That time the Dutch conquered Britain (ja, we’re serious)

You bear in mind studying concerning the Wonderful Revolution in historical past class proper? Us neither. Don’t fear, it’s not a blind spot in your schooling — however it’s how the Dutch seek advice from William of Orange’s ascension to the English throne. 

They are saying that historical past is written by the victors, however it’s a bit arduous to inform precisely who the victors have been on this sequence of occasions. The Dutch paint the victor as William of Orange who conquered England, Eire, and Scotland when he and Mary II turned British monarchs in 1689. 

In fact, should you come from wherever else on the earth, you’re most likely informed a really totally different story — that this was an English-based coup with assist from Dutch royalty. 😱

However who’s acquired proper of their historical past books? Turns on the market isn’t a easy reply to this query. Strap in, and let’s unpack this story of deceit.

So what the hell was occurring in England that allowed for Dutch intervention? Effectively, all of it comes again to everybody’s favorite subject: faith. 

Like many components of Europe on the time, England had been battling between Protestantism and Catholicism ever since good previous Henry VIII. 

In 1685, the demise of Charles II left an influence vacuum. His brother James II had turn into king however was struggling to get his legal guidelines by way of a Protestant parliament. Have you learnt who else was Protestant? You guessed it: the Calvinist King of the Netherlands, William of Orange. 

The Anglican aristocracy in England needed a monarch extra prepared to work with parliament, quite than ruling by decree (which is what James had begun to do). This and the trial of Seven Bishops have been the ultimate straws for parliament. So it devised a plot to place Mary and her husband William on the throne. 

READ MORE | Faith within the Netherlands: a perspective on the totally different religions within the nation

A Dutch King of England

What a hunk. Picture: nmm.ac.uk/Wikimedia Commons/Public Area

Right here we had a state of affairs the place a member of Dutch royalty was “invited” to overhaul the English throne. Parliament put limitations on William of Orange’s energy as an English monarch, being given equal standing to Mary and being certain by constitutional checks such because the Invoice of Rights 1689. Historians say this paved the best way for the trendy function of the monarch in British politics — all because of a Dutchman. 

An invasion or a coup?

To this point it doesn’t sound very like an invasion, proper? It wasn’t as clear reduce because the Raid on Chatham in 1667. William got here for a bit of go to to England with a military of 15,000 in November 1688, taking up London with just a few skirmishes breaking out. James fled to France in December, leaving the trail clear for William and Mary to ascend to the throne in April of the next yr. 

Nevertheless, it wasn’t so simple as William strolling into Britain with no resistance. England might have welcomed the brand new monarchs, however Scotland and Eire took a bit extra convincing. The professional-Stuart revolts in each nations result in an enormous variety of casualties. It’s clear not everybody was proud of the brand new heads of state. 😬

Pawn or plotter?

You may as well debate how passive William was on this coup. You’ll be able to both paint him as a pawn within the sport of the English aristocracy or as being a bit extra strategic than that. 

For instance, some argue that he waited for an influence vacuum in England earlier than making his transfer — very ‘Ggame of Tthrones. 

On prime of this, William additionally wanted the assist (particularly relating to funds) of the English nobles to assist him safe his place in Europe. The Netherlands was a Protestant state surrounded by Catholic nations, making invasion a relentless risk. The backing of the British Pound meant he was able to defend the Netherlands in any future wars. On this argument, William is an clever strategist quite than only a puppet of the English aristocracy. 

So what can we make of this?

Whether or not it was a strategically timed intervention by the Dutch monarchy, or merely the English making manner for a extra pliable monarchy, William’s ascension to the British throne definitely modified the character of British kingship. 

Because the Wonderful Revolution, English monarchs have been far more tightly certain to constitutional restraints. It signalled a shifting view of how a lot energy a monarch ought to have. It additionally cemented Dutch-Anglo relations for years to return, however that was inevitable from two sandwich-loving, beer-drinking nations. 🍻

When you haven’t had sufficient of Dutch historical past and have 5 minutes to spare, this video sums up this sequence of occasions:

READ MORE | Van hier tot Tokio: a historical past of Dutch-Japanese relations

What do you assume? Was it truly an invasion or a cooked up coup? Tell us within the feedback beneath!

Characteristic Picture: Jean Carlo Emer/Unsplash (modified)

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