During the Dutch Revolt (1568–1648), the Dunkirkers or Dunkirk Privateers were commerce raiders in the service of the Spanish monarchy. They were also part of the Dunkirk fleet, which consequently was a part of the Spanish monarchy's Flemish fleet (Armada de Flandes). The Dunkirkers operated from the ports of the Flemish coast: Nieuwpoort, Ostend, and Dunkirk. Throughout the Eighty Years' War, the fleet of the Dutch Republic repeatedly tried to destroy the Dunkirkers. The first Dunkirkers sailed a group of warships outfitted by the Spanish government, but non-government investment in privateering soon led to a more numerous fleet of privately owned and outfitted warships.

Origins and function

Dunkirk was in the hands of the Dutch rebels from 1577 until 1583, when Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma re-established the sovereignty of his uncle Philip II of Spain as count of Flanders. Dunkirk was, at the time, an important, strategically positioned port with its approaches shielded by sandbanks. In 1583, Parma assembled a small royal squadron of warships to destroy Dutch naval trade and fisheries. However, it did not take long before the Habsburg authorities in the Low Countries began issuing letters of Marque, and privately owned warships filled the ranks of the Dunkirkers. These privately owned warships were known in Dutch as the particulieren, to distinguish them from the royal warships that were also part of the fleet. At their peak, the Dunkirkers operated about a hundred warships. The crews were mostly made up of Flemish and Walloon sailors, Spaniards and many individuals from the northern Netherlands and other nearby European countries.[1] Apart from targeting trade and fishing, the royal squadron was often used to convoy troops between Spain and the Spanish Netherlands.


Despite a near constant blockade of the Dunkirkers' ports by Dutch warships, the privateers routinely managed to evade the blockaders and inflict much damage to Dutch shipping. Though the Dutch at times prevented the Dunkirkers from reaching open sea, during the winter months the blockade was extremely difficult to maintain and permitted virtually free passage. Sometimes naval battles ensued when privateers tried to break out or when Dutch warships tried to destroy the privateers in their harbours. During one of these Dutch attacks, the Dutch folk hero Piet Pieterszoon Hein, famous for capturing a Spanish treasure fleet, was killed. The Dutch declared the Dunkirk privateers pirates in 1587; captains of Dutch naval vessels had to swear an oath that they would throw or beat all prisoners from Dunkirk warships into the sea (euphemistically known as voetenspoelen, "washing the feet").[2] Due to its excessive harshness and the fact that it provoked equally cruel retributions from the side of the privateers, this standing order was very unpopular with Dutch crews and the general public.[3] The order was often evaded by putting Dunkirk seamen off on one of the many shallow shoals off the Flemish coast from which they could wade to dry land.

The Dunkirkers had an extremely wide range for their era. Although mainly operating in and around the Channel, they also sailed near the Danish and German coastal areas to intercept Dutch ships returning from the Baltic, and operated in Spanish and Mediterranean waters. They cooperated closely with the Spanish navy, for instance, in the Battle of the Downs. This combined effort reached a peak of effectiveness during the time the Eighty Years' War merged with the Thirty Years' War. To evade the Dutch navy the Dunkirk admiralty had a special type of small and very maneuverable warship constructed, the frigate. Frigate-like ship types were soon adopted by other navies and still have their modern-day counterparts.

In 1600 the Dutch sent an army to conquer the city of Dunkirk and stop the privateering once and for all. The Dutch invasion force clashed with a Spanish army and although the Dutch won the resulting Battle of Nieuwpoort the Dutch commander, stadtholder Maurits of Nassau, realised his lines were dangerously over-stretched and so turned back to the Republic. The Flemish Fleet continued to be especially damaging to the herring fisheries of Holland and Zeeland, almost completely wiping out the sector on several occasions. However, Dutch merchantmen proved far more valuable targets, sometimes vessels on their way back from Russia or as far as the Indies were captured, along with their valuable cargoes.

After 1621, when the Twelve Years' Truce ended, the Dunkirkers captured on average 229 merchantmen and fishing vessels per year from the Dutch. During this period they took about sixty English vessels each year, as neutral shipping carrying munitions and victuals to the enemy were also considered 'good prize'. This was one of the major concerns of Charles I of England's diplomatic representative in Brussels, Sir Balthasar Gerbier, who eventually managed to have tobacco taken off the list of 'victuals'. One of the most successful raiders of this period was Jacob Collaert. It was not until October 1646, when the French captured Dunkirk with Dutch naval support, that the danger from the privateers was greatly reduced. In 1652, Spanish forces recaptured the city and the Dunkirkers once again became a major threat. The Dunkirkers wiped out English trade after England resumed hostilities against Spain in 1657, before Dunkirk was captured by a Franco-English force in 1658.[4] Ostend then became their most important port. When, after 1672, France and the Dutch Republic became enemies, privateering activities were resumed at Dunkirk, this time for France, and this would last intermittently until 1712. A famous Dunkirk privateer from this period was Jean Bart.


  1. ^ A.P. van Vliet, "The influence of Dunkirk privateering on the North Sea (herring) fishery during the years 1580–1650", in J. Roding and L. Heerma van Voss (eds.), The North Sea and Culture (1550–1800) (Leiden 1996), 150–165, esp. 156.
  2. ^ Van Vliet (1996), 161.
  3. ^ Th. de Nijs, E. Beukers and J. Bazelmans, Geschiedenis van Holland (Hilversum 2003), 162.
  4. ^ Cooper, J. P. (1979). The New Cambridge Modern History: Volume 4, The Decline of Spain and the Thirty Years War, 1609-48/49. CUP Archive. ISBN 978-0-521-29713-4.p.236


  • R.A. Stradling, The Armada of Flanders: Spanish Maritime Policy and European War, 1568–1668 (Cambridge Studies in Early Modern History; Cambridge University Press, 1992) ISBN 978-0-521-40534-8 (issued in paperback 2004, ISBN 978-0-521-52512-1).
  • J.R. Bruijn, C.B. Wels et al., Met Man en Macht, De Militaire Geschiedenis van Nederland 1550–2000, (Balans 2003), p. 59-61: "Bestrijding van de Vlaamse Oorlogsvloot"
  • Alex Ritsema, Pirates and Privateers from the Low Countries, c.1500-c.1810, (Lulu.com 2008), ISBN 978-1409201717
  • Virginia Lunsford. Piracy and Privateering in the Golden Age Netherlands, (Palgrave Macmillan 2005), ISBN 1403966923, ISBN 978-1403966926

External links

Adriaen Banckert

Adriaen van Trappen Banckert (c.1615 – 22 April 1684) was a Dutch admiral. In English literature he is sometimes known as Banckers. His first name is often rendered in the modern spelling Adriaan. Van Trappen was the original family name, but the family was also and better known under the name of Banckert. In the 17th century Netherlands such a situation was solved by combining the two names.

He was born, probably in Vlissingen or Flushing, somewhere between 1615 and 1620 as the second and middle son of Rear-Admiral Joost van Trappen Banckert and Adriana Jansen. Both his brothers were navy captains, serving the Admiralty of Zealand also.

Adriaen started his career on the ship of his father, fighting the Dunkirkers. In 1639, at the Battle of the Downs, Adriaen was master on that ship. In 1642 he became a captain himself.

During the First Anglo-Dutch War Adriaen was flagcaptain of the Zealandic Vice-Admiral Johan Evertsen on the Hollandia. In the Battle of Portland in 1653 his elder brother Joost was killed; he himself was taken prisoner the same year when his ship foundered during the Battle of Scheveningen.

During the Northern Wars he fought in 1658 against the Swedish fleet in the Battle of the Sound as captain of the Seeridder and subcommander of the squadron of Vice-Admiral Witte de With. Though the battle was a Dutch victory, Adriaen because of adverse currents failed to assist De With when the Brederode was grounded and surrounded. De With was fatally wounded. During the winter campaign of 1659, the Seeridder lost all her anchors by a storm, grounded and then was frozen solid near Hven. The Swedish army tried to exploit this situation by sending a company of soldiers over the ice to destroy the ship, but Banckert beat off all attacks for three days, until he could work his ship free. Banckert was granted a special audience by Frederick III of Denmark who personally thanked him for the courage shown. The Admiralty of Zealand honoured him with a golden chain worth a hundred golden dollars.

When in 1664 the Second Anglo-Dutch War threatened, the five Dutch admiralties appointed many new flag officers. Banckert was made Rear-Admiral of the Zealandic admiralty on 16 December 1664 and soon after temporary Vice-Admiral. After the Battle of Lowestoft in which his younger brother Johan was killed, he was appointed Vice-Admiral on 15 July 1665. In 1666 he participated in the Four Days Battle; in the St James' Day Battle his ship the Thoolen sank and he was forced to move his flag to the Ter Veere. He managed to cover the retreat of the Dutch fleet on the second day of the battle. In that fight Zealandic Lieutenant-Admiral Johan Evertsen was killed and Banckert was appointed as Lieutenant-Admiral of Zealand on 5 September 1666, and thus held the highest navy rank of that province. In 1667 because of recruiting problems, Banckert was too late with his squadron to participate in the actual Raid on the Medway.

In the four naval battles of the Third Anglo-Dutch War Banckert played an important role, especially by fighting the French squadron within the combined Anglo-French fleet. At the Battle of Solebay Banckert managed to lure away the French fleet allowing the main Dutch force under Lieutenant-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter to attack the English fleet with some parity. In the first action of the double Battle of Schooneveld the French fleet broke formation to attack Banckert's squadron, which allowed Lieutenant-Admiral-General De Ruyter to split the French squadron and outmanoeuvre the allies. In the second action Banckert's attack drove the French away. In the Battle of Texel Banckert managed to prevent a joining of the French and English fleet, again allowing De Ruyter to fight the English with more equal forces. Because of the crucial part he played in these battles Banckert's fame among the French and English was assured; ironically in The Netherlands his importance wasn't understood by the larger part of the population, also because most writers were Hollandic and felt little inclination to honour a Zealandic hero.

In 1674, he joined with Hollandic Lieutenant-Admirals Cornelis Tromp and Aert Jansse van Nes in the expedition against the French coast, in which the island of Noirmoutier was taken and devastated. When Tromp took his squadron to join the Spanish, the command of the remainder of the Dutch fleet was given to Van Nes, although Banckert had seniority. Banckert didn't show his discontent with this situation to his friend Van Nes, but did express his offended feelings in a letter to the Zealandic admiralty. They shared his opinion and decided never again to send out their Lieutenant-Admiral in a confederate expedition, to make sure he wouldn't be humiliated by the Hollanders. This way Banckert left active service on 3 December 1674, though remaining commander of the Zealandic fleet. In 1678 he joined the admiralty council, which was exceptional for a navy officer. He died in Middelburg, where he was buried in St Peter's Church.

Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1641)

The Battle of Cape St Vincent of 1641 took place on 4 November 1641 when a Spanish fleet commanded by Don Juan Alonso de Idiáquez y Robles intercepted a Dutch fleet led by Artus Gijsels during the Eighty Years' War. After a fierce battle two Dutch ships were lost but the Dutch claimed only a hundred of their men were killed; the Spanish fleet also lost 2 ships but over a thousand dead. The damaged Dutch fleet was forced to abandon its planned attack on the Spanish treasure fleet.

Battle of Cartagena (1643)

The Battle of Cartagena was a naval battle fought on September 3, 1643 during the Thirty Years' War off Cape de Gate near Cartagena, Spain.

After a series of victories in 1641 and 1642 the French Navy dominated the Western Mediterranean Sea. France was also in control of most of Catalonia after the Catalan Revolt. At that time, the Spanish Navy did not dare to show itself off the Catalan coast.

In 1643 the French admiral Jean Armand de Maillé-Brézé sailed south, to search and destroy the Spanish fleet to extend the dominance of the French Navy in the Mediterranean.

He found a fleet of Dunkirkers under Joos Petersen, ships from Naples and a squadron from the Mar Oceano fleet under Martín Carlos de Mencos.

On September 3 at 7:00 AM Maillé-Brézé attacked with favorable winds and dispersed the enemy fleet. He burned a galleon and captured 2 others, while the rest of the Spanish fleet retreated into the port of Cartagena.

The port was closed by the Duke of Fernandina and no Spanish ship left the harbour for more than a year.

All commerce between Spain and Italy was thus made impossible. The victory was short-lived for the French, however, as Spanish dominance in the region returned when the French fleet declined after the death of Cardinal Richelieu.

Bernard Desjean, Baron de Pointis

Bernard Desjean, Baron de Pointis (7 October 1645 – 24 April 1707) was a French admiral and privateer.

Pointis was born in Brittany. He took part in naval operations in the 1680s under Duquesne, like the bombardment of Algiers and the punitive action against Genoa. In the 1690s he fought under Tourville among others in the Battle of Beachy Head (1690).

In 1693, he became chef d'escadre.

In 1697, he undertook the Raid on Cartagena. This raid was so successful that it made him immensely rich and very appreciated by King Louis XIV.

In 1689 he is Lieutenant-General of the artillery at the Siege of Derry.

In 1702, after the death of Jean Bart, he was appointed head of the Dunkirkers, but he was soon replaced by Marc-Antoine de Saint-Pol Hécourt for lack of initiative.

In 1705, he tried to attack Gibraltar by sea during the Twelfth Siege of Gibraltar, but was defeated by John Leake in the Battle of Cabrita Point. After this battle Pointis retired from active service.

He published Relation de l'expédition de Carthègene faite par les François en 1697. He died in Paris.


Dunkirk (; West Flemish: Duunkerke; French: Dunkerque [dœ̃kɛʁk]; Dutch: Duinkerke(n) [ˈdœyŋkɛr(ə)kə(n)] (listen); German: Dünkirchen) is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It lies 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the Belgian border. The population of the city (commune) at the 2016 census was 91,412 inhabitants.

Elisabeth van der Woude

Elisabeth van der Woude (January 11, 1657 – December 11, 1698 (buried)) was a Dutch traveller and author.

She was born in Nieuwe Niedorp, North Holland, but left The Netherlands at age 19 with her family (her father Harman Hartman van der Woude, her brother and sister) and hundreds of others bound for Guyana, formerly a Dutch colony, now French Guiana. Their aim was to start a colony on the river Oyapock, with her father as the appointed governor. Van der Woude's father and sister died en route. She and her brother found good land when they arrived, but soon most of the servants died of a strange illness and Elisabeth returned home. During that journey she was kidnapped by Dunkirkers and kept a prisoner for some weeks. She did manage to return home with her diary, which she had regularly kept. She died in Amsterdam, aged 41.

The part of her diary describing her journeys and also about the Anglo-Dutch Wars when her father was a colonel was published in 1928 and 2001 in The Netherlands.


The flyboat (also spelled fly-boat or fly boat) was a European light vessel (developed primarily as a mercantile cargo carrier, although many served as warships in an auxiliary role) displacing between 70 and 200 tons, used in the late 16th and early 17th centuries; the name was subsequently applied to a number of disparate vessels which achieved high speeds or endurance.

Jacob Collaert

Jacob Collaart or Collaert (floruit ca. 1625-1637) was a Flemish admiral who served as privateer and one of the Dunkirkers in Spanish Habsburg service during the Dutch Revolt.

He was responsible for the capture or destruction of at least 150 fishing vessels, bringing 945 captured sailors back to his base in Dunkirk for ransom. A leading admiral over the next decade, he would have later encounters with other Dutch corsairs of the period including Captain Claes Compaan who escaped from him after sighting the corsair off the Spanish coast.

Jacques Colaert

Jacques Colaert or Jacob Collaart (died September 1600) was a Flemish privateer who during the Dutch Revolt sailed in royal service as one of the Dunkirkers.

A privateer based in Dunkirk, Colaert in August 1600 sailed with a fleet under command of Vice Admiral Anton of Burgundy, Lord of Wacken. The fleet consisted of six Spanish royal ships and six independent privateers; Colaert commanded the six-gun vessel Crabbelcat with a crew of 43 sailors.

Leaving Dunkirk on the night of 9 or 10 August, the privateering expedition faced problems early on when two Flemish privateers, Sibrant Pietersen and Rippert Rippertsen, failed to rendezvous with the fleet on 11 August. Three days later, a fishing fleet under the protection of six warships was sighted off the coast of Scotland. Ordered to attack, the warships eventually fled after a cannonball hit the gunpowder room of the warship Den Dolphijn, the resulting explosion killing its crew and commander Captain Willem Dirkszoon Cloyer. After the death of Captain Mathieu Jacobsen of the warship Parel, the fishing fleet was defenceless against the privateers.

The fishermen, many of them Mennonites, were reportedly treated harshly in retribution for similar treatment of captured Dunkirkers (as described in 1661 by Van Meteren's Historiën).

Over the next several days, other fishing fleets were targeted by the privateers including a fleet of thirteen vessels escorted by the Dutch warship De Victorie from Maassluis. During the attack, the warship was destroyed by a cannonball hitting the gunpowder room; two fishing boats were later sunk. The captured sailors were treated less severely, as privateers rescued six surviving crew members of the sunken De Victorie as well as allowing the fishermen to leave their boats as the privateers looted the remaining ships (although the first mates were held captive and later ransomed). During this time, several privateers left the expedition including Captain Willem Jansen who headed for Spain.

Several other fishing fleets were attacked and, on 19 August, the privateers captured one fishing vessel which had attempted to resist and sank it while the crew was still aboard. While three other vessels were sunk in the attack, their crews were saved.

Changing course the following day, the expedition sailed east in the hope of targeting merchants traveling on the trading routes of Eastern Europe. Only a day into their journey, the privateers soon captured nine Dutch merchants en route to Danzig with a cargo of salt. During the next several days, the privateers experienced stormy weather and, prevented from attacking a merchant fleet of thirty merchant ships on 22 August, Captains Michiel Jacobsen and Frans Pleite became separated from the fleet.

Anthonie Sailly, an agent of the States-General of the Netherlands at Calais, informed the Dutch government regarding the attacks by the privateering expedition and, by 16 August, two fleets began to be organized to locate and take action against the privateers while all available vessels in Rotterdam were sent out in search of them.

The seven remaining privateers eventually encountered one of these Dutch fleets sent out against them, near the island of Vlieland, commanded by Captain Arie Corneliszoon Cruyck. The privateers fled from Cruyck's force reportedly dumping as much cargo overboard as possible in an attempt to outrun the Dutch naval fleet. Although chased all through the North Sea beyond their base Dunkirk, some of the privateers were able to escape to Dieppe or Spain.

Among those captured however, Colaert and his crew were forced to surrender after the Crabbelcat's masts were destroyed in an action off Dunkirk. Taken to the city of Flushing in Zeeland, he and thirty-seven of his crew (with the exception of six boys) were publicly hanged in September 1600.

Jan Jacobsen

Jan Jacobsen (1588/89 – 1622) was a Flemish naval commander and Dunkirker during the Eighty Years' War. He became a posthumous hero when, after battling an enemy fleet for over 13 hours, he destroyed his own ship rather than surrender.

Jan Jacobsen (English service)

Jan Jacobsen (fl. 1665–1667) was a mid-17th-century Flemish-born Dutch corsair and privateer. Operating out of France with other Dunkirkers such as Karel Verburg and Jan Jansen Gouverneur, he acted on behalf of England during the Second Anglo-Dutch War in the mid-1660s.

Jan de Bouff

Jan de Bouff was a Dutch renegade privateer who, during the Dutch War of Independence, entered Habsburg service and raided shipping as a Dunkirker during 1602.

While attacking three French fishing boats in December of that year, he was surprised by the arrival of six Dutch ships out of Ostend. Although initially outnumbered, three other Dunkirkers joined the battle on behalf of De Bouff and, after the capture of two Ostend vessels, the remaining four were forced to flee shortly after. It is unknown whether De Bouff survived this battle; there are no further recorded incidents following the battle.

Jean Bart

Jean Bart (21 October 1650 – 27 April 1702) was a French naval commander and privateer.

Jochem Swartenhont

Jochem Hendrickszoon Swartenhont (1566 – 5 June 1627) was a Dutch naval officer in the navy of the Dutch Republic from the 17th century.

Swartenhondt was born in Amsterdam, and started his career with the merchant fleet, becoming a cabin boy at age eleven. He attained the rank of first mate. Later he joined the army to fight against the Dunkirkers but in 1587 he was captured and forced to serve on the Habsburg galleys in Flanders; he managed to escape however and brought with him important intelligence about the Spanish Armada of 1588.

In 1596 he became a lieutenant with the Amsterdam admiralty; in 1597 a captain.

In 1599 he distinguished himself while serving as captain of a ship in a fleet under Vice-Admiral Pieter van der Does during an expedition to Gran Canaria. In 1602 he became a Vice-Admiral with the Amsterdam Admiralty and served under Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer-Duivenvoorde on an expedition to the Spanish coast. From 1603 to 1605 he served as a temporary Vice-Admiral under Paulus van Caerden during an expedition to the West Indies and Brazil. In 1605 he ended his service, becoming an inn-keeper, but in 1608 again was readmitted as a temporary Vice-Admiral.

He was painted, wearing his military decorations, by Nicolaes Pickenoy (1588–1655), who also painted Jochem's daughter Maria.

At the start of the Twelve Years' Truce in 1609 he again retired from service. From 1609 to 1620 he and his wife, Elisabeth Jacobs Bas (1571-1649), would keep the Prins van Oranje ("Prince of Orange") tavern in Amsterdam, a popular watering hole of many politicians, artists, and writers. After Jochem's death his widow Elisabeth Bas sold it, becoming rich (she left 28,000 guilders on her death). Ferdinand Bol made a well-known painting of Elisabeth in 1640, many years after Joachim's death.

In 1620, when the truce was about to end, at his own request Jochem returned to the fleet as a Vice-Admiral; in 1621 he became Lieutenant-Admiral of Holland and West-Friesland and he commanded a large convoy to the Mediterranean and successfully defended it against an attack by a Spanish squadron. In 1622 he acted as temporary Lieutenant-Admiral; after that year he left the naval service for good.

Joost Banckert

Joost van Trappen Banckert (c.1597 – 12 September 1647) was a Dutch Vice Admiral who worked most of his sailing life for the admiralty of Zeeland.

He was born at Vlissingen in 1597 or 1599. Early in his career he was active against the Dunkirkers and was promoted to captain in 1624. That year he took service for the Zeeland Chamber of the Dutch West India Company (WIC), remaining there until 1636.He defeated four Spanish Galleons in 1626 when commander of a squadron of three ships taking or sinking three of them, he also repeatedly defeated the Dunkirk corsairs Banckert often fought together with Piet Hein with whom he attacked and captured the Portuguese settlement Salvador on the coast of Brazil in 1624 and as a Vice Admiral helped capture the Spanish treasure fleet in the Bay of Matanzas in 1628. Thanks to these and other feats he earned the nicknames "Scourge of the Marranos" (the latter word then being used as a pejorative nickname for the Spanish in general) and "Terror of the Portuguese".

Having rejoined the navy he was promoted to Rear-Admiral on 3 May 1637, being a Vice-Admiral in the WIC not entailing an equivalent rank in the navy. From 1 October 1637 to 11 January 1638 he was a temporary Vice-Admiral. In 1639, again Rear-Admiral, he served under Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp and was present at the first skirmish (the Action of 18 September 1639) against a large Spanish fleet in the English Channel and the subsequent Battle of the Downs. He again came into the service of the WIC from 1645 until his death. He again attained the navy rank of temporary Vice-Admiral on 10 December 1646. In 1647 he once again set sail for the coast of Brazil and on the return voyage suddenly fell ill and died at sea. He was married to Adriana Janssen. One of his sons was the later famous Lieutenant-Admiral Adriaen Banckert, another captain Joost Banckert de Jonge who was killed at the Battle of Portland, a third captain Jan Banckert who was killed on the Delft in the Battle of Lowestoft.

Juan García (privateer)

Juan Garcia (fl. 1622) was a 17th-century Spanish privateer. He was among a number of Spaniards who served the Spanish Crown as Dunkirkers during the Eighty Years' War. Both he and Pedro de la Plesa were caught by the Dutch Republic naval force as they attempted to break through a blockade of Dunkirk. He and de la Plesa were accused of leaving Captain Jan Jacobsen to face nine pursuing Dutch warships alone.

Pedro de la Plesa

Pedro de la Plesa (fl. 1622) was a 17th-century Spanish privateer. He served as a Dunkirker in the service of the Spanish Crown during the Eighty Years' War. He and Juan Garcia gained notoriety for abandoning their comrade Captain Jan Jacobsen in his final naval battle against the Dutch Republic.

Pierre Jean Van Stabel

Pierre Jean Van Stabel (8 November 1744 in Dunkirk – 30 March 1797 in Dunkirk) was a French naval officer and rear-admiral, famous for his role in the Bataille du 13 prairial an 2.

Siege of Breda (1624)

The Siege of Breda of 1624–25 occurred during the Eighty Years' War. The siege resulted in Breda, a Dutch fortified city, falling into the control of the Army of Flanders.

Following the orders of Ambrogio Spinola, Philip IV's army laid siege to Breda in August 1624. The siege was contrary to the wishes of Philip IV's government because of the already excessive burdens of the concurrent Eighty and Thirty Years' wars. The strategically located city was heavily fortified and strongly defended by a large and well prepared garrison of 7,000 men, that the Dutch were confident would hold out long enough to wear down besiegers while awaiting a relief force to disrupt the siege. Yet despite the Spanish government's opposition to major sieges in the Low Countries and the obstacles confronting any attack on such a strongly fortified and defended city, Spinola launched his Breda campaign, rapidly blocking the city's defences and driving off a Dutch relief army under the leadership of Maurice of Nassau that had attempted to cut off the Spanish army's access to supplies. In February 1625, a second relief force, consisting of 7,000 English troops under the leadership of Horace Vere and Ernst von Mansfeld, was also driven off by Spinola. After a costly eleven-month siege, Justin of Nassau surrendered Breda on 2 June 1625. Only 3,500 Dutchmen and fewer than 600 Englishmen had survived the siege.The Siege of Breda is considered Spinola's greatest success and one of Spain's last major victories in the Eighty Years' War. The siege was part of a plan to isolate the Republic from its hinterland, and co-ordinated with Olivare's naval war spearheaded by the Dunkirkers, to economically choke the Dutch Republic. Although political infighting hindered Spinola's freedom of movement, Spain's efforts in the Netherlands continued thereafter. The siege of 1624 captured the attention of European princes and, along with other battles like White Mountain (1620), played a part in the Spanish army regaining the formidable reputation it had held throughout the previous century.

In the latter stages of the combined Eighty and Thirty Years' wars that had greatly strained Spanish resources, Breda was lost to the Dutch under Frederick Henry after a four-month siege. In the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia that ended the Thirty and Eighty Years' wars, it was ceded to the Dutch Republic.

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