Dutch Republic

The Dutch Republic or United Provinces was a republic that existed from the formal creation of a confederacy in 1581 by several Dutch provinces (which earlier seceded from Spanish rule) until the Batavian Revolution in 1795. It was the predecessor state of the modern Netherlands and the first nation state of the Dutch people.

Republic of the Seven United Netherlands

Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden
1581–1795
(part of the Holy Roman Empire & the Spanish Netherlands before 1648)
Motto: Concordia res parvae crescunt[1]
"Unity makes strength"
Anthem: Het Wilhelmus
"The William"
Location of the Dutch Republic in 1789
Location of the Dutch Republic in 1789
The seven provinces together with an eighth not represented in the federal government (Drenthe) and the Generality Lands (in light blue)
The seven provinces together with an eighth not represented in the federal government (Drenthe) and the Generality Lands (in light blue)
CapitalNone The Hague (de facto)
Common languagesDutch, Zeelandic, West Flemish, Dutch Low Saxon, West Frisian
Religion
Dutch Reformed (state religion)
Catholic, Lutheran, Judaism
GovernmentConfederative republic
Stadtholder 
• 1581–1584
William I (first)
• 1751–1795
William V (last)
Grand Pensionary 
• 1581–1585
Paulus Buys (first)
• 1787–1795
Laurens van de Spiegel (last)
LegislatureStates General
• State council
Council of State
Historical eraEarly modern
23 January 1579
26 July 1581
30 January 1648
19 January 1795
Population
• 1795
1 880 500[2]
CurrencyGuilder
Rijksdaalder
Ducaton
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Spanish Netherlands
Batavian Republic
Today part of
History of the Low Countries
Frisii Belgae
Cana-
nefates
Chamavi,
Tubantes
Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg
Gallia Belgica (55 BC – 5th c. AD)
Germania Inferior (83 – 5th c.)
Salian Franks Batavi
unpopulated
(4th–5th c.)
Saxons Salian Franks
(4th–5th c.)
Frisian Kingdom
(6th c.–734)
Frankish Kingdom (481–843)Carolingian Empire (800–843)
Austrasia (511–687)
Middle Francia (843–855) West
Francia

(843–)
Kingdom of Lotharingia (855– 959)
Duchy of Lower Lorraine (959–)
Frisia

Friesland (kleine wapen).svg
Frisian
Freedom

(11–16th
century)
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County of
Holland

(880–1432)
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Bishopric of
Utrecht

(695–1456)
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Duchy of
Brabant

(1183–1430)
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Duchy of
Guelders

(1046–1543)
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County of
Flanders

(862–1384)
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County of
Hainaut

(1071–1432)
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County of
Namur

(981–1421)
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P.-Bish.
of Liège


(980–1794)
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Duchy of
Luxem-
bourg

(1059–1443)
  Flag of the Low Countries.svg
Burgundian Netherlands (1384–1482)
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Habsburg Netherlands (1482–1795)
(Seventeen Provinces after 1543)
 
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Dutch Republic
(1581–1795)
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Spanish Netherlands
(1556–1714)
 
  Austrian Low Countries Flag.svg
Austrian Netherlands
(1714–1795)
  Flag of the Brabantine Revolution.svg
United States of Belgium
(1790)
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R. Liège
(1789–'91)
     
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Batavian Republic (1795–1806)
Kingdom of Holland (1806–1810)
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associated with French First Republic (1795–1804)
part of First French Empire (1804–1815)
   
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Princip. of the Netherlands (1813–1815)
 
United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1830) Flag of Luxembourg.svg
Gr D. L.
(1815–)


Kingdom of the Netherlands (1839–)
Flag of Belgium.svg
Kingdom of Belgium (1830–)
Gr D. of
Luxem-
bourg

(1890–)

Name

The republic was also known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (Dutch: Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden), Republic of the Seven United Provinces (Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Provinciën), the United Provinces (Verenigde Provinciën), Seven Provinces (Zeven Provinciën), Federated Dutch Provinces (Latin: Foederatae Belgii Provinciae), or the Dutch Federation (Belgica Foederata).

Common names in Dutch for the Republic in official correspondence were:

  • De Republiek ("the Republic")
  • Republiek der Verenigde Nederlanden ("Republic of the United Netherlands")
  • Republiek der Verenigde Provinciën ("Republic of the United Provinces")
  • Republiek der Zeven Provinciën ("Republic of the Seven Provinces")
  • Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden ("Republic of the Seven United Netherlands")
  • Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Provinciën ("Republic of the Seven United Provinces")
  • Verenigde Provinciën ("United Provinces")
  • Verenigde Provinciën der Nederlanden ("United Provinces of the Netherlands")
  • Verenigde Staten der Nederlanden ("The United States of the Netherlands")
  • De Verenigde Gewesten ("The United Regions" or one translation would be "The United States")
  • De Zeven Verenigde Gewesten ("The Seven United Regions" or one translation would be "The Seven United States")

And in Latin:

  • Belgica Respublicae Foederatae[3]:58[4]

History

Until the 16th century, the Low Countries – corresponding roughly to the present-day Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg – consisted of a number of duchies, counties, and prince-bishoprics, almost all of which were under the supremacy of the Holy Roman Empire, with the exception of the county of Flanders, which was under the Kingdom of France.

Most of the Low Countries had come under the rule of the House of Burgundy and subsequently the House of Habsburg. In 1549 Holy Roman Emperor Charles V issued the Pragmatic Sanction, which further unified the Seventeen Provinces under his rule. Charles was succeeded by his son, King Philip II of Spain. In 1568 the Netherlands, led by William I of Orange, revolted against Philip II because of high taxes, persecution of Protestants by the government, and Philip's efforts to modernize and centralize the devolved-medieval government structures of the provinces.[5] This was the start of the Eighty Years' War.

In 1579 a number of the northern provinces of the Low Countries signed the Union of Utrecht, in which they promised to support each other in their defence against the Spanish army. This was followed in 1581 by the Act of Abjuration, the declaration of independence of the provinces from Philip II.

In 1582 the United Provinces invited Francis, Duke of Anjou to lead them; but after a failed attempt to take Antwerp in 1583, the duke left the Netherlands again. After the assassination of William of Orange (10 July 1584), both Henry III of France and Elizabeth I of England declined offers of sovereignty. However, the latter agreed to turn the United Provinces into a protectorate of England (Treaty of Nonsuch, 1585), and sent the Earl of Leicester as governor-general. This was unsuccessful and in 1588 the provinces became a confederacy. The Union of Utrecht is regarded as the foundation of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces, which was not recognized by the Spanish Empire until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

During the Anglo-French war (1778), the internal territory was divided into two groups: the Patriots, who were pro-French and pro-American, and the Orangists, who were pro-British.[6] The Republic of the United Provinces faced a series of republican revolutions in 1783–1787. During this period, republican forces occupied several major Dutch cities. Initially on the defence, the Orangist forces received aid from Prussian troops and retook the Netherlands in 1787. The republican forces fled to France, but then successfully re-invaded alongside the army of the French Republic (1793–95), ousting stadtholder William V, abolishing the Dutch Republic, and replacing it with the Batavian Republic (1795–1806). After the French Republic became the French Empire under Napoleon, the Batavian Republic was replaced by the Napoleonic Kingdom of Holland (1806–1810).

The Netherlands regained independence from France in 1813. In the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 the names "United Provinces of the Netherlands" and "United Netherlands" were used. In 1815 it was rejoined with the Austrian Netherlands and Liège (the "Southern provinces") to become the Kingdom of the Netherlands, informally known as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, to create a strong buffer state north of France. On 16 March 1815, the son of stadtholder William V crowned himself King William I of the Netherlands. Between 1815 and 1890 the King of the Netherlands was also in a personal union the Grand Duke of the sovereign Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. After Belgium gained its independence in 1830, the state became unequivocally known as the "Kingdom of the Netherlands", as it remains today.

Economy

Een aantal Oostindiëvaarders voor de kust Rijksmuseum SK-A-3108.jpeg
Dutch East-India trading ship 1600
Het eiland Onrust bij Batavia - The island 'Onrust' near Batavia (Abraham Storck, 1699)
Onrust Island near Batavia, 1699
Emanuel de Witte - De binnenplaats van de beurs te Amsterdam
Courtyard of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, 1653

During the Dutch Golden Age in the late 16th and 17th centuries, the Dutch Republic dominated world trade, conquering a vast colonial empire and operating the largest fleet of merchantmen of any nation. The County of Holland was the wealthiest and most urbanized region in the world.[7]

The free trade spirit of the time was augmented by the development of a modern, effective stock market in the Low Countries.[8] The Netherlands has the oldest stock exchange in the world, founded in 1602 by the Dutch East India Company, while Rotterdam has the oldest bourse in the Netherlands. The Dutch East-India Company exchange went public in six different cities. Later, a court ruled that the company had to reside legally in a single city, so Amsterdam is recognized as the oldest such institution based on modern trading principles. While the banking system evolved in the Low Countries, it was quickly incorporated by the well-connected English, stimulating English economic output.

Between 1590 and 1712 the Dutch also possessed one of the strongest and fastest navies in the world, allowing for their varied conquests, including breaking the Portuguese sphere of influence on the Indian Ocean and in the Orient, as well as a lucrative slave trade from Africa and the Pacific.

Politics

The republic was a confederation of seven provinces, which had their own governments and were very independent, and a number of so-called Generality Lands. The latter were governed directly by the States General (Staten-Generaal in Dutch), the federal government. The States General were seated in The Hague and consisted of representatives of each of the seven provinces. The provinces of the republic were, in official feudal order:

  1. The Duchy of Guelders (Gelderland in Dutch)
  2. The County of Holland
  3. The County of Zeeland
  4. The Lordship of Utrecht (formerly the Episcopal principality of Utrecht)
  5. The Lordship of Overijssel
  6. The Lordship of Frisia
  7. The Lordship of Groningen and Ommelanden.

In fact, there was an eighth province, the County of Drenthe, but this area was so poor it was exempt from paying federal taxes and as a consequence was denied representation in the States General. Each province was governed by the Provincial States, the main executive official (though not the official head of state) was a raadspensionaris. In times of war, the stadtholder, who commanded the army, would have more power than the raadspensionaris.

In theory, the stadtholders were freely appointed by and subordinate to the states of each province. However, in practice the princes of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau, beginning with William the Silent, were always chosen as stadtholders of most of the provinces. Zeeland and usually Utrecht had the same stadtholder as Holland.

There was a constant power struggle between the Orangists, who supported the stadtholders and specifically the princes of Orange, and the Republicans, who supported the States General and hoped to replace the semi-hereditary nature of the stadtholdership with a true republican structure.

After the Peace of Westphalia, several border territories were assigned to the United Provinces. They were federally governed Generality Lands (Generaliteitslanden). They were Staats-Brabant (present North Brabant), Staats-Vlaanderen (present Zeelandic Flanders), Staats-Limburg (around Maastricht) and Staats-Oppergelre (around Venlo, after 1715).

The States General of the United Provinces were in control of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and the Dutch West India Company (WIC), but some shipping expeditions were initiated by some of the provinces, mostly Holland and Zeeland.

The framers of the US Constitution were influenced by the Constitution of the Republic of the United Provinces, as Federalist No. 20, by James Madison, shows.[9] Such influence appears, however, to have been of a negative nature, as Madison describes the Dutch confederacy as exhibiting "Imbecility in the government; discord among the provinces; foreign influence and indignities; a precarious existence in peace, and peculiar calamities from war." Apart from this, the American Declaration of Independence is similar to the Act of Abjuration, essentially the declaration of independence of the United Provinces,[10] but concrete evidence that the latter directly influenced the former is absent.

Religion

Emanuel de Witte - Interior of the Oude Kerk at Delft during a Sermon - WGA25811
Interior of the Oude Kerk at Delft during a Sermon, 1651

In the Union of Utrecht of 20 January 1579, Holland and Zeeland were granted the right to accept only one religion (in practice, Calvinism). Every other province had the freedom to regulate the religious question as it wished, although the Union stated every person should be free in the choice of personal religion and that no person should be prosecuted based on religious choice.[11] William of Orange had been a strong supporter of public and personal freedom of religion and hoped to unite Protestants and Catholics in the new union, and, for him, the Union was a defeat. In practice, Catholic services in all provinces were quickly forbidden, and the Dutch Reformed Church became the "public" or "privileged" church in the Republic.[12]

During the Republic, any person who wished to hold public office had to conform to the Reformed Church and take an oath to this effect. The extent to which different religions or denominations were persecuted depended much on the time period and regional or city leaders. In the beginning, this was especially focused on Roman Catholics, being the religion of the enemy. In 17th-century Leiden, for instance, people opening their homes to services could be fined 200 guilders (a year's wage for a skilled tradesman) and banned from the city.[13] Throughout this, however, personal freedom of religion existed and was one factor – along with economic reasons – in causing large immigration of religious refugees from other parts of Europe.[12]

In the first years of the Republic, controversy arose within the Reformed Church, mainly around the subject of predestination. This has become known as the struggle between Arminianism and Gomarism, or between Remonstrants and Contra-Remonstrants. In 1618 the Synod of Dort tackled this issue, which led to the banning of the Remonstrant faith.

Beginning in the 18th century, the situation changed from more or less active persecution of religious services to a state of restricted toleration of other religions, as long as their services took place secretly in private churches.

Decline

Long-term rivalry between the two main factions in Dutch society, the Staatsgezinden (Republicans) and the Prinsgezinden (Royalists or Orangists), sapped the strength and unity of the country. Johan de Witt and the Republicans did reign supreme for a time at the middle of the 17th century (the First Stadtholderless Period) until his overthrow and murder in 1672. Subsequently, William III of Orange became stadtholder. After a stadtholderless era of 22 years, the Orangists regained power, and his first problem was to survive the Franco-Dutch War (with the derivative Third Anglo-Dutch war), when France, England, Münster and Cologne united against this country.

Wars to contain the expansionist policies of France in various coalitions after the Glorious Revolution, mostly including England and Scotland (after 1707, the United Kingdom), burdened the republic with huge debts, although little of the fighting after 1673 took place on its own territory. The necessity to maintain a vast army against France meant that less money could be spent on the navy, weakening the Republic's economy. After William III's death in 1702 the Second Stadtholderless Period was inaugurated. Despite having contributed much in the War of Spanish Succession, the Dutch Republic gained little from the peace talks in Utrecht (1713). The end of the War of Austrian Succession in 1748, and Austria becoming allies with France against Prussia, marked the end of the republic as a major military power.[14]

Fierce competition for trade and colonies, especially from France and England, furthered the economic downturn of the country. The three Anglo-Dutch Wars and the rise of mercantilism had a negative effect on Dutch shipping and commerce.

See also

References

  1. ^ In full concordia res parvae crescunt, discordia maximae dilabuntur. Hubert de Vries, Wapens van de Nederlanden. De historische ontwikkeling van de heraldische symbolen van Nederland, België, hun provincies en Luxemburg. Uitgeverij Jan Mets, Amsterdam, 1995, pp. 31–32.
  2. ^ Demographics of the Netherlands, Jan Lahmeyer. Retrieved on 10 February 2014.
  3. ^ Rowen, Herbert H. (1978). John de Witt, Grand Pensionary of Holland, 1625–1672. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-05247-6.
  4. ^ De Witt, Johan (10 May 1652). Brieven van Johan de Witt. I. pp. 61–62. De Witt to Shaep(?), 'these United Provinces must not be given the name of respublica (in the singular) but rather respublicae foederatae or unitae (in the plural).'
  5. ^ Pieter Geyl, History of the Dutch-Speaking Peoples, 1555–1648. Phoenix Press, 2001, p. 55.
  6. ^ Ertl 2008, p. 217.
  7. ^ In 1650 the urban population of the Dutch Republic as a percentage of total population was 31.7%, while that of the Spanish Netherlands was 20.8%, of Portugal 16.6%, and of Italy 14%. See Cook, Chris; Broadhead, Philip (2006). "Population, Urbanisation and Health". The Routledge Companion to Early Modern Europe, 1453–1763. Abingdon and New York. p. 186. In 1675 the urban population density of Holland alone was 61%, that of the rest of the Dutch Republic 27%. See Mijnhardt, Wijnand W. (2010). "Urbanization, Culture and the Dutch Origins of the European Enlightenment". BMGN: Low Countries Historical Review. 125 (2–3): 143. doi:10.18352/bmgn-lchr.7118.
  8. ^ Arrighi, G. (2002). The Long Twentieth Century. London, New York: Verso. p. 47. ISBN 1-85984-015-9.
  9. ^ James Madison (11 December 1787). Fœderalist No. 20.
  10. ^ Barbara Wolff (29 June 1998). "Was Declaration of Independence inspired by Dutch?". University of Wisconsin–Madison. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  11. ^ "Unie van Utrecht - Wikisource". nl.wikisource.org.
  12. ^ a b Israel, J. I. (1995). The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477–1806. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-873072-1.
  13. ^ van Maanen, R. C. J. (2003). Leiden: de geschiedenis van een Hollandse stad. II. 1574–1795. Stichitng Geschiedschrijving Leiden. ISBN 90-806754-2-3.
  14. ^ O. van Nimwegen, De Republiek der Verenigde Nederlanden als grote mogendheid. Buitenlandse politiek en oorlogvoering in de eerste helft van de achttiende eeuw en in het bijzonder tijdens de Oostenrijkse Successieoorlog (1740–1748)

Further reading

  • Adams, Julia (2005). The Familial State: Ruling Families and Merchant Capitalism in Early Modern Europe. Ithica: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-3308-8.
  • Boxer, C. R. (1990) [1965]. The Dutch Seaborne Empire 1600–1800 (Reprint ed.). London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-013618-5.
  • Ertl, Alan W. (2008). Toward an Understanding of Europe: A Political Economic Précis of Continental Integration. Universal-Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59942-983-0.
  • Israel, J. I. (1995). The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477–1806. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-873072-1.
  • Kuznicki, Jason (2008). "Dutch Republic". In Hamowy, Ronald. The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE; Cato Institute. pp. 130–31. doi:10.4135/9781412965811.n83. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4.
  • Reynolds, Clark G. (1998). Navies in History. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
  • Schama, Simon (1988). The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age. New York: Random House.
  • van der Burg, Martijn (2010). "Transforming the Dutch Republic into the Kingdom of Holland: the Netherlands between Republicanism and Monarchy (1795–1815)". European Review of History. 17 (2): 151–70. doi:10.1080/13507481003660811.

External links

Coordinates: 52°05′N 4°18′E / 52.083°N 4.300°E

Batavian Republic

The Batavian Republic (Dutch: Bataafse Republiek; French: République Batave) was the successor of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. It was proclaimed on 19 January 1795, and ended on 5 June 1806, with the accession of Louis I to the throne of Holland. From October 1801 onward, it was known as the Batavian Commonwealth (Dutch: Bataafs Gemenebest). Both names refer to the Germanic tribe of the Batavi, representing both the Dutch ancestry and their ancient quest for liberty in their nationalistic lore.

In early 1795, intervention by French revolutionary forces led to the downfall of the old Dutch Republic. The new Republic enjoyed widespread support from the Dutch population and was the product of a genuine popular revolution. Nevertheless, it clearly was founded with the armed support of the revolutionary French Republic. The Batavian Republic became a client state, the first of the "sister-republics" and later part of the French Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte, and its politics were deeply influenced by the French who supported no fewer than three coups d'état to bring the different political factions to power that France favored at different moments in its own political development. Nevertheless, the process of creating a written Dutch constitution was mainly driven by internal political factors, not by French influence, until Napoleon forced the Dutch government to accept his brother as monarch.The political, economic and social reforms that were brought about during the relatively short duration of the Batavian Republic have had a lasting impact. The confederal structure of the old Dutch Republic was permanently replaced by a unitary state. For the first time in Dutch history, the constitution that was adopted in 1798 had a genuinely democratic character. For a while the Republic was governed democratically, although the coup d'état of 1801 put an authoritarian regime in power, after another change in constitution. Nevertheless, the memory of this brief experiment with democracy helped smooth the transition to a more democratic government in 1848 (the constitutional revision by Johan Rudolph Thorbecke, limiting the power of the king). A type of ministerial government was introduced for the first time in Dutch history and many of the current government departments date their history back to this period.

Though the Batavian Republic was a client state, its successive governments tried their best to maintain a modicum of independence and to serve Dutch interests even where those clashed with those of their French overseers. This perceived obduracy led to the eventual demise of the Republic when the short-lived experiment with the (again authoritarian) regime of "Grand Pensionary" Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck produced insufficient docility in the eyes of Napoleon. The new king, Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon's own brother), surprisingly did not slavishly follow French dictates either, leading to his downfall.

Daniel Bernoulli

Daniel Bernoulli FRS (German pronunciation: [bɛʁˈnʊli]; 8 February 1700 – 17 March 1782) was a Swiss mathematician and physicist and was one of the many prominent mathematicians in the Bernoulli family. He is particularly remembered for his applications of mathematics to mechanics, especially fluid mechanics, and for his pioneering work in probability and statistics. His name is commemorated in the Bernoulli's principle, a particular example of the conservation of energy, which describes the mathematics of the mechanism underlying the operation of two important technologies of the 20th century: the carburetor and the airplane wing.

Dutch East India Company

The Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie; VOC) was an early megacorporation founded by a government-directed amalgamation of several rival Dutch trading companies (voorcompagnieën) in the early-17th century. It was originally established on March 20,1602 as a chartered company to trade with India and Indianised Southeast Asian countries when the Dutch government granted it a 21-year monopoly on the Dutch spice trade. The Company has been often labelled a trading company (i.e. a company of merchants who buy and sell goods produced by other people) or sometimes a shipping company. However, the VOC was in fact a proto-conglomerate company, diversifying into multiple commercial and industrial activities such as international trade (especially intra-Asian trade), shipbuilding, both production and trade of East Indian spices, Formosan sugarcane, and South African wine. The Company was a transcontinental employer and an early pioneer of outward foreign direct investment. The Company's investment projects helped raise the commercial and industrial potential of many underdeveloped or undeveloped regions of the world in the early modern period. In the early 1600s, by widely issuing bonds and shares of stock to the general public, the VOC became the world's first formally-listed public company. In other words, it was the first corporation to be listed on an official stock exchange. The VOC was influential in the rise of corporate-led globalization in the early modern period.

With its pioneering institutional innovations and powerful roles in global business history, the Company is often considered by many to be the forerunner of modern corporations. In many respects, modern-day corporations are all the 'direct descendants' of the VOC model. It was the VOC's 17th-century institutional innovations and business practices that laid the foundations for the rise of giant global corporations in subsequent centuries — as a highly significant and formidable socio-politico-economic force of the modern-day world – to become the dominant factor in almost all economic systems today. The VOC also served as the direct model for the organisational reconstruction of the English/British East India Company in 1657. The Company, for nearly 200 years of its existence (1602–1800), had effectively transformed itself from a corporate entity into a state or an empire in its own right. One of the most influential and best expertly researched business enterprises in history, the VOC's world has been the subject of a vast amount of literature that includes both fiction and nonfiction works.

The company was historically an exemplary company-state rather than a pure for-profit corporation. Originally a government-backed military-commercial enterprise, the VOC was the wartime brainchild of leading Dutch republican statesman Johan van Oldenbarnevelt and the States-General. From its inception in 1602, the Company was not only a commercial enterprise but also effectively an instrument of war in the young Dutch Republic's revolutionary global war against the powerful Spanish Empire and Iberian Union (1579–1648). In 1619, the Company forcibly established a central position in the Indonesian city of Jayakarta, changing the name to Batavia (modern-day Jakarta). Over the next two centuries the Company acquired additional ports as trading bases and safeguarded their interests by taking over surrounding territory. To guarantee its supply, the Company established positions in many countries and became an early pioneer of outward foreign direct investment. In its foreign colonies, the VOC possessed quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts, negotiate treaties, strike its own coins, and establish colonies. With increasing importance of foreign posts, the Company is often considered the world's first true transnational corporation.

Along with the Dutch West India Company (WIC/GWIC), the VOC was seen as the international arm of the Dutch Republic and the symbolic power of the Dutch Empire. To further its trade routes, the VOC-funded exploratory voyages such as those led by Willem Janszoon (Duyfken), Henry Hudson (Halve Maen), and Abel Tasman, who revealed largely unknown landmasses to the western world. In the Golden Age of Netherlandish cartography (c. 1570s–1670s), VOC navigators and cartographers helped shape geographical knowledge of the world as we know it today.

Socio-economic changes in Europe, the shift in power balance, and less successful financial management resulted in a slow decline of the VOC between 1720 and 1799. After the financially disastrous Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1780–1784), the company was first nationalised in 1796, and finally dissolved in 1799. All assets were taken over by the government with VOC territories becoming Dutch government colonies.

In spite of the VOC's historic roles and contributions, the Company has long been heavily criticised for its monopoly policy, exploitation, colonialism, uses of violence, and slavery.

Dutch Golden Age

The Dutch Golden Age (Dutch: Gouden Eeuw Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣʌudə(n) ˈeːu]) was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military, and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first section is characterized by the Eighty Years' War, which ended in 1648. The Golden Age continued in peacetime during the Dutch Republic until the end of the century.

The transition by the Netherlands to the foremost maritime and economic power in the world has been called the "Dutch Miracle" by historian K. W. Swart.

Dutch West India Company

Dutch West India Company (Dutch: Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie, Dutch pronunciation: [ɣəʔɔktroːˈjeːrdə ʋɛstˈɪndisə kɔmpɑˈɲi] or Dutch: WIC; English: Chartered West India Company) was a chartered company (known as the "WIC") of Dutch merchants as well as foreign investors. Among its founders was Willem Usselincx (1567–1647). On June 3, 1621, it was granted a charter for a trade monopoly in the Dutch West Indies by the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands and given jurisdiction over Dutch participation in the Atlantic slave trade, Brazil, the Caribbean, and North America. The area where the company could operate consisted of West Africa (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Cape of Good Hope) and the Americas, which included the Pacific Ocean and the eastern part of New Guinea. The intended purpose of the charter was to eliminate competition, particularly Spanish or Portuguese, between the various trading posts established by the merchants. The company became instrumental in the largely ephemeral Dutch colonization of the Americas (including New Netherland) in the seventeenth century. From 1624 to 1654, the WIC held Portuguese territory in northeast Brazil, but they were ousted from Dutch Brazil following fierce resistance.After several reversals, WIC reorganized and a new charter was granted in 1675, largely on the strength in the Atlantic slave trade. This "New" version lasted for more than a century, until after the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War, during which, it lost most its assets.

Holland

Holland is a region and former province on the western coast of the Netherlands. The name Holland is also frequently used informally to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. This usage is commonly accepted in other countries, and sometimes employed by the Dutch themselves. However, some in the Netherlands, particularly those from regions outside Holland, may find it undesirable or misrepresentative to use the term for the whole country.

From the 10th to the 16th century, Holland proper was a unified political region within the Holy Roman Empire as a county ruled by the Counts of Holland. By the 17th century, the province of Holland had risen to become a maritime and economic power, dominating the other provinces of the newly independent Dutch Republic.

The area of the former County of Holland roughly coincides with the two current Dutch provinces of North Holland and South Holland in which it was divided, which together include the Netherlands' three largest cities: the de jure capital city of Amsterdam; Rotterdam, home of Europe's largest port; and the seat of government of The Hague.

Leiden University

Leiden University (abbreviated as LEI; Dutch: Universiteit Leiden), founded in the city of Leiden, is the oldest university in the Netherlands. The university was founded in 1575 by William, Prince of Orange, leader of the Dutch Revolt in the Eighty Years' War. The Dutch Royal Family and Leiden University have a close association: Queen Juliana, Queen Beatrix and King Willem-Alexander are former students. The university came into particular prominence during the Dutch Golden Age, when scholars from around Europe were attracted to the Dutch Republic due to its climate of intellectual tolerance and Leiden's international reputation. During this time Leiden was home to such figures as René Descartes, Rembrandt, Christiaan Huygens, Hugo Grotius, Baruch Spinoza and Baron d'Holbach.

Leiden University has seven faculties (six in Leiden and one in The Hague) and over 50 departments. The university is a member of the Coimbra Group, the Europaeum and the League of European Research Universities. Leiden University houses more than 40 national and international research institutes.

The University is associated with ten leaders and Prime Ministers of the Netherlands including the current Prime Minister Mark Rutte, nine foreign leaders, among them the 6th President of the United States John Quincy Adams, a Secretary General of NATO, a President of the International Court of Justice, a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and sixteen recipients of the Nobel Prize (including renowned physicists Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi).

Peace of Utrecht

The Peace of Utrecht is a series of peace treaties signed by the belligerents in the War of the Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht between April 1713 and February 1715.

Before Charles II of Spain died childless in 1700, he had named his grandnephew Philip as his successor. However, Philip was grandson of Louis XIV of France and also in line for the French throne, and the other major powers in Europe were not willing to tolerate the potential union of two such powerful states. Essentially, the treaties allowed Philip to take the Spanish throne in return for permanently renouncing his claim to the French throne, along with other necessary guarantees that would ensure that France and Spain should not merge, thus preserving the balance of power in Europe.

The treaties between several European states, including Spain, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Savoy and the Dutch Republic, helped end the war. The treaties were concluded between the representatives of Louis XIV of France and of his grandson Philip on one hand, and representatives of Anne of Great Britain, Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia, John V of Portugal and the United Provinces of the Netherlands on the other. They marked the end of French ambitions of hegemony in Europe expressed in the wars of Louis XIV, and preserved the European system based on the balance of power. British historian G. M. Trevelyan argues:

That Treaty, which ushered in the stable and characteristic period of Eighteenth-Century civilization, marked the end of danger to Europe from the old French monarchy, and it marked a change of no less significance to the world at large, — the maritime, commercial and financial supremacy of Great Britain.

Peace of Westphalia

The Peace of Westphalia (German: Westfälischer Friede) was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück and Münster, largely ending the European wars of religion, including the Thirty Years' War. The treaties of Westphalia brought to an end a calamitous period of European history which caused the deaths of approximately eight million people. Scholars have identified Westphalia as the beginning of the modern international system, based on the concept of Westphalian sovereignty.

The negotiation process was lengthy and complex. Talks took place in two different cities, as each side wanted to meet on territory under its own control. A total of 109 delegations arrived to represent the belligerent states, but not all delegations were present at the same time. Three treaties were signed to end each of the overlapping wars: the Peace of Münster, the Treaty of Münster, and the Treaty of Osnabrück. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, with the Habsburgs and their Catholic allies on one side, battling the Protestant powers (Sweden, Denmark, Dutch, and Holy Roman principalities) allied with France (Catholic but anti-Habsburg). The treaties also ended the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognising the independence of the Dutch.

The Peace of Westphalia established the precedent of peace established by diplomatic congress. A new system of political order arose in central Europe, based upon peaceful coexistence among sovereign states. Inter-state aggression was to be held in check by a balance of power, and a norm was established against interference in another state's domestic affairs. As European influence spread across the globe, these Westphalian principles, especially the concept of sovereign states, became central to international law and to the prevailing world order.

Pilgrims (Plymouth Colony)

The Pilgrims or Pilgrim Fathers were the first English settlers of the Plymouth Colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Their leadership came from the religious congregations of Brownist Puritans who had fled the volatile political environment in England for the relative calm and tolerance of 17th-century Holland in the Netherlands. They held Puritan Calvinist religious beliefs but, unlike other Puritans, they maintained that their congregations needed to be separated from the English state church. They were also concerned that they might lose their cultural identity if they remained in the Netherlands, so they arranged with investors to establish a new colony in America. The colony was established in 1620 and became the second successful English settlement in America, following the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. The Pilgrims' story became a central theme in the history and culture of the United States.

Royal Netherlands Navy

The Royal Netherlands Navy [RNLN] (Dutch: Koninklijke Marine [KM] “Royal Navy”) is the navy of the Netherlands. Its origins date back to the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648), the war of independence from the House of Habsburg who ruled over the Habsburg Netherlands.

During the 17th century the navy of the Dutch Republic (1581–1795) was one of the most powerful naval forces in the world and played an active role in wars against England, France, Spain and several other European powers. The navy of the later Batavian Republic (1795–1806) and Kingdom of Holland (1806–1810) played an active role in the Napoleonic Wars, though mostly dominated by French interests. After the establishment of the modern Kingdom of the Netherlands (founded 1815) it served an important role in protecting Dutch colonial rule, especially in Southeast Asia, and would play a minor role in World War II, especially against the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Since World War II the Royal Netherlands Navy has taken part in expeditionary peacekeeping operations.

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.

Stadtholder

In the Low Countries, stadtholder (Dutch: stadhouder, Dutch pronunciation: [ˈstɑtˌɦʌudər]) was an office of steward, designated a medieval official and then a national leader. The stadtholder was the replacement of the duke or earl of a province during the Burgundian and Habsburg period (1384 - 1581/1795).

The title was used for the official tasked with maintaining peace and provincial order in the early Dutch Republic and, at times, became de facto head of state of the Dutch Republic during the 16th to 18th centuries, which was an effectively hereditary role. For the last half century of its existence, it became an officially hereditary role and thus a monarchy (though maintaining republican pretence) under Prince William IV. His son, Prince William V, was the last stadtholder of the republic, whose own son, King William I, became the first king of the Netherlands. The Dutch monarchy is only distantly related to the first stadtholder of the young Republic, William of Orange, the leader of the successful Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Empire, his line having died out with William III.

The title stadtholder is roughly comparable to England's historic title Lord Lieutenant.

States General of the Netherlands

The States General of the Netherlands (Dutch: Staten-Generaal) is the bicameral legislature of the Netherlands consisting of the Senate (Eerste Kamer) and the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer). Both chambers meet at the Binnenhof in The Hague.

The States General originated in the 15th century as an assembly of all the provincial states of the Burgundian Netherlands. In 1579, during the Dutch Revolt, the States General split as the northern provinces openly rebelled against Philip II, and the northern States General replaced Philip II as the supreme authority of the Dutch Republic in 1581. The States General were replaced by the National Assembly after the Batavian Revolution of 1795, only to be restored in 1814, when the country had regained its sovereignty. The States General was divided into a Senate and a House of Representatives in 1815, with the establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. After the constitutional amendment of 1848, members of the House of Representatives were directly elected, and the rights of the States General were vastly extended, practically establishing parliamentary democracy in the Netherlands.

Since 1918, the members of the House of Representatives are elected for four years using party-list proportional representation, while the 75 members of the Senate are elected by the States-Provincial every four years. On exceptional occasions, the two houses form a joint session known as the United Assembly. The President of the Senate serves as President of the States General during a United Assembly. Ankie Broekers-Knol (VVD) has been President of the Senate since 2013.

Treaties of Nijmegen

The Treaties of Peace of Nijmegen (Traités de Paix de Nimègue; German: Friede von Nimwegen) were a series of treaties signed in the Dutch city of Nijmegen between August 1678 and December 1679. The treaties ended various interconnected wars among France, the Dutch Republic, Spain, Brandenburg, Sweden, Denmark, the Prince-Bishopric of Münster, and the Holy Roman Empire. The most significant of the treaties was the first, which established peace between France and the Dutch Republic and placed the northern border of France very near its modern position.

Treaty of Ryswick

The Treaty or Peace of Ryswick, also known as The Peace of Rijswijk was a series of agreements signed in the Dutch city of Rijswijk between 20 September and 30 October 1697, ending the 1689-97 Nine Years War between France and the Grand Alliance of England, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the Dutch Republic.

Utrecht University

Utrecht University (UU; Dutch: Universiteit Utrecht, formerly Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht) is a university in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Established 26 March 1636, it is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. In 2016, it had an enrolment of 29,425 students, and employed 5,568 faculty and staff. In 2011, 485 PhD degrees were awarded and 7,773 scientific articles were published. The 2013 budget of the university was €765 million.The university is rated as the best university in the Netherlands by the Shanghai Ranking of World Universities 2013, and ranked as the 13th best university in Europe and the 52nd best university of the world.

The university's motto is "Sol Iustitiae Illustra Nos," which means "Sun of Justice, shine upon us." This motto was gleaned from a literal Latin Bible translation of Malachi 4:2. (Rutgers University, having a historical connection with Utrecht University, uses a modified version of this motto.) Utrecht University is led by the University Board, consisting of prof. dr. Henk Kummeling (Rector Magnificus) and Hans Amman.

William V, Prince of Orange

William V, Prince of Orange (Willem Batavus; 8 March 1748 – 9 April 1806) was the last Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic. He went into exile to London in 1795. He was the reigning Prince of Nassau-Orange until his death in 1806. In that capacity he was succeeded by his son William.

Yacht

A yacht is a watercraft used for pleasure or sports. The term originates from the Dutch word jacht (which means "hunt"), and was originally referencing light fast sailing vessels that the Dutch Republic navy used to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries. The yacht was popularized by Charles II of England as a pleasure or recreation vessel following his restoration in 1660.

Today's yachts differ from other vessels by their leisure purpose. A yacht is any sail or power vessel used for pleasure, cruising or racing. A yacht does not have to have luxury accommodations to be a yacht, in fact many racing yachts are stripped out vessels with the minimum of accommodations. The term 'sailboat' is sometimes used in America to differentiate sail from powerboat. See also 'yachting'. There are currently about 6,500 yacht over 24m on the market.Charter yachts are a subset of yachts used for pleasure, cruising or racing, but run as a business for profit. Ownership can be private or corporate. The paid crews of these vessels call themselves 'yachties'.

Yacht lengths normally range from 10 metres (33 ft) up to dozens of meters (hundreds of feet). A luxury craft smaller than 12 metres (39 ft) is more commonly called a cabin cruiser or simply a cruiser. A superyacht generally refers to any yacht (sail or power) above 24 m (79 ft) and a megayacht generally refers to any yacht over 50 metres (164 ft).

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