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The Dutch Republic

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The Dutch Republic The Dutch Republic consisted of 7 provinces. During the golden age of the republic, mostly within the 17th century, these provinces represented a unified force, powerful in trade, war, and economics. Many of the Dutch ideas developed then helped to determine the view of the modern world. The United Provinces, as the republic was also called, also became a model for modern constitutional governments. The Peace of Utrecht in 1713, however, marked the beginning of a steady decline for the Dutch republic. After this, many factors in Europe began to challenge the prosperity, unity, and security of the Dutch Republic. In the 16th century, the Dutch Republic represented one of the most prosperous and economically stable states in Europe. Early Dutch trade rested in the fishing industry. From their knowledge of the sea and shipbuilding, the Dutch built an industry on shipping. This successful industry allowed the Dutch to be able to buy large quantities of resources and products from surrounding countries. They then sold these huge purchases to individual buyers and ended up with a successful trade. The people of the United Provinces enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in Europe. ...read more.


In the years from the beginning of the Golden Age of the Dutch Republic to the 1650's, the United Provinces were a powerful force in European trade. But by the 1650's, the decline had begun and the Dutch Republic had begun to lose trade and profits. Many factors effected the internal unity of the Dutch Republic, making it an easy target for other nations. Any factor that threatened the prosperity or security of the republic also affected the unity, because a nation that is economically unstable and in danger of attacks by stronger powers is harder for a ruler to hold together. The frequent wars against the Dutch Republic made national unity difficult. During times of war, the republic became "shattered and divided" (refer to document 4). All of the provinces depended on the most prosperous province of Holland during these times. If one province is expected to bear the weight of a nation, and if that one province falls, the entire nation falls apart. This type of dependence puts a nation's unity in danger. The need for a single military commander to lead the troops of the provinces and to protect the Dutch Republic was recognized in the 1670s (refer to document 9). However, there was no trust among the provinces. ...read more.


During this period, England still continued it's own war on the Dutch Republic. From 1652 to 1654, the English captured over 2000 Dutch ships (refer to document 3). The Dutch captured far less, probably only 500 of the English ships. One problem was that because of the great national debt, there was no one to fund the armies to fight against these forces (refer to document 10), though soldiers were greatly needed. Many of the soldiers who were recruited weren't well armed or prepared for the fight and most were killed in battle (refer to document 14). The distrust that caused indecision over whom to elect as a military leader hindered the Dutch Republic security because their armies had no leadership and represented a disjointed and disorderly military that was unable to defend itself or it's country. In conclusion, many factors contributed to the decline of the Dutch Republic, once the wealthiest nation in Europe by threatening it's unity, prosperity, and security. Competition for trade and the continual threat of war weakened the Dutch economy, while lack of internal unity among the six provinces reduced their ability to defend themselves either militarily or economically. These factors contributed to the vulnerability of the Dutch to external threat and led to their decline as great European power. ...read more.

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