Defeat of the Dutch Fleet

On 23 January 1795, William of Orange's fleet, stuck in frozen waters of the Zuiderzee, was attacked by the French cavalry.

Conquest of the frozen Dutch war fleet in Den Helder, 1795, Pauquet, after Robineau, 1795 - 1796. Rijksmuseum.

In the winter of 1795 the French Revolutionary Wars were still raging and it was a dangerous time for the stadtholder of the Dutch republic, William, Prince of Orange, who had reason to fear both the French and his own people. His had been a long minority and a series of regents ruling in his name had ushered in an era of widespread corruption. Not surprisingly, he was deeply unpopular, but he took some comfort from the nature of his land. Low-lying and crisscrossed with canals and dykes, it was difficult for the French to invade.

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