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The Seventeenth-Century Anglo-Dutch Wars: Economic or Political Issues?
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The Seventeenth-Century Anglo-Dutch Wars: Economic or Political Issues?

(S. Groenveld) The Low Countries - 1995, № 3, pp. 172-189

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In 1648 the Dutch Republic signed the Peace of Munster with Spain. Within thirty years of the signing of the Treaty, the United Provinces had fought three wars with England: from 1652 to 1654, between 1665 and 1667 and between 1672 and 1674. In general historical surveys the Anglo-Dutch wars have traditionally been characterised as trade wars or sea wars — in other words as economic conflicts. An analysis of the causes leading up to the First Anglo-Dutch War shows with sharp clarity that this conflict cannot simply be labelled a trade war, nor yet a political conflict. The term ‘sea war' says little in this context, because it can at best be applied to the area where the actual battles took place and says nothing about the causes leading up to the conflict. The First Anglo-Dutch War was a multi-faceted conflict, which does not lend itself to a monolithic explanation. In fact, this applies equally to the two subsequent wars as well; further research will be needed, however, in order to ascertain whether it is correct to describe the second war primarily as a trade war and the third as a mainly political conflict.

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