The history of the Netherlands is the history of a seafaring people thriving on a watery lowland river delta on the North Sea in northwestern Europe. When the Romans and written history arrived in 57 BC, the country was sparsely populated by various tribal groups at the periphery of the empire.
Abt. 100 B.C. German tribes settle permanently in the Netherlands: Tubants in the eastern-, Frisians in the northern- and western Netherlands. Kaninefates settle along the coast and Bataves in the centre of the Netherlands along the rivers.
• 55 B.C. Gaius Julius Caesar, Roman general, reaches the southern Netherlands. Caesar fights a confederation of German tribes in northern France and present Belgium, called ‘the Belgae’. Further northward he meets and wipes out the German tribes of the Usipetes, Tencterians, Eburones and Nervians.
• 51 B.C. Territory between the rivers Seine and Rhine becomes a Roman province: Gallia Belgica.
• 47 B.C. The river Rhine becomes the frontier between the Romans and the Germans. Under Roman rule, a period of prosperity, Roman civilization and relative peace begins for the Netherlands. This period will last for almost two centuries.
• 12 B.C. First mention of the German tribe known as the Batavians. They live just north of the Rhine and Waal rivers. They are probably invited by the Romans to defend the Rhine line of defense.
« B.C.—————————————————— A.D. »
• 69/70 A.D. Batavian revolt against the Romans (click the link to read the text and find a picture of the area)
|• 481 King Childeric dies. He was king of one of the many Frankish kingdoms in the Gaul area which were founded after the retreat of the Romans.His son Clovis succeeds him and founds a Frankish Empire covering the entire Gaul area up to the Rhine in the Netherlands. This empire is named the Merovingian Empire after the name of Clovis’ grandfather Merovech.|
• 496 Clovis becomes Catholic, baptized at the town of Reims together with 3000 of his warriors. This is the starting point of an extensive Christianization of northwestern Europe.
• 650 Frisians chase the Franks away from the Utrecht region. Frisian trade flourishes. It’s called the ‘Frisian Period’. The (trade)center is the village of Dorestad.
abt.750 Start Christening of Frisia
• 771 Charlemagne becomes king of the Frankish Empire.
• 790 First writing of the ‘Lex Frisionum’, the law of the Frisians (See also: ‘the Salic Law’ )
Charlemagne’s reign also marks the start of the feudal system. The Empire, in fact, is knit together not by the king or emperor, but by the loyalty of the feudal lords and vassals. These loyalties, however, are fragile. Depending on the strength of the king or emperor, some feudal lords,counts and dukes become more or less independent.
• 810 Beginning of a long period of invasions by Vikings from Scandinavia which will last for two centuries. Mind that all contacts with the Vikings weren’t necessarily of an aggressive nature
• 840 Death of Lewis the Pious.
From this moment on, the Netherlands are formally part of the Holy (German) Roman Empire.
The first time we hear of Flanders (Baldwin I, with the Iron Arm, 890) and Holland is about 900. Baldwin’s authority over Flanders has grown since he swept out the Vikings; Gerulf, first count of Holland, gained this county by means of murder and intrigues (The name Holland, however, pops up for the first time around 1100. Before that, the area is described as ‘Friesland’ or ‘West Friesland’).
• 1000 It’s about this time that the political landscape is getting more and more modern, with Flanders leading the way. Christian culture is getting self-evident throughout Europe and about 1100 all Dutch villages have their own parish, priest and church.
• 1134 A big flood destroys large parts of the Netherlands and Flanders, especially the parts with polders (= An area of low-lying land, that has been reclaimed from a body of water and is protected by dikes). This flood has a huge impact on life in these parts. Some towns lose their trading position due to changing watercourses; other towns get better prospects for the same reason! An important result of the floods is the realization on the part of the various towns and rural municipalities, that they will need to cooperate in order to protect themselves from future flooding.To organize the battle against the water,dike-reeves and chief landholders are locally appointed to Polder Boards. The importance of these functionaries is enormous, and so is their influence, even politically.
Around 1200 we can see that the Netherlands becomes more and more urbanized, especially in the counties of Flanders (Ghent, Bruges), Artois (Roubaix, Tournai, Lille) and Holland (Dordrecht, Haarlem, Leiden, Gouda).
• 1299 Last Count of Holland: line has run out. Holland and Zeeland united with Hainault in a Personal Union.
• 1316/17 Long periods with heavy rainfall result in bad harvests and famine
abt.1300 7 Dutch towns in Overijssel and Gelderland join the Hanseatic League: Hasselt, Zwolle, Hattem, Kampen, Deventer, Zutphen and Doesburg
• 1347/51 Plague epidemics. Especially the province of Brabant is hit.
• 1350 Start of the ‘Hoekse and Kabeljouwse twisten’ (Hook and Cod War)in Holland. This will last till abt.1490. It is mainly a confrontation of lower nobility and citizens against higher nobility, but the dividing-line is not sharp at all.
1369 Duke Philip(youngest son of the king of France) of the powerful Duchy of Burgundy acquires the county of Flanders by a clever marriage. This is the beginning of Burgundic expansion in the Netherlands.
|1384 Burgundic duke Philip the Bold (1364-1404) and his sons and grandsons expand their Burgundic territory northward mainly by clever marriage arrangements and a strong army. The regions of Flanders (1384), Brabant (1430), Holland and Zeeland (1433) and Gelre (1472) are added to Burgundy. This unity under one sovereign and modern administration, almost comprises the present Netherlands and Belgium, including the northern French regions of Artois and Hainault. This unity will last until far into the 16th century. The region of Holland is growing very fast economically and it is, together with the region of Brabant, the richest province, surpassing even Flanders around 1780.|
In spite of the West European economic crisis in the 14th century (due to the deterioration of the climate and the periods of plague, which killed almost one third of the European population) life in the Netherlands is steadily getting better because of a flourishing trade.
During the Burgundic period, a form of representative democracy is born, and it is in 1464 when Holland invites representatives of the other regions from the Netherlands within Burgundy to come together for a combined meeting. This can be considered as the first joint session of the States-General.
• 1407, june 9, Zwolle (capital of the prov. of Overijssel) again accepted as a member of the Hanseatic League
• 1428 ‘Zoen (= treaty) van Delft’: Jacoba/Jacqueline of Bavaria, Countess of Holland, Zeeland and Hainault, gives up her holdings to Phillip of Burgund (the Brave). End of the Hook and Cod War for the time being
• 1477 Death of Charles The Brave ends the Burgundy Empire.
|1477 Maria the Rich, daughter of Charles The Bold, marries Maxmillian of Hapsburg, son of the German Emperor. The regions of the Netherlands are now at the mercy of the Hapsburgian politics. The Hapsburgian dynasty reduces the medieval privileges of dukes, counts and other vassals and they try to establish a huge centralized state. These attempts create a situation in which the Hapsburgs are bound to collide with the rich and powerful and the more or less autonomous regions of the Netherlands.|
• 1490 The Hanseatic League moves its overseas headquarters definitively from Bruges to Antwerp.
• 1492 The regions of Flanders, Artois, Brabant, Limburg, Namur, Luxembourg, Hainaut, Holland and Zeeland accept Philip the Fair as their sovereign Lord. Gelre (Gelderland), Friesland, Groningen, Oversticht (= Overijssel and Drenthe), Utrecht and Liege are still independent.
The discovery of North and South America stimulates the trade in the years to come. Goods which are imported from West Africa and South America give a huge economic stimulus to the towns in the Netherlands. Antwerp, the main town and port of Flanders, and several towns in the provinces of Holland and Zeeland profit greatly from the growing trade. The flourishing trade increases the influence of rich merchants both economically and politically. Prosperity, however, passes the rest of the population; they suffer under high inflation and the dwindling grain supply.
• 1780 Charles V (Charles of Hapsburg) is born in Ghent, Flanders. He is the eldest son of the Spanish princess Johanna and the Dutchman Philip the Beautiful. Johanna is heiress of the kingship in two states, Aragon and Castile, which we now call Spain. Charles‚ father, Maxmilian of Hapsburg, is sovereign over a complex territory defined in short as ‘the Netherlands’.
First opposition of Huldreich Zwingli to ecclesiastical abuse while he’s the people’s priest of the Grand Minster in Zurich (Zwingli was influenced by Erasmus’ humanism)
• 1522 Printed edition of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, based on Erasmus’ Latin text and not on the Vulgate, publ. in Amsterdam by the printer Doen Pieterszoon. At the same time the first editions of Luther’s translation of the New Testament were published.
First complete Dutch edition of Luther’s New Testament, printed in Antwerp by Adriaen van Berhen.
• 1526 The first Dutch Bible, written in Flemish, is published in Antwerp by Jacob van Liesvelt; it is based for the greater part on Luther’s translation. Some parts from the Old Testament, however, are translated directly from the original Hebrew text.
Union of Schmalkalden. In Germany, a union of six princes and fourteen cities in northern Germany is formed, the purpose being to defend the (Protestant) faith of the members.
• 1535 Anabaptists try to spread their beliefs to Amsterdam, but without success. It starts a period of cruel repression and persecution of the Anabaptists. Frisian clergyman Menno Simonsz organizes, in the years to come, a fraternity of Anabaptists in Friesland. These peaceful Anabaptists (Mennonites) are not to be confused with the revolutionary Anabaptists. The ideas of the Mennonites have many adherents amongst the people, in the lower classes as well as in the middle and upper classes. These Mennonites fundamentally reject such things as the use of weapons, the validity of all government offices, and the taking of any oaths.
Charles V abdicates, handing over the rule to his son Philip II, a more hard-hearted ruler who, from 1559, lives in Spain, far away from the Netherlands. His absence, his dogmatic Catholic politics, and the fact that he speaks neither French (needed to communicate with the higher nobility in the Netherlands) nor Dutch are some of the important causes of the Uprising in the Netherlands.
(Read about Philip II, from a Catholic point of view)
In Antwerp arises the first Calvinist church ‘under the cross’. (These were unofficial churches, the members of which had to meet in secret.).
• 1556 Start of a three year period of the plague in the Netherlands, along with bad harvests and great price rises especially of grain.
May 12: New ecclesiastical division of the Netherlands ordered by the Pope. Three archbishoprics are created: Cambray (for the Wallonian regions), Mechlin (Flanders and Brabant) and Utrecht for the Northern Netherlands. The frontiers of the dioceses coincide with those of the administrative regions. This way Philip II consolidates his grip on the Netherlands religiously and politically, but at the same time he has a problem with resistance of the local nobility and sitting clergy who realize that this will curtail their power and privileges. Founding of the
Theological University at Geneva (Calvinist). Within a few years, the first highly schooled clergymen spread over Southern Netherlands and we find them especially in the towns of Tournai, Valenciennes and Lille.
• 1560 Chanteries (singing of Protestant songs in the open) and preachings in the open fields; liberating of Calvinist prisoners with brute force. These all take place in several towns in the Southern Netherlands like Tournai and Valenciennes.
(Read about the Calvinist activity in the Flemish Westkwartier. Text by Dr. Alastair Duke, Southampton University).
War between Norway and Sweden (1563-1570). The Sont Strait between Sweden and Denmark – connecting the North Sea with the Baltic Sea- is closed for Baltic trade. This particularly blocks the import of grain, which leads to famine and even more economic and political instability and revolt.
• 1564 Willem van Oranje ‘the Silent’ publically speaks out against the repression of Philip II, his king. He’s firmly and clearly pleading for freedom of religion and conscience.
Calvinist elders and deacons organize sermons even north of the rivers Rhine, Waal and Meuse.
• 1567 The higher nobility in the Netherlands is but a group of about ten families. Lamoraal (Count of Egmond), Philip de Montmorency (Count of Hoorne), and William of Nassau (Prince of Orange) demand freedom of religion. If they don’t receive it, they will rise in revolt against the king.
Tournai and Valenciennes captured by the Spanish. More and more military confrontations in the Southern Netherlands, but governess Margaretha succeeds in moderating the conflicts. In a way, she manages to prevent escalation of the conflict. Relieved of his functions as Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, William of Orange flees from the countryside to Dillenburg, the castle of his family in the German countship of Nassau.
Philip II sends the Duke of Alva and an army of 10,000 Spanish soldiers and Italian mercenaries to the Netherlands, thereby replacing a disillusioned governess Margaretha. Alva immediately starts a period of terror and persecution which will last for 6 years. Thousands of rebels are tortured and killed.
• 1568 Officially the start of the 80 Years War. William of Orange, who now has officially taken the side of the revolters against Philip II of Spain, manages to raise some mercenary armies, financed out of his own pocket. One of his armies invades the Netherlands and wins a battle at Heiligerlee, in the province of Groningen. Other campaigns remain unsuccessful, so William returns to Dillenburg where he tries to begin a revolt in the Netherlands by sending out spies to maintain contact with other rebels and to keep him informed of the situation.
• 1572 Up until this year, and from 1576-1579, the main point of resistance is located in the Southern Netherlands. Then it changes to the Northern Netherlands when an army of Protestants who had fled and Geuzen (Sea-Beggars) (who live by privateering, but are legitimized by William of Orange) capture den Briel, a harbor south of Rotterdam. Many towns in Zeeland and Holland follow this example (voluntarily or forced) and associate themselves with the Uprising.
Representatives of twelve rebelling towns gather at the town of Dordrecht to attend the first assembly of the States of Holland. They decide to recall William of Orange as their Stadtholder and to promulgate religious liberty. William is reinstalled as a Stadtholder, thus maintaining the fiction that Philip still is the king. As a matter of fact, Holland and Zeeland now become the center of the Uprising, while a few provinces continue to support the king. Another group of provinces change their loyalty; one year they back the rebels, another year they make common cause with the king.
( Full text of the first assembly of the States of Holland, by Dr. Alastair Duke, Southampton University)
More Calvinists are now entering Northern Netherlands.
Massacre of St.Bartholomew in Paris. Huguenots murdered. Help from France and support from the Huguenots for the Dutch rebellion now is finally out of the question. This is a huge blow to William and the Netherlands.
Start of a period of severe floods, which will last almost 6 years. Especially Friesland suffers severe damages due to these floods.
• 1573 William of Orange publicly joins the Calvinists. This is a political act. In his heart William is a Lutheran and he dislikes the orthodoxy of the Calvinists, but he knows that they are the most reliable allies in his fight against Philip II. States of Holland prohibit the public exercise of the Catholic religion.
• 1576 Holland now accepts William of Orange as’ Head and Highest Authority’. Due to looting bodies of Spanish soldiers and mercenaries in Spanish service in the Southern Netherlands and violation of local privileges, the southern provinces decide to conclude a pact with the rebels in Holland and Zeeland. The pact is called the Pacification of Ghent. At the end of this year it looks like William finally manages to accomplish his goal: religious liberty in the ‘united’ 17 provinces. This is a short success that will only last until 1579.
• 1577Union of Brussels: all provinces agree to fight Philip II under the leadership of William of Orange.
January 23: Union of Utrecht (de Nadere Unie). Holland, Zeeland, Gelre, Utrecht and Groningen agree to unite. In the months to come, some Flemish and Brabant towns join the Union. They decide that the provinces will stay together forever as if they are one province. Each province, however, will maintain their own special rights and privileges, and settle religion as they see fit. But, nobody may be persecuted for the sake of their religion.
Half of the population of the town of Louvain in Southern Netherlands die as a result of the plague.
• 1580 Philip II offers 25,000 Golden Crowns reward plus elevation to the peerage to anyone who kills William of Orange.
Groningen (town and Ommelanden) leaves the Union and comes back under Spanish ruling due to treason of Rennenberg, Stadholder of Friesland and commander of Groningen. (Groningen will be part of the Union again in 1594 by Maurits of Nassau)
Philip II captures Portugal. As a result, many Portuguese Jews flee to Amsterdam.
• 1581 The States-General, beginning their residence at The Hague, refuse further obedience to the Spanish king in the ‘ Plakkaat van Verlathinge’ (Act of Abjuration). (second link to the full text)
William of Orange is murdered at the Prinsenhof in Delft by Balthazar Gerards, a religious fanatic from the France-Comte, a countship of Philip II. The murderer is arrested, tortured and decapitated at the Grote Markt in Delft. The 25,000 Crowns are given to the mother of the murderer.
• 1585 Brussels and Antwerp captured by Parma. The fall of the town of Antwerp, the richest stronghold of the Uprise in the Southern Netherlands, will contribute to the rupture between the Spanish Southern Netherlands and the 7 provinces of the Northern Netherlands. Almost 50,000 Calvinistic refugees – amongst them many artisans, scholars and wealthy merchants – flee to the Netherlands.This is an enormous influx for several towns in Holland and Zeeland, especially Amsterdam, Middelburg and Leiden.
Counter Reformation now starts in the Spanish Netherlands. People there, still Calvinist, decide to go to the Northern Netherlands.
Founding of the University of Franeker (in Friesland). Many Calvinists go there to study theology and become clergymen.
• 1586 Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1547-1619) becomes the most powerful political leader of the Northern Netherlands. Cooperation between Maurits of Orange and Oldenbarnevelt works fine in the beginning, but the latter fears the monarchal character traits of Maurits, and it will end dramatically in the near future. Oldenbarnevelt is the undisputed political leader of the Northern Netherland. Maurits is the unchallenged military strategist.
First written Journals appear in the Netherlands.Trade connections between important towns like Hamburg, Venice, Antwerp and Amsterdam ask for regular information. Merchant-letters and the latest news are bundled and copied by groups clerks in so-called ‘Correspondence-offices’.
• 1602 Founding of the ‘Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie’‚ (VOC), or Dutch East India Company, which is a limited liability company. Driving force behind this is Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. The company gets a monopoly on trade and shipping east of the Cape of Good Hope (at the southern tip of Africa) and for the territories which might be reached by sailing through the Straits of Magellan (southern tip of South America). In a way, the VOC can be considered as a ‘State within a State’. The VOC has such rights as to maintain a military force, to conclude treaties, to appoint governors and judges, and to build fortresses.
• 1608 Drainage, reclamation of the Beemster-lake in the province of Noord-Holland by Jan Adriaensz. Leeghwater• 1609 First discount bank opens in Amsterdam, which makes the exchange of foreign coins more easy and reliable. A new monetary standard is created. These services modernize international finance and make Amsterdam the financial center of Europe.
Founding of a trading post at Firando (Hirado, at the isle of Hirado, Japan), for trade with Japan.
Dutch explore the coast of North America. Henry Hudson sails into the present Hudson River up to what soon becomes known as Beverwyck, then later is renamed Albany.
Twelve Year Truce with Spain, after peace negotiations which start in 1608. Zeeland, Amsterdam, many clergymen and refugees, and Maurits of Orange are against a truce, while Oldenbarnevelt and many merchants are in favor of it.
War of Succession in Kleef, Gulik and the duchy of Berg (in the German Empire) which will last until 1614. Maurits of Orange intervenes militarily because the Northern Netherlands don’t want a Catholic neighbor at the eastern border. Maurits turns over Gulik to the two Protestant pretenders, the electors of Brandenburg and Neuborg. Spinola takes Wezel for the elector of Neuborg (now Catholic), who is married to a Hapsburg princess. At the Treaty of Xanten, it is decided that Gulik and Berg will come to Neuborg, and Kleef will go to Brandenburg.
• 1610 Severe floods ravage the Frisian and Holland coast.
A serious dispute about predestination and the Church-State relation starts between Arminius (Remonstrants) and Gomarus (Counter-Remonstrants). It’s going to be a severe conflict in the Netherlands,causin serious political divisions.
• 1611 The Koopmansbeurs (Produce-Exchange) comes into use in Amsterdam. From that moment on, the merchants have a centrally located building where they can do their trade.
These Waardgelders now will have to follow the orders of the States of Holland and the local town-magistrates. Maurits of Orange is invited to help in the maintaining of this resolution, but he refuses. The ‘Scherpe Resolutie’ also rejects a national synod as a tool to settle the religious matter. Maurits of Orange leaves nothing untried. With or without force, and wherever he can, he replaces Remonstrants in high positions with Counter-Remonstrants. States-General decides to call a national synod which has to settle the controversial issues. Holland, Utrecht and Overijssel vote against the idea.
Break out of the 30 Year War in the German Empire. It is a war between the emperor and several Protestant electorates.
• 1618 The first printed Dutch Paper/Journal appears:“Die Courante uyt Italien, duytschlant & c”. (Probably published in Amsterdam, edited by Caspar van Hilt(er)en from Amsterdam and printed by Joris Veseler) This original first Dutch Journal is now to be seen in the Royal Library at Stockholm. In 1619 Broer Jansz starts publishing the second Dutch Journal. (Mind that, throughout the 16th century, thousands of printed pamflets -called “Nieuwe Tydinghen’- had appeared, though not on a regulare basis). Amsterdam soon becomes the press-centre of the world.
• 1619 The National Synod throws out the Remonstrant delegation. The Synod draws up texts for a rigid orthodox Calvinist confession of faith, which will apply to all provinces. The Synod wants a completely new Dutch Bible translation from the original Hebrew and Greek text. This ‘Statenbijbel’ (= Dutch authorized version of the Bible) will be ready in 1637. The impact of this translation on Dutch culture, Dutch Protestantism and the Dutch language will be vast.
On May 12, Oldenbarnevelt is sentenced to death by the court. He is charged with high treason and the next morning he is decapitated. About 200 Remonstrant clergymen are dismissed. About 80 of them go into exile where they found the ‘Remonstrantse Broederschap’ (= Fraternity of Remonstrants). The Catholic religion is now really beginning to lose followers in the Northern Netherlands, especially in the areas where the usual Catholic spiritual care is dropping out: Zeeland, Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe and parts of Gelderland and Overijssel. The majority of people in Twenthe, West-Friesland, Northern-Brabant and Limburg remain Catholic in spite of the repression.
Jan Pietersz. Coen (governor of the V.O.C, the East-Indies Company) murders all of the inhabitants of the Banda Islands (Indonesia) in order to more easily control the cultivation of mace and nutmeg.
• 1620 Extreme rise of grain prices
Founding of the Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie (G.W.C.), aka Westindische Compagnie (W.I.C), for trade on the coasts and countries of America and Africa between the Tropic of Cancer, in the northern hemisphere, southward to Cape Horn in America and the Cape of Good Hope in Africa. Second only to privateering, slave and sugar trading are the main sources of income.
Founding of the town of Batavia. At the ruins of Jacarta (Java) cruel Jan Pietersz. Coen is building this new town, to be the centre of the Dutch Colonial East Indies
Winterking Frederic of the Palatinate flees to The Hague, to the house of Oldenbarnevelt’s son-in-law.
• 1623 V.O.C. soldiers brutally murder the English on the Moluccan Island of Ambon. Diplomatic difficulties with England.
The Dutch occupy Formosa as a base for their trade with China. San Salvador (Bahia) on the Brazil coast is taken by a fleet under Piet Hein and Jacob Willekens.
• 1625 Dutch ships under Willem de Soete van Laecke Haulthain join the siege of the Huguenot port of La Rochelle to fight their brothers-in-religion. At the same time, Dutch civilians are collecting money for the French Protestants who are very popular amongst the common people of the Northern Netherlands.
Maurits of Orange dies April 23. His half-brother Frederik Hendrik succeeds him as Stadtholder in 5 of the 7 provinces. Frederik Hendrik marries Amalia van Solms, a German countess and court-lady of the ‘Winterking’ Frederic, king of the Palatinate. He is very talented in both politics and military tactics and is the first Stadtholder who really starts to live like a king. Together with his nephew Ernst Casimir, Stadtholder of Groningen and Friesland, Frederik Hendrik starts a series of campaigns in which they add the northern part of Northern-Brabant and parts of Limburg and Zeeuws-Vlaanderen to the Northern Netherlands. These territories are called ‘Generaliteitslanden’ (= territory of the States-General).
Wormer (a lake north of Zaandam) is being drained by Leeghwater; the other lakes and pools like the Purmer and the Schermer will soon follow. The needed money comes from the rich merchants who are looking for speculative investments. Leeghwater, by the way, also drained wetlands in southern France, Holstein in northern Germany and Lorraine.
Oldenzaal is taken from the Spanish by Ernst Casimir. Frederik Hendrik takes Groenlo in Gelderland.
• 1628 Commander Piet Hein, of a large privateering fleet, conquers the Spanish silver fleet in the Bay of Matanzas. Ten percent of the booty (177,000 Dutch pounds of silver) go to Frederik Hendrik. Piet Hein receives about 7000 Dutch guilders. He dies the year after, in a fight against his Dunkirk colleagues.
(See some good17th century detailed examples of Dutch fortifications)
• 1633 The Tulip bulb mania, or Tulipomania is becoming fanaticism. It lasts for several years until a decree is issued April 27, 1637, declaring that the purchase and sale of tulip bulbs was to be conducted in the same way as other business. By the time the speculation ceases, many people are ruined.
[Note: The tulip originally came from Mongolia and Persia -where cultivation was started over a thousand years earlier- to Turkey in the 16th century. At the Vienna Botanical Garden, in the second half of the 16th century, the scholar Clusius (French Flanders 1526-1609) introduced the tulip to Europe. In 1594, the tulip arrived in the Netherlands when Clusius was laying out a botanical garden at Leiden University. Soon this beautiful flower, in it‚s many variations, was to be found in the gardens of the rich. It wasn’t long before almost everyone wanted tulips in their own gardens. The tulip became an object of great desire, especially the particularly attractive ones. However, because of a limited knowledge of cross-fertilization and a complete lack of knowledge of viruses, people were unaware that the desireable characteristics would be not retained in future generations of the tulips.
The Dutch – normally of a conservative nature – got crazy, smelling big profits. While the bulbs still rested in the soil, they were sold on paper, and these papers went from hand to hand, rising in value at each step. People abandoned jobs, businesses, wives, homes and lovers to become tulip growers in order to reap their share of the profits. And the profits were extremely high. For a single bulb of the variety Vice-Roi, one Dutchman paid thirty-six bushels of wheat, seventy-two of rice, four oxen, twelve sheep, eight pigs, two barrels of wine and four of beer, two tons of butter, a thousands pounds of cheese, a bed, clothes, and a silver cup! Altogether, this added up to a total value of 2,780 Dutch florins. Another man bartered twelve acres of land, while still another gave a new carriage and twelve horses.
After April 1637, the craze ceased and their botanical prizes returned to their original value of about a few stuivers a pound This brought many families to poverty’s door, rich and poor alike.
• 1634 The Dutch on the Antilles. On July 29, 225 Dutch soldiers of the W.I.C. land on the island of Curacao, a bit north of Venezuela. This isle will become a naval base for the W.I.C. and soon becomes their slave depot. After Curacao, the Dutch take the isles of Aruba and Bonaire in 1634 and 1636, respectively.
• 1635 ‘Treaty of Partition’‚ between Northern Netherland and France. The partition pertains to the Southern Netherlands. France and the Northern Netherlands each want to take half of these Spanish provinces. The division will be more or less along linguistic lines. Both France and the Northern Netherlands have a silent hope that the population of the Southern Netherlands will agree, being happy to rid themselves of the Spanish. The plan is not successful, although from then on one could say that the Eighty Years War was no longer a war of independence of the Northern Netherlands, nor a battle between the Northern Netherlands and the Southern Netherlands. The war now is a part of a huge anti-Hapsburg campaign, led by France. In reality, it means that the Southern Netherlands now becomes the battleground for the Northern Netherlands and France; it is not strange, therefore, that neither the French nor Frederik Hendrik are very popular in the Southern Netherlands.
Statenbijbel (Dutch Authorized Version of the Bible) ready
• 1636 Founding of the Utrecht University. Its theological faculty plays an important role because there is a great demand for Calvinist clergymen.
Prince Willem, son of Frederik Hendrik, marries Mary Stuart, daughter of King Charles I of England. From this moment on, the politics of the princes of Orange, the Stadtholders, and the English are bound together by common interests (for a while).
• 1644 Frederik Hendrik takes Sas van Ghent, a town in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. A year later he captures Hulst, a town in the same region.
The Southern Netherlands remains in Spanish hands and it is called ‘the Spanish Netherlands’. These territories don’t benefit from the Peace of Muenster. It will remain the battlefield of Europe, suffering severe economic losses in the ages to come.