Longer Dutch Golden Age as a Republic

Hello,

I made this account a while ago and have, on occasion, creeped around the forums reading various threads and TLs. Seems like most people know what they are talking about and appropriately ride the line between being nice and smarmy, which I appreciate. Anyways, I figured it was time I get involved and there was a question that has been bugging me. Admittedly, it is not my area of expertice.

What needs to be done to see the Dutch Republic last longer and remain successful?
Ideally, I would like to see:
-A POD between 1650-1672
-Johann de Witt survive and the other major Republicans (de Graeffs, Bickers) be significant players
-A lasting Dutch Empire (Where, though?)

Orangism can still be a major force, but I would like to see a Republic as there was between 1650-72. So, powerful mercantile class. 7 provinces. Ideally, no stadholder. Obviously something needs to be done to erase either the Anglo-Dutch Wars or the Franco-Dutch War, and possibly both.

How could this happen? And what would be the results?

Go easy on me. It's my first time...
 

Razgriz 2K9

Banned
Could it be possible for the Dutch to be more successful in its endeavors in India? If so, there's a start. As for butterflying away the Anglo-Dutch Wars, with the period you want the PoD to be, it will not be possible to get rid of the First War, considering how the Dutch Republic supported the Stuart Monarchy in the English Civil War and had also held various Royalist supporters who survived the Civil War as well.
 

Delvestius

Banned
A stronger United Provinces would require a less active U.K. A successful Spanish Armada could achieve this. It'd be interesting to see a Dutch New England, as well as a retained South Africa and Ceylon. A good place to start for continual power would be to prevent Austria from claiming Belgium from Spain, perhaps by making Flanders become predominately Calvinist.
 
Could it be possible for the Dutch to be more successful in its endeavors in India? If so, there's a start. As for butterflying away the Anglo-Dutch Wars, with the period you want the PoD to be, it will not be possible to get rid of the First War, considering how the Dutch Republic supported the Stuart Monarchy in the English Civil War and had also held various Royalist supporters who survived the Civil War as well.

India would definitely do a lot to help the Dutch Empire and it fits with their primary interest in making money.

What about the English Civil War going the other way? Of course, then there would never have been the agreement between Cromwell and the Dutch to keep William of Orange out of power, and the Dutch Republic might have been less of "Republic' even earlier. So many possibilities. I definitely need to read up more on the English Civil War.

A stronger United Provinces would require a less active U.K. A successful Spanish Armada could achieve this. It'd be interesting to see a Dutch New England, as well as a retained South Africa and Ceylon. A good place to start for continual power would be to prevent Austria from claiming Belgium from Spain, perhaps by making Flanders become predominately Calvinist.
This is an interesting idea. I was definitely thinking of a later POD, because I thought one as early as the Spanish Armada would create too many butterflies and the Netherlands could be an entirely different beast. If the Spanish succeeded in attacking England is there a possibility they would try to take back the United Provinces which had only recently won their independence? Or would England and the northern Netherlands unite as one kingdom? A suppose a Calvinist Flanders would help make a more powerful Dutch state. With the United Provinces (Dutch Republic) becoming a Republic the same year as the Spanish Armada it's tough to say what would happen if things played out differently.

Thanks for the feedback, both of you. Ultimately, I'd like to write a story taking place in a world where the United Provinces are, if not the most powerful country, at least equal to England and France in mid-18th century (or equal to Spain if things work out differently). The Major maritime and colonial power, or one of 2. Basically similar to the UK in the real world (OTL is it?). With colonies in South Africa and Indonesia and possibly North America, Brazil, Australia, or India also.
 

Delvestius

Banned
This is an interesting idea. I was definitely thinking of a later POD, because I thought one as early as the Spanish Armada would create too many butterflies and the Netherlands could be an entirely different beast. If the Spanish succeeded in attacking England is there a possibility they would try to take back the United Provinces which had only recently won their independence? Or would England and the northern Netherlands unite as one kingdom? A suppose a Calvinist Flanders would help make a more powerful Dutch state. With the United Provinces (Dutch Republic) becoming a Republic the same year as the Spanish Armada it's tough to say what would happen if things played out differently.
There really wasn't too many changes in Dutch policy and expansion from the late fifteenth century to the early seventeenth century... Either way, they would have remained a powerful mercantile state with control of much European commerce. Of course there's always the risk of putting down Dutch rebellion, but with the Spanish Netherlands garrison of 30,000 under the Duke of Parma needed in the conquest of England, this would give the Dutch the perfect opportunity to take up arms. After all, Spain barely could enforce their dominance even WITH the force there. Such action would give the Dutch the time they needed, and consolidate their power.

A successful Armada surely would have placed a Monarch friendly to the Pope on the thrown of England, thereby cutting off all ties with the Netherlands. Seeing that England will never reach the level of power they did in our OT, and with Spain heading towards their inevitable collapse, there is a chance the Dutch could remain the dominate colonial power, only challenged by France (but this is not to be underestimated). I could well imagine a "Low Country Republic", constituted of a United Holland, Flanders and Luxembourg, with colonial holdings in New England, Guyana, South Africa, Ceylon (and eventually other parts of India), Indonesia and various settlements along Guinea, and in the Caribbean. No England though does indeed mean a stronger France, and this will be the most pitted rivalry in Europe, perhaps into the nineteenth century.
 
A victoriuos Spanish Armada in the 16th century would be devastating for the Nehterlands, most likely they will never gain independence, so no option.

A longer prolonged internal conflict in England would help or better a more succesful Fronde in Franche, since Louix XIV was the real enemy of the Repubic.

Further after William III took the throne of England the Dutch Republic returned back under Patrician control, State Pensioner Hensius was one, if not most cabable of all.
With this a much more profitable out come of the War of the Spanish succesion of 1712 would be much better to last a golden age longer.
This war costed the republic fortunes, it had at that time the 2nd largest army of Europe, and the very unfavourable peace conditions ( only gained the city of Venlo) did not paid the enourmous State debt. which in turn resulted gradualy in economical decline. A better peace would give this Hensius the power and prestige to reform the constitution of the Republic, which was needed and desired by him. Only after the defeat at the Peace of Utrecht he was mentaly boken and his succesors as well.
 

Delvestius

Banned
A victoriuos Spanish Armada in the 16th century would be devastating for the Nehterlands, most likely they will never gain independence, so no option.
I don't know if I agree... A "successful" Armada would have been quite taxing for the Spanish, I don't know if they would have the Strength to hold down both England and Holland at the same time..
 
I don't know if I agree... A "successful" Armada would have been quite taxing for the Spanish, I don't know if they would have the Strength to hold down both England and Holland at the same time..
The unsuccessful Armada was also quite taxing. England provided lots of support for the Dutch. You maybe could thread the needle and make this work, but likely Spain knocking England down a peg or two or putting a Spain-friendly monarch into place won't be good for the Dutch.
 

Delvestius

Banned
The unsuccessful Armada was also quite taxing. England provided lots of support for the Dutch. You maybe could thread the needle and make this work, but likely Spain knocking England down a peg or two or putting a Spain-friendly monarch into place won't be good for the Dutch.
Indeed, perhaps it would have been better said that a succesful Spanish Armada would still have been taxing, maybe more so.. I think this situation may be harder for the Dutch to overcome in the short term, but more beneficial in the long run. After the Spanish rip a new one in England though, I would consider them, for the most part a non-player... It is the failure of the Armada that allowed for England's rise to prominence. With it's success, England would have been kept as a second rate power, and with the Spanish on their Downward spiral the Netherlands would in a nice spot, at least if they can hold of the initial Spanish response.
 
Indeed, perhaps it would have been better said that a succesful Spanish Armada would still have been taxing, maybe more so.. I think this situation may be harder for the Dutch to overcome in the short term, but more beneficial in the long run. After the Spanish rip a new one in England though, I would consider them, for the most part a non-player... It is the failure of the Armada that allowed for England's rise to prominence. With it's success, England would have been kept as a second rate power, and with the Spanish on their Downward spiral the Netherlands would in a nice spot, at least if they can hold of the initial Spanish response.
This is pretty much what I thought you were getting at, and I definitely think you could be on to something. However, I tend to agree with the others that a successful Spanish Armada would be too great a threat to the Dutch. The Dutch were heavily invested in keeping the Spanish away from England too, and their young navy would have suffered.

Maybe if the Spanish succeed in reaching England but end up involved in a long exhausting conflict on the British mainland? Elizabeth or James or both may be killed, civil war and complete madness comes to England early, the Spanish are heavily involved and the Dutch manage to quietly build a state when nobodys looking?

I think the easier way to distract England is during the actual English Civil War though. If the war is longer and more costly, the Dutch benefit. What would be the best way to make the English Civil War a little worse and beneficially to the Dutch? No Navigation Acts would be a huge boon to the Netherlands. Could this happen if they were distracted by more internal war, or were the Navigation Acts inevitable by that point?

[but I was also thinking the New England colonists could rebel a little early and seek protection from the Netherlands (probably far fetched), and their only motivation for that would be the Navigation Acts (a la 1689 Boston Revolt) or maybe a too pro-Catholic king (No Glorious Revolution?)]

How about killing off William of Orange as a baby? Pro-Catholic Stuarts stay in power in England, which pisses off enough people to kick-start another civil war. Dutch Republic never loses their merchants to London in the Glorious Revolution and England is too distracted to be much competition for a little while. Netherlands vs. France empire-building mania ensues, and the UK will jump back into it after a slight delay.
 
make the union of utrecht succeed would a a good too, but you would need a more successful republic early in the 80 year war.

as for killing of william of orange as a baby might work, although am thinking having William II marry with someone else than mary stuart, or have William II not perish of smallpox (he died aged 24, so having him survive till like 60, will change a lot).

or for a longer stadtholderless period the easiest thing would be to have william II perish a year early, this will prevent the otl actions against the anti-stadtholder faction, and there being no heir will make a longer and more succeful stadtholderless period possible.
 
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make the union of utrecht succeed would a a good too, but you would need a more successful republic early in the 80 year war.

as for killing of william of orange as a baby might work, although am thinking having William II marry with someone else than mary stuart, or have William II not perish of smallpox (he died aged 24, so having him survive till like 60, will change a lot).

or for a longer stadtholderless period the easiest thing would be to have william II perish a year early, this will prevent the otl actions against the anti-stadtholder faction, and there being no heir will make a longer and more succeful stadtholderless period possible.

If William II married someone else, who did you think would be the other options? Surely, someone from a nation on their side in the 30-years war. No French princess available I don't think, maybe Christina of Sweden?? Someone from a German state? Habsburgs seem very very unlikely.

The idea of him dying 1 year early seems like an easier way to get the sort of Netherlands I was envisioning.

So, let's say: William II of Orange dies childless in 1649. The pro-State faction is secured in their power and the Netherlands is a republic ruled by the aristocracy via city-councils, etc, even more so than OTL. What happens to Mary? Would she return to England right around the time her grandfather, Charles I is being executed? I was thinking, the English Civil War goes roughly as it did in OTL. Restoration takes place. Charles II and James II reign as in OTL, alienating Protestant Parliamentarians. However, due to a lack of William III of Orange, there is no Glorious Revolution. Perhaps Protestants rally around Mary but without a husband who is also a Protestant member of the British royal family, she might be just a slightly tougher sell against her father and young brother. Plus, there is no Dutch navy and army to put her in power. This means instead of the Glorious Revolution there is a 2nd (well, actually a 4th?) English Civil War. James will probably end up winning, and the Stuarts line will rule, but his autocratic rule will always be a problem for the Protestant majority in England. The promise of continued internal conflict in England is good for my Dutch Republic.

Meanwhile, the Dutch Republic will grow as in OTL but with less of a Royalist presence because there is nobody to rally behind. My concern here is that since the Republican faction didn't care much about military spending would they remain strong enough to last as a major power for a couple hundred years? I think that distracting England is key for the economy and the navy, but the real military threat is France. The Franco-Dutch war may be avoided because the state-oriented republicans were less hawkish than the Orangists, but France will always be the white elephant haunting the Seven Provinces. The Southern Netherlands will be a buffer for a while but at some point I would like to see Flanders and Brabant join the Republic, meaning a physical border with France. What would stop France from invading the Netherlands for an extended period of time? Maybe if the economic importance of the Amsterdam trading houses was too great to threaten? (kind of like why Hitler never invaded Switzerland) I suppose it is okay if a war with France happens at some point in my TL, but it runs the risk of exposing Dutch military weakness if it happens too early.
 
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In my opinion there is to much focus on England, while the down fall of the Dutch Republic realy came from the presure of Louix XIV Franche.
This forced the Dutch to split their recources between the Navy and the Army.
Initially due to their advanced monetairy sytem they could affort it but in the long run it bankrupted the Republic which was thier real down fall.

A better more centralized agrement as an out come of the ""Big Meeting "" of 1652 would be better in the long run as well. Meaning a State army ( no provincial militia's) a centralized Admirality etc.

The Spanish armada was too early, The Dutch rebublic was in its infinant state and not as far as wealthy as it was in the 17th century.
The English navigation acts did not realy harm Dutch trade or power, just a dent in the prestige.
The 1st Anglo-Dutch war was a drw and the 2nd had a better out come for the dutch nay be they could press to much more advantaggeous terms, the 3rd was part of the Dutch war, where the Dutch just had to get the english out of the war, since they had to deal as well with the French and the Munster armies.

England realy made a leap forward after the Glorious Revolution, when this Dutch banking system was introduce in England ( Bank of England, state debt etc)
 
In my opinion there is to much focus on England, while the down fall of the Dutch Republic realy came from the presure of Louix XIV Franche.
This forced the Dutch to split their recources between the Navy and the Army.
Initially due to their advanced monetairy sytem they could affort it but in the long run it bankrupted the Republic which was thier real down fall.
I agree with this.
A better more centralized agrement as an out come of the ""Big Meeting "" of 1652 would be better in the long run as well. Meaning a State army ( no provincial militia's) a centralized Admirality etc.
Also, at this meeting admitting the Generality Lands as full provinces was discussed. All provinces except Holland were in favor, but Holland had a veto here. Admitting these provinces and centralizing the state would have greatly helped in strengthening the Republic.
The Spanish armada was too early, The Dutch rebublic was in its infinant state and not as far as wealthy as it was in the 17th century.
The English navigation acts did not realy harm Dutch trade or power, just a dent in the prestige.p
True, the Navigation Acts were more used by the English as an excuse to board Dutch ships to check their cargo. That's what really lead to war. The value of trade with England at the time was negligable.

Abouth the Glorious Revolution. Despite William III's dynastic interests, it was in the end the city of Amsterdam that signed of on the whole invasion, as they had to supply the majority of the funds and logistic support for the invasion.

If their is still a threat of England and France trying for a repeat of 1672 and there is an internal conflict in England, it is still possible that the Republic will send an expeditionary force across the North Sea to try to get rid of James II and get England to change sides.


If William of Orange is not around, the people in Holland will still revolt in 1672 because the Regents faction (De Witt et al) screwed up the lead up to the war with Louis XIV. And they will still turn to some kind of strong leader to lead them out of the war. The Frisian branch of the Nassau family might gain the stadholderate over the other provinces in a moment of crisis.
 
That is also a good option, no William III, this means no 9 years war and no war of Spanish succesion which looted the Dutch treasury, whith no interesed at all for the Dutch except Dynastic prestige for William III (or King Billy.)
 
The problem is that the United Provinces have too small a population basis to compete with the continental powers, and they did not have a defensible land border. They had to go on producing, sending merchants all over the world, man the landward fortresses, man their fleets: it's too much, something has to give. It's the same trap that ultimately defeated Venice.
The Glorious Revolution was a great coup, tactically.Strategically meant that either the UP would become a part of the British Empire or that they were in the end setting up a direct competitor (as it happened) with a lot of natural advantages.

Is there a solution? Probably not, unless Burgundy survives (but even this would not be a guarantee of success).

The Dutch made the most of their window of opportunities, and for almost a century were able to play in the A-league. IMHO it was a great success story, but it is really almost impossible to make more of it.
 
I agree for a part, but population size is not that important in a time when most, if not all, armies were made out of mercaneries of sort.
For example during the War of the Spanish succession, the Dutch manned the largest army of that war after the French.
Most of the soldiers were from the Spanish Netherlands, Scotland, and German lands.
The VOC was a multi national in the true sentence, whit lots of non Dutch working for the company
 
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I definitely was focusing on England, because I am just more aware of England at the time. But no doubt about it, France is the threat.

I like Parma's idea about a more centralized Dutch state. The power will be in Holland no matter what, so if the Amsterdam regents just looked at it differently it seems it could happen. At least a more centralized military.

I agree with this.
Also, at this meeting admitting the Generality Lands as full provinces was discussed. All provinces except Holland were in favor, but Holland had a veto here. Admitting these provinces and centralizing the state would have greatly helped in strengthening the Republic.
Definitely. Admitting the Generality Lands is an excellent idea. Do you think this could do anything to smooth over the States vs. Orangist debate?

If you think the Dutch will still send a fleet to England to try to get James out of power, who would they be backing? If there is nobody to support, it seems they would stay away.

If William of Orange is not around, the people in Holland will still revolt in 1672 because the Regents faction (De Witt et al) screwed up the lead up to the war with Louis XIV. And they will still turn to some kind of strong leader to lead them out of the war. The Frisian branch of the Nassau family might gain the stadholderate over the other provinces in a moment of crisis.
I originally was imagining a stadtholderless period that would probably result the way your saying it would, an inevitable 1672 revolt, etc. However, I now think it's more likely that if William II died without an heir, the stadtholdership would pass to William Fredrick (Frisian branch). As he was not an infant at the time like the famous William of Orange would have been, and as there would have been no Act of Seclusion against him, I don't think the regents would have been as successful in preventing a stadtholder.

With William Frederick as Stadtholder how would the 50s, 60s and 70s have played out? I think things would have gone close to how they did, but it helps to centralize the state, include Generality Lands as provinces, and I think makes the events of 1672 less likely.

In regards to the Dutch Republic being doomed due to low population, it's certainly a concern but I don't think it's a determined fact. Venice was a mercantile republic like the Netherlands, and built around 1 city like the Netherlands basically was. However, the Netherlands will still more centralized and if we follow through with changes suggested by Parma and Archdevil it will be even more so. But your right, it's small quite frankly. Especially considering it's neighbor, behemoth Bourbon France. So what can be done for the Netherlands to grow? I assuming this will take place much later than by POD, so we have some freedom with what happens. Flanders seems reasonable, but when and how? What about Cleves or any other HRE areas?

Ultimately, I agree with everyone that a more centralized state is key in having the Netherlands more powerful, but I would also like to maintain the influence of the regents, especially in Amsterdam. Would maintaing a stadtholder do much to pacify the Orangist factions? Or at least let the regents share the blame in 1672?


EDIT: There are a few thing I forget to respond to.


England realy made a leap forward after the Glorious Revolution, when this Dutch banking system was introduce in England ( Bank of England, state debt etc)
This is exactly what I am trying to prevent. Keep the Dutch banking system in the Netherlands.

Also, I think what Parma said about the VOC being a multi-national is key. Whenever I consider Dutch colonies, the population is a concern, but I think they could draw on a lot of German, Huguenot, Swedish, etc. settlers. Even a lot of English dissenters might immigrate to Dutch colonies if the Stuarts stay in power. Maybe even encourage immigration to the Netherlands itself. Money can accomplish a lot.
 
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Would a Flanders/Belgium that can be held by the United Provinces play a long way to helping set up a longer Dutch Golden Age too? An 80 Years war where the Dutch performs even better, taking Antwerpt and Brussels, and holding on to it.....

But ultimately, the problem has to be France.... hmm, could the French Civil Wars drag on even longer? I personally think so - if Henry IV decided that Paris was not worth a mass, could we see an even longer French Wars of Religion?

There's another crazier option , but the Dutch in the Golden Age would be compromised: A surviving Burgundy - holding everything from the Netherlands/Northern Germany all the way down to the Swiss Confederacy and Savoy....

That's a large enough population base to begin with.
 
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