- One of the provinces that, in the 1580s, constituted the Republic of the Seven United Provinces in the Revolt against their sovereign, the Spanish king Philip II. Holland came into being dur ing the Middle Ages as part of the German empire, ruled by counts who gradually gained more independence from the central authority. Beginning in 1428, the Burgundian dukes created some cohesion between parts of the “Low Countries”; their Habsburg successors accomplished the unity of the 17 counties and duchies into a loose federation in the 1540s. After the Dutch Republic had gained inde pendence, the province of Holland remained the richest, most popu lated, and most urbanized segment. Most of the power was concen trated in the town of Amsterdam (the seat of several commercial companies, such as the East India, Muscovy, Levant, and Nordic companies) and The Hague where the States of Holland and the States General met.After the Batavian Revolution and the proclamation of the con stitution in a united national state in 1798, Holland’s influence dras tically diminished. In 1840, the old province was divided into two new provinces, Northern Holland (capital Haarlem; population about 2,596,000) and Southern Holland (capital The Hague; popula tion 3,453,000). Northern Holland also reclaimed land in the last cen turies, particularly through the impoldering of the Haarlemmermeer (1849–1852) and the Wieringermeer (1934). Both provinces have many old towns, seaside resorts, and beaches. Historical parts of Northern Holland include Kennemerland (the area between Haarlem and Alkmaar), West-Frisia (the region around Enkhuizen and Hoorn), the Zaanstreek (around Zaandam), and Waterland (around Monnickendam). The harbor of Rotterdam, in Southern Holland, is tremendously industrialized. The region below consists of old isles, which have become connected to each other as part of the Delta Plan.See also Randstad.
Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. EdwART. 2012.
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