Challenges the Dutch faced were due to a series of European wars, internal disunity and conflict, and a loss of trade dominance and economic prosperity.
Threatened by the Dutch trading monopolies, France and England went to war with the Dutch and won. In all the Anglo-Dutch wars, the English defeated the Dutch and according to the “Estimated Losses to Merchant Shipping in Three Anglo – Dutch Wars 1652-1574”, seized 2000-2700 ships, compared to the Dutch, who captured 500 ships.
The Anglo-Dutch wars damaged the Dutch trade. According to “the Resolution of the Amsterdam City Council, 1671” the French and Other European kings’ need to “take over part of it for themselves” increased, the urge for war in order to break the dutch monopoly and open the Baltic and Atlantic for themselves threatening the security of the dutch. Konrad Van Beuningen, Dutch ambassador to England, wrote in a letter to the government of the Dutch Republic accurately reflecting the concerns and reality as seen by the Dutch governers during the war.
As the Embassador he would have had meetings with the government officials of England throughout theses wars giving him knowledge about the intentions of the English. In his letter he warned the dutch government about the Englishes’ intention to continuing the wars to weaken the dutch and overwhelm and/or destroy their lands. POV “The treaty of Dover 1670” supports this with the layed out plan of attack for the English and French for the Anglo – Dutch war. and reflected the actions and plans of the kings to weaken the dutch posing a threat to their security.
Internal disunity in the Dutch Republic between the 7 provinces were due to the power structure. Most of the provinces exception Holland were poor and weak individually as supported by Sir George Downing the English Embassador to the Republic who would have worked close with the other government officials of all the provinces. The gap in wealth affected the nations ability to function smoothly, and cause the other provinces to not be able to sustain themselves. This situation became a greater issue when the wars began and money became the biggest issue. Some provinces were forced to pay more than others.
A Political pamphlet published in Amsterdam, 1683 reflected the thoughts of all the weallthy citizens of Amsterdam and planted seeds of discontent in their minds. The fact that the Dutch Republic wasn’t a nation and within each province there was conflict over taxation, complicated efforts for unity and attempts to gather funds. Many merchants belived that, due to their economic importance, it was their right to have low taxes, and their trade is so important that they could demand peace and protection.
This disunity not only led to an inability to fund the war, but also an inability to protect themselves. This is best supported by The Dutch Republic, government report, 1674. This document is a official government one and therefore a trust worthy source. The money issues led to the trust issues which led to the internal disunity. All these things pointed to the internal conflict which lent a hand in fueling the disunity.
The Dutch economic decline hurt the nation, and its financial prosperity.the main focus of the Dutch economy was primarily trade, through various routes in which they enjoyed trade dominance on the Baltic Sea trade. Due to the constant wars and internal turmoil their Baltic Sea Trade displayed in Doc 2, the Dutch lost 50% of trade rights in the Baltic This damaged their economy, as it was based primarily on trade.
Also, as seen in Doc 1, they encountered conflict with England over many trade rights in the Anglo-Dutch wars. Previously, the Dutch had superior shipbuilding technologies, but as the century turned to a close, other nations joined the ship building trade, leading to competitive shipbuilding and less of a monopoly on trade routes for the Dutch. Eventually, all major European nations came into the running for overseas trade.
Soon, the Dutch East Indies company’s profits “turned to losses” due to the “commercial competition from the English, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Muslims in Asia.” (Doc 13) Being written by a colonial administrator to the Dutch East India Company, this report is honest in the spirit of improving the company. Eventually, due to this economic competition in overseas trade, and loss of monopolies in Baltic and Atlantic trade, the Dutch economy declined, as the debt increased from 30,000,000 to 148,000,000 from 1688 to 1713. (Doc 2) This illustrates the economic crisis evident in the republic at the time.
At one time, the Dutch Republic was a powerful, economically stable nation. However, there were flaws in the republic, as seen by the internal divisions and competition between the provinces.