The Decline of the Dutch Republic in the 1600's

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In the 1600’s, the Dutch Republic was one of the world’s strongest and prosperous nations founded upon their superior navy. Making the most of their convenient geographical location, the Netherlands had control of many important trade routes, particularly in the North Sea. However, this period of peace and economic prosperity who come to and end and the Netherlands would start to decline. The security, unity, and prosperity of the Dutch Republic was challenged by hostile foreign nations, economic decline, the lack of an national standing army, and a lack of unity between provinces. Neighboring nation’s aggressive actions in acquiring dominance in trade forced the Dutch to wage war against them. This caused the Netherlands’ prosperity and security decline. In a letter to the republic’s government, Konrad Van Beuningen stated that the wars had exhausted Dutch lands which was a result of the Dutch focusing on the battles instead of their economic prosperity. This letter can be viewed as valid because it is a report to a legitimate institution. In addition, because other countries wanted to gain their own prosperity, England and France allied themselves against the Dutch (Doc 6). Furthermore, the Amsterdam City Council was well aware that French and other monarchs wanted the Netherlands’ trade routes for their own economic benefits (Doc 7). Economic decline in the Netherlands was an important factor in the demise of the Netherlands, which resulted in a challenge to the nation’s prosperity. As other European powers grew their navies and began playing larger roles in commercial trade, the Dutch monopoly on oversea trade diminished. In the 17th century, the Dutch Republic had a monopoly on trade in the Baltic Sea and had their economy primarily based on trade. But from 1645 to 1695, the percent of voyages made by Dutch ships in the Baltic Sea dropped from near 80% to about 30% in 1695 (Doc 2) This limited trade for the Dutch seriously limited

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