AP European History
24 October 2012
The Dutch: Divided and Deeply Indebted
The signing of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 ended the Thirty Years’ War and brought about the formation of the independent Dutch Republic, a coalition of the seven provinces of the Netherlands. During the mid 17th century, the Dutch became the wealthiest and most active trading and shipbuilding people in Europe. By dominating most trading routes in the Baltic and Atlantic Seas, the Dutch Republic earned recognition as an influential nation. This booming economy would eventually encounter challenges during the late 17th century that would cost the Dutch their monopoly over trade routes and influence amongst other European powers. The decline of the Dutch Republic can be attributed to a series of foreign conflicts, internal distrust and disunity in the provinces, and the loss of trade dominance and economic prosperity. The rapid success of Dutch trading ventures captured the attention of other European nations who were ready to destroy the Republic’s security through several military battles. Leading the charges was England, who clearly demonstrated its resentment throughout the Anglo-Dutch wars. Between 1652 and 1674, there were 2,000-2,700 Dutch ships seized by the English, at least four times the amount seized by the Dutch (Doc 3). It goes to show the intensity with which the Dutch were being torn down from their powerful position. France joined the attack on the republic by allying with England. Signed in 1670, the Treaty of Dover plainly lays out the goal of the foreign powers: “Each of the allied sovereigns will the jointly declare war on the Dutch Republic” (Doc 6). This official document reflects the actions and feelings of the neighboring countries accurately. The Dutch were not in the dark about the plans of other nations. A year later, Amsterdam’s City Council released a Resolution stating that “Not only the French monarch but other kings seem more... to scheme how to ruin...
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