Competing Cousins - Anglo-Dutch Trade Rivalry
Jonathan Israel charts the progress from commercial competition to open war and finally 'snarling alliance' of two assertive naval powers.
The three bitter, hard-fought Anglo-Dutch Wars of the seventeenth century (1652-54; 1665-67; and 1672-74) constitute one of the very few major conflicts in Britain's history which can be ascribed in the main to commercial rivalry. Of course, dynastic, religious and other factors, sometimes downright xenophobia, played a sporadic part in shaping events. But, in essence, this vast seaborne conflict, fought out right around the globe, was about shipping and trade. The claim that the Anglo-Dutch wars of the seventeenth century were the outcome of 'commercial rivalry' is no doubt an old-fashioned commonplace of historical studies. But not all well-worn views are wrong.