In the late sixteenth century, the seven northern provinces of the Netherlands fought for and won their independence from Spain as the Republic of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. The Dutch Republic in 1650 was independent under the Peace of Westphalia. It was a dominant power in Europe commercially, financially, and militarily. In this period the Netherlands experienced a golden age. The province of Holland was the most powerful. Holland also financed the Dutch in many wars. Merchant shipping was the base of financial security, but when strong powers such as England engaged in warfare with the Dutch, it caused many losses in the Baltic Sea Trade Competition led to warfare with England. There were challenges to the security, unity, and prosperity of the Dutch Republic from 1650 to 1713.
There were many challenges to security in the Dutch Republic. The Netherlands is situated around many European nations, especially Britain who at that time posed a threat. As shown in the map, in 1645 voyages of Dutch ships were at their highest point. The Dutch trade and fishing routes went to places such as Africa, the East Indies, the Baltic Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean. They traded slaves, spices, fish, grain, timber, and iron. However, naval battles between England and the Dutch Republic from 1652 to 1674 caused many Dutch ships to be seized and trading to decrease over time (Document 3). Competition with the English East India Company caused the economic decline of the Dutch Republic (Document 2). Security measures were not taken, such as building defense fortifications on land and stationing warships at sea. Merchants needed protection that they were not getting. According to the anonymous pamphlet published in 1669, merchants were burdened with taxes, which probably made them even angrier with their government and reluctant to help their country during war. The Treaty of Dover shows that foreign enemies were allying against the Dutch Republic and preparing to overpower it.