European History Pt. 11 — The Dutch!

The book I’m using for these posts A History of the Modern World is fairly simple, but I like how it unearths the various themes you find in history. There is a risk of over simplification, but nuance is a luxury that a causal browser cannot always afford.

Last time we saw how as Spanish dominance waned, the thirty years’ war shifted power to France. After the 30 years’ war, the French got their shot at universal supremacy in Europe.

Starting in 1661, Louis XIV assumed control of French affairs. The check to Louis XIV’s ambitions largely turned out to be the Dutch.

For some reason, the book starts with the Dutch, who are described as a bourgeois people. As a nation they were incredibly urban and wealthy for the times. They were also a republic, which was a consequence of their long struggle with Spain. Their fierce independence was reflected in their constitution. Starting in 1600, the Dutch were dominant traders and bankers, and their culture and  scientific achievements flourished in the 1600s — think Vermeer, Grotius, Leeuwehoek, and Swammerdam.

1667 —  Louis begins his era of aggression in Europe, after ruling for only 6 years.

1651 — Navigation act initiates a trade war and then real war between British and Duth from 1652 — 1674. This is when New Amsterdam became New York.

1689 — William III of Orange becomes King of England.


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