. Without its vast colonial holding or wealth
in the spice trade, Portugal was powerless before annexation. It was not until the end of the Thirty
Years War, and another resounding defeat for Spain did the Portuguese make their move. As soon
as the war ended, Portuguese nobles placed Joao IV on the throne in Lisbon.
Portugal was not looking just to regain its status in the brotherhood of nations, but to reclaim
its once glorious empire as well. Even if they defeated the Spanish, Portugal was still no match for
the Dutch Navy. In decades past, Portugal held an alliance with England, and upon reclaiming its
throne, it reactivated that alliance. It was Portugal’s hope that the English Navy could defeat the
Dutch, and allow them to regain at the very least, Brazil.
Joao IV did declare was on the United Provinces, though the English held back for the
moment. England had its own problems at the moment, and by 1649, a change in government was
at hand. Charles I was recently executed, and Oliver Cromwell’s ‘Commonwealth’ was on the rise.
The Commonwealth had no use for Iberian problems. After all, why should English blood be spilt
for a bunch of Catholics. Puritan England would just as soon add rich Brazil to its own domain.
Portugal’s ambition was not to be. By 1653, Spain all but crushed the rebellion, forcing Joao
IV into exile, and eliminated many of the Portuguese nobles who sought to break from Spain.
Ironically, by then England and the United Provinces were already at war with each other, alliance
or not. Never again would the Portuguese flag wave above the Iberian peninsula. Many Portuguese
fled across the ocean, escaping Spanish retribution, to the only part of the world were their language
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Act of Navigation[/FONT]
By the middle of the Seventeenth Century, the United Provinces possessed the largest trading
fleet in Europe, which more vessels than most other nations combined. Their maritime based
economy gave them a dominate position in Europe. France could invade, but the United Province
could close borders, seal trade and strangulate the economy of any nation that may wish to make her
an enemy. They profited greatly from the spice trade, and in the colonies taken from Portugal. More
over, because of civil war in England, the Dutch were gaining significant influence over England’s
own colonies in North America.
With Oliver Cromwell and his Commonwealth victorious, England’s Royal Navy was a force
on the rise. During the English Civil War, the United Provinces supported Charles I and the Royalist,
and were subsequently outraged by the Commonwealth’s act of regicide upon Charles’s execution.
Therefore, Cromwell considered the Dutch an enemy. More precisely, considered William II an
Upon William’s death, relations changed. The Staaten-General recognized the English
Commonwealth, though they refused to expel many Royalist exiled in the Netherlands. The fact that
it was the Staaten-General, and not the infant King who made the recognition only encouraged the
English. In January of 1651, a delegation of nearly two hundred fifty English appeared in the Hague,
to negotiate the conditions on where the United Provinces might unite with the Commonwealth.
Decades before, the Dutch declared that never again shall they be ruled from a foreign
capital, though negotiations did drag on for weeks. The English were quite upset upon learning, that
after so much effort, the Dutch never had any intention on political union. The delegation left in
June, rather disappointed they reported the Dutch as untrustworthy, and a threat to English security.
The fact that the United Provinces had no interest in that little island off their shores never entered
into the equation. Why would they want to invade a place as atrocious sounding as York when they
could stay comfortably in elegant, and classy Amsterdam.
Continuing trouble with the Royalist, and French support there of, prompted England’s
parliament to issue letters of reprisal against French ships and French goods on any neutral ships.
The United Province might not wage war over territory, but it most certainly would if its trade
interests were threatened, and most of the ‘neutral’ ships happened to be Dutch. To further
antagonize the Dutch, Parliament passed the Navigation Acts in October of 1651.
Simply put, the Navigation Acts were a declaration of war in all but name. It ordered that
only English ships, or ships from the originating country, could import goods to England, thus
eliminating any middleman. This measure was almost exclusively aimed at the trade-orientated
Dutch, and to put it simply, the Dutch have too much trade and the English were resolved to take it
from them. Take it they did. Many privateers and ships of the English Royal Navy used the Acts as
a pretext to seize Dutch ships. The English went even as far as to demand that all ships in the English
Channel and North Sea dip their flag in salute to English ships. It was one too many insults for a
Netherlander to stand.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Maarten Tromp[/FONT]
May 29, 1652, English General-at-Sea Robert Blake commanded a fleet that encountered
another Dutch fleet commanded by Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp. As per Parliamentary
demands, Blake waited for the Dutch to dip their flag in salute. When Tromp did not comply swiftly
enough to satisfy Blake, the English ships opened fire, starting the brief Battle of Goodwin Sands.
Tromp managed to escort his convoy to safety, but lost two ships in the preceding battle. Born in
Den Briel in 1598, Maarten Tromp was the son of an officer in the fledgling Dutch Navy. At the age
of nine, Tromp went to see with his father, and was present at the Battle of Gibraltar.
Tromp was captured twice, once when he was twelve, when pirates killed his father, and
again when he was twenty-two, this time by Corsairs of the Barbary Coast. Both times Tromp was
sold into slavery in Arab markets. The first time he was freed by pity, the second time he impressed
the Bey of Tunis greatly with his maritime skills, that the Bey set him free. Between his times in
slavery, Tromp supported his mother and sisters by laboring in the Rotterdam shipyards.
In 1622, Tromp was commissioned into the Dutch Navy as a lieutenant. He spent much of
his tenor battling pirates in North Africa. HE rose through the ranks, achieving his Admiral ranks
by 1637, when Lieutenant-Admiral van Dorp was removed for incompetence. His first years as
Admiral were spent blockading Dunkirk and combating a resurgence of pirates plaguing the Dover
On July 10, 1652, England formally declared war on the United Provinces. In the opening
months of war, the English targeted Dutch merchant ships. Any ship sailing alone would not stand
a chance. As Admiral, Tromp gathered a fleet of ninety-six ships to do battle with the English
privateers. At the Battle of the Kentish Knock, the Dutch attacked the English fleet near the mouth
of the Thames, but were beaten back with the loss of too many men.
The loss was a minor setback for the Dutch, but the English perceived that the Dutch were
near defeat, so diverted twenty of their warships to the Mediterranean. This division of forces lead
to the English defeat by Tromp during the Battle of Dungeness, and further to the destruction of the
English Mediterranean fleet in 1653.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Blockade of the United Provinces[/FONT]
In February of 1653, the English were ready to challenge the Dutch again. In one of the
turning points in the First Anglo-Dutch War, the English defeated the Dutch during the three day
battle, and drove them from the English Channel. For the first time since its formation, the United
Provinces were not the dominate navy in European waters. The defeat made it clear to the Staaten-
General that they were not invincible.
By March 1653, the Dutch sent delegates, peace feelers, to London. After such a resounding
victory, the English Parliament was no longer motivated for a peaceful solution. Why negotiate when
they could conquer. Their desires to conquer were stillborn. With the exception of an invasion of
Long Island by colonist in Massachusetts and Connecticut, land battles were not an equation in the
war. Colonist managed to conquer two-thirds of Long Islands, the parts not inhabited by Dutch
settlers, and even kept their new conquest after the war’s end.
In June, the English were again victorious at sea. Following the two day long Battle of the
Gabbard, England drove the Dutch out of the North Sea. With North Sea and English Channel
closed, the United Provinces found themselves cut off from their colonies, and more importantly,
from their trade. Following the battle, England set up a blockade of the Netherlands, a land
dependent on agricultural imports.
With trade disrupted, the Dutch economy collapsed, and famine spread across the Provinces
for the first time in decades, if not centuries. The Hague sent out more delegates, growing desperate
for a peaceful resolution, but again they were rebuffed. Cromwell became more interested in
punishing the Netherlands than negotiating. With little choice, the already battered Dutch fleet was
forced to attempt to break the blockade.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Battle of Scheveningen[/FONT]
After pushing the Dutch out of the North Sea, the English set up a blockade of one hundred
twenty ships under the command of General-at-Sea George Monck. Any Dutch merchant ship that
attempted to slip past the blockade was captured, its cargo confiscated. In a sense, Monck turned out
to be one of the most successful pirates in history. Not only did he acquire a large amount of booty,
but his blockade led to wide scale unemployment and starvation in Dutch cities.
On August 3, 1653, Admiral Tromp put to sea in the [FONT=TimesNewRoman,Italic]Brederode [/FONT]with a fleet of one hundred
ships at the island of Texel, were another twenty-seven ships under the command of Witte de Withe
were trapped by the English. Once the English spotted Tromp’s fleet, they turned their attention away
from de With, allowing his ships to escape, and later join Tromp.
August 10, the English fleet engaged the combined Dutch fleet off Scheveningen. The battle
was short and fierce, with each fleet moving through each other four times, inflicting much damaged.
Maarten Tromp was killed early in the battle, by a sharpshooter in the rigging of, reportedly, William
Penn’s ship. His death was kept secret from the rest of the fleet, for fear of demoralizing. Morale
aside, by the afternoon, the Dutch already lost twelve ships and many more were simply too damaged
to continue the fight.
In the end, morale broke anyway and a large group of ships, all under the command of
merchant captains, broke formation and fled north. De With attempted to assert order and rally the
ships, but to no avail. He was limited to covering their retreat as far as Texel. However, damage was
not one-sided. The English, too, suffered many casualties, and lost many ships to damage. So many,
that the fleet was forced to give up the blockade and return to port for refit and repair.
Scheveningen was a battle were both sides could honestly claim victory. The English won
the day on the tactical field, defeating the Dutch fleet, and hurting them more than they were hurt
in turn. However, the United Provinces set out with a simple strategic goal; lifting the blockade. That
was exactly what the fleet accomplished, and the Dutch claim a strategic victory. Either way, it was
the last major battle of the war.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Treaty of Westminster[/FONT]
Over the course of the war, Oliver Cromwell continued to call for political union between
the Provinces and the Commonwealth. He targeted specifically the northern provinces, with the large
proportion of Protestants. Unfortunately for the English, they were largely Calvinist, and untrusting
to anyone who was not them. At least with the Catholics in the south, the Calvinist were dealing with
fellow Netherlanders. Cromwell never did understand the nature of Dutch nationalism.
Cromwell, a little disappointed, set down a peace proposal of twenty-seven articles, two of
which were unacceptable; all Royalists were to be expelled, and the personal union with Denmark-
Norway was to be ended. Again, Cromwell failed to grasp reality; the Dutch king was only four, and
no four-year-old would give up what was his. Cromwell was forced to accept peace minus two
articles, and in April 1564, the Staaten-General accepted the proposal. On May 8, 1654, the Treaty
of Westminster was signed.
It was truly an inconclusive victory where the English managed to gain two-thirds of Long
Island, the two-third not inhabited by enterprising Dutch settlers. However, peace of not, the
commercial rivalry between the two nations was not solved, and hostilities continued between
colonial companies of the two, both of which had navies and armies of their own. The East Indies
were still fought over, with the Dutch companies based in Batavia, the English ones in Manilla.
Humiliation of the Treaty of Westminster, which still had the Navigation Acts in place, along
with the loss of trade only fueled bitterness in the Dutch people. There would be peace, for now, but
because of no decisive victor, a second war between the English and Dutch was in the making.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Naval Buildup[/FONT]
As soon as the ink on the Treaty of Westminster was signed, the Dutch were already
launching an aggressive shipbuilding program. The Staaten-General were well informed about the
battles at sea, and decided the lack of Ships-of-the-Line was a key role in the United Provinces
failure to obtain victory. They learned hard lessons, and learned them well. Over the following
decade, leading up to the second war, the United Provinces built more than a hundred ships
dedicated exclusively to war.
Before hand, Dutch warships were little more than merchant ships overhauled and heavily
armed, and susceptible to far more damage. Inexperienced commercial captains also proved the weak
link in Dutch fleets. Thousand of sailors passed through the naval academies in Amsterdam,
Rotterdam and Antwerp, where a strict discipline and respect for the chain of command was
impressed upon them.
The Staaten-General were not the only ones humiliated by the treaty. Thousands of sailors,
once believing Dutch mariners best in the world, were infuriated by the humiliation and burned for
revenge. Not just revenge for themselves, but they saw it their duty to avenge the insults against
national honor. One such officer, a veteran of the First Anglo-Dutch War would rise to leadership
and become the most famous admiral in Dutch history.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Michiel de Ruyter[/FONT]
Michiel de Ruyter was born in 1607, in the waning days of the Forty Years War. Little is
known about de Ruyter’s early life, except he likely started his life as a sailor around the age of
eleven. Such early starts in lifelong careers were not uncommon during the Seventeenth Century.
Only today, when one must attended higher educations for the better part of a decade to obtain
something that was once apprenticed does such a young start seem odd, even prodigy-like.
The name de Ruyter came from the Dutch word ‘ruyten’ which more-or-less translates into
‘to raid’. De Ruyter was known for this as his work as a privateer, and later on for hunting pirates.
During the First Anglo-Dutch War, de Ruyter quickly rose to the rank of Admiral. He commanded
a small reserve fleet at the Battle of Plymouth, winning the battle against English Admiral Ayscue,
a raider of Dutch merchantmen.
A year before the outbreak of a second war, de Ruyter clashed with the English off the West
African coast. One of the articles of the peace treaty involved dipping the flag in salute, one that de
Ruyter always ignored. Like many sailors, he never forgave the insults postulated in the treaty. Like
many, he spent ten years preparing revenge. De Ruyter continued his raids, expanding his territory
into the Carribean. In April 1665, he hit Barbados, followed up by a large scale raid on the pirate den
of Port Royale, Jamaica.
March 4, 1665, war officially broke out between England and the United Provinces. The two
were evenly matched once various considerations were taken into account. Though England boasted
a population twice that of the Provinces, a majority of them fell into the category of broke peasants.
The Dutch offset this by a large middle class population. Another factor was the end of the
Commonwealth. By 1660, the Stuarts were restored to power. By 1665, the United Provinces’s king
finally took the throne. At fifteen, William III might lack the life experience of Charles II, but he
hungered to avenge the wrongs against his Kingdom.
The first encounter between English and Dutch fleets occurred at the Battle of Lowestoft, on
June 13. Though the resounding defeat was the worst in Dutch history outside of the Battle of Java
Sea centuries later, England failed to capitalize on their own momentum. English victories back
home were offset by Dutch victories in the Americas. De Ruyter continued to be the bane of English
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Four Days Battle[/FONT]
On June 11, 1666, one hundred fifty ships from the English and Dutch navies met near North
Foreland for the longest battle in naval history. Eighty-four Dutch ships, commanded by de Ruyter
faced seventy-nine ships under the command of Monck. England was under the impression that a
French fleet would soon join the Dutch, and acted first to split the forces. The rumor of French
intervention prompted Monck to send a squadron of ships to defend the Strait of Dover.
As a result, the Dutch vastly outnumbered the English, yet de Ruyter could not bring the
battle to a speedy conclusion. The first encounter between the two navies, Monck targeted the Dutch
fleet anchored near Dunkirk, commanded by Admiral Cornelis Tromp, hoping to cripple his force
and even the odds. Monck tried to force his enemy onto the hazardous Flemish shoals. The Dutch
center, commanded by de Ruyter arrived in time to prevent the younger Tromp’s squadron from
being knocked out of action.
Once the Dutch forces formed up, minus a few mishaps of Inexperienced commanders
colliding with their neighbors, the English brought out a weapon the Dutch were unaware of. They
fired hollow brass shells, filled with highly combustible materials. The shots were devastating to the
Dutch, however, lucky for the Dutch, the English fleet had few of these shells due to high cost of
Mock retreated on the first night, but the ships of Admiral Harmam drifted into the Dutch
lines and were suddenly set ablaze. It was a tactic that dated back to the battle against the Spanish
Armada, but did not break the Dutch the same way it did Spain. On the Morning of the second day,
Monck attempted to destroy the Dutch by a direct attack. After all, the Dutch during the First Anglo-
Dutch War scattered when beaten, why should they not during the Second?
Before the attack could commence, de Ruyter preempted him, by crossing the English line
and severely damaging several ships. After a first pass, the red flag was raised, signaling an all-out
attack by the Dutch. The ensuing melee caused much devastation between the two fleets. Tromp was
forced to transfer his flag four times due to damage caused by his own overzealous assault. De
Ruyter held such an advantage in numbers, he sent several ships to escort both damaged and captured
ship back to port.
During the second night and the third day, the English retreated westward, with the Dutch
in pursuit. Unlike the Battle of Scheveningen, the Dutch captains held rank and the ships held
formation. Several English ships were cut off from retreat, and were forced to surrender or be sunk.
Even Admiral Ayscue had to surrender to Tromp when one of his men struck the flag. It was the first
and last time an English Admiral was captured at sea.
Where the third day was the biggest disaster in the history of the (English/British) Royal
Navy, the fourth day could only be worse. Several ships joined Monck, with fresh sailors and a hold
load of ammunition. But these few newcomers were not enough to turn the battle, even with de
Ruyter’s force shrunk. Many of the English ships engaging in the battle from day one were already
out of powder. It was not lack of planning, but rather the English gunners proved more efficient than
their Dutch counterparts, and thus extended their ammunition faster.
The English continued their retreat, but several stragglers were boarded, captured and later
added to the (Dutch) Royal Navy. With his own ships damaged, though still packing powder, de
Ruyter called of pursuit once the English vanished into a fog bank. He would not press his luck and
turn victory into a disaster. Though many historians call the Four Days Battle inconclusive, it is
certain that after the battle, the English had little chance of forcing their peace on the Dutch.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]St. James Day Battle[/FONT]
August 5, English and Dutch navies clashed again near North Foreland, this time they
outnumbered the Dutch by one ship. That one ship made it possible for the English to secure victory.
It was not a decisive victory, but it did keep de Ruyter from landing Dutch Marines on English
shores, at least for the time being. That was de Ruyter’s intention, to land and destroy the English
ships while they were under repair.
The English discovered the Dutch sailing into position and engaged them before the Dutch
could form ranks. The English scattered many of the Dutch navy, sailing from banks of fog like
banshees. The surprise was enough to break the momentum of the Dutch. For most of the day, the
two fleets attempted to gain advantage of wind against their foe. By the next morning, the losses
were light; England lost one ship, the Dutch two.
However, by now, de Ruyter discovered his position was hopeless and ordered a general
retreat. Many of the ships were already scattered and retreated on their own, leaving the Dutch
Admiral with a mere forty ships. The English were still in fair shape, and if their Admiral, the Prince
of the Rhine, had chose to, he likely could have rolled up de Ruyter and crippled the Dutch.
However, he was satisfied by simply humiliating the Dutch Navy.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Brazilian Expedition[/FONT]
In late 1666, the English considered capturing the Netherlands’ most vital trading post in
North America, New Amsterdam. After some consideration, the English Admiralty decided why
have a trading post when you could have all the sugar. The planned for an invasion of Brazil, similar
to the one lead by van Bohr decades earlier. However, unlike the Portuguese, the Dutch were well
prepared for attack against their colonies. Without them, they would have no commodities to trade.
In the Battle of the Amazon Delta, Dutch Admiral, the Count of Natal, lead a small fleet of
seventeen warships against a much larger English fleet. However, out of the twenty-six ships, more
than half were transports, carrying soldiers and supplies needed for the conquest and occupation of
Dutch Brazil. Natal used the strong currents of the Amazon, which extended far into the Atlantic,
to carry his force quickly across the English formation. In one pass, the Dutch crippled two English
warships, weakening their ability to defend the transports.
Due to the river’s currents, several hours were required to reposition the Dutch fleet. Natal
took a gamble on this attack, for it permitted the English enough time to sail out of reach, and
perhaps land on the northern coast of Brazil. As it were, Natal took this into consideration, and
instead of sailing an arc, decided to intercept the English, knowing they would rush for land.
Five hours later, Natal made another pass at the English, pounded them with broadsides,
knocking three more ships out of action, one of which was captures. One Dutch ship was sunk in the
course of action. With even less protection for essentially defenseless transports (they could defend
themselves against Dutch Marines, but why board them when you could sink them?) The English
Admiral opted for retreat.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Raid on Medway[/FONT]
After having his first attempt thwarted, de Ruyter launched a second attempted landing in
England, again English ships in dock were his target. Instead of attempting a one-shot attack, de
Ruyter divided his forces, sending the ships of Denmark-Norway north to attack Scottish ports. The
Scots were not happy with their own union with England. De Ruyter’s northern force, commanded
by Danish Admiral Eirikson, feigned an attempted landing in Yorkshire, which would divide the
island. He escorted a number of armed, and unoccupied Danish transports to complete the deceit.
Upon hearing a force scouting near York, Charles II ordered Monck to defend the Yorkshire
Coasts. Only when the English were committed to the voyage did de Ruyter move into position. He
took a trick from the English book and sailed out of the fog. With sixty-two Ships-of-the-Line, de
Ruyter entered the Thames River unopposed. The few English ships on station sailed to engage the
Dutch. Only when the fog was blown away did the English see the size of the Dutch fleet. Their
target was not York after all, it was London. The remaining English ships sailed up the Thames to
bring word of invasion.
With no fleet in sight, several aging merchantmen were sunk in the Thames, an attempt to
block any further advance. De Ruyter unloaded some fifteen hundred marines, under the command
of the Baron van Ghent. Local English lords called forth militia, knights and anyone who could hold
a pike. Their attempt to stop a battle-hardened contingent of Dutch Marines failed miserably. Many
of the English peasants fled at the sight of the Marines’ first shot.
Further calls-to-arms rang across most of south-eastern England. Charles II prepared for his
own flight from London should it come to that. Reports brought to the English King gave him the
impression that fifteen [FONT=TimesNewRoman,Italic]thousand [/FONT]Netherlanders were marching on the capital. Lucky for them, the
Dutch were on their way to Kent. The call-to-arms fell on mostly deaf ears. England faced financial
troubles after the Brazilian debacle, and many of the sailors and some soldiers have not been paid
in months, thus were not overly motivated to risk their lives. As far as they were concerned,
whatever was to happen, the cheapskates deserve it.
Five days passed before the Dutch reached Chatham, due to some trouble in landing and
navigating the shoals. Alarms were sounded at Chatham Shipyards. Some of the smaller Dutch ships
sailed up the Medway on June 12, and commenced attacking English defenses around a large chain
spread across the river. Marine artillery opened up on the shipyard shortly afterwards. With little
defense in the shipyards, and few sailors to man those ships in drydock, the Dutch Marines advanced
after a minimal bombardment.
Dockworkers and shipwrights fled at the sight of Marines. What few militiamen were around
merely fired a few shots for the honor of King and Country before retreating. The Marines did not
give pursuit, their orders were clear. As soon as the defense was clear, they turned on the shipyard.
Once the chain was clear, many vessels of de Ruyter’s fleet sailed into dock. As soon as the
gangplanks were lowered, Dutch sailors helped themselves to everything that was not nailed down.
The following day, a general panic struck London. Rumors flew around without restraint. The
Dutch were in the process of loading a French army in Dunkirk, and planned to ferry them across
the sea. The populous of London were feeling especially vulnerable after the fire that gutted their city
a year earlier. The wealthy boarded up their houses, loading their valuables and headed off to their
country estates, hoping to escape the full-scale invasion they believed imminent. There was no
French army, and the French were not even involved in the war, aside from the occasional mercenary
or sailor.
By June 14, the Dutch were through plundering the shipyard. Cannons, shot, powder, salted
beef and fish, bullion, coins and anything shinny swiftly vanished from the shipyards and warehouses
along the wharf. Drydocks were flooded and English ships towed away by the Dutch. The English
flagship, [FONT=TimesNewRoman,Italic]HMS Royal Charles [/FONT]was towed away by de Ruyter as a personal trophy. Dutch sailors and
marines manned the captured vessels, often with skeleton crews. Any ships that could not be taken,
had their hulls breach and packed full of tinder, before set ablaze. The drydocks themselves were set
ablaze, and the piers torched. De Ruyter would not leave a single ship, not even a rowboat, for the
English to use.
The raid on the Medway was one of the most brilliant victories in the history of the United
Provinces. Sixteen English warships were stolen right out of drydock, and two dozen more were
scuttled. It was the Seventeenth Century equivalent of destroying the aircraft on the ground. England
could not recover from the raid, and it soon was forced to sue for peace. Charles II still feared
invasion. Upon leaving English waters and returning home, de Ruyter is known to have said to the
Count of Holland, “Had I known landing would be so easy, I would have brought an army.” For his
part in the raid, and leading the Dutch to victory in the war, Michiel de Ruyter was granted the title
of Marquess of New Amsterdam, along with an estate on Manhattan and lands along the Mauritius
River. If the Dutch did invade instead of raid, they might very well have eliminated England once
and for all, perhaps even transforming it into another colony.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Treaty of Breda[/FONT]
The treaty was signed in the city of Breda, by England, United Provinces and Denmark-
Norway on July 31, 1667. It brought a swift end to the Second Anglo-Dutch War, an end that favored
the Dutch victors. The humiliation of Westminster was finally avenged. By the time negotiations
began, de Ruyter virtually controlled the seas surrounding Britannia. Despite their decisive victory,
William III insisted on lenient terms. He did not want England to spend the next ten years plotting
its own revenge.
The first order of business was the repeal of the Navigation Acts, allowing the Dutch to
import goods to England and its colonies. Furthermore, the United Provinces secured a worldwide
monopoly on nutmeg and cinnamon, forcing the English to give up their operations in the East
Indies. The war bankrupted England, and another article of the treaty allowed for England to take
out loans from the Bank of Amsterdam along with other Dutch banks at low interest rates, a subject
introduced by certain members of the Second Chamber.
The Treaty of Breda did more than end a war, it reversed the face of European Alliances. An
amendment to the treaty was hammered out by personal representatives of both William III and
Charles II, in which, in return for Dutch support of England against its other enemies, Charles II
promised his then five year old niece Mary, to William III. Another ten years would pass before
Mary would make her matrimonial voyage to the House of Orange’s estate in Delft. With the signing
of the treaty, it would seem that trade and commerce would be safe for the foreseeable future.
However, with the passing of Charles II, his son James II would take the throne and immediately
begin to welch on England’s end of the deal, and in a generation, the Dutch would return to England.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Rising Tensions[/FONT]
Upon taking the throne, shortly after Charles’s untimely death following the Treaty of Breda,
James II of England tried to back out of many aspects of the Treaty of Breda, including the marriage
alliance. A converted Catholic, James II was opposed to having his daughter merry a Protestant king.
The House of Orange, along with the United Provinces, was divided between both Catholic and
Protestant, yet like the Provinces, it managed to exist without tearing itself apart. William III was
a private Protestant, believing his own faith had no business in the affair of the state. The King of
England was having the opposite problem with his own parliament; he was only allowed to take the
throne as a private Catholic.
Only fear of a Third Anglo-Dutch War, and complete dismantling of England’s overseas
empire, forced James II to relent. In 1677, he boarded his daughter Mary on one of the finest ships
in the English Navy for a one-way voyage to the United Provinces. The marriage of William and
Mary was widely celebrated across the United Provinces and William’s other kingdom, Denmark-
Norway. It was seen not only as a marriage between two people, but between two nations. Any
offspring of the two would potentially be King of three nations.
After two miscarriages, Princess-consort Mary soon conceived and gave birth to her and
William’s only child, Johann Willem, in 1678. Again, the United Provinces celebrated, as did
Denmark-Norway, though William I of Denmark-Norway did not address the nobility of Denmark
as often as William III of the United Provinces addressed the Staaten-General. He ruled the distant
nordic kingdom through a viceroy. However, in England, James II did not welcome the birth. He
secretly hoped for the couple to be childless, for now a Netherlander was in line for the English and
Scottish crowns.
Tensions were further heightened when France’s Sun King, Louis XIV, turned his eyes
towards the southern Provinces. Before he claimed that the Rhine River was France’s natural
boundary with the rest of Europe. Only fear of complete blockade, especially following the
resounding victory of the Dutch during in 1667, prevented the French from carrying out their designs
against the Netherlands. It did not, however, protect various other states along the Rhine.
When war with France appeared inevitable, William III called for his allies across the North
Sea to raise an army. As King of Denmark-Norway, William easily raised an army of Danes.
However, England was its own country, with its own King. James III refused the pleas, and went as
far as to declare the alliance null and void. He claimed that any agreement signed under duress
(especially after the Medway raid) was no longer binding.
William could have had James II simply eliminated, for the English King had enough
enemies in parliament. However, by 1687, James II already had a son and heir, so removing him
would only put another James on the throne, this one with plots to avenge his father’s death. Instead,
William III hatched a plan with key nobles of the Firsts Chamber. Not only would he removed James
II from the English throne, but would also install his wife, Mary as Queen of England.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Glorious Revolution[/FONT]
By 1688, James further alienated the United Provinces by forbidding any Englander or
Scotlander (not that the Irelanders had much choice to begin with) from serving in the Dutch army.
He demanded that many English and Scottish mercenaries be released from service. In total, only
one hundred fifty British returned home.
William III knew if he was going to move against James, he would have to do so fast. The
French were already preparing to launch an attack into Flanders, and likely aimed at Antwerp once
again. In September, the French began to seize Dutch merchantmen in French ports, an act of war
in the eyes of the Staaten-General and Dutch trading companies. A Dutch fleet of some eighty
warships was assembled to escort thirty thousand men and five thousand horses across the narrowest
sections of the North Sea.
Following the Second Anglo Dutch War, the English Navy shrunk drastically. With debts
to pay off, the funding for more ships simply did not exist. It left England in the position of secondrate
naval power for the next century. Twenty years later, the Dutch did not particularly fear
interception by England’s now decrepit fleet. Nonetheless, the Dutch ships made a thorough pass
through waters between the Provinces and Britannia before allowing the invasion force to set sail.
Though they suffered through bad weather, they finally made landfall on November 5,
disembarking in Torbay, near Brixham. Using lessons learned from the small-scale raids of the last
war, the landing went without incident. To his surprise, William was greeted with a show of popular
support. William already declared before the Staaten-General and in letters to England’s parliament
that he had no desire to take the crown for himself, and that it was his wife, and England’s rightful
Queen, who would sit upon the throne.
The question has been asked, why did William become William III of England? England and
Scotland spent a better part of the Sixteenth Century locked in civil war. At the center of these
struggles, was religion. Always. William III was a Protestant, as per Danish law. Only a Protestant
could take the throne of Denmark-Norway, and in that realm, he had to publicly admit his faith. The
United Provinces has a strong secular tradition. What one believes is one’s own business, whether
they be Catholic, Protestant, or one of the small, but growing Buddhists population.
England simply made their faith too public, going as far as to persecute those who did not
view the same world view as the majority. In fact, it was a tyranny of the majority in that respect. To
a monarch from the Netherlands, England was simply more trouble than it was worth. Religion aside,
it cost the United Provinces a great deal of capital to raise such a large army, and would cost even
more to occupy a nation that might not want to be occupied.
Again, before the crowds in Torbay, William renounced any claim to the English crown.
England should be ruled by an Englander, thus Mary will be Queen. The crowds did not listen. James
II was so detested, they were pleased to have anyone but him on the throne. As soon as his army was
organized, William marched inland with eighteen thousand soldiers and three thousand cavalry, the
rest fanned out to scout and to hold their landing sites.
Dutch and English armies met on the Salisbury plains on November 19. Almost immediately,
James begin to loose any support in his army. Only a few skirmishes, in which English actually won,
around Salisbury spilled any blood. The rest of the ‘battle’ consisted of desertion, along with anti-
Catholic rioting in London. Hearing of desertion, the English commander, Lord Cornbury, ordered
the English Army to retreat. Many soldiers deliberately straggled, just to desert. On the 24th, one of
James’s chief commanders, Lord Churchill, defected to William’s side. Two days later, James own
daughter, Princess Ann, went over to the Dutch.
By early December, enough of the English Army deserted James, that his wife, and the Prince
of Wales both fled to France. James attempted to flee the next day, however was captured by
fishermen on December 11. With chaos reigning in London, rioting and looting ruling day and night,
many members of Parliament welcomed the arrival of the Dutch Army, with King William III at its
head. Parliament itself extended an invitation for William to take the crown. After his attempt to flee
his won country, no Englander was likely to follow the rule of James II ever again.
William politely refused, and upon entering London, sent word back to Delft, summoning
his wife to London. By the middle of December, with the Army effectively disbanded, England
declared for Mary. Many in the English Government debated as to James II’s fate. William
interceded on behalf of his father-in-law. If James wishes to leave, then there was no reason why they
(England in general) should prevent it. On the 23rd, James boarded a ship in Kent and set sail to
rejoin with his wife in France.
Mary arrived in London on January 3, 1689, to much jubilation. Not only did her arrival
prevent another round of religious violence, but she permitted Parliament to pass the Exclusion Act,
banning any Catholic from taking the English crown. William was staunchly opposed to the law on
principle, however not only was he not the King of England, but he was not even English. This was
his wife’s nation, and Mary II decided nobody like her earlier namesake, Mary I, should ever be
allowed to take the throne. Many Dutch politicians could not help but feel that by effectively banning
a whole religious sect from public service, that they have betrayed the ideals of the Pacification of
However, Mary was not put on the throne for sake of English personal freedoms, but rather
to bring England into compliance with their alliance. War with France was at hand, and the whole
adventure into England was launched because William III feared that under James II, England might
just side with Louis XIV against the United Provinces. It is called the Glorious Revolution, but there
was nothing glorious about it.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Nine Years War[/FONT]
With Mary II reigning in England and Scotland (with William as Prince-consort), William
III prepared to face the French. War with France was a long time coming. After the Thirty Years
War, France began to gobble up small states surrounding her, gradually making her way towards the
Rhine River. Lorraine, parts of the Saar Valley, and even Strasbourg fell under the sway of Louis
XIV. The Catholic Sun King believed that the southern Provinces would welcome the selfproclaimed
Defender of the Faith with open arms.
He could not be any more wrong. He failed to understand that what a Catholic Netherlander
loved more than his faith was his freedom. In the 1680s, the inhabitants of the United Provinces were
the freest people in all of Europe. Gone were the days a feudal lord ruled a village with an iron fist.
Instead, the Dutch effectively governed themselves on a municipal level. They elected mayors,
councilors and even attended public forums, where the public, not any one lord, would decide what
laws and ordinances should be passed.
On a provincial and national level, law-abiding citizens were mostly left alone by officials.
The Dutch determined that the best way to contribute to society was by making a profit. The only
regulating before the age of Napoleon came in the form of regulating trade
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Italic]between [/FONT]the Provinces.
Delegates to the Staaten-General did their best to prevent their neighbors from growing to powerful.
Tax collectors were a necessary bane, a functionary to keep the nation alive, and taxation was kept
to a bare minimum, just enough to balance the Staaten-General’s books3.
France, on the other hand, the state was everywhere. Louis XIV ruled his kingdom with all
the restraint as a Roman Caesar. He claimed divine rights as an excuse for his despotism. In France,
lords still presided over their lands, and their serfs. The French people could not up and leave as they
pleased, for they were bound by custom and law to the land of their birth. Nor were they allowed
independent thought. Anyone who did not conform with the Vatican faced repression, expulsion, and
on occasion, extermination.
In the Edict of Nantes, Louis dispersed all Protestant communities within his realm.
Huguenots fled to England, the United Provinces, and Germany, bringing with them tales of the
brutality of France’s monarch. In total, two hundred thousand French Protestants fled the
persecution. Tens of thousands of these refugees found their way into Dutch colonies of New
Amsterdam, Brazil, and the VOC’s supply depot of Capestaat. Huguenots were essential in founding
the city of Willemsbourg, in southern Brazil on the site that was once the French colony of
Henryville, and the Portuguese town of Rio de Janeiro4.
The Nine Years War began in September of 1688 when Louis commanded Marshall
Boufflers to invade the Rhineland. Phillippsburg fell on October 30, followed by Mannheim,
Oppenheim, Worms, Heidelberg, and the fortress city of Mainz. One city refused to surrender to the
thirty thousand man army, and in return, when Coblenz fell, Boufflers ordered it reduced to ashes.
By 1689, Louis was master of the Rhine, and a direct threat to Dutch trade throughout the ancient
Holy Roman Empire. Even before France rose to this position, they were already impounding Dutch
merchantmen in French harbors. That alone compelled William to undertake his landing in England
and force the ally into supporting him. If not for such premature seizures, it is entirely possible that
a French invasion could have taken the United Provinces by surprise, and with James II refusing to
help, it would have dire consequences on the (alternate) history of the Netherlands.
Louis hoped for a quick victory. With the Holy Roman Empire along with the Habsburgs,
fighting Turks in the East it should have been easy. The impact on Emperor Leopold had the
opposite effect. He recalled army under the Electorate of Bavaria from the Ottoman Front to defend
southern Germany. The French failed to prepare for such an eventuality. Realizing this would not
be a brief and decisive parade of French glory, Louis resolved upon a scorched-earth policy in the
In March of 1689, Louis selected the cities intended for destruction, starting with Heidelberg.
The Count of Tesse torched the city, and on march 8, Montclair leveled Mannheim. Both
Oppenheim and Worms were destroyed by the end of May. In June, the Elector of Brandenburg,
aided by the Dutch commander, Menno van Coehoorn, besieged Kaiserwerth, and forced it
capitulation on the 26th. Charles, the Duke of Lorraine, commanded an army of sixty thousand men,
resolved on retaking Mainz. The town yielded on September 8, followed by the surrender of Bonn
one month later.
On May 12, 1689, William III signed the Grand Alliance with the Emperor, with the lofty
goal of forcing France back into pre-Thirty Years War boundaries, thus depriving Louis XIV of all
his gains. After his losses across the Rhineland, Louis turned France’s attention towards the city of
Luxembourg. The Duchy of Luxembourg had the misfortune of standing at a crossroads between
great European powers. Luxembourg often appeared out of place in the United Provinces. It lacked
the wide-scale commercial success of the other Provinces, and was considered by others as a
backwater, a place of quaint little villages and rustic inns.
Backwater or not, it was one of the United Provinces, and an attack on it was an attack on
the other sixteen. It was the first city to fall under the guns of Louis XIV, but by far not the last. It
held out against siege until 1691, when the Dutch Army, under the command of the Duke of Brabant,
lifted the siege and drove the French from the Duchy. As with anywhere in the southern Provinces,
the French came forth claiming to be liberators, to free the cities from the oppression of the heretics.
The same was declared at Mons, in 1690. The French, under the command of recently
humiliated Boufflers, invested the city with forty-six thousand men. What little defense the city
could muster was easily brushed aside. Boufflers marched down the avenues of Mons as if he were
the liberator, though not a single Netherlander was safe from his wrath. The first to go where the
small population of Buddhists living in the city.
Since the VOC established colonies on Ceylon and Formosa, the peoples of the East were
free to travel west, as long as they proved useful to the company. Upon arriving in the United
Provinces, monks set forth into the Netherlands, establishing temples in every major city, along with
Monasteries in the countryside. Their goal was not to convert the locals, though they would teach
to those who wished to listen, but rather to learn all they could about this new land. They studied
Europe’s religions, literature, science and arts. Every so often, a monk would return to the East,
bringing the treasure of knowledge with him.
The French simply declared the peaceful monks, and any Netherlander who followed their
path as heathens, showing them no mercy. Hundreds of monks were slaughtered in Mons when they
attempted to nonviolently resist the invasion. Every other Buddhist who could not flee north were
given the choice between embracing the Christian God, or meeting that same god in person. Some
relented, paying lipservice to the Church, but a few remained defiant to the end, and learned that
French were as tolerant under Louis XIV as they were under Charlemagne.
The next to suffer were both Protestant and Jewish populations in Mons. The Jews resisted
especially hard, for the United Provinces were the only nation in all of Europe that accepted them
as citizens and not aliens. This was their home, and they would fight for it. Those who did not follow
both Buddhist and Protestants north, were killed mercilessly. All the bloodshed enraged the Catholic
population. They were faithful to their Church, but these were their neighbors being killed. Though
the Dutch people pride themselves on tolerance (as well with their business savvy) there were always
extremist within a society. These were the only ones to welcome the French with open arms.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Antwerp Under Fire (Again)[/FONT]
After the fall of Mons, the French Army continued its march northward, to the city of
Antwerp. Antwerp only recently began to recover from the siege during the Thirty Years War, and
before that the Dutch Revolution. The city never regained the glory it knew under the Burgundians,
but by 1691, it was just starting to grow into a (minor) commercial center. The locals knew they
could not overshadow the colossus that is Amsterdam, but they did not desire such. They only wish
to live profitable lives.
Their profits were cut short again in the spring of 1691. Two Dutch armies, one under the
command of the Count of Holland, another commanded by Tomas vas Leir, numbering some sixteen
thousand men-at-arms, holed up within the city and surrounding areas. Instead of launching a direct
assault against fortified strongholds, the French set up a parameter to the south of Antwerp, laden
with dozens of cannon. Boufflers was content to starve the Dutch into submission. He could not
threaten them, for tales of the atrocities committed within Mons only fueled the resolve of the
citizens and defenders.
The siege was only in its second week when it was broken by the King of the United
Provinces. William was quite delayed in returning home when James II landed in Ireland and
provoked the Irish to rebel. Too many men died and too many resources were expended in keeping
his wife’s Kingdom from disintegrating. When William landed, a scant six kilometers down river
from Antwerp, he was not alone. Tens of thousands of Dutch and English soldiers were under his
The following battle ended in near disaster for the French. Boufflers attempted to hold
ground against William’s landing, but in the end, he was forced to sound a retreat. Upon returning
to Mons, the French left three thousand of their own dead on the battlefield, seven times as many
than the Dutch lost. Though France’s ambitions were stalled in the north for the time being, they
engaged and defeated boat Spain and Savoy along the Mediterranean. As much as any Netherlander
loathed to admit it, Spain must be kept in the war. If they let them lose, France would turn those
forces north.
Anglo-Dutch and French forces clashed repeatedly in the County of Namur. Each battle
lacked the decisive edge needed to bring the other side to the negotiating tables. By 1693, Louis XIV
had four hundred thousand men in the French Army (at least on paper). Such a large army required
large amounts of funding, and France faced an economic crisis. Topped off with crop failures and
famine in 1694, France was teetering on the brink of collapse.
Before the Grand Alliance would offer reasonable terms in its peace proposal, William III
decided to go on the offensive. By April of 1695, Namur was cleared of all French forces. Mons held
out against all attempts at liberation, offering the French a minimal toehold on the United Provinces.
William failed to remove the French forces by the time all sides sat down for negotiations at
Ryswick. The Staaten-General wished to continue the war until all of the Netherlands were free, but
Spain was ready for peace, as was the United Province’s ally, England. The cession of Mons started
a tragic chapter in that city’s history. For more than a century to follow, the city would change hands
until finally being rewarded to France during the Congress of Vienna.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Treaty of Ryswick[/FONT]
Though called a treaty, it was anything but. At most, it was but a cease-fire, one that would
last until Spain fell into dynastic crisis in 1701. The parties involved in the Nine Years War met in
Ryswick, near the Hague. By the terms of the treaty, Louis was allowed to keep Alsace and
Strasbourg, but forced to give up all claim to Luxembourg. In order to curry favor with Spain (over
the upcoming succession question) France evacuated all of its gains in Catalonia. Lastly, though still
sheltering James II, who escaped from Ireland, France recognized Mary II as the rightful Queen of
Emperor Leopold was the only holdout on the treaty. He desired a continuation of war, to
strengthen his own claim to the Spanish Throne. His initial resistance was weakened by the fact that
he still was at war with the Ottomans, and could not face France alone. He signed the treaty, and
netted a sizable accretion of power. His own son was named King of the Romans, and the chief
candidate for the Polish-Lithuanian Throne.
The treaty was signed in October, 1697. The United Provinces, knowing this was a temporary
peace at best, increased the size of garrisons and expanded fortifications in the southern Provinces.
The biggest question of the day, the of Spanish succession, was not discussed at Ryswick. Perhaps
if it had been, war might have been prevented. Within three years, the Spanish King would be dead,
and the Grand Alliance would plunge Europe back into war.
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Here's the flag of the United Provinces of the Netherlands from my pdf notes. The picture file appears to excede my upload limit.


[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold][FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]V) The Changing Face of Europe[/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Spanish Succession[/FONT]
In 1700, only three years since the end of the Nine Years War, Charles II of Spain died,
bequeathing all his possessions to Phillip, Duke of Anjou, and grandson of Louis XIV. The only
other option than Phillip V, was the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, the Austrian Habsburg cousin
of Charles II. As early as 1668, Leopold agreed to a potential partition of Spanish territory between
the Habsburgs and Bourbons. However, Phillip was not a party of the agreement, and disregarded
treaties of partition.
Louis’s advisors made the case of accepting the Partition Treaty of 1700, as opposed to
risking war by claiming the whole of the Spanish Empire. Arguments within the French court
brought forth the idea that war with Austria was inevitable. They would have to fight for their slice
of Spanish territory. Upon this revelation, the advisors stood down, leaving the decision effectively
in the hands of Louis XIV. On November 24, 1700, Louis declared the Duke of Anjou the new King
of Spain, and contrary to partition treaties, Phillip claimed all the inheritance.
The prediction of war came to fruition. Charles II was a Habsburg, and thus his dominion
belonged to the family. Austria could not tolerate a Bourbon on the Spanish throne. Early in 1701,
Austria, and the Holy Roman Empire, declared war upon the Bourbons. With the Grand Alliance still
in effect, Louis cut off both England and the United Provinces from Spanish trade. The Oranges
might not care which other family sat upon Spain’s throne, but they do care when their Kingdom’s
trade it threatened.
Could the United Provinces have stayed out of the War of Spanish Succession? Perhaps. By
1701, the English were prepared to recognize Phillip V. That alone might have prevented war,
however, the Dutch still had an alliance with the Holy Roman Empire. National honor would be
infringed by backing out. It was an early lesson, and warning against entanglement with future
alliances. With Europe’s less enlightened nations constantly at war, the Dutch will simply decide that
alliances are bad for business.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]King Johann I[/FONT]
Born August 4, 1678, Johann Willem Oranje, was the only child of William III of the United
Provinces and Denmark-Norway, and Mary II of England and Scotland. He was born in a position
that could potentially inherit all four thrones. By the age of twenty-four he did inherit the thrones of
the United Provinces and Denmark-Norway. However, the English-Scottish throne was already
promised to Mary’s sister, Anne. That was fine for the Netherlander; Britannia was more trouble than
it was worth.
Upon the death of William III, Johann I inherited more than realms. War already exploded
across Europe, with the Netherlands placed directly between two large adversaries; one an ally
another an enemy. It was not the first time the Provinces were in this position, nor would it be the
last. The United Provinces were situated on a location ideal for trade and horrible for land-based
defenses. During the War of Spanish Succession, the Dutch would enhance and expand fortifications
in the southern Provinces. It was an undertaking started by William III, and would end with William
Almost immediately upon taking the throne, Johann had to contend with Louis XIV declaring
war on the Provinces. The Dutch Navy was already active in the English Channel after Louis cut off
trade, but the real combat did not begin until 1704. From their hold in Mons, the French launched
another invasion of the southern Provinces. It was a two prong attack; one heading east into the
Empire via Luxembourg, the second an assault against Antwerp, on a virtually identical course as
during the last war.
William III predicted the French would attack Antwerp again. At the mouth of the Rhine,
Antwerp was sort of an obsession for Louis XIV and his descendants. Though the city recovered
from the Dutch Revolution, it fell under attack by the French repeatedly during the Eighteenth
Century. It is believed the Louis hoped to use Antwerp as an anchor of sorts, to press the French
frontier on to the Rhine. If this happened, ten of the United Provinces would fall under French rule.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Invasion of the South[/FONT]
The attack on Antwerp was almost doomed from the start. Using the same roads as they had
a decade earlier, the French doomed themselves to concentrated defenses constructed by the Dutch.
Several fortresses sprang up since the last French foray, and lack of advance scouting (say scouting
months or years beforehand) led the invaders into a brick wall.
Dutch cannons commanding the roads leading to Antwerp cut down ranks of French soldiers
with grapeshot. The Duke of Vendome ordered charge after charge against Dutch position. He hoped
to break the Dutch, but instead only depleted his own ranks. The attack on Antwerp was not a total
loss for Louis’s army. Detachments of cavalry flanked the fortresses to raid Antwerp and its docks.
After the Nine Years War, almost all Dutch trading companies diverted their shipments from
Antwerp to better protected ports, such as Rotterdam, Middleberg and Amsterdam.
Little was taken, however that did not prevent the French from setting fire to the docks. With
much of Antwerp’s manpower down the road thwarting the French, fire quickly spread across the
city. If not for a freak storm off the North Sea, along with three days’ worth of rain, it is entirely
possibly Antwerp’s history would have ended in 1704. As it happened, two more wars would pass
before Antwerp was effectively abandoned.
The Siege of Luxembourg turned out to be a more complicated battle than the meat-grinder
south of Antwerp. For ten months the French lay siege to the city of Luxembourg, and again had yet
to breach the walls. The walls around Luxembourg were not the monstrosities seen during the
Middle Ages, but were well proofed against cannon. The siege was lifted early in 1705 by a German-
Dutch-English combined army lead by the Duke of Marlborough.
The reason for an English Duke to lead an army to Luxembourg’s safety came from a burning
desire to keep the Austrians in the war. They were, after all, one of the two parties that started the
twelve year long conflict. The Staaten-General wished for the Duke to stay in the Netherlands,
perhaps in an attempt to regain Mons. Ignoring the wishes of the Dutch, Marlborough lead the army
into southern Germany.
The goal of march was to prevent the Franco-Bavarian armies from marching on Vienna. In
the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century, it was common practice to end a war by taking the
opposing side’s capital. This often lead to the side that lost suing for terms. To prevent Austria, and
thus the Holy Roman Empire, from capitulating, Marlborough would link up with another army lead
by Eugene and block the French.
The Anglo-Dutch-German forces met the French and Bavarians under the command of
Tallard at Blenheim. The Battle of Blenheim is said to be the turning point of the War of Spanish
Succession. Marlborough won a resounding victory, turning Tallard back and effectively knocking
Bavaria out of the war. By 1707, France was one ally short.
However, the French potentially had another ally waiting to board. In the far north, Sweden
was at odds with Denmark-Norway and Russia in a grand war waging for control of the Baltic. The
Swedish King, Charles XII, had to chose between Denmark-Norway and Russia. Sweden was not
the behemoth it is today, and thus could only afford to fight one enemy at a time. In 1705, the
pressed the issue with the Danish. With Johann I still King of Denmark-Norway, he would be forced
to divide his armies between two enemies. Overall, the Swedes had no quarrel with the Dutch,
especially since the Dutch could close the Baltic Sea with ease.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Act of Union[/FONT]
Johann I was willing to come to the aid of his other kingdom in the event of war with
Sweden, however, the Staaten-General put a price on the help. The Dutch, a largely middle-class
mercantile people, spent the last fifty years supporting the poorer Danes. Nobility in Denmark-
Norway racked up large debts by taking out loans from Dutch banks. In total, Amsterdam and the
Hague effectively owned Kopenhägen and Bergen.
When war with Sweden loomed on the horizon, Danish nobility pleaded to their King,
Johann, to come to their aide. Since William III took the Danish throne, many Dutch have called for
unification between the two nations. In 1705, pro-unification factions ceased their opportunity. They
would allow soldiers and sailors of the United Provinces to protect Denmark-Norway only if the
Danes accept full political union, thus Danish and Norwegian defense would become Dutch defense.
The idea was resisted in noble circles in the Nordic states. Denmark had a long, proud
history, dating back to the Vikings. At one point, Danes ruled the North Sea, and Norwegians
expanded as far as the New World. They were not the only Vikings; the Swedes extended to the east,
called the Rus by the natives, they effectively invented Russia. Denmark-Norway spent the years
dating back to the Second Anglo-Dutch War in a downward spiral. If not for the Dutch, perhaps
Sweden would have absorbed part of, or even all of, the Danish Kingdom.
Negotiations for unification spanned most of 1705. When the deal looked to be faltering, the
Staaten-General added a clause that no indebted noble could refuse. If they two kingdoms became
one, then not only would defense be united, but so would debt. Large amount of debt would be
forgiven once the Treaty of Unification was signed and ratified. Some historians have accused the
Staaten-General of buying Denmark-Norway. Perhaps they are correct, for on August 15, 1705, the
Danish nobility gave in to Dutch demands. The Staaten-General quickly ratified the treaty.
September 3, 1705, went down in Dutch history, ranking as high as 1609, and 1887, in the
annuals of the United Provinces. Signing the treaty was the first step. Over the next three years,
reforms swept through Denmark and Norway. Danish nobles, some but not all, were forced to move
to the Hague in order to take their rightful place in the First Chamber. Danish and Norwegian
representatives took their place, though not as welcomed as the nobility, in the Second Chamber.
The Act of Union was not the unification that England and Scotland would enjoy during
1707. Instead, it was less unification and more annexation. The United Provinces changed little, yet
Denmark-Norway was forced to adapt to ways alien to them. The Staaten-General went as far as to
appoint governors to former Danish provinces, ‘in order to expedite the transition to a more
democratic society’. The transition lasted for a century, until the Age of Napoleon and later the
Congress of Vienna.
Danes soon found themselves second-class citizens within their own lands. Dutch companies
moved in to take the place of old Danish establishments. Norway itself was treated more along the
lines of Brazil or New Amsterdam than an equal Province. In 1738, William IV bestowed the title
of Grand Prince of Norway to his first born, and has continued to be the title for the heir-apparent
until the present day.
The Act of Union was not the only groundshaking change to strike the United Provinces in
the first decade of the Eighteenth Century. Only a few years after unification, the Dutch people were
presented the horrors of their own colonial institutions, and the consequences would topple one of

the most powerful companies in Dutch history.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Fall of the Dutch South Atlantic Company[/FONT]
Founded in 1605, the Dutch South Atlantic Company was granted a monopoly on trade in
the South Atlantic, and contracted to administer the colonies in Brazil and Angola. Brazil was a
jewel in the Dutch Empire’s crown, producing nearly every luxury crop the New World has to offer.
Angola remained a backwater for centuries, viewed as little more than impenetrable jungle. At first
glance, it had little to offer the Dutch. However, the South Atlantic Company found one resource in
Angola, a resource the plantations in Brazil desperately needed; manpower.
For a century, the South Atlantic Company monopolized Brazilian Slave Trade. How a nation
like the United Provinces, the freest in Europe at the time, could have more slave ships registered
beneath its flag than any other nation is a bit of a paradox. The Dutch people claimed to embrace
democracy and love freedom, yet allowed hundreds of thousands of people to be enslaved in its
distant colonies. As long as coffee, sugar and tobacco flowed into Dutch ports, the people were
content to turn a blind eye to slavery. All except one group.
One of the most sacred principles of the Buddhist monks and followers was to cause no harm.
For decades, monks struggled against the institution of bondage, though they managed little more
than protests in Amsterdam, the largest home to slavers in the world. To the average Netherlander,
the ways of the East were curiosities, though not taken serious by the mainstream. In 1700, only one
percent of the population of the United Provinces were Buddhists, and none of the members of the
Staaten-General followed the path of the Buddha.
Change had not happened, even after decades of attempting to expose the Dutch people to
the truth of slavery. In 1708, a group of adhered monks of the Western Buddhist Templar1, bored
several ships bound for Angola. They arrived in Luanda at roughly the same time. Donning
disguises, the monks managed to land jobs as sailors on three slave ships destined to Natal and
Salvador. According to the monks’ own principles, violence is forbidden. However, in the light of
what they viewed as the most terrible of man’s crimes, these monks used limited force in order to
take over all three ships. The captain and anyone who refused to cooperate, were lowered into boats
while the ships were still along the African coast, and it is not known whether any of them survived.
Months after the hijacking, all of Amsterdam was surprised by the arrival of three ships laden
with slaves. Though it housed the most slave ships in terms of registration, few of them ever
ventured to the United Provinces. The monks brought prominent leaders of the community onto the
ship to see the real cost of cheap sugar. Hundreds of slave crammed into the hold, with barely
enough room to move. Many were suffering from malnutrition, and many more died, despite the
monks’ efforts to keep them alive.
The South Atlantic Company demanded authorities arrest these ‘pirates’, which was precisely
what the city watch did. The monks knew the risks of hijacking ships, especially company ships, and
accepted the fate handed down by local judges. All were sentenced to prison, and more than half
were executed for the crime of piracy. It pleased the South Atlantic Company, but even in death, the
monks still managed to complete their mission.
The damage was done, and all of Amsterdam knew about the conditions in slave ships,
conditions no human should ever have to endure. Soon after, pamphlets rose up all across the
Provinces, preaching the evils of slavery and condemning the slavers. The South Atlantic Company
was not without options. Seeing how all the pamphlets and books were printed and published by the
Buddhist Templars, the Company attempted to turn its fellow Christians against them.
They were heathens, foreigners with their godless religion. Yes, Buddhism is without gods,
and the Buddhists are quite proud of their faith. The South Atlantic Company called for to every lawabiding
and god-fearing Netherlander to rise up and cast out the non-believers. The Company did
all it could to place the Religion card, and rally the population into an anti-Dharmic frenzy. They
reasoned that even the Church would aid them in doing God’s work.
The South Atlantic Company made the same mistake that both Louis XIV and Oliver
Cromwell made in dealing with the Provinces. Instead of unleashing a storm against all things
Buddhists, the Dutch people instead turned on the Company. How dare these businessmen, these
same people who profit off the misery of their fellow man violate the most sacred of all Dutch
percepts. In going against the Founders’ wishes and the Pacification of Ghent, the South Atlantic
Company managed to united all the faiths of the United Provinces against them.
By 1609, the whole Catholic community was behind the Buddhist Templars. Though they
do not share the same faith, they share the same language, the same food, and, with the exception
of the first monks to arrive, the same blood. The Bishop of Utrecht himself stood up before his
congregation and condemned the practice of slavery, declaring it an affront to Gods. Though the
Vatican agreed, on principle anyway, they made no official stance one way or the other.
Soon churches held rallies, Catholic, Lutheran and even Calvinist, against the evils of
slavery. The people soon began to act with their pocket book along with their voice. Brazilian sugar,
coffee and tobacco were boycotted in favor of the VOC or England’s American Colonies. It might
cost more, but to force a man into servitude– was that not what the Dutch fought against when they
rebelled against Spanish rule?
With the public so ardently against the South Atlantic Company, shareholders began selling
off their holdings. It soon became better (and more profitable) to invest in a venture that did not
involve chattel labor. Share prices fell, profits bottomed out, and by 1710, the Dutch South Atlantic
Company was forced to declare bankruptcy. Never before or since has the public of any nation
toppled such a large corporation, and never before had a boycott (including the American boycott
of British goods preluding the American Revolution) been so absolute.
However, the company’s fall was not the end. The people, and churches, continued to rally
around abolition. They started asking the same questions that historians ask today; how could a
nation built on person freedom allow for another person to be held in bondage. When public opinion
blows one way, the elected official bend to the wind. Delegates in the Second Chamber began to
debate the slavery issue in earnest, and not just because an election was rapidly approaching. In 1711,
Johann I, made on of his last decrees. He called for the Staaten-General to abolish the practice of
slavery throughout all of the United Provinces’ holdings and colonies. Before the King’s untimely
death, the United Provinces became the first European nation to outlaw slavery.
As for the South Atlantic Company, when it went bankrupt, it folded shortly afterwards. The
Staaten-General, and King Johann I, seized the lands after the monopoly was revoked. Brazil and
Angola both became crown colonies, soon subject to governor-generals and other official appointed
at the whim of the Hague. In Brazil, slavery was phased out over the next decade. Those slaves that
did not leave the plantation to build farms and homes of their own, were issued wages and paid rent.
It was similar to the estate system in feudalism, except these workers could leave whenever they
pleased. Prices rose, but not so much as to topple the large farming interests in Brazil. With the end
of slavery, indentured servitude saw a sharp rise, as a way for the relatively few poor of the United

Provinces to afford their way to a new life.

Oddly enough, the biggest winner over abolition were not the slaves, but rather the VOC. The
Dutch East India Company backed both the Buddhists Templars and all the protestors throughout
1709-10. They donated to rallies and churches, and pressed for their representatives in the Second
Chamber to act. They even managed to secure the release of the monks who started the whole
abolition movement. 1709 saw the fall of one Company and the security of another.
However, companies were not the only ones rising and falling in 1709. To the United
Provinces’ north and east, to regional powers were locked in a titanic struggle in the northern branch
of the War of Spanish Succession. By the same time as the Dutch slaves saw manumission, Eastern
Europe saw the fall of one empire and the rise of another in the Great Northern War.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Battle of Poltava[/FONT]

One the Act of Union between the United Provinces and Denmark-Norway was finalized,
Charles XII of Sweden had little choice but to turn his attention away from the North Sea and throw

Sweden’s full might against the Russian Bear. From the time between 1705 and 1709, Sweden
fought Russia with less than stellar effort, and Charles failed to bring the war to conclusion before
the Summer of 1709. The war itself was started mostly over the establishment of Petrograd, a
Russian city in Swedish Baltic territory.
In 1709, the Swedish armies marched through the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and
attacked Russia along its souther border. The reason for such a round about invasion came from
negotiations between Charles XII and the Cossacks. In return for their freedom, the Cossacks would
ally with Sweden against their own hated oppressors. However, the invasion was not without its
problems, one involving a thousand soldiers and a pillaged stockpile of vodka.
On June 28, 1709, Tsar Peter personally lead the Russian Army to lift the Swedish siege
around the town of Poltava. At the start of the battle, the Russians held a three-to-one numerical
advantage. Peter pressed the attack, believing he could quickly roll up the Swedes. He was not totally
oblivious to Sweden’s plans, but believed a second army, under the command of General Roos, was
some three days out. In reality, they were only three [FONT=TimesNewRoman,Italic]hours [/FONT]away. The Swedes at Poltava held off the
Russian advances long enough for a second Swedish army of equal size to march on Peter’s flank.
Trapped between two armies, the Tsar ordered a frontal assault against the army closest to Poltava.
It had been battered for three hours and must be low on ammunition.
What happened after the charge occurred is not quite clear. What is known is that an
anonymous Swedish solider, firing in a volley, managed to pierce the Tsar’s chest, and toppling the
great Russian leader in his saddle. The shot went clean through his heart, killing Peter in a matter
of minutes. With the Tsar dead, the Russian charge faltered. The Russians were unsure how to move,
or who was even in charge. Their hesitation was all the Swedes required. In the space of another
hour, ten thousand Russians lay dead, and twenty more thousand wounded and now prisoners. The
ensuing chaos caused by the Tsar’s death allowed the Swedes a route.
Upon hearing of the turn of events, Charles recalled the armies north and personally launched

an assault on Petrograd. The city, filled with Russian Bouyars who built homes in the city by Peter’s
command, was sparely defended and fell before the day was out. Charles contemplated burning the
city, but decided it might be a useful port after all. Following Petrograd, the Russian Army, put up

one last act of resistance at Novgorod.
Against the Swedes alone, the Russians could have still won. However, Charles used the
Cossacks, sending them to attack the Russian’s flanks. Russian lines collapsed and the road to
Moscow was open. Moscow did not fall as much as it was sacked. For days, Swedish and Cossacks
alike took whatever they desired. Without a Tsar or even a Regent, it was unclear who to negotiate
with. Lack of negotiators did not detour the King of Sweden. The power vacuum presented a golden
opportunity. In the Spring of 1710, Charles XIII walked into St. Basil’s Cathedral, and walked out
as Tsar Charles I. He cemented his control over Russia by emancipating the serfs and removing
Russian nobility from its land. In return for helping them free their brethren in the south, the
Cossacks swore an oath of undying loyalty to Tsar Charles and the Swedish Royal Family. In the
following three centuries, the Cossacks were at the forefront of Sweden’s wars.3
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]King William IV[/FONT]
In the trailing days of the war, King Johann I road into the southern Provinces to inspect
defensive positions built throughout Liege, Artois and Luxembourg. Tragically, the King never
reached his first destination. When crossing the Hollands Diep one stormy afternoon, rough waters
capsized the ferry upon which he road. The King, along with most passengers, drowned attempting
to escape the sinking ship.
His death came months after the birth of his first child, Anna Charlotte, and just weeks before
the birth of his heir, Karel Hendrick. His mother served as regent until Karel reached fifteen years
of age, when the Staaten-General would allow him to ascend the throne, though he was King in title
since his birth. It was not uncommon for future Dutch monarchs to be born after their predecessor
met untimely fates.
He was crowned William IV, King of the United Provinces of the Netherlands in 1726, by
the Bishop of Liege, like all but one of the monarchs, Maurice II. He considered taking the regal
name of Karl I. It would have set well with the new Provinces of Norway and Denmark. However,
he opted William, in honor of his grandfather. In 1734, he married Anne of Great Britain, daughter
of George II, thus extending the Anglo-Dutch alliance, much to the detestment of Dutch businessmen
and politicians.
They attempted to block it, and even succeeded in denying Anne any sort of title. She was
unofficially known as the Princess-Consort. However, William made the case that if a man could not
decide who he would marry, then were the Provinces really free. Under normal circumstances this
is true, however by a Dutch King marrying into the new royal house of Britain, the British could very
well drag the Dutch into another one of its wars with France. For the early years of William IV, the
Netherlands enjoyed peace, but knew it would not be permanent.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Peace of Utrecht[/FONT]
By 1713, Europe’s Great Powers have had enough of war. Deficits had risen, and Spain even
went bankrupt in the course of a war to determine its King. The only nation not to end up broke were
the United Provinces. Austria and the newly formed United Kingdom took out loans from large
banks in Amsterdam. Though war has often been described as ‘bad for business’, the world’s largest
banks often profit greatly from them. Without loans, waging modern war would be next to
In the end, the nations of Europe recognized Phillip V as King of Spain. The Bourbons took
control of the Spanish throne, but not all of its territory. Milan and Naples were ceded to Austria.
Furthermore, Gibraltar and Minorica ended up in British hands. The Bourbons were also forced to
give up land in exchange for the new throne. The United Provinces regained Mons, along with trade
concessions in France’s colonies. France also ceased its support for the Stuart pretenders to the
British throne.
With the Peace of Utrecht, the wars to prevent French domination of Europe during the
Seventeenth Century finally came to an end. With Bourbons on both thrones, Spain and France
remained allied for the remainder of the century, however with the loss of so much land, Spain lost
much of its power and was reduced to a second-rate nation. It was so broke, that during negotiations,
the King of Prussia offered to purchase one of Spain’s American colonies. Strapped for cash, Phillip
V agreed to sell Prussia the Viceroyalty of Rio del la Plata. The war that saw Spain’s final downward
spiral, also saw the rise of the German states.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Austrian Succession[/FONT]
By 1740, succession crisis struck Europe again, this time in the Central Europe. Upon the
death of the last Archduke of Austria, his daughter, Maria Theresa attempted to succeed him as
Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Archduchess of Austria and Duchess of Parma. Her plan was to
succeed to the hereditary Habsburg domains, while her husband, Duke Francis I of Lorraine, would
be elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The issue of succession was greatly complicated by
Salic law, which prohibited any female descendant from inheriting the throne.
The matter came to a head when Prussia’s King Frederick II launched an invasion of Silesia,
using a variety of minor unsettled dynastic claims as a pretext. More over, being a woman, Maria
Theresa was viewed as a weak ruler, and one better replaced by a strong male heir, such as Charles
Albert of Bavaria. The war between Austria and Prussia started merely over the possession of Silesia.
However, with France as an ally of Prussia, and the United Kingdom supporting Austria, other
powers were soon drawn into a war that had little to do with succession.
Due to William IV’s marriage to Princess Anne, the United Provinces were honor bound to
enter the war on the side of both British and Austrians. The Staaten-General drug its feet in declaring
war, but not it declaring defense. It allowed William IV to call up militia and send the standing army
into the southern Provinces, probable invasion route of the French. He was also allowed to deploy
the Royal Dutch Navy. As soon as the Navy went to sea, the navies of the companies, most notably
the VOC, followed. Declared war or not, they would defend company assets from any aggressor.
Once France joined Bavaria against Austria, the United Kingdom declared war upon France.
Again, the Staaten-General did not get half way through its deliberation when word of a French
declaration of war reached the Hague. Unlike previous wars, France did not immediately invade the
southern Provinces. Instead, it linked up with its Bavarians allies and attacked Austria. This gave the
United Provinces an opportunity to move first. The attack would not come across the border, but
rather on the island-kingdom of a trading partner in the middle of the Mediterranean.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Sardinian Expedition[/FONT]
In mid-1741, a Dutch expeditionary force of some twelve thousand soldiers, the largest
overseas landing until the British land in Rhode Island in 1776, landed on the shores of Sardinia.
Under the command of Hendrick van Soot, the army’s objective was to secure the United Provinces’
position in Mediterranean trade, and secondary to aid a long standing trading partner. Like the United
Provinces, the Kingdom of Sardinia was once ruled by Spain. When the Netherlands launched their
revolution, Sardinians did the same. Unlike the Dutch, Sardinia did not succeed, at least not the first
time. It was not until the end of the Thirty Years War that Sardinia gained its independence.
When Buddhist monks hitched a ride across the ocean in the VOC’s ships, many of them
took a liking to the island nation. Monasteries dot the hills of Sardinia, mixing with Benedictine and
other such Catholic abbeys. While on the island, both religions shared ideas and learned from each
other. Many European monks were fascinated by the East, while many Ceylonese monks were
equally fascinated by the West. The two brands of Monasteries even managed to find some equal
grounding in their faiths, mainly; peace, compassion and love.
However, the Catholic kings of France did not look too kindly on the Sardinian Buddhists.
A few of the locals, a lesser percentage than of the Dutch, converted to the alien faith. Kings of Spain
and France were loath to tolerate apostates, and where Spain was inept, France was capable. By the
End of the Austrian Succession, the only Buddhists in the Mediterranean would be under Turkish
rule, where the Turks simply taxed different religions instead of trying to stamp them out.
Though some of the soldiers in Soot’s expedition where no doubt Buddhists, they were still
Dutch, and still very nationalistic. They were here not to aid their spiritual brethren, but in defense
of their homelands. In the United Provinces, commerce [FONT=TimesNewRoman,Italic]is [/FONT]the homeland. Sardinia was the leading
exporter of olive oil to the Netherlands, and a top supplier of wine. France had a vaster supply of
wine, but continuous designs on the Rhine River made trade with the French difficult.
French soldiers, along with seven thousand Sicilian allies, made their own landing further
north, at modern-day Oristano. Dutch forces marched north from Arborea to force a battle with the
Franco-Sicilian invasion. The fact the French landed at all was planned in advance. Soot believed
that defeating the army on land and forcing it to surrender would strip France of prestige. He did
correctly predict the invading army would be trapped; no French admiral would dare meet the Dutch
navy in open combat.
However, the rest of his strategy was flawed from day one. Soot failed to trap the French, and
each time he attempted to engage them, the French would slip away. He continued to pursue French
and Sicilians, not realizing he was being lead into a trap. While the Dutch Navy dominated the
world’s oceans, the Dutch Army was no better or worse than the European average. The further away
from the Dutch navy he could be led, the easier Soot would be to defeat.
In October of 1741, the Franco-Sicilian Army engaged the Dutch on the banks of the Tirso
River. What resulted was an unmitigated disaster, and taught in the modern Commonwealth Military
Academies as what not to do. Soot lead his own army into a valley ambush, with the French on one
slope, the Sicilians on the other. Worse yet, the Dutch were cut off from retreat less than an hour
after the battle began. In the end, Soot was forced to surrender, to rather generous terms. The Dutch
would be disarmed, and allowed to leave the island.
After Soot left the army, it was the United Provinces who lost face. Such an easy defeat only
emboldened the French, and led them to invade the southern Provinces with even higher morale. The
disaster on Sardinia also allowed the French to sever trade between the two nations. Furthermore,
the French removed Sardinia’s King and installed his cousin, a man more friendlier to the Christian
cause. Giovanni I remained King until his own untimely death in 1744, which lead to civil war on
the island. During the ‘French reign’ and following into the civil war, French forces on the island
persecuted the local Buddhists, often giving them the choice to convert or die. Most of the island’s
Buddhist population fled Sardinia to the New World, settling on land between Baltimore and
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Southern Provinces[/FONT]
The Dutch people waited for an invasion, waiting until 1746, when the French launched their
invasion. Instead of trying to take back Mons, the French moved along a different route, invading
Liege. The French defeated a combined army of the United Provinces and Lorraine at Raucourt, near
the city of Liege. The loss of Liege shook the Staaten-General. For the first time in over a century,
the Dutch failed to turn back an invasion. Old Provincial tendencies began to resurface, with each
of the members of the First Chamber wondering if their Province would be next.
The French handed the Dutch its biggest political crisis since the Revolution and until
Napoleon. Strong Kings and common causes served well in the past to hold the nation together.
While the nobles squabbled, the French struck again, this time north towards Maastricht. A victory
here would allow the French to invade the northern Provinces. None of the northern Provinces had
faced foreign invaders since the Spanish, over one hundred fifty years before.
Though he was not as good a general as previous kings, William IV rallied militia from
Holland, Zeeland, Brabant and Gelderland, along with twenty thousand regular soldiers and marched
towards the Maas River. William faced the French Marshall on the banks of the Maas, early morning
on September 27, 1747. William decided to make a forced march through the night, in hopes of
catching the French while they were just starting to stir. He was often criticized for attacking a
sleeping enemy, to which he could only reply that chivalry was not a luxury the United Provinces
had in 1747.
In truth, the French were not asleep. They were just sitting down to breakfast when lines of
orange uniformed soldiers bared down upon them. William, though not a great general, had able
commanders beneath him. They convinced him to make a sweeping attack, one to trap the French
with their backs to the Maas. After a full day of battle, no conclusion was drawn, and by nightfall,
the French commander decided to attempt to withdraw during the night. His attempt to cross the
Maas nearly ended in disaster. The Marshall and many of his key officers managed to escape, but
twenty thousand French soldiers were trapped between the Dutch and the Maas, and were forced to

Despite this partial defeat, the French were not forced from Dutch territory. When

negotiations began in 1748, the French refused to settle for anything less than Mons. French
delegates knew there was no way the United Provinces would surrender Liege, and entire Province,
so decided to settle for Mons. With that city fortified and manned by the French Army, should war
come again, the French would be poised to strike. The Staaten-General had little choice but to
surrender the city, not knowing if they could muster a second Miracle on the Maas should the French
decide to renew the attack.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]New Antwerp[/FONT]
During the 1746 Invasion, the French launched a small punitive expedition towards Antwerp.
Since the days of Louis XIV, the French developed an obsession with the old trading center. After
several wars, sieges and sackings, Antwerp ceased to serve any traders except the locals.
Nonetheless, the French reached the city and set it to the torch. They could not reach the Hague or
Amsterdam, so they would settle for destroying Antwerp.
For many Antwerpers, 1746 was one attack too many. Inhabitants began to flee the city in
droves, leaving it heavily depopulated. Better destination were plenty, and many of the Antwerpers
fled to New Amsterdam and Brazil, Brazil being the most desirable choice. Over the past century,
Brazil accepted refugees from every corner of Europe. Huguenots from France, dispossessed nobility
from fallen Russia, Catholics from Britain and even serfs escaping the Portuguese provinces of
However, the East India Company offered many of Antwerp’s inhabitants an alternative for
relocation. For over a century, the VOC ruled the island of Formosa and profited vastly from trade
with both China and the isolationist island nation of Japan. In that time, natives and imported
laborers from China sufficed to work the VOC’s tea plantations, silk production along with rice
farms and sugar fields. However, the workers came from the mostly peasant lot and offered little in
the way of skilled labor4.
Thousands of Antwerpers were offered the chance to start over, to become the thriving
middle class on Formosa. The VOC wished to create a market a little closer to the source Carpenters,
artisans, merchants and shipwrights were all granted land in the VOC’s new colony, in exchange for
work. The VOC offered generous loans to all who wish to travel, all of which were paid off before
the end of the colonist’s third year. The VOC did not want to exploit the displaced Antwerpers, but
rather use them for the betterment of the company.
In 1752, the first colonists arrived at a small bay southwest of Taipei. They did not find
paradise, but nor did they find mosquito-infested swamps, similar to the ones dotting the Brazilian
landscape. Instead they found a relatively flat land, already stripped of its form forests. Little in the
way of game lived in the area, and for the first year, colonists were forced to rely upon the Company
for its foodsources5.
At first, the colonists did little more than the workers already on the island, that is grow
crops. Obtaining jobs from the Company was difficult; manager and foreman positions were already
filled with able natives and Chinese. To the colonists’ surprise, most of the employees already spoke
Dutch, passable if not fluently. To some of the colonists, it was starting to look like they were duped
by the VOC.
However, after only two years, the Dutch did what they did best, reclaim. The land stripped
of forests soon blossomed with mulberry and tea. Looms powered by water wheels soon churned out
excessive quantities of silk bolts. The colonists even learned to like rice, the only food crop grown
extensively. As with everywhere else they colonized, the Dutch introduced the tulip to Formosa. The
locals, who were already settled into their own homes, soon found room for turban-shaped flower.
Most of the assimilation went the other way; the Dutch became Formosans.
By 1763, when Antwerp’s population fell to twenty thousand, New Antwerp was home to
twice as many. Where Dutch headed west to get rich off sugar, they headed east to get rich off tea.
The Dutch themselves were not big tea drinkers, cafes in the United Provinces served far more
coffee. However, their old enemy and ally, the United Kingdom, simply could not get enough of the
Along with becoming the tea-producing center of Formosa, New Antwerp also became its
shipyard. At first, the immigrants wished to build the same types of ships they always built, sloops
and the like, that is until shipwrights fully inspected VOC ships. The ships that transported the
colonists were mostly of European design, sailed by Dutch crews. They were ships that seldom made
cargo runs across the Indian Ocean, preferring to transport lighter loads instead. The VOC freighters
dwarfed most of what sailed in European waters.
The freighters borrowed heavily from Chinese ship designs. The biggest difference between
the two designs lay in compartmentalized hulls. At first, the shipwrights considered the bulkhead
cumbersome, and a waste of space. That is, until they saw one in action. Off the coast of New
Antwerp, many shipwrights and dockhands watched as a lumbering VOC freighter ran aground on
a small coral reef. Seeing the large gouge in the hull, the colonists assumed the ship would sink in
short order and prepared to send out rescue parties. The seasoned shipwrights were astonished to see
the ship not only survive the impact, but sail into harbor without even listing. When they inspected
the ship, they discovered the same bulkheads they complained about saved the ship. A few sailors
downed in the flooded compartment, but the ship and its cargo largely survived.
New Antwerp thrived in the latter half of the Eighteenth Century, and served as a beacon for
many in the southern Provinces hoping to escape any future French invasions. Brewers from Hainaut
introduced hops to the island, and farmers from Flanders brought cattle and cheese. What was
commonplace to the Dutch was absolutely exotic to the nations of East Asia. Traders from China
and Korea traded in New Antwerp, and the VOC saw to it these commodities were exported to
nations around Formosa.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Enlightenment[/FONT]
It is often said that the Enlightenment arrive a century too late for the Dutch. Ideas of science
and liberty spread throughout the British Isles and the newly formed Swedish Empire in the middle
of the Eighteenth Century, over a century after they were accepted in the Provinces. However, while
New Antwerp blossomed, the United Provinces saw a refinement of their own ideas of liberty.
To a Netherlander around 1750, liberty simply meant they could travel unmolested, worship
as they please and even elect their own delegate (crocked or not) to speak for them in the Staaten-
General. By 1750, that was no longer enough to satisfy the masses. Netherlanders soon wanted the
right to petition the King and the Staaten-General directly. Though they had the right to protest, local
constabulary forces often curtailed the masses, fearing a riot could break out. Netherlanders did not
want the right to riot, just to assemble peacefully.

Liberty was not just a generalized subject. Printers and publishers wanted to print without
having the Staaten-General looking over the shoulder. More than one newspaper in the Provinces

was shut down when it made known its blunt opinion of policies made by the Hague. At the time,
publishers in both Amsterdam and New Amsterdam spoke of the right to print whatever they wished,
short of bald-faced lies.
Liberty was not just spoken of by the well-to-do. The wars with France during the Eighteenth
Century put a drain on Dutch society, created a dip in the middle class. It was not so much a class
of poor, but rather what would today be optimistically called ‘lower-middle class’. The commonfolk
as it were. Whereas businessmen and merchants had the means, the less fortunate of the Netherlands’
larger cities wanted a piece of the action. In the cities, it was the Companies that dominated politics,
and often crowded out the poorer man.
The masses of Amsterdam, Utrecht and Brussels wanted to have their own say. They wanted
that every man, no matter his income, should have an equal say in the future of the community.
Equality was the song of the typical United Province pub. They reasoned ‘are we not the same,
created by the same creator?’ Why should income decide one’s place in Eighteenth Century United
Provinces. It was a difficult transition in a mercantile society, where the golden rule is; he who has
the gold makes the rules.
Equality in vote and rights would not be fully achieve until Post-Napoleonic Europe, nor
would the rights of printers or the right to assemble peacefully. The Post-Napoleonic Constitution
would borrow much from the American Bill of Rights. For the time being, liberty would have to
wait. What would not wait was advancement in the sciences.
By 1750, concepts of gravity and motion were already widely understood6. Universities
popped up across the United Provinces like mushrooms after a storm. By the same year, the United
Provinces sported the highest literacy rate in all of Europe. With the concepts of caste long since
abolished, even the simplest of farmers desired to elevate himself in society. In a society where
competition is the norm, a man required every advantage he could muster. The inability to read
prevented that same man from gaining more profit that he otherwise would have. Without the
potential to advance, it is doubtful that the United Provinces would ever have become the power they
Astronomy was a boon to the United Provinces, the top exporter of quality optics in Europe,
from the invention of the telescope until today. Little did early astronomers, such as Galileo and
Huygens that the simple invention they used to observe Jupiter and Saturn would one day orbit Earth
and see galaxies at the edge of space and time. An entire industry of precision instruments took up
three percent of the work force in Groningen. Inventions from around the world, primarily China,
found their way into the markets and universities of the United Provinces. Compartmentalized hulls
was already explained, and gunpowder and the magnetic compass are already known, however less
known Chinese inventions, such as the blast furnace, cast iron and advancements in agriculture were
all adapted by the Dutch. The United Provinces used each of these inventions to give it an edge over
its own competitors, one of which refused to leave the Dutch alone.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]King William V[/FONT]
In 1751, William IV died when his oldest son and heir was but thirteen. Unlike previous
young monarchs, Willem Batavius Oranje was old enough to make decisions and understand what
happened around him. However, Dutch tradition stipulates a King must be at least fifteen years of

age. His mother, Anne of Great Britain served as official regent for the first two years of his reign.

Unofficially, William was already calling the shots, and the regent mostly passed along his
Instead of taking a British wife, William V took Wilhelmina of Prussia as hid bride, the sister
of Wilhelm II of Prussia7. The marriage represented a reversal of alliances, where technically Prussia
was now an ally of the United Provinces, where it was an enemy during the War of Austrian
Succession8. The Staaten-General blocked any attempt at a formal alliance between the two states.
After being dragged into two wars by their ‘ally’ Britain, the Dutch decided they were better off
alone and neutral. Neutrality was far better for business.
Unfortunately, the marriage did not occur until 1767. By the time William V reached his
eighteenth birthday in 1756, Europe was at war again. At the time, they were still allied with the
British, and once the United Kingdom declared war on France, the French King automatically
declared war upon the Dutch. It was this blind automation that prompted William’s decision to
forego a British wife.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Seven Years War[/FONT]
The war between the British and French actually started in 1754, in North America. Both
British and French colonist fought extensively for control over the Great Lakes region. The Dutch
hoped the war would be contained, but by 1755, the Staaten-General knew war would be around the
corner. After the previous defeat, the Dutch plotted revenge. In a way, the campaigns of the Seven
Years War were an Eighteenth Century replay of the Second Anglo-Dutch War. Both came after
humiliating defeats, with Dutch soldiers and sailors eager to redeem national honor.
When war was declared, the Dutch Army and Navy was in position. Though they could not
act until the Staaten-General, or the French as it were, declared war, they could move into position
by edict of the King. As soon as the declaration reached the Dutch fleet, Admiral Cornelius van der
Moor acted. William V personally told Moor that he should enact the plan as soon as word reached
What was the plan? It certainly was not a head-on charge at Mons as the French predicted.
Instead, Moor landed twenty thousand soldiers at the mouth of the Seine River. When word reached
Versailles, the French King made the same mistake as James II, he believed it was an invasion
headed directly at Paris. Orders went out recalling the French Army at Mons, along with forces along
Rhine frontier.
Was it an invasion? No, Moor landed his force as a feint, an attempt to draw off the French
from the Dutch border, and it worked. Moor’s ‘invasion’ force maneuvered along the French coast
for two days before embarking. By the time the French realized it was a rouse, William V not only
sent the army to retake Mons, but pressed further to lay siege to Calais. After declaring war, the
French quickly found themselves on the defensive.
France could sparsely rely on its own allies to help defend France. The Seven Years War saw
the rise of Prussia, and its own defeat against Austria, and a half-hearted struggle by Sweden. Neither
nation, though large enough to stomp out Prussia could contend against the greatest military mind
of the day, Frederick the Great, future brother-in-law of William V. Sweden dropped out of the war
by 1758, allowing the Prussians to once again invade Silesia. Austria called to France for aid, and
France was forced to give up any plans against the United Provinces for the time being.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]French Amazonia[/FONT]
When war was imminent, the Staaten-General and William V decided that this would be the
final war. Like other European powers, France drew much of its wealth from overseas colonies and
trade in sugar and spice. Fur from Quebec and sugar from French Amazonia filled the coffers in
Versailles, and funded consecutive invasions. Dutch colonists joined with British colonists and
regulars in the invasion of Quebec, which was largely a British affair.
The Dutch focused on the lands north of Brazil. For a century and a half, the Dutch occupied
the Brazilian coast and largely ignored the Amazon Basin. There was nothing but impenetrable
jungle, disease and headhunters along its banks. No markets, and no profits. However, the French
laid claim to the Amazon River and all the land it touched. This brought them into conflict with
Dutch colonists, who only extended at most two hundred kilometers from the coast.
The French did nothing with the Amazon, instead focusing their colonization effort on the
area around Cayenne. The city of Cayenne produced the majority of France’s sugar, more so than
the Carribean islands under their rule. The Dutch have never been particularly interested in a few
small islands, but Cayenne and its wealth drew the attention of entrepreneurs. In Eighteenth Century
Dutch society, there was no such thing as too much wealth.
Brazilians had their eyes upon Cayenne since well before the Seven Years War. During the
War of Spanish Succession, little French activity occurred within Dutch reach. By the Austrian War,
the United Provinces were in too desperate a straight to send an expedition. By 1756, all that had
changed. The Staaten-General sent thousands of soldiers to reinforce the Brazilian militia. Early in
1758, enough men and ships were massed in both Recife and Natal that action was possible.
The Brazilian governor-general appointed the Duke of Pernambuco as General of the
Amazonian Expedition. Pernambuco left Recife at the end of January and sailed up past the Amazon
delta with more than seven thousand soldiers. The amount seemed ridiculously small in comparison
with grand battles of Europe, but more than sufficed for the action at hand. In truth, the French had
only enough soldiers to keep the restless natives at bay, and foolish as it seemed, the Governor of
French Amazonia never anticipated an attack by the Dutch. Why would Brazil attack Cayenne? Do
they not already have enough land?
To the Brazilians, and the Staaten-General, Cayenne was not about land, but about beating
the French down so badly that they could never threaten the United Provinces again. A pipe dream
perhaps, for France had several times the population of the Netherlands, though far more dispersed
than their Dutch counterparts, whom even then lived on top of each other. For all the land that was
in Brazil, Netherlander middle-class were not quite wealthy enough to acquire it.
By April of 1758, Cayenne was under the control of Pernambuco. After firing a few shots
for French honor, the Governor surrendered to the vastly superior invasion force. Controlling
Cayenne was parallel to Controlling New Orleans or Quebec. Controlling either city left the occupier
effectively in control of Louisiana and New France respectively. Only a scattering of towns and large
plantations accounted for the rest of South America’s French population. By surrendering Cayenne,
the French Governor in essence ended French colonial activities in South America.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Treaty of Petrograd[/FONT]
By 1763, France was beaten to a standstill. All of its mainland colonies in the New World
were under foreign occupation, and the Dutch still held on to Calais. Austria was forced to sue for
peace against its German cousins to the north, which meant France was on its own. The French King
desired to hold on to some colonies, and knew if he continued the war he would lose them all.
Sweden hosted the peace negotiations in the city named after the last of the Russians Tsars.
By 1763, the Swedish King merged his titles to Sweden and Russia, becoming the first Emperor of
Sweden. For dropping out of the war early, Sweden only had to part with some of it Pomeranian
holdings, which was fine, because the Swedes were not interested in them anyway. Why fret over
some Baltic coast when they had vast steppes still in need of colonization.
The United Provinces pressed for harsh terms against France, including limiting the size of
its army and navy. It was willing to trade some concession (not Amazonia though) including Mons
for future security. However, the United Kingdom was more interested in building a better future for
itself than for Europe. George II’s envoys dominated the talks. Though France lost many of its
colonies, it was better than what the Dutch were preparing to offer.
In conclusion, the Dutch were awarded French Amazonia and the city of Mons. The British
partitioned Louisiana between itself and long time ally of the French, Spain. To this, the Dutch were
opposed. In principle they were opposed to anything that elevated Spain. The British were not
content with the vast emptiness of the American plains. They annexed all of New France, booting
the French from American shores for good.
France was allowed to keep its large army, one that it could no longer afford. The Staaten-
General was pleased that France would not be able to invade Dutch soil for quite some time,
however that did not equate trust. As soon as Mons was formally in Dutch hands, Dutch soldiers
fortified it, along with the southern Border. If– when war came again, they wanted to be prepared.
Though the government worried, the people rejoiced. As far as they were concerned, the hated
enemy was vanquished, and the people could get back to the business at hand. With new acquisitions

and one enemy out of the way, business was looking good.
Last edited:
Again, forgive the footnotes. I forgot to remove them while transfering this from the PDFs. Now here is a second map, this one of the world in 1763.

1763 Earth.jpg
America's early years will be a bit strange (and a challenge to engineer a war around it) without New Amsterdam.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold][FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]VI) Revolutions[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Indian Ocean[/FONT]
By 1763, the Indian Ocean was rapidly on its way of becoming a Dutch lake. The VOC ran
colonies from southern Africa to India all the way to the Australian coast. Peace might have came
to Europe, but in the middle of the Eighteenth Century the VOC sought new markets. New markets
might as well mean new conquests. In the preceding century and a half, the VOC managed to expand
its Portuguese conquests. French, Danish and Venetian trading posts were gradually muscled out of
southern India, with France being the last to be ousted in 1763.
Only the VOC was pleased by the monopoly on foreign trade in southern India. A number
of princely states, most notably Mysore, were not pleased by the lack of choices. Though the VOC’s
prices were not extortion, they were higher than they would be with competition. A few states closed
their borders to the Dutch, but most simply sought out new traders. In response, the VOC simply
conquered the states, and installed more complacent princes and kings.
Like many trading companies of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, the VOC wielded
powers comparable to that of nations. The VOC’s royal monopoly authorized it to sign treaties, raise
armies, levy taxes and even wage war. What started as a small band of sailors and Ceylonese soldiers
soon grew into a large, well-organized mercenary force. When veterans of Europe’s wars grew
restless in peace, the found employment with their national trading companies. The VOC was no
The VOC hired the best soldiers they could find in Europe (though the Amsterdam-based
company steadfast refused to hire Spanish, and later French soldiers). Upon establishing itself in
southern India, the company began to hire local talent. At first, they only hired locals as guides and
translators, but after the VOC’s first conference gave the VOC a new problem; what to do with the
prisoners of war? The task of disarming and pacifying conquered states strained the VOC’s
resources, and occupying the state was simply not profitable.
In 1643, the governor-general of the East India Company proposed to the shareholders that
the VOC simply hire the soldiers it just defeated. Who better to fight Indians than other Indians. He
reasoned they were accustom to both land and disease, and hiring local armies would save on
shipping Europeans half way around the world. Thus started the VOC tradition of employing those
it just vanquished.
One today might wonder what would compel a pre-commonwealth Indian from allying with
foreigners against their own nation and people. What one must keep in mind is that many of the
soldiers were conscripted, and if paid, it was very little. The VOC offered, in some cases, seven
times the salary of a soldiers, and up to twice the annual average income. The allure of better pay and
constant work convinced more than a few defeated foes from switching sides. Truth was, the VOC
exploited regional rivalries. It would be like Napoleon hiring Austrians to fight Turks, or Spaniards
to fight Sardinians.
Aside from greater pay than conscripts and the opportunity to battle old adversaries,
employment by the VOC offered Indians the possibility of advancement. In the Hindu states of the
south, caste was everything. The idea of advancement, to elevate one’s position on the social ladder
was very foreign indeed, and many Indian employees relished the idea. Change was not welcome by
everybody, however. For centuries upon centuries, those of the highest castes, such as the Brahmans,
ruled with occasional impunity.
In 1767, Mysore began to push back the tide of VOC influence in its region. For a century
and a half, the VOC operated trading posts on Mysore’s coast, acting as middleman between the
Indian state and foreign buyers. When the VOC began to enact its own tariffs and taxes on Mysore,
and Mysoran King was not pleased. Several dozen tax collectors were killed by Mysore, their heads
delivered to the local VOC headquarters at Goa. It took some time for word of the ‘massacre’ to
reach Amsterdam, but when it did, the VOC gave the only response available; it declared war.
The Dutch-Mysore war was short, but still the bloodiest conflict in southern India during the
Dutch Raj. Thousands of VOC employees lost their lives, while tens of thousands, if not hundreds
of thousands of Indian were killed, either in combat or famine that followed. Native lords took their
own taxes of food and gold, and when the VOC overran an estate, the vaults and granaries were
taken as spoils of war. Indian employees, particularly those from states hostile to Mysore, looted
markets and burnt fields.
The VOC had little regard for the Indians. If Indian killed Indian, that was not their concern.
When the United Provinces took direct control over India in 1800, the anti-Dutch mentality gave
future governor-generals fifty years of headaches. It took even longer to undo the damage inflicted
by the company. When the VOC emerged victorious, the King of Mysore was put to death, and a
distant cousin installed on the throne, one that might be more agreeable to VOC policies. By 1771,
the government and courts of Mysore answered directly to the Governor-general on Ceylon.
Some of the spoils of the Mysore conquest came in the forms of precious and semi-precious
stones found across the Indian sub-continent. Before the invasion, Netherlanders only had the faintest
idea about sapphires and emeralds. Afterwards, the demand for gemstones drove the VOC, and later
the Dutch Raj, to expand its sphere of influence throughout India. It also lead to the downfall and
near destruction of the VOC, following its prohibitively expensive conquest of British-controlled
Bengal during the 1780s.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Cape Colony[/FONT]
One of the backwaters of the Dutch world and the VOC’s commercial empire oddly enough
lay at the most strategic point in the spice trade; southern Africa. Kapenstadt was founded by the
VOC in 1617, as an agricultural colony to stock its ships with the food required for long journeys.
The VOC hired farmers and other adventurers across the United Provinces with the promise of free
land. The first settlers brought with them tried and true crops, such as wheat, barley and grapes (all
of which doubled for alcohol productions). The following decades saw the arrival of more exotic
Potatoes from the New World, oranges and limes for battling scurvy, and even attempts to
plant sugar. These attempts were quickly squelched by the VOC. The colonists were paid to produce
food, not cash crops, and besides, Cape Colony was not the ideal environment for sugar cane. Much
protest came out of the issue. “It is my land, and I will grow what I like,’ to which the VOC replied
that no, you are our employees and you will grow exactly what we tell you to. Instead of a second
Brazil, the Cape became Holland, Flanders or even Limburg transplanted on the opposite side of the
world, complete with dairy farms, but minus the liberty.
Cape Colony was unique in the VOC’s holdings. It was the only mostly exclusive
Netherlander department that was ruled like a private fief. The colonists considered the VOC tyrants
of the worst kind, sons of Spain and not true Netherlanders. The VOC really did not care what the
colonists thought, as long as they grew what they were suppose to, and since the company held a
complete monopoly on the colony, what it said went.
By the start of the Eighteenth Century, many of the colonists had enough of the VOC’s
dictates and upped and moved further inland. Since the company saw little of interest in the interior
of southern Africa, it was reasoned that was the perfect place to escape. Word of the South Atlantic
Company’s fall angered the colonists further. Former slaves now had more right than Dutch citizens,
it was an outrage. Attempts to send word to the Hague failed, since again the VOC controlled the
lines of communication. Anyone foolish enough to attempt sending word were eventually discovered
and fined.
Up to a hundred families departed Kapenstaat for the bush and for freedom from the
domineering VOC. The families, known across history as Boers, took upon the Boer Trek across
three hundred kilometers of wilderness before reaching rivers and watering holes in the highland.
The first Boer Trekkers left Kapenstadt in August of 1768, after suffering a century and a half of
VOC rule. With the abandonment of Antwerp, the VOC had more than enough settlers to replace
the lost ones. However, after 1768, the VOC cracked down on the colonists, and made every attempt
to prevent emigration to the interior.
The Boers lived life in the bush far freer than on the cape, but far harsher. Gone were the
luxuries brought in by the VOC, and gone were the luxury crops grown for them. Boers brought with
them their sheep and cattle, along with corn and wheat, and a few tomatoes. Not only did their
livestock provide food, but wool and cattle hide powered the tanning and weaving industry the Boers
built up.
The first hundred families settled in roughly the same area, founding a new town,
Johannesbourg, named for the king at the time of the Trek. The town was little more than a
collection of shops and farms clustered around a watering hole. After the first year, 1708, each of
the families lost at least one member to the hazzards of the bush. If not for the effort to establish
positive relations with the Bushmen, it is not likely that the first Boers would have survived.
The community established around Johannesbourg struggled to survive for years to come.
More Boers made the move, adding numbers to the town. Throughout history, population increases
were often viewed as improvements. However, Johannesbourg lacked resources to support the
growing community. Trade with the Bushmen supplemented what could be grown on farms and
ranches. Boer homes were nothing like the plantations in Brazil and Ceylon or orchards of New
Amsterdam. They were subsidence level farming, with simple houses built of stone with dirt floors.
In comparison with the rest of the Dutch Empire, the Boers lived in poverty.
When Johannesbourg reached saturation level, Boers branched out to other watering holes
and rivers, establishing new towns. Each of these towns, once stable, took to electing their own
leaders, village chiefs or town mayors. Trade between towns soon brought the Boer communities
closer together, closer to nationhood. Within a hundred years, three Boer republics were established;
Johannestaat, Transvaal and Nieu Oranje.

[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Turmoil in North America
While the Boers were struggling on the opposite side of the Atlantic, the New
Amsterdammers were thriving. Trade with the American colonies and the Iroquois Confederacy,
along with the United Provinces made many of the inhabitants of New Amsterdam wealthy. Where
a Boer might live in a shanty, even the poorest of New Amsterdammers lived with wooden floors.
The city of New Amsterdam, close to fifty thousand by 1770, was nearly as crowded as old
The city occupied only the lowest fourth of Manhattan Island, with little motivation to
expand. The island, once heavily forested, was mostly stripped, its wood shipped off to Europe, now
was covered in a sea of wheat and orchard. Apples and pears, along with tobacco plantations on
Long and Staaten Islands flooded the city’s market place, along with fish from the Mauritius River
and furs from the Iroquois.
Wars in the southern Provinces drove many from Hainaut, Flanders, Artois and Luxembourg
drove many of those Provinces’ citizens from fleeing to a better life. Those who could afford
plantations and the paid labor required to run it, left for Brazil. The middle class left for North
America, to join many other Europeans looking for freedom from fear and violence that racked
Europe during the wars of Louis XIV.
By the decade of the 1770s, New Amsterdam was in the most unique position for observing
the American Revolution. The city itself could be considered the key to the conflict, and aside from
raids during the Anglo-Dutch Wars, New Amsterdam largely avoided war. The fact that the Dutch
controlled access to the Mauritius River was one of the reasons the Americans were not swamped
in 1776. Had the British had control of New Amsterdam, the outcome of the American Revolution
and world events may have drastically altered.
The Mauritius River divided rebellious New England from the rest of the colonies. The center
of the Revolution until 1776 was the city of Boston, one that fell to Washington’s army without a
shot in 1775. A second army, one lead by Arnold, secured Fort Ticonderoga. Washington’s army was
nearly cut off in 1776, when an army of twenty thousand British soldiers and German mercenaries
landed in Rhode Island and threatened to trap Washington in Boston.
Without access to the Mauritius River, the British were incapable of preventing Washington
from crossing over into Pennsylvania and safety. To get around New Amsterdam, the British began
to build a fleet upon Lake Champlain. After driving the Americans out of Canada, Arnold took it
upon himself to build his own fleet to stop the British. During the Battle of Valcour Bay, Arnold’s
fleet of virtual rafts was all but destroyed, yet he delayed the British long enough that they were
forced to turn back before the winter set in. During the winter of 1776, Washington crossed the
Mauritius River to attack a Hessian garrison at White Plains, just north of the border.
The British effort fell apart in 1777. Though Burgoyne launched a second, more successful
invasion of the Iroquois Confederacy. The plan was to have Howe’s army link up with him and
destroy the army in the north, under the joint command of Arnold and Gates. Instead, Howe indulged
his own quest for glory by sailing south to attack Philadelphia, the rebel capital. The northern British
army nearly defeated the Americans in Iroquois land, if not for the actions of Arnold. Burgoyne was
forced to surrender at Saratoga. When Gates attempted to accept the surrender, Burgoyne refused to
surrender to any general with a uniform cleaner than his own. He would only surrender to the one
that defeated him.
Much of the history of the recognition of the United States lay with Benjamin Franklin’s
exploits in the French court. For the purpose of Dutch history, the focus will be more on John
Adams’s quieter mission to the Hague. Despite being dragged into several wars by an alliance with
the British, the Dutch were not eager in engaging them in war. Much anti-British sentiment dwelled
in the southern Provinces, those ravished by wars with France.
Trade with Great Britain itself was at a minimal. The British had their own merchant fleet,
and a combination of tax-breaks for the British and tariffs on everyone else made Dutch good,
though generally higher in quality, too expensive to the relatively poorer British citizenry. Despite
sentiment and trade obstructions, there was no real reason to recognize the American’s
independence, despite strong trade ties with the colonies, unless the rebels can prove themselves
capable of victory.
Though the French were eager to get back Quebec, Dutch recognition came only when the
American’s forced the surrender of an entire British army. Oddly enough, John Adams first heard
of the victory of Saratoga from Dutch diplomats and not his own people. Word of the victory quickly
spread down the Mauritius River to New Amsterdam, then across the Atlantic as soon as the first
trader set sail for home. Recognition came in April of 1778, but Adams had yet to secure an alliance.
Word that France allied with the Americans made some members of the Staaten-General hesitate.
After so many wars, being allied with France was unthinkable.
When the alliance did come, in the summer of 1778, it came from a source very far away
from the American Revolution. It was the VOC that pushed the alliance through their members of
the Second Chamber and lobbied for the King and First Chamber to declare war upon Britain. The
VOC had no interest in the United States. What it did have a great interest in were the British
holdings in Bengal. After defeating the Moguls, the British gained dominance over the area. The
British East India Company, the British counterpart of the VOC, was the greatest threat to VOC
preeminence. When war was declared an the Anglo-Dutch alliance finally broken, it was not
America that was the battlefield, but Bengal.
The only significant Dutch action in the Americas came from New Amsterdam. A small army
lead by the Marquis of New Amsterdam linked up with an American force led by Arnold to drive
the British from Connecticut. This action not only liberated an entire state, but freed New
Amsterdam from threat of attack. The real Dutch action came not from the national army and navy,
but from a private one. The VOC invested much capital in building a fleet and raising an army both
in the United Provinces and in India. Throughout Bengal and adjacent regions, the Indians were
developing their own Anti-British attitude.
It was not until 1779, did the VOC have sufficient forces in place to invade Bengal. The first
regiments landed in March of 1779. VOC ships wasted no time in attacking British ships. Losses in
trade in 1779 alone drove the British East India Company’s profits so low that bankruptcy was
inevitable. They petitioned both Parliament and King for assistance against the invasion. Word of
British losses provoked many natives in India to rise up against company rule. Little did they realize
they would be trading one corporate master for another.
British control over the land was forever broken on June 15, 1779, when VOC soldiers
decisively defeated the British at Dacca. The battle was one of the few cases of two rival
corporations actually coming to blows over a competing market. Never again would companies
wield so much power as they did at the Battle of Dacca. The battle marked the end of British East
India Company, and the deficit raked up by the VOC marked the beginning of its own decline,
though it would eventually recover, but not to its nation state-like status.
Following the battle, company officials surrendered all assets in Bengal to the VOC. It would
be three years before the British would react to the shock to their own economy. Britain’s Royal
Navy set sail for India in 1782, with fifty ships and enough soldiers to hopefully drive the Dutch
from Bengal. Tragically, the fleet never reached Bengal. It was intercepted by VOC and Dutch ships
off the coast of Ceylon. The Battle of Jaffna marked the end of British control over India. British
access to its colonies in the Philippines and trade with China was greatly restricted by the Dutch for
twenty years following the peace treaty.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Treaty of Paris (1783)[/FONT]
In 1782, The British met with the Americans, French and Dutch delegates in Paris to end the
war. By then, the British were all but defeated in America and India, and the French were too well
entrenched in Canada to drive them out. To compound difficulties for the British, the three nations
insisted on an allied peace. Many in Parliament were regretting not negotiating with the Americans
in 1776, for in 1783, the British were going to lose big.
In the end, Britain automatically recognized American independence. For the French, victory
was far from complete. They could not be driven from Canada, but they could not secure all of their
lost territory. The British held fast in Arcadia, and the French had no hope of regaining Louisiana,
not without a war with Spain. In the end, France settled for regaining Quebec. As for the Dutch, the
rewards were far richer. The United Provinces walked away from the American Revolution the sole
European power in India. As with all of its Indian Ocean possessions, administration of Bengal was
left to the VOC, as were all the riches that could be reaped.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The French Revolution[/FONT]
As a direct result of involvement in the American Revolution, France experienced its own
revolution. By the late 1780s, tens of thousands of French were fleeing famine northward into the
United Provinces. At first, it was believed the vanguard of a peasant army bent on conquering
Flanders. Instead, the peasants were only interested in acquiring enough wheat to feed themselves
and perhaps passage to overseas colonies. Brazil was, after all, built upon the labors of refugees from
all corners of Europe.
By 1789, the French Estates General was summoned for the first time in living memory.
However, it was the old Three Estates of France, with the Nobility and Clergy, about one percent of
the populations, able to outvote the other ninety-nine percent. However, the French learned not only
remember the values of the American Revolution, but have themselves been discussing and debating
the ideals of liberty and the enlightenment.
During the revolutionary year of 1789, nobility and clergy renounced their privileges and the
old Estates General fell, to be replaced by a unicameral National Assembly. The assembly forced
Louis XVI to sign away power after power as the once absolutist state was elevated to the level of
constitutional monarchy. Before long, Louis had enough an attempted to organize his own coup
against the National Assembly, with the help of his in-laws, the Habsburgs. Upon hearing of this,
the King was eventually arrested and put on trial. By 1791, the King was found guilty of treason and
executed, transforming France into a kingless state. Shortly after, the Reign of Terror began.
Most Dutch considered themselves safe from France’s problems, but by 1792, almost every
monarch in Europe was at war with France. The Dutch opted to stay neutral, and as long as its
shipping was not threatened, they were content to let their rivals reduce each other to second- and
third-rate powers. It did not work according to their wishes. The first Dutch to feel the force of the
Revolution were in Flanders and Artois, were a revolutionary army invaded the United Provinces.
The invasion spread Revolutionary ideas, including reforming the Staaten-General. For the
most part, the Dutch wanted only to reform the Second Chamber, to abolish the practice of buying
votes, to end dynastic politics and to give the vote to every man. The companies, especially the VOC,
opposed this idea, for it would take away their power. In the waning years of the Eighteenth Century,
governor-generals and boards of shareholders have grown more autocratic, greedier, and for the only
time in its history, placing the VOC before the United Provinces.
Revolutionary France was not content to wait for the Dutch to reform itself. In 1793, the
French Republic once again declared war against the United Provinces. For the most part, the Dutch
expected repeats of previous invasion. However, the new France proved to be merit-based in its
selection of officers and generals. In May of 1793, the Duke of Luxembourg was systematically
defeated by the new corp of French generalship. By the end of the year, France’s National Assembly
was calling for union with the Dutch Provinces.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Rise of an Emperor[/FONT]
Each nation has its pivotal moment, when everything that happens is either before or after.
For the United Provinces, that moment was Napoleon. The United Provinces managed to stay free
from Napoleon’s control, mainly because of British activity in the Mediterranean and the Austrians
in Italy. France sent several expeditions into Dutch territory following its occupation of Luxembourg.
The Dutch made several of its own attempts to dislodge the French. For the most part, Napoleon,
Emperor in 1804, was content to leave the Dutch and their banks alone, with the exception of the
strategic crossroads of Luxembourg. It was vital to his wars in Germany.
Before the campaigning season ended in 1804, Napoleon grew displeased by the Dutch and
their resistance. He lead an invasion, at the head of a quarter of a million men, and easily crushed
the Dutch at Limburg, Mons and finally crushing the army at Arnhem, in the northern Provinces,
opening the road to Amsterdam. For the first time since the Dutch Revolution, the United Provinces
were not only defeated in the north, but left completely defenseless before a foreign invader. The
Dutch inability to stop the French was not a deficiency of its own officer corp, but rather the fact they
faced Napoleon, the greatest general in European history, and the only man who took on the world
and nearly won.
By March of 1805, Amsterdam was in French hands, and Napoleon was marching on the
Hague. King William V, too old for combat in 1805, learned of Napoleon’s terms; France would
annex the lands south of the Rhine, and the remaining United Provinces would become a vassal of
the French Empire. When Napoleon began his march, members of the Staaten-General were already
loading their ships and preparing to flee.
The King wished to stay and fight the invaders to the death. It was only the intervention of
his son and heir that convinced the King he must seek exile for the time being. There was no hope
of defeating Napoleon, and should he fall into French hands, it would be a disaster for the Dutch.
Just because the Dutch government was going into exile, did not mean it planned to just give its
capital to the French. Before evacuating, William V ordered dikes and levies along the Rhine River
and the North Sea breached. The floods inundated the land, slowing Napoleon’s advances, allowing
enough time for the Dutch government to escape.
When fleeing the advancing French Grande Armee, the Dutch did not flee aimlessly. Several
destinations were proposed. Britain was first proposed due to its proximity, but no self-respecting
Netherlander would ask an Englander for sanctuary, even if it was the only nation holding its own
against Napoleon. New Amsterdam was offered up, but quickly rejected due to a legal technicality.
Technically, the United States were still allied with France, though a great rift developed during the
Reign of Terror and the tens of thousands executed, not to mention seizure of American ships trading
with the British.
New Amsterdam was too much a security risk for the House of Orange, nor did it have
enough manpower to allow for the Dutch to rebuild its forces. The only destination with enough
wealth, enough population and sufficient infrastructure to support the Dutch Empire was Brazil. July
27, 1805, King William V debarked his ship in the city of Recife. For the next ten years, Recife
would serve as capital to the United Provinces and all Dutch colonies.
William’s first, and last act before his death, was to consolidate Dutch forces in Recife. He
ordered couriers to each of the colonies, calling forth men and ships to arms. Even in exile, the Royal
Navy was still more than capable of blockading France. France was effectively cut off from its own
colonies, and again the British occupied Quebec along with Haiti. Though the Provinces were
occupied, the Dutch still managed to cut off France’s entire import-export economy. Blockade was
but a mere inconvenience to France, which by 1806 was the master of western Europe. However, not
all Dutch escaped to Brazil. Many remained home, to resist the French occupation and terrorize the
collaboration government.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Batavian Republic[/FONT]
Once in command of the low countries, Napoleon expanded his legal code to include not only
the Provinces annexed to France, but the seven remaining ones. Along with new laws, the northern
Provinces were combined into a new nation in the image of France; the Batavian Republic.
Revolutionary Netherlanders found positions in the new government, abolishing titles and handing
the powers of government into a National Assembly based in Amsterdam. What nobility remained
in the Netherlands soon found itself under assault from a milder form of the Terror. The Count of
Holland was one of the nobles put to death for ‘crimes against liberty’.
Though the Dutch Revolutionaries declared the new republic, in truth they had little power.
For the most part, the Dutch National Assembly did as Napoleon commanded. The Dutch people,
living in the light of liberty long before the French ever considered overthrowing its own despots,
found the Batavian Republic tyrannical. The Revolutionaries said that to save liberty, they must
sacrifice liberty, though the repression was not as severe as the later German occupation.
To control the population, internal passports were issued in 1807. The attempts were largely
ineffectual; the guards appointed to border crossings were conscripts and resentful of the Batavian
Republic. They made only a lukewarm attempt to enforce the laws. Nor did they attempt to thwart
the resistance. The terrorizing of collaborators was the primary cause of the passport laws. To
compound matters, the Batavian Army was stocked with either sympathizers to the resistance, or full
fledged members.
By 1810, the French had enough of Dutch insolence. Napoleon dissolved the Dutch National
Assembly, and placed his brother, Louis as Regent of Batavia. When Louis called forth a new
Assembly, it was stocked with members personally picked by the Regent. The Batavian Army was
dissolved. Louis instead commanded two divisions of French reserves to police Batavia.
Furthermore, he levied an almost suffocating level of taxation upon the nominally low-taxed Dutch
What was simple acts of resistance under the National Assembly became full blown
‘insurrection’3. Louis’s heavy-handed response only added fire to the raging fury. With rebellion in
his rear, Napoleon was forced to divide his forces on the eve of his invasion of Sweden, with dire
consequences to the Emperor4. To quell the uprising, entire cities were put to the torch. Country
village and towns were not the only ones to feel the flame. March 20, 1813, was the day Rotterdam
was put to the torch following the assassination of Louis’s general Montier.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]The Empire of Brazil[/FONT]
Across the Atlantic, while the Provinces suffered beneath both puppet rulers and foreign, a
new Staaten-General was formed in Recife. Though the First Chamber remained largely unchanged,
minus the inclusion of Brazilian peerage, the Second Chamber took on a whole new dimension. The
members that did manage to escape, few had ever left the United Provinces, and even fewer had ever
set foot in Brazil before 1805. As with tradition, members of the Second Chamber must be elected
from the populace. Since the fall of the South Atlantic Company, Brazil has been ruled directly from
the Hague. It had little experience in self-rule or elections, or so the Netherlanders believed.
When it came to democracy, the Brazilians did not look east, but rather north, to the United
States of America. To them, the words ‘all men are created equal’ held more value than to a
Netherlander, who took liberty for granted. By 1806, more than a third of Brazil’s population were
descendant from slaves brought over from Angola during the Seventeenth Century. Again, few
members of the Second Chamber (or the First for that matter) had ever seen a black man before
arriving in Brazil.
Before Napoleon, Brazilians were contemplating their own revolution. The Americans had
it right ‘no taxation without representation’ nor should a people be ruled without their consent from
across the ocean. However, with the Dutch Government in exile, the Brazilians had the perfect
opportunity for reform. If the government was to be in Recife, then there shall be Brazilians in it.
Unlike the Americans, the Brazilians never felt ill towards the Dutch King, their King. When
William V arrived in Recife, the Brazilians welcomed him with all the respect a monarch commands.
When the Staaten-General attempted to return to business as usual, the Brazilians soon felt
as if their own King was not leading their nation, but rather occupying it. Brazilians at first
demanded equal representation in an assembly upon their own soil, but when their words were
ignored, they began to demand their own government, separate from the Hague. Again, the Staaten-
General ignored them. The Netherlanders looked down upon the Brazilians as unsophisticated
children, the colonists needed guiding from the parent nation.
After two centuries of ‘guidance’ the Brazilians decided they could stand on their own.
Amsterdam and the Hague were not the only cities in which words of liberty were discussed in cafes
and pubs. Citizens in Recife, Mauristadt and Natal organized nation-wide strikes and protests. At
the head of this quasi-rebellion was former professor at the University of Pernambuco, Johann
Like many American revolutionary leaders, Valckenaer was born to a well-to-do family in
the city of Salvador. He was well educated, traveled, charismatic, and above all, he genuinely cared
about the ills of his fellow countrymen. He tried to lead a non-violent protest, not wanting to spark
the level of violence seen in the American colonies. He loved his country and king, and had
misgivings about striking during a time when the mother country was beneath foreign heels, but if
the Dutch aristocracy and merchant-class wanted Brazil’s help in their war, then they were going to
give Brazil the respect it deserved.
Valckenaer made no attempt to declare independence, and invested much energy in stopping
the extremist factions from tearing a rift between Brazil and the United Provinces. If Brazil was to
lead the Dutch fight against Napoleon, then in must do so as its own nation, separate from the Hague
but not from the King. He petitioned William Frederick, the heir-apparent, to hear his grievances.
He shall be king of Brazil the same as the Provinces, but the Brazilians wanted to handle their own
affair, without interference from the Hague. More to the point, if the Dutch were to stay in Brazil,
then they must form a government of Brazilians.
To prove his sincerity, Valckenaer organized a coronation, paid for by Brazilians for their
new monarch. On November 30, 1806, William Frederick became King Maurice II of the United
Provinces and Brazil. Valckenaer declared that the title king was not great enough. If the upstart
Corsican declared himself an emperor, and if the Austrians and Swedes have an emperor, then so
shall the Brazilians elevate the House of Orange to imperial levels. Maurice II of the United
Provinces became Maurice I, Emperor of Brazil.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]King Maurice II[/FONT]
Upon taking the thrones of the United Provinces and Brazil, Maurice went to work on
forming a new government. The Brazilian Staaten-General shall be independent of the United
Provinces in all affairs internal, however, it would still be a realm within the Dutch Empire. Brazil
also adopted the first written constitution within the Dutch world. Since 1609, the United Provinces
operated under an unwritten, sacred agreement on how to govern a realm of seventeen independent
states. Brazil would be united from the get go, and the Brazilian drafters of its constitution borrowed
heavily from the United States.
The Staaten-General was to be divided into two chambers. The first chamber shall be called
the Senaat, and its members will either be hereditary nobles of the Brazilian provinces, such as the
Count of Natal and Duke of Pernambuco, or otherwise elected by provincial government to represent
their own interests in Recife. The second chamber, called the House of Electors shall be elected from
districts within the provinces for terms of two years. Senators, if inherited, will be in for life, where
as elected officials shall hold office for six year terms.
Unlike the United States Constitution, Brazil’s made specific articles addressing the
monarchy. Brazil shall be in personal union with the United Provinces, and its ruler shall be
bestowed the title of Emperor. Brazil was an empire in the continental sense; it controlled a large
portion of South America. With Spain so weak from its own involvement in the Napoleonic Wars,
Brazil could have annexed any of the Spanish colonies it desired.
The head of the Brazilian government, and representative of the Emperor, who assuredly
would return to the Hague eventually, would be bestowed upon a Prime Minister, one Johann
Valckenaer. He would be the first of Brazil’s many Prime Ministers, elected by the Brazilian Staaten-
General, which would do so at the Emperor’s blessing. Unlike future Prime Ministers of future
Dutch realms, the length of time required to send message across the Atlantic in the early Nineteenth
Century prohibited any sort of direct control by the Hague. To rectify this, the Emperor would travel
to Brazil and reside within his palace in Recife on a regular basis; once every five years according
to the bare minimum requirements of the Constitution.
Whereas the Brazilian Constitution would be groundwork for the future Dutch Constitution,
the foundation of the Empire drastically altered the way Brazilians conducted business. Before the
Staaten-General fled the Hague, the Brazilians had little in the way of self-determination. City
councils and town halls about covered it. The provincial and overall colonial government was
handled first by the South Atlantic Company, then directly as a Crown Colony.
Before 18065, the average Brazilian lived a political life far different than the average
Netherlander. Though both lived in a largely middle-class society, the Brazilian people had no say
in how their nation was ran. On the other hand, the Netherlander could petition for their
representatives in the Staaten-General, or failing that, simply replace him at the next election.
Brazilians had no such option; they policies were decided thousands of kilometers away.
The mother country, through its governor-generals and bureaucrats, governed and taxed
Brazilians without their own consent. When the United Provinces declared themselves to be home
of the freest people, obviously they did not consider citizens in the colonies as ‘its people’. To a large
extent, colonial citizens were not Dutch. They were Ceylonese, Indian, Javan and Chinese. Only
colonies in the New World, whose indigenous population surrendered to European diseases when
Portugal ruled Brazil, could claim to be truly Dutch.
Governing conquered peoples without consent was one thing, but after suffering for over a
century under Spanish suzerainty, the Dutch in Brazil could not understand why their own cousins
across the sea now govern them as such. In truth, colonial rule was far less brutal as that of Spain.
Brazilians could come and go as they pleased, to trade in goods, and (provided it was not overtly
subversive) in ideas without duties or occupying soldiers looking over their shoulder. Nor did they
have to fear the inquisition. Brazil was as divided in issues of religion as the United Provinces,
though geographically opposite; in Brazil it was the Protestants who lived mostly in the south, and
Catholics mostly in the north.
It took a series of agreements for cooperation
against Napoleon to drive for Brazilian selfdetermination
and independence. King
Maurice II and the exiled members of the
Staaten-General knew that 1806 was not a
year to be battling kinsmen. Some might
argue that Brazil owes its independence to
treaties signed under duress, for without
Brazilian support, the United Provinces could
not hope to free itself, and the entire Dutch
colonial empire could have potentially
disintegrated. Even after 1815, the Staaten-
General of the United Provinces respected and
acknowledged the Staaten-General of Brazil.
By 1813, and after the disastrous invasion of
Sweden, it was clear to all European nations
that France’s strength was all but sapped, its
manpower bled nearly dry. It was when the
Grande Armee retreated from Swedish
territory that the powers of Europe, allied and
opposed to Napoleon, joined together in one
final coalition to topple the would-be
Emperor. In late 1813, Maurice II landed an
army of fifty thousand Netherlanders, New Amsterdammers, Brazilians, Ceylonese and even some
Formosans, landed on the shores of Zeeland.
Regent Louis of Batavia met the invasion south of Delft, home of the House of Orange, with
forty thousand of his own soldiers. Most were French, and loyal to Louis. The remainder were
auxiliary units, in lieu of Ancient Rome. Their loyalty was questionable, and they were placed in
front of the more loyal French. Sandwiched between their own people and the hated oppressors, the
march of the Batavian Auxiliaries is on of the tragedies of Dutch history. Those that attempted to
surrender or switch sides were mercilessly gunned down by the French behind them. The few that
believed in the Revolution and willingly faced Maurice II, were gunned down by their own kinsmen.
Out of the seven thousand Auxiliaries, it is estimated that fewer than one hundred survived.
Louis Bonaparte was indeed a ruthless and effective regent, but he did not inherit the genius
of his brother. His army was routed within a day, Louis himself captured. Two days later, Maurice
II rode into Delft, and later the Hague at the head of his victorious army. To great him, the populace
of both cities draped every building within the city both Dutch Flags and orange banners. At one
point, the Hague was awash in the color orange. Banners produced an orange colored sky, and
endless ranks of soldiers produced a river of orange uniforms. For days afterward, Netherlanders
celebrated their liberation, and dealt retribution to collaborators.
It was not until January 4, 1814, that Maurice rode his army into Amsterdam. Several
regiments were sent to each of the Provinces, to flush out any self-proclaimed Batavians and to
reestablish to rule of the House of Orange and the Staaten-General. Several months passed before
the whole of the Netherlands were under Staaten-General control, and that the heirs of the Provinces
were back in their homes. Not all were welcomed either; the Duke of Limburg was forced to abdicate
in favor of his nephew, who stayed behind and lead resistance within Limburg.
While the Provinces were brought back under Dutch rule, the Swedes led an army that
marched down the avenues of Paris. Napoleon had been toppled, and exiled to the island of Elba.
For a moment, it appeared as if the Wars of Napoleon were over. But only for a moment. Napoleon
soon escaped exile and returned to his throne in Paris. After the disastrous campaigns of 1813 and
1814, it was unlikely Napoleon would return France to the height of its power, but no nation was
willing to take the chance.
Napoleon was corralled once again, this time on June 18, 1815, at the town of Waterloo in
Brabant. For the entire day, Britain’s Duke of Wellington battled Napoleon to a stand still. Up until
the last moment, it appeared as if Napoleon might escape to fight another day. Though the British
and other English speakers give the credit of victory to Wellington, it was really more the arrival of
Maurice II and the Dutch Army in the late afternoon, followed by the Prussian Army that forced a
final surrender from Napoleon. One of these opponents he could defeat, but not the combined might
of all three.
Napoleon was exiled again, this time to the British island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic.
There was no pretense of a miniature imperium as was on Elba. This time, Napoleon was a prisoner,
and would spend the rest of his days under the watchful eye of British masters. The Dutch offered
up their own navy, sending a ship to patrol the waters for weeks at a time. Napoleon escaped once,
and nobody dared a repeat of Elba. After more than twenty years of warfare, Europe was ready for
some well earned peace.
[FONT=TimesNewRoman,Bold]Congress of Vienna[/FONT]
After Napoleon’s second fall, the powers of Europe met in Vienna to redefine the borders
of nations. For the Dutch, there was little gained, and plenty lost. For the final time, the question of
Mons was addressed. The Congress decided that the city would stay under French rule, to which
King Maurice II consented. Mons had been under French ruled for two decades, and he was not
ready to wage war against all of Europe for just that city. Furthermore, Denmark was granted
independence from the United Provinces, and a distant cousin of the last Danish king, Christian IV
was put upon its throne. Denmark did not, however, receive Norway. The Grand Principality of
Norway remained under Dutch rule. To this day, heirs to the Dutch throne are called Grand Princes
of Norway.
The war set other nations on the coarse of ascendance. Prussia, a second-rate kingdom in the
Eighteenth Century was now in virtual command of the northern German states. A North German
Confederation was established with Prussia at its lead, the predecessor for the modern-day German
Empire. Germany was not an immediate concern to the Dutch people and government. The decision
to restore the House of Bourbon was initially opposed by the United Provinces. However, after
seeing just how chaotic and uncontrollable republican France turned out to be, it was agreed that a
constitutional monarchy would be in the United Provinces’s best interest.
With the House of Orange restored to the United Provinces, and ruling Brazil, and a new
order in post-Napoleonic Europe, the stage was set for an expansion unlike any to come before. The
organization known as the United Provinces was about to go global in a way it had never managed,
even after two centuries of colonialism. With the fall of the French Empire, a golden age of
imperialism would consume the Nineteenth Century and much of the world around it.

North America in 1783. I'm surprised nobody's complained about the borders being so similar to our own timeline.

The pink areas are those in dispute. The U.S. and U.K. could not completely resolve the issues of the Red River Valley or northern Upper Massachussets. The area will be fought over during the Second Anglo-American War (1812-15).

Looks like Greenland needs a bit of detail work done to it.

1783 North America.jpg
And a rough idea what South America would look like in 1824. Including the Austrian Antilles and the British moving into Patagonia.

1824 South America.png
A note: Dutch involvement in the American Revolution might not seem that plausable considering the United Provinces were allied with the British for almost a century. The Dutch were loyal allies, despite neutrality being good for business, and the British kept dragging them into wars that did not serve Dutch interest. However, alliances fade and politics shift. The involvement in the war, though New Amsterdammers had good relations with the Eleven Colonies, had less to do with helping American and more to do with expanding Dutch interests in India. They (be it the King, Staaten-General or the VOC) saw an oppertunity to remove the British from India and took it. Such changing of sides was somewhat common in OTL during those days.