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Useful Notes / Anglo-Dutch Wars

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The Anglo-Dutch Wars was a series of wars in the 17th and 18th (and some historians even stretch it to the early 19th) century, and it pitted the Kingdom of England (known as the Commonwealth of England during the First War and the Kingdom of Great Britain during the Fourth War) against the Dutch Republic.

The First War (1652-1654) was fought due to England passing the Act of Navigation, which mandated that ships from Country A (usually, the Netherlands) could not carry goods from Country B to England or its colonies, sparking the war. The war initially was fought to a draw between the English and Dutch Navies, 2 of Europe's Badass Navies. The English eventually won the war after several naval victories in 1654, including a decisive victory in the Battle of the Gabbard.


The Treaty of Westminster that ended the war had the Dutch recognize the Navigation Acts, as well as a secret clause that prevented William III from becoming stadtholder, (or stead holder) of the Dutch Republic.

The Second War (1664-1667) was provoked by England in an attempt to curb Dutch naval power (The English tried but failed to follow through in the First War) Initially, England was able to take the advantage and win a series of victories over the Dutch. But the Dutch turned the tide in Chatham, England during the Raid of the Medway. A fleet of 60 ships led by Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, bombarded and captured Sheerness, Kent, and sailed up the Medway river to Chatham, where the fleet burned and sunk 13 English ships and captured the ships of the line Unity and the Royal Charles, the English flagship. The battle secured a Dutch victory in the war.


In the Treaty of Breda that ended the war, both England and the Dutch agreed to end the war "uti posstdetis" or "as you possess." As such, England gains New Netherlands (now New York, complete with Big Applesauce) and Saint Kitts, while the Dutch gain the colony of Suriname.

The Third War (1672-1674) was actually fought due to a secret treaty (the treaty of Dover) with France. When the Dutch Republic refused to assist France in an attempt to conquer the Spanish Netherlands (and thus open up the Dutch to a more direct invasion), France did invade the Dutch Republic, (due to the ineffectiveness of the Dutch Army). However, the Dutch were able to garner support from the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, Denmark-Norway and Brandenberg. Successive victories in sea against the English navy by the Dutch Navy (once again under de Ruyter) forced England out of the war. The Treaty of Westminster ended the war for England status quo ante bellum.


As for the conflict with France, that war lasted for another 4 years. Although it ended with a French victory and they did take territory from the Spanish Netherlands, there was still territory left to ensure that the buffer between France and the Netherlands remained intact.

The Fourth War (1780-1784) was essentially Spinoff of the American Revolution. The Dutch were using the port of Sint Eustatius to run guns for the Revolutionary Army. This, combined with the fact that the Dutch were the first to recognize US sovereignty upset the British quite badly. The war saw the final nail in the coffin for Dutch power. The Dutch navy had been neglected for years and was only a shade of its former self, the British were able to win the conflict quite easily, despite the war ending in a status quo ante bellum. This effectively ended the Dutch as a major power in Europe.


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