Dutch statesman, an opponent of William II of Orange. He was the effective leader of the United Provinces during the minority of William III, dominating the other provinces by his political skill and his knowledge of foreign affairs. The republican party sought to limit the powers of the Orange family and in 1654 members were excluded from state offices. In 1668 he signed the defensive Triple Alliance with England and Sweden to thwart Louis XIV's designs on The Netherlands. When Louis invaded in 1672 de Witt was caught unprepared and William proved himself an able commander of the Dutch forces. De Witt's power was undermined and he and his brother Cornelius, a naval officer, were killed by a mob in 1672.
Subjects: World History.