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Born of a long struggle against Hapsburg Spain, the Dutch Republic began its independent life as the world's premier commercial nation. Wielding a vast colonial empire and maintaining maritime connections with virtually the entire world, the seven United Provinces also manifested themselves as a political power in the seventeenth century. After a decline—mostly relative rather than Eney country girls in Netherlands Antilles the last quarter of the century, the country gradually reduced its participation in the international political arena.
This disengagement was accentuated by the decision to opt for neutrality in the Seven Years' War, a measure that paid dividends in international commerce without undermining the longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship with Great Britain. Dutch involvement in the American War of Independence effectively ended the comfortable position into which the republic had maneuvered itself. Building on close contacts with American colleagues that had developed in decades, Dutch merchants began sending war material to ports and out-of-the-way anchorages in North America as early as In August of that year, an Amsterdam firm shipped gunpowder to the revolutionaries, and two months later three American ships were reportedly moored in Amsterdam harbor, their holds filled with gunpowder, cannonballs, and firearms.
Such shipments provoked English enmity and led the Dutch Estates General in turn to placate their neighbors by formally forbidding conments of materials of war from both metropolitan Dutch ports and the Dutch Caribbean islands. London's wrath, however, grew stronger as the s advanced, in particular following the outbreak of the Anglo-French war in the summer ofa few months after King Louis XVI had recognized the American rebels. What disturbed London was that the Dutch persevered in their neutrality.
Fearing that Dutch merchants would use their neutrality to ship naval stores from the Baltic to France, the British government put pressure on the Dutch Estates General to voluntarily give up the right to transport naval storeseven though that right had been explicitly recognized by an Anglo-Dutch treaty. When it did not receive a satisfactory reply, Britain responded to what it perceived as Dutch aid to the French enemy by launching attacks on Dutch shipping.
At this juncture, Britain started complaining about alleged subversive transactions organized from Dutch islands in the Caribbean. Although the Dutch presence in the Americas in the eighteenth century bore little resemblance to the short-lived empire encompassing New Netherland and northern Brazil that flourished a century earlier, the Dutch colonies mirrored the mother country in that they were small but commercially ificant. Cash crop production did not count for much in the insular Dutch Caribbean, but trade all the more. Two colonies stood out in activities that were more often than not illegal: St.
Eustatius's location was the better of the two. This tiny Caribbean island twenty-one square kilometers, or one-quarter the size of Manhattannicknamed the "Golden Rock," benefited from official Dutch neutrality in the fight between the thirteen colonies and their mother country, absorbing cash crops from Britain's mainland and island possessions, and sending large amounts of military stores to the North American rebels.
At least four thousand barrels of gunpowder left St. Eustatius in the first half of alone, and by the end of the year, daily shipments of Dutch and French gunpowder arrived in North America from St. Eustatius's Orange Bay. Many more were to follow in the years ahead. Adding insult to injury, the Dutch saluted the Grand Union flag in Novemberwhen the brigantine Andrew Doria arrived in Orange Bay, which in British eyes was tantamount to recognizing the rebel states's independence.
Even before that incident became a bone of contention, the British government had taken measures to stop Dutch supplies to St. In two warships were sent to cruise off the Dutch island of Texel, the home port from which dozens of ships Eney country girls in Netherlands Antilles for the Golden Rock every year.
Meanwhile St. Eustatius's governor, Johannes de Graaff, steadfastly denied any wrongdoing on the part of the colonists, producing falsified documents showing that ships had not been fitted out on the island but in Boston or Philadelphia, or that the ammunition seized by British privateers was not coned to the rebels. In reality, de Graaff did not deny entry to any American vessel.
The scale of supplies military stores and consumables from St. Eustatius to the rebels is suggested by the punitive expedition carried out by Britain in the summer of Fifty-four ships were seized on the outward or return voyage between the Netherlands and St. In the fall ofthe British government exploited a document that fell in its lap, seemingly exposing the full extent of Dutch metropolitan collaboration with the North Americans.
Although the copy of the treaty ed between the American diplomat Henry Laurens —the first United States envoy to the United Provinces, a Dutch banker, and one of Amsterdam's burgomasters—was merely a draft, England raised a hue and cry over Amsterdam's apparent collaboration with the colonies. Another complaint concerned the refusal of the Estates of Holland and the Dutch Estates General to turn over to Britain John Paul Joneswho had arrived in the Netherlands in lateshortly after defeating a British naval force.
War between the two neighbors now became a distinct possibility, a war that would hit two birds with one stone, so the British reasoning went.
Joseph Yorke, the British ambassador to The Hague, convinced his superiors in London that war would restore to power the House of Orange, as it had on occasions. Ten days later Britain declared war. The war, to which the Dutch at the time referred as the American war, was an entirely maritime affair. It went off miserably for the Dutch. In a show of strength, British cruisers and privateers seized scores of Dutch ships in European waters and the Indian Oceanparalyzing Dutch overseas trade. Several fortified Dutch ports in India and Ceylon, three Dutch colonies in Guiana, and almost all Dutch forts and lodges in West Africa also fell into British hands, and scores of Dutch East Indiamen Eney country girls in Netherlands Antilles seized, but nowhere was British reprisal so ruthless and detrimental as in St.
After the island surrendered to a British naval force led by Admiral George Rodney in Februarythe invaders settled old scores by confiscating cash, ships, and other property. Rodney's timing was bad. It has been speculated that the expedition to St. Eustatius played into the hands of the American Revolution by allowing the French fleet under squadron commander comte de Grasse to sail to Virginia. That fleet would soon contribute to the victory at Yorktown. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. Washington, D. Goslinga, Cornelis Ch. The Dutch in the Caribbean and in the Guianas — Assen, Netherlands, and Dover, N.
Klooster, Wim. Illicit Riches: Dutch Trade in the Caribbean, — Nordholt, Jan Willem Schulte. The Dutch Republic and American Independence. Scott, H. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. June 16, Retrieved June 16, from Encyclopedia.
Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Dutch Participation in the American Revolution gale. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. More From encyclopedia. Merli and Robert H. Ferrell Blockade, historically speaking, has been a maritime measure, to restrict entrance to a harbor or its environs. Revolution: Naval War.
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