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The Fall of United Provinces

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  • The Fall of United Provinces

    Hey guy. I just very interesting this last days by event about revolutionnary wars and napoleonic war. I notice that United Province (actual Netherlaand) was crushed very quickly by revolutionnary french army. How it could be possible that a major country like Netherlands, was one of themost powerfull nation on 17th century, a big opponent of the France during Sun King hegemony and a champion for protestant countries.

    What happenned to Dutch army? Why other nations didnt react more? And why population didnt revolt or resist during this almost 20 years of French Occupation , a catholic power . Why they didnt make guerilla like in Spain? Why Dutch Navy didnt destroy themself?

  • #2
    Because many people were glad to see the arrival of the modern ideas of the Enlightment.

    King Louis (Lodewijk) Napoleon was rather popular during his reign, and the Netherlands knew an important progress.

    For some people, that was more important than religious fanatism.

    When the French arrived, the regime was "worn out" and collapsed easily.


    • #3
      So why Spain didnt be happy to see modern ideas?


      • #4
        Let me begin by explaining (in simple terms) the Dutch way of government.

        Every province could elect a own 'president', a stadhouder. Often, all the provinces elected the same man and he basically ruled the United Provinces. He wasn't a real monarch - but it wasn't a 'republic' for sure.
        Stadhoudership had been changed to a monarch way (birthright) a few years prior, and naturally, the people did not approve. There had been a revolt earlier, which succeeded and put the stadhouder of power...temporarily. He was married to the sister of the Prussian king, and that king sent an army of 26.000 men. Back in power, he was.

        The Dutch revolutiaries were called 'patriotten'. Patriots. Their leader was a fellow named Daendels (Who later made career as colonial Governor under King William I. Oh, sweet Irony.). In 1792, when France declared war against the Stadhouder, he and about 3000 Dutchmen signed up in the French army. The first and second invasion happened, and the Patriotten saw a golden change - They negotiated with the French, got a deal of and the Batavian Republic was created in January 1794.
        This all is called the Batavian revolution - Total dead count (Not counting battles of Dutch-allied vs France): 1. Yes. Bloody revolution, eh?

        You must not forget that many soldiers realized they were fighting for a king (in all but name) that they didn't even like. I think, in the end, many soldiers didn't real care if they fought for a king or a republic - they wanted to fight for the Netherlands, even if it was called the Batavian republic ;-)
        The Dutch army was COMPLETELY overhauled and re-organized. A few high officers (mostly in the navy) did not agree and resigned/deserted, but there were no mass desertion of any unit, unlike in France. The United Provinces weren't 'crushed'. They got rid of their leader and switch sides.

        To answer your last questions: Besides the named facts, the Netherlands is a flat country. No place for Guerrilla, besides that many people were pro-French.
        Dutch navy officers DID try to escape to England - but the fleet was stuck in the ice and surrendered itself to a French regiment of cavalry.
        Spain is a country of tradition and morals. The united Provinces had always been the country of free ideas and tolerance.


        • #5
          Thanks for this post and answer. It make me understand better the situation of Netherlands( a country that i admire a lot) during Napoleonic war.


          • #6
            You're welcome.

            For one, 1794 sure wasn't our hour of glory! ^_^


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