The northern Netherlands until 1810
After the assassination of William of Orange (1584), the northern Netherlands asserted their independence in the armistice of 1609-21, which was initially supported by King Philip III of Spain . and then was internationally recognized in January 1648 in the Peace of Munster. This also meant the separation of the Dutch Republic from the Holy Roman Empire. State sovereignty lay with the estates (Dutch states) of the seven provinces, who each sent a representative to the estates-general, while the political leadership was with the councilor von Holland, who had the voice of this province – the most taxable and therefore most important – province in the Estates-General, the executive power of the governor of Holland, who regularly came from the House of Orange and at the same time held governorship over Zealand and Utrecht, often also over other provinces. There were more conflicts between the two for social and religious reasons: The council pensioner came from the rich city patriciate, the “regents”, who were more tolerant than the supporters of the governors, who had their followers in the more strictly religious middle and lower classes.
These contradictions were connected with differences of opinion in foreign and trade policy towards Spain, which were at times fought out between the strict Calvinists (Gomarists) and their more liberal opponents (Arminians) and which had a decisive influence on the internal development of the republic in the 17th and 18th centuries (1619 J. van Oldenbarnevelt executed after conflict with Moritz von Orange over religious and military issues, 1650 attack by Wilhelm II on Amsterdam, 1672 council pensioner J. de Witt murdered in The Hague, 1786 deposition of Wilhelm V by the revolutionary “patriot movement”). The capital of the country was Amsterdam, the Orange residence was The Hague.
With its East India Company (trading companies) and its properties in Africa (Cape Country) and America (Guayana, New Netherlands until 1664), the Republic of the Netherlands was at times the leading maritime and trading power in Europe, despite the absence of statehood in 1648–72 and 1702–47 (» Golden Century «until 1713), until after the naval wars with England (1652–54, 1664–67, 1672–74), despite the significant successes of her admirals (M. Tromp, M. de Ruyter), she was gradually ousted from this position by England. In four wars against Louis XIV of France (1667/68, 1672–78, 1688–97, 1702–13), she successfully defended her security and possessions, including the council pensioner A. Heinsius in the peace treaty at Utrecht contributed. Nevertheless, after the war it lost its importance in terms of foreign policy and economics and was faced with social conflicts. In the 17th century it was the center of political and liberal thought (H. Grotius, R. Descartes, B. de Spinoza) and the highest artistic development. At that time, the Dutch language essentially reached its present-day form. In 1747 Wilhelm IV. Hereditary governor for all provinces and military commander-in-chief, which in the course of the Enlightenment favored the resistance of the movement of the “Patriots” directed against the Orange, who campaigned for more rights of the people against the “regents” allied with the inheritor. With the approval of Great Britain, which feared that the republic would be too close to France, there was a military intervention by Prussia in 1787, which restored political conditions. In 1793 the republic joined the coalition against France (French Revolutionary Wars), but suffered a defeat in early 1795 and lost the generals lands. Reorganized as the Batavian Republic on the French model, it was rebuilt in 1806 under Napoleon I. Brother Ludwig, incorporated into the Kingdom and in 1810 France.
For the history of the southern Netherlands up to 1815 see Belgium (history).
Kingdom of the United Netherlands 1815-30
According to militarynous, The Congress of Vienna united the two Netherlands and the Principality of Liège to form the “Kingdom of the United Netherlands”. In the previous southern Netherlands, the Belgian national consciousness, which had grown during the French period, grew rapidly and turned against the autocratic rule of King Wilhelm I and his language policy that favored Dutch. In addition, there was the denominational contradiction that was clearly evident between north and south. In Belgium, the amalgamation of the Catholic and Liberal opposition contributed significantly to the outbreak of the revolution in August and September 1830, which in 1831 led to the country’s detachment from the Netherlands with the approval of the conference of ambassadors of the great powers in London.