Franco-Dutch War: Wikis

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Franco-Dutch War
Date 1672-1678
Location The Netherlands, England, the Spanish Netherlands, Alsace, Rhineland, Brandenburg, Sicily, France, North America, West Indies
Result Treaty of Nijmegen, Treaty of Westminster
Belligerents
France France
England England
 Sweden
Stadtwappen der kreisfreien Stadt Münster.svg Bishopric of Münster
Teutonic Knights Arms.svg Archbishopric of Cologne
 Dutch Republic
 Holy Roman Empire
 Spain
Wappen Mark Brandenburg.png Brandenburg
Commanders
France Louis XIV
France Vicomte de Turenne
France Prince de Condé
Dutch Republic Prince of Orange
Wappen Mark Brandenburg.png Elector of Brandenburg
Holy Roman Empire Count Montecuccoli
Dutch Republic Michiel de Ruyter

The Franco-Dutch War, often called simply the Dutch War (French: La Guerre de Hollande) (1672–1678) was a war fought by the Kingdom of France, the Swedish Empire, the Bishopric of Münster, the Archbishopric of Cologne and the Kingdom of England against the Dutch Republic, which was later joined by Holy Roman Emperor, Brandenburg and Spain to form a quadruple alliance. The war ended with the Treaty of Nijmegen of 1678, which granted France control of the Franche-Comté and some cities in Flanders and Hainaut (all formerly controlled by Spain).

At the outset of the war, France led a coalition that included Münster and England against the Dutch. Louis XIV had been angered by the refusal of the Dutch, a former French ally, to cooperate in the destruction and division of the Spanish Netherlands in the War of Devolution which he had fought against Spain a few years previously.

As the Dutch army had been neglected since the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, when the independence of the Dutch Republic was universally recognised, the French had no trouble after unexpectedly bypassing the fortress of Maastricht to march into the heart of the Republic, taking Utrecht. In 1672 the leading Dutch politician Johan de Witt was lynched by an angry mob, following rumors (never substantiated) that he and his brother Cornelis were planning the assassination of William of Nassau (The later William III), and William was acclaimed stadtholder. As the French had promised the major cities of Holland to the English they were in no hurry to capture them, but tried to extort sixteen million guilders from the Dutch in exchange for a separate peace. This outrageous demand and other vindictive conditions posed by the French stiffened Dutch resistance and the negotiations gave the Republic time to flood the countryside by deliberate inundations (Dutch Water Line), blocking any further French advance. The bishop of Münster laid siege to Groningen but failed. An attempt was made to invade the Republic by sea, but this was thwarted by Admiral Michiel de Ruyter in four strategic victories against the combined Anglo-French fleet (these events are usually called the Third Anglo-Dutch War). England then abandoned the war in 1674.

Already, allies had joined the Dutch cause; the Elector of Brandenburg, the Emperor, and Charles II of Spain. Louis, despite the successful Siege of Maastricht in 1673, was forced to abandon his plans of conquering the Dutch and revert to a slow, cautious war of attrition around the French frontiers.

Jurriaen Aernoutsz, a navy captain from Curaçao, captured two small forts in the French colony of Acadia in 1674. Although the Dutch never fully gained control of the territory, they continued to claim sovereignty over Acadia on paper for the duration of the war, even appointing Cornelius Van Steenwyk as its nominal governor. In actual practice, however, the territory remained under French control. By the time of the Treaty of Nijmegen, however, the Dutch claim to Acadia was simply abandoned. During their war against England, the Dutch also occupied New York City, which had formerly been the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, but returned it to the English when the English left the war.

In 1676, the French navy finally destroyed a Dutch fleet near Palermo and temporarily achieved naval supremacy in the Mediterranean. De Ruyter had already been killed during the inconclusive battle of Augusta against a French fleet.

By 1678, Louis had managed to break apart his opponents' coalition, and France gained considerable territories under the terms of the Treaty of Nijmegen. Most notably, the French acquired the Franche-Comté and various territories in the Southern Netherlands from the Spanish. Nevertheless, the Dutch had thwarted the ambitions of two of the major royal dynasties of the time: the Stuarts and the Bourbons.

The war marked the beginning of an unending rivalry between the two most powerful men in Europe. William III (who would later also seize the throne of England, see Glorious Revolution) and Louis XIV. They, along with their respective allies, would be pitted against each other in a series of wars in the years that followed.

Chronological list of key events

See also

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