Netherlands, Kingdom of the

   Established in 1814 through a union of Holland, Belgium, and Luxemburg, the Kingdom of Netherlands was the successor state of the United Netherlands or Dutch Republic (1581–1795). During the seventeenth century, the Dutch Republic dominated world trade and built a large overseas empire. It came into conflict with an emerging rival, England, in the Anglo-Dutch Wars of 1652–1654 and 1665–1667, but thereafter was directly menaced by France under Louis XIV. In 1795, the republic was conquered by Revolutionary France and was annexed outright by Napoleonic France in 1810. The Congress of Vienna then reestablished Dutch independence in 1814 in the wake of Napoleon’s overthrow. The kingdom nonetheless had ethnic and religious tensions that were aggravated by the economic division of the country between an agrarian Holland and industrial Belgium. Belgium seceded in 1830, and its independence was recognized in 1839 both by the Netherlands and by the Great Powers in the Treaty of London. The Duchy of Luxemburg then became independent in 1890.
   During the nineteenth century, therefore, Netherlands was a colonial power in decline. As a result of the Napoleonic Wars, it lost overseas territories to Britain and never wholly recovered them. Its commercial health was in large part dependent on the resources of the Dutch East Indies, the exploitation of which were partly the cause of revolts in Java starting in the 1820s and lasting until the 1890s.
    Israel, Jonathan. The Dutch Republic. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995;
    Schama, Simon. Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands, 1780–1813. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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