: article by Jona Lendering ©
The Dutch Republic in
Group of Dutch artists in Rome, who supported each other. The members group
gathered in a building they believed to be the ancient Temple of Bacchus
(but was in fact the Mausoleum of Constantia near the Sant' Agnese), and
were notorious for their drinking excesses. In 1720, the pope ordered that
the group had to be dissolved.
Casanova, Giacomo Girolamo
Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, chevalier de Seingalt (1725-1798), was an Italian
adventurer. At the end of his life, he wrote a highly entertaining
that became famous because of the almost endless list of his erotic conquests.
This, however, is only a part of this book, which is in the first place
a vivid account of daily life in eighteenth century Europe. Occasionally,
Casanova was on a secret mission, for example to Calais, in Holland, and
for the Venetian authorities.
European Christianity is divided into several branches.
Only theologians understand the differences, but the main distinction between
I and II has to do with the philosophical description of the nature of
Jesus Christ, and is highly theoretical. Like the Greek orthodox Christians,
the Roman Catholics of the west have priests who perform the rituals; their
spiritual leader is the pope, who is the source of all authority. Protestants
stress the importance of the study of the Scriptures and have no central
spiritual authority. Calvinism can be more radical than Lutheranism, but
the main differences are again too philosophical to explain.
Eastern Christianity, also known as the Greek orthodoxy
Latin or Western Christianity, which is divided into
Protestantism, which is divided into
Michiel de Ruyter
The Peace of Westphalia (1648) put an end to the
wars between Catholics and Protestants. In the Dutch republic, religious
tolerance was a matter of civilization, and a man like Cornelis de Bruijn
had a sincere interest in other opinions.
De Ruyter, Michiel
Dutch admiral (1607-1676), first to organize a professional navy, and generally
regarded as one of the greatest geniuses of naval warfare. Until then,
naval engagements had been a despised type of war, fought by desperadoes
in upgraded trading vessels; after De Ruyter, it was an honorable profession.
He was active in three wars against the English, but on as many occasions,
he fought together with them against the Berber pirates in the western
Mediterranean. He was killed in action near Syracuse by the French.
De Witt, Johan
Dutch statesman (1625-1672), who dominated the international diplomacy
of the third quarter of the seventeenth century. He preferred armed neutrality,
which was necessary for intercontinental commerce. This did not prevent
him from building a navy and cooperating closely with Michiel
de Ruyter. It comes as no surprise that in his own country, he was
supported by the rich merchants and the
and was opposed by the wealthy prince William of Orange,
who might one day claim the title of stadholder.
During the crisis of 1672, an attempt was made on his life by a man named
Cornelis de Bruijn; later, Johan de Witt and his brother Cornelis were
lynched in The Hague. Immediately, William of Orange took charge of the
Supreme political body in the Republic of the United Netherlands (which
means Holland and several other provinces). It contained representatives
of most provinces, who were, usually, selected from the mercantile elite.
The stadholders, military commanders, were servants
of the Estates, but because the stadholdership of wealthy Holland traditionally
belonged to the Orange family, the prince of Orange could be very powerful.
Witt was able to neutralize this power, but after he had been killed
by the Orangists, the stadholdership was again monopolized by members of
the Orange family.
Great Northern War
Conflict between Sweden and an alliance that consisted of Denmark, Saxony-Poland,
and Russia, which tried to break Sweden's control of the Baltic Sea. It
lasted from 1700 to 1721. The Swedish king Charles XII was able to overcome
all his enemies, but was eventually defeated by czar Peter the Great at
Poltava (1709). Still, the war continued for twelve years. In the end,
the Russians had gained access to the Baltic, the "window on Europe" they
needed so much. This war marked the end of the cheap
grain that was needed for Dutch prosperity: a blow to the economy of the
Republic. The Great Northen War coincided with the
of Spanish Succession, in which France had to fight against a coalition
of European countries. France and Swedish were allies but unable to support
Peace of Westphalia
General European peace treaty (1648), which put an end to the Thirty Years
of War in Germany and the Eighty Years of War in the Low Countries. It
meant the recognition that there were to be several Christian religions
in Europe and it established the principle of the "balance of power", which
was challenged by the French king Louis XIV, and defended by De
Witt and William of Orange.
A stadholder ("deputee") was responsible for a province when its
duke or count was absent. In the sixteenth century, many Dutch provinces
belonged to the Spanish empire, and the stadholders became provincial governors.
When the Estates General had ended its allegiance
to the king of Spain, the stadholdership of Holland became heritable in
the Orange family, which now became a rival center of power. The Estates
General have tried to curtail the power of the princes of Orange, but could
not prevent William III from becoming stadholder
Symbol of the V.O.C.
Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, the United East-Indian Company
that was founded in 1602. It was the world's first incorporated company
War of Spanish Succession
In 1701, Louis XIV of France tried to make his brother
king of Spain, which would seriously disturb the balance of power.
of Holland and since 1688 king of England, created an alliance of England,
Holland, the emperor Leopold I of Austria, Portugal, Hannover, and Prussia,
which successfully contained France. This war, which ended in 1714,
coincided with the Great Northern War, in which Sweden
fought against Denmark, Saxony-Poland, and Russia. Sweden and France were
allies but unable to support each other. The significance of the wars is
that the Dutch, without really loosing something, were unable to maintain
their privileged position in the world of international trade. The future
belonged to the British empire.
William III in 1677
Painting by Peter Lely (detail)
William III of Orange
As prince of Orange, William (1650-1702) was entitled to the stadholdership
of Holland, but the Estates General and Johan
de Witt carefully kept him out of this office, hoping to continue the
policy of neutrality that was so beneficial to trade. In 1672, however,
the French and British, allied to two German bishops, attacked the Dutch
Republic, and Johan de Witt was killed. William of Orange was made stadholder
and although he was no match for the French generals, admiral Michiel
de Ruyter defeated the English and in the end, a daring expedition
to Bonn by prince William forced the bishop of Cologne to leave the coalition.
Two years after the war had begun, France was isolated.
In 1688, prince William of Orange accepted an invitation by a small,
minority to become king of England. He defeated the regular, parliamentarian
army, conquered London, became king, and announced that he, as he was accustomed
in Holland, would share power with the Parliament (the "glorious revolution").
This was the end of the bitter conflict between parliament and crown that
had torn apart England since 1603.
As king of England and stadholder of Holland, he forged an anti-French
coalition that was able to overcome the French attempt, in the War
of Spanish Succession, to gain supremacy in Europe.
As a rival to Versailles, William built the palace Het Loo, which is
smaller but less pompous than its French example, and has more delicate