Three maritime wars (1652–54; 1665–67; 1672–74) fought between the United Provinces and Britain on grounds of commercial and naval rivalry. The Dutch navy was commanded by able admirals but the prevailing westerly winds gave the English sailors a significant advantage.
The first war began when the Dutch carrying‐trade was undermined by the English Navigation Acts of 1651, and the Dutch refused to salute the English flag in the English Channel. Maarten Tromp defeated Blake off Dungeness in December 1652, but convoying Dutch merchant ships through the Channel proved difficult and the Dutch chief minister, Johan de Witt, settled for reasonable peace terms from Cromwell in 1654. The Dutch recognized English sovereignty in the English Channel, gave compensation for the massacre at Amboina, and promised not to assist the exiled Charles II. An encounter off the African coast began the second war, followed by the fall of New Amsterdam (renamed New York) to the English, who also defeated the Dutch off Lowestoft in June 1665. However in 1666 Charles II was in financial difficulties, Cornelius Tromp and Michiel de Ruyter won the Four Days War, and Ruyter made his celebrated raid on the English dockyards at Chatham. Peace was made at Breda in 1667. The Navigation Acts were modified in favour of the Dutch and territories gained during the war were retained, the Dutch keeping Surinam and the British, Delaware and New England. In 1672 Charles II, dependent on French subsidies, supported Louis XIV against the Dutch. The Dutch admirals had the advantage and the Treaty of Westminster signed in 1674 renewed the terms of Breda.
Subjects: World History.