Republic of the Seven United Provinces

   During the Dutch Revolt, the northern and southern parts of the Netherlands split: The latter remained in Spanish possession, whereas the former declared its independence in 1581 (after the Union ofUtrechtjoined seven provincesin 1579). The war with Spain finally ended in 1648, within the framework of the Peace of Westphalia (at Munster), which also concluded the Thirty Years’War in Germany. The States Gen eralwas responsible for foreign policy, in the formulation of which the grand pensionary of the rich and powerful province of Holland played a crucial role. The stadtholders also gained political influence through their positions as military leaders. During the first half of the 17th century, the Republic conquered strongholds in Asia, Africa, and America to the detriment of the Spanish and Portuguese occupants. The merchants of Amsterdam held the key to a global network until they were outmaneuvered by their rivals in England and France. After the death of the stadtholder, and king of England, William III of Orange in 1702, the Republic’s role in international politics was only marginal. The Batavian Revolutionreplaced the old federal constitu tion of 1579 with a modern unitary constitution in 1798.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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