During the mid 17th century, the Dutch Republic enjoyed a booming economy, dominance in the shipbuilding industry, and European recognition as a dominant nation. They held most trading routes in the Baltic area, and the position to carry most trade goods between countries. However, during the late 17th and early 18th century, the Dutch Republic encountered a stumbling decline which led to their loss in the monopoly in Baltic and Atlantic trade, and many men due to European wars. The Dutch declined due to a series of European wars, internal disunity and conflict, and a loss of trade dominance and economic prosperity.
Seeing the Dutch trading monopolies in trade, other European nations went to war with the Dutch and won in a series of decisive victories. In the 3 Anglo-Dutch wars, the English defeated the Dutch and, as seen in Doc 3, seized 2000-2700 ships, compared to the Dutch capture of 500 ships merchant ships. Clearly, these Anglo-Dutch wars damaged the Dutch trade dominance. Many nations besides England wished to take part in the Dutch trade, and used violence to take their share. As the need to “take over part of it for themselves” (Doc 7 ) increased, the urge for war as a means of obtaining Dutch wealth increased as well. The treaty of Dover, which is a published document, and therefore a reflection of the actions and plans of the ruling, showed that this increased interest in the Dutch led to alliances (in this treaty, between England and France) against the Dutch. The “allied sovereigns …jointly declare war on the Dutch Republic.” (Doc 6) These wars exhausted the Dutch resources, so that the provinces would eventually become “overwhelmed or flooded…ruining [Dutch] commerce.” (Doc 8) This document, written by the Dutch ambassador, accurately reflects the concerns and reality as seen by the Dutch rulers and nobility. The military that “suffered extremely” (Doc 14) was deteriorating, and the Republic was, due to the combined efforts of the...
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