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Old August 29th, 2011, 03:19 AM   #11

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Again I am not trying to say that it was a easy victory. Certainly not! But I am pointing out that the changes were about even while it seems to me that you are stating that it was a wonder that France could win the war.
The odds were not in her favour though she held some serious trump cards. The reign of Louis XIV is rather exemplary: by 1680, wars were no longer easily won and became more and more hard fought, by 1714 France had faced near collapse. It's not as if her enemies suddenly spawned an added extra populace of 20 million, it's plain simple socio-economics of a largely feudal based (economically speaking, capitalism being emergent) society: war is costly. France had the early advantage of having a large potential combined with a high degree of centralisation. That war was more then demographics was shown by how France failed to hold the high ground towards the end of Louis' warmongering reign says enough about that.


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Still an army devided doesn't mean it can perform with great strength. In this war this was the case. If we devide the army of France into four pieces (one for every enemy) then still would every seperate army outnumber the number.
This is very simplistic and very detached from military reality, besides, even if we sticked with this simplistic idea, it still wouldn't be correct since the combined coalition armies could certainly match the French numbers.


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
I think it actually does work like that. As you have stated France had an army of 400,000 man with a population of 20,000,000 doesn't this automatically mean that the army ratio is 1:50?
Not at all, you are trying to create something from nothing. There is no reference in any historical literature whatsoever, and on this period, I've read more then enough not at least in the field of military evolution (and for example, our fellow member pikeshot1600 could more then strenghten this point) and never has any historian took such an unlikely train of thought into consideration, this would require some bureaucratic and mathematical planning that would simply be impossible in the Early Modern era, not at least socially totally unapplicable and unacceptable. And if you would say this is not intentionally, then the argument would even be weaker as if to how it all magically fell into place.

Your point I adressed was that France having a bigger populace allowed her to maintain a large standing army but this is not the whole story, what really matters is having the funds to maintain such an army, this is were demographics play a much larger role then in the overal populace to supply manpower. Sweden for example by 1632 with a populace of only a few million was maintaining a wartime army of over a 100 000, the variables are thus far more complex then simple demographics.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
What is you point here? France could hire mercaneries to. Something they certainly did. Still the amount of tax payers in France was higher and so their was more money avaible to pay more mercenaries. Again an advantage for France.
We're talking 2nd half of the 17th century: the glory days of mercenaries so to say ended in 1648. By the reign of Louis France was maintaining a large standing army, a costly one at that, also you did miss the point of that which you quoted, for that, see the above section.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Indeed France stould under a lot of pressure, but so did the coalition members. The Republic (except for Holland) was overrun, Spain was practically ruined by their wars against the Turks, Dutch and other protestant nations and Brandenburg was at the time still a minor nation. The only true advisary (on military scale) was the Holy Roman Empire. But as you said beating one real enemy wasn't that hard of a job for France.
Here you are simply completely wrong. What are you adressing here anyways? My point was that the burden of war became increasingly costly and that France was increasingly on the defensive - which is a simple fact stated by every historical reference on this episode in history at that - and I don't see how this would match your above statement? If anything, it completely negates it. So I'm a bit confused as to what your point was here.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
I understand you argument, but find it not that strong. If a country has a capable general for each army. A general who can take care of this army on his own with fundings of his government then it isn't much harder to sustain many seperate armies as one big one.
You have entirely misunderstood my point.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Doesn't this only prove the big advantage France had over his enemies?
Individually, but like I said, it didn't work that way.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Wow then you are really looking down on the Dutch Golden Age. It's duration was certainly not just 23 years. Otherwise the people of those days wouldn't have called it a century.
I fully explained why it was called a "century" and that this was not related to any exact chronological premisse.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Furthermore why would a time of splendour and peace end when one of the biggest wars in national history just ended? I find this quite contradictory don't you? Also the Golden Century was not only a event on national level, but was recognized trough the whole of Europe as the prime of the Republic. The Dutch had both the best working economy and strongest navy with the best quality of Admirals. Who controls the sees had a very prominent position. I think you really understimate the Golden Century. The silver century as it is written in Dutch history books started at the deathbed of William III. Also stagnation can still mean a prominent position. The US is stagnating (if not declining) but it still has the most prominent position in the world. This was also the case for the Dutch.
I'm not looking down on it, I'm giving you the exact source-backed numbers. It ended because it (canonically of course) marked a turning point, besides I gave you the entire darn quote even in Dutch, is the academic manual for the History of the Netherlands not enough for you?

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
The war didn't cause a turning point. Yes, France became more powerful, but it was also before it had gained those few pieces of land. England was beaten again and the Dutch still caried out their trade. I see certainly no turning point.
Then re-read the dutch quote, it said it all.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
First of all I think it is certainly no decline and as for stagnation read my post above. Because the Dutch only speak of relative decline at the death of William III (and even then the average Dutch citizen was better off then average citizen of France or Spain. Only when the Republic was facing it's end let's say during the reing of the last Stadtholder (William V) the Republic started it's absolute decline. Something we would finally recover from when a King was crowned in 1815.
Because 'the dutch only speak of'? I guess these dutch historians that I quoted weren't really dutch historians at all. Besides, I can easily give you some more tentative statement from other historians to illustrate the exact nature of the economic stagnation (since politically you agreed below) and decline of the Republic, completely with numbers and all that.

Other then that you are very much wrong with your pinpointing the decline or rather, in full disagreement with all historic literature on that matter, and of course, it's not as if decline meant an immediate loss of wealth, even when Diderot visited the Republic in 1773-74 and wrote his famous account of his travels through the Republic (a refreshing read at that) they were still amongst the wealthiest citizens in Europe and probably had a higher standard of living then most other contemporaries. Does this disproof the idea of stagnation and decline? No: it only proofs that the Dutch could profit from earlier successes, or with a dutch phrase: "ze konden nog lang teren op hun vergane glorie". When we speak of stagnation and decline this is meant in a larger (global) mercantile perspective. The figures speak louder then words here, from 1700 onward for example the Republic was outshone and outclassed by the British commercial entreprises, I could give you the numbers later, don't have them with me.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Please tell me more. Cause to my knowledge the Dutch navy managed to win every war to keep the Sont open?
If you're thinking about wars you are direly mistaking, I'm talking about the tonnage, the amount of ships passing through it and of course their relative sizes. Like I said, this is rather exemplary of the relative stagnation/decline of the Dutch commercial empire, take into account that these numbers matter more then any other since to the Republic, the Baltic trade was the "Moedernegotie".

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Is stagnating on a high level still not quite a prestation and doesn't a golden age that started during the Eighty years war that the Dutch managed to keep on the same level until the death of William III still mean it remains a golden age?
Not really, or rather, it doesn't at all detract anything from the statement that it was in stagnation/decline. Nobody said this was of devastating proportions, it happened slow and steady but irreversable.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
True but that only happened from the start of the 18th century. I think (as we can judge from both wars) that the Dutch navy still controlled the (at least the European) sees. But yes it is true that England was coming closer, but didn't beat the Dutch yet in the seventeenth century.
That was kind of my point... Anyways, you are probably still referring to the stagnation/decline part and you are still ignorant to the full implications of what I meant with that. I did not mean: they could no longer maintain naval superiority or reap profits. I did mean: the burden to maintain superiority became heavier and more unrewarding, the costs rose or remained the same yet the profits dwindled, at the same time her opponents were gradually (especially England) become increasingly wealthier and wealthier in the mercantile sphere and attaining comparatively larger profits then the dutch who's marginal profits where dwindling (in economic terms "marginal profits" refer to the extra output made from adding 1 unit of x to the input, the implication as you may or may not know is that more input does not generate as much output over time since you will at a certain point exceed the economic optimum and new profits would only come at a higher relative cost, thus still having profits in absolute numbers but comparatively, you are losing income).

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Doesn't this quote also proves that the Dutch Golden Age in fact did last for more then 50 years? And yes the Dutch did perform above their capability that is also why it collapsed in the 18th century I think. But this collapse as I said many times only took place in the 18th century and not yet in the 17th.
Then you didn't read the post quite well. And no, the academical corprus it comes from ends the chapter with this part, the next chapter is titled "1702: the death of William III and the decline"-something (I don't have the book with me so I'm sketchingly quoting it by memory, but it dates the decline at 1702).

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
It was indeed quite a prestation. But he didn't hurt his main enemy "William". Spain was already a sunken ship a real advantage on his enemies he didn't gain.
Seriously? => Louis XIV didn't wage war to hurt William (or the Republic at that), he waged war to ensure the gloire of France (and himself) and to pursue longterm geopolitical goals. He certainly acquired the latter (see also the paragraph below the map) and he did hurt the Republic as he did force new mercantile regulations upon them. No: he didn't acquire part of their lands, but as far as France went, he acquired far more profitable gains.

Click the image to open in full size.

Look at this map again: do you know the exact ramifications of the territorial gains (red) France made during the 1672-1678/9 war? The Republic could never offer such a bounty as the Franche-Comté. The argument that Spain was already dead is entirely meaningless: France advanced her borders with an enormous and wealthy chunk of land, giving her strategically important and well defendable beachheads for future wars. The acquisition of the Franche-Comté launched them directly to the Rhine and Alpine mountains and safeguarded some of the wealthiest provinces for the dangers of war. The acquisition of whole chunks of the southern Netherlands gave France a more defensible border in the north as well, with several well fortified cities amongst them, moreover it pushed the border ever further away from Paris, one of the main strategic longterm goals of the Bourbon dynasty (and Valois-branch before them).

Certainly, but everyone needs a bit of luck. Without luck it is much harder to achieve something.

The flooding of the lands certainly took a sacrifice from the Dutch and the fact that the stould as a wall behind their beloved Orange. Except for the provinces that were already overun ofcourse, but what could they do since most Dutch lived in Holland.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
But do you really think that the experience to fight a war already would vanish after 24 years? Futhermore you told me that it isn't a total war game and of course this is true, but this is also the case for France. Since France also didn't fight a war between 1660-1667. In these 7 years most soldiers (since they are not in active duty) would leave the army and gone is your experience. In 1667 also Louis had to start over again. But I will agree with you if you would say that the experience more counts for generals, king and the country as a whole France had indeed more experience.
For example: a dutch officer with the age of say 30 in 1648 would be 54 by 1672, 24 years of not honing your skills and on top of that being an old man compared to: a french officer with the age of say 30 in 1667 and being 35 in 1672. Which would have more experience (and if you're going to say the older one because of age, take into account that's a particularly weak argument since 24 years of peacetime dilly-dallying compared to only 5 years is well... + this =>) and the physical aptitude to put it into practice?

France unlike the Republic maintained a standing army, the latter employed large contingents of foreigners, not that they're unexperienced in terms of soldiers but if we only look at that, we'd be ignoring the context of the leading echelons, officers and such (that's why the above example is not about soldiers, you can always train new cannon fodder, a leading framework is something that requires more effort, you cannot magically conjure an experienced corps of officers out of nowhere, they are formed through continuous service).

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Although the Dutch indeed lost most of it's land experience it kept the experience for the people to sustain the hardship of a war. But like you said most armies recruited mercenaries and so did the Dutch. And mercanaries are in most cases experienced. So in that case when the Dutch mustered 20,000 soldiers in 1672 it would mean that not all those soldiers were unprepared since more then half were mercenaries.
No, but a sense of easy-goingness and unpreparedness threatens to infiltrate your ranks. The reaction of the Dutch to the French invasion (coupled with of course a rather diligent French military operating) was hectic and showed of just how unprepared they were (even if war had been brewing for months).

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Some people deserve to be praised to my opinion.
Well who we praise and why is of course our personal business

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Thanks I appreciate the information.
Much obliged

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Wow I never knew that. But was their no army to defend Den Haag? Where was William for example with his 20,000 man during those days?
In Germany or the Spanish Netherlands.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Why then did Louis still received such a nice victory while it almost appears it came close to a tie. Or was their more troubling on other fronts that made the coaliton bend?
Because if you would put the 2 quoted episodes into the larger picture which I've also explained (I described the entire course of the war earlier on), this were only minor successes which in the overal war effort didn't harm the French that much at all, they only alleviated the largest burdens for the Republic since France now had bigger (as in: half of Europe) fish to fry. So while the Republic was for the moment somewhat in the safe zone as far as the war went, the stakes had been raised to a much higher level by the entry of well, the other half of Europe The Republic was very happen to opt out in 1678 with making only concessions on their mercantile treaties, like I've already said, the rest of the coalition didn't take kindly to this action which was basically 'abandoning-your-allies-in-the-face-of-a-very-dangerous-and-not-yet-fully-defeated-enemy-during-negotiations-over-peace-101'

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Again thank you so much for the story of William. But in general was he an equal to Louis. Since he did achieve to turn the half of Europe against him, became King of England and saved the Dutch from downfall in 1672. Those are quite achievements are they not?
That's something I guess you should form your own opinion on, I can only give you the basic facts. Like I said, they differed in many aspects of their character, whereas Louis XIV continuously challenged all of Europe, William continuously tried to confront him by rallying his opponents behind one banner and in this he was succesful, not that it by default halted French expanion or expansionism. Personally I don't really care about who was equal to who so I don't really have an opinion, I'd only go as far as listing each one's respective achievements.

Also, William did not save the Republic from downfall, the dutch did that themselves (helped by French feuding at the top level between Turenne and Louvois), it was not William's idea to flood the watercourses, the dutch themselves decided on it.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
So we can compare him more to an Archduke Charles or Napoleon III on military level. Not the best commander of his age, but neither a complete dissaster?
Napoleon III was a complete military disaster Don't compare William III to him

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
In fact the two are quite alike. Nor did the posess extrodinary military skills but on political level they had a lot of succes. Louis for his creation of an absolute form of state and keeping the wars in his favor and William for his conquest of England and ability to get the half of Europe behind him. Besides their personalities perhaps they were practically the same.
I think those similarities are somewhat superficial and even so, we'd be talking only about achievement in the European political spectrum, when we're talking about those 2 on a personal level, it's fire and water baby, fire and water

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One last seperate question did the two ever meet in fact (faceto face)?
Well, at Bouchain in 1676 they probably must have seen each others tents Other then that, not that I'm aware of.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 05:02 AM   #12

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
So we can compare him more to an Archduke Charles or Napoleon III on military level. Not the best commander of his age, but neither a complete dissaster?

bad bad bad jeroen, Napoleon III doesn't even deserve to be compared to william III,

very interesting discussion you have going on here, keep it up
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Old August 29th, 2011, 05:52 AM   #13
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bad bad bad jeroen, Napoleon III doesn't even deserve to be compared to william III,

very interesting discussion you have going on here, keep it up

Okay Napoleon III was perhaps hastly said, although he wasn't a military dissaster.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 05:58 PM   #14
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The odds were not in her favour though she held some serious trump cards. The reign of Louis XIV is rather exemplary: by 1680, wars were no longer easily won and became more and more hard fought, by 1714 France had faced near collapse. It's not as if her enemies suddenly spawned an added extra populace of 20 million, it's plain simple socio-economics of a largely feudal based (economically speaking, capitalism being emergent) society: war is costly. France had the early advantage of having a large potential combined with a high degree of centralisation. That war was more then demographics was shown by how France failed to hold the high ground towards the end of Louis' warmongering reign says enough about that.
Were wars ever easily fought?

No of course not but I keep try to point out that I find France's advantage above his enemies bigger then you. It was a giant facing (on military scale) four dwarfs. As you have said France had much more experience, it had more resources, more manpower, better generals and a form of state of which the monarch practically decided it's policy. Most of the coalition countries didn't had all this advantages. The Dutch were a naval power, Spain was as good as bankrupt, Brandenburg was still minor and Austria didn't posess the skill the French had. Louis (at the start) had more of everything and everything was of better quality. The Franco-Dutch war was quite a prestation, but can not be compared to the odds other great Kings and Conquerers had to face.


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This is very simplistic and very detached from military reality, besides, even if we sticked with this simplistic idea, it still wouldn't be correct since the combined coalition armies could certainly match the French numbers.
Your numbers say otherwise.


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Not at all, you are trying to create something from nothing. There is no reference in any historical literature whatsoever, and on this period, I've read more then enough not at least in the field of military evolution (and for example, our fellow member pikeshot1600 could more then strenghten this point) and never has any historian took such an unlikely train of thought into consideration, this would require some bureaucratic and mathematical planning that would simply be impossible in the Early Modern era, not at least socially totally unapplicable and unacceptable. And if you would say this is not intentionally, then the argument would even be weaker as if to how it all magically fell into place.
I am not creating things out of nothing. Facts are if there are 20,000,000 people of which 400,000 are soldiers then the average citizen (not including woman, children and the eldery this time) would be 1:120.

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Your point I adressed was that France having a bigger populace allowed her to maintain a large standing army but this is not the whole story, what really matters is having the funds to maintain such an army, this is were demographics play a much larger role then in the overal populace to supply manpower. Sweden for example by 1632 with a populace of only a few million was maintaining a wartime army of over a 100 000, the variables are thus far more complex then simple demographics.
And France had those funds. It was one of the most prosperous and welthiest nations in Europe (the state not it's citizens). It had good furtile lands, a good working bureaucracy, a stable government, enough citizens to tax money from etc. It had a much better position (intern) then let's say Spain. France equaled if not topped it's European advisaries plus had the advantage as is much pointed out of it's demography.


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We're talking 2nd half of the 17th century: the glory days of mercenaries so to say ended in 1648. By the reign of Louis France was maintaining a large standing army, a costly one at that, also you did miss the point of that which you quoted, for that, see the above section.
Well well well the glory days ended in 1648 is not all true. Real national concription only started to occur around the revolution. Before Kings and Emperors still had to rely mostly on mercaneries. If only we look the soldiers Louis XVI to protect him: Swiss and Flemish regiments. Why because as long as they get paid the remain loyal. With Frenchman this is a much other case.

Yes it was costly, but Louis could afford it (at least for more then two decades. That's why he had a much more prominent position at the start of the war of 1672.
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Here you are simply completely wrong. What are you adressing here anyways? My point was that the burden of war became increasingly costly and that France was increasingly on the defensive - which is a simple fact stated by every historical reference on this episode in history at that - and I don't see how this would match your above statement? If anything, it completely negates it. So I'm a bit confused as to what your point was here.
Yes as you was stating that France had some burdens (which is true of course) I am trying to explain that things didn't look bright for the coalition either during the entire course of the war.

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You have entirely misunderstood my point.
Then do explain.

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Individually, but like I said, it didn't work that way.
I think it does.

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I fully explained why it was called a "century" and that this was not related to any exact chronological premisse.
That's all good and well, but it doesn't deny my point of saying that the Golden Century didn't last for less then thirty years.


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I'm not looking down on it, I'm giving you the exact source-backed numbers. It ended because it (canonically of course) marked a turning point, besides I gave you the entire darn quote even in Dutch, is the academic manual for the History of the Netherlands not enough for you?
First of all we shouldn't rely on one or a few quotes out of one history book. Secondly the quote states very clear that although the Dutch had to pay for their position they would keep it until the beginning of the 18th century.

De laatste decennia van de 17e eeuw vertonen dat beeld not niet. Wel beginnen de aanwijzingen zich aan te dienen, dat de grote tijd voorbij is. Handel en scheepvaart zijn weliswaar niet in verval, maar in plaats van groei is er nu stilstand en achteruitgang.

This part states very clear that indeed the Dutch would soon lose their prominent position over England, but that it hadn't gone yet at least not until the end of the 17th century. The country may not have grown anymore, but since it was already on a extrodinary position it couldn't. I rather see it as the Dutch republic got stuck on it's peak and remained there for a while. At the beginning of the 18th century it came crushing down and England took over. And since you have clearly stated that the Dutch Golden Century started in 1625 and we can make up that it definitely ended in 1702 we can state that it's duration was almost a century.


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Then re-read the dutch quote, it said it all.
I've read it sentence for sentence and also they agree that the growth stopped and it stagnated, but that only towards the end of the 17th century other powers started to overflow the Dutch.


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Because 'the dutch only speak of'? I guess these dutch historians that I quoted weren't really dutch historians at all. Besides, I can easily give you some more tentative statement from other historians to illustrate the exact nature of the economic stagnation (since politically you agreed below) and decline of the Republic, completely with numbers and all that.
Yes the are, but it seems that while I see stagnation not immediatly as losing of ones prominent position and wealth. Since England didn't strive the Dutch by until William's death the Dutch still had their position and trade was still flowing. The Dutch were wealthy and it enjoyed great prestige. Why would you state it already ended in 1648 while the same amount of wealth would at least durate until the end of the 17th century?

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Other then that you are very much wrong with your pinpointing the decline or rather, in full disagreement with all historic literature on that matter, and of course, it's not as if decline meant an immediate loss of wealth, even when Diderot visited the Republic in 1773-74 and wrote his famous account of his travels through the Republic (a refreshing read at that) they were still amongst the wealthiest citizens in Europe and probably had a higher standard of living then most other contemporaries. Does this disproof the idea of stagnation and decline?
No and that is not what I am trying to point out. Of course the Dutch may have still be wealthy, but it's like taking hundred euro from an European employee. He still belongs to the wealthy group of European citizen, but he became a bit poorer. Perhaps while his friends remains the same amount of get's a raise. Both still belong to a wealthy group but the one has decreased in wealth. Same with the situation between England and the Republic. The Dutch remained wealthy, but it became less wealthy (also I am talking about the state not about the average citizen) then England, but as I have stated this only started to occur at the beginning of the 18th century. If you really want to make a point then you have to give me a very good reasonw why you find that the prominent position and wealth of the state suddenly ended at the end of the eighty years war. Cause in most cases at the end of a war prosperity starts and does not end their.

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No: it only proofs that the Dutch could profit from earlier successes, or with a dutch phrase: "ze konden nog lang teren op hun vergane glorie". When we speak of stagnation and decline this is meant in a larger (global) mercantile perspective. The figures speak louder then words here, from 1700 onward for example the Republic was outshone and outclassed by the British commercial entreprises, I could give you the numbers later, don't have them with me.
Here you give proof yourself that the British only started to strive the Dutch by at the start of the 18th century. Since Britain has not bypassed the Republic yet in the 17th century and France being almost bankrupt of it's war I think the Republic still posessed both economical and naval supremacy. It may have stagnated of decreased, but they still had it. Both state and citizens kept their wealth why can't we still call that the Golden Century. Why for heavens sake does it stop in 1648?



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If you're thinking about wars you are direly mistaking, I'm talking about the tonnage, the amount of ships passing through it and of course their relative sizes. Like I said, this is rather exemplary of the relative stagnation/decline of the Dutch commercial empire, take into account that these numbers matter more then any other since to the Republic, the Baltic trade was the "Moedernegotie".
The moedernegotie is one of the first things we learn about Dutch history so don't worry that I haven't heard about it . Still the quote you have give me states very clear that trade didn't show signs of decline or stagnation yet. Since trade still is untouched and the moedernegotie being the main branch of this why do you then state that the Sont trade was declining?


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That was kind of my point... Anyways, you are probably still referring to the stagnation/decline part and you are still ignorant to the full implications of what I meant with that. I did not mean: they could no longer maintain naval superiority or reap profits. I did mean: the burden to maintain superiority became heavier and more unrewarding, the costs rose or remained the same yet the profits dwindled, at the same time her opponents were gradually (especially England) become increasingly wealthier and wealthier in the mercantile sphere and attaining comparatively larger profits then the dutch who's marginal profits where dwindling (in economic terms "marginal profits" refer to the extra output made from adding 1 unit of x to the input, the implication as you may or may not know is that more input does not generate as much output over time since you will at a certain point exceed the economic optimum and new profits would only come at a higher relative cost, thus still having profits in absolute numbers but comparatively, you are losing income).
I think I already explained this in my previous posts. It isn't much of use to repeat it again.



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Then you didn't read the post quite well. And no, the academical corprus it comes from ends the chapter with this part, the next chapter is titled "1702: the death of William III and the decline"-something (I don't have the book with me so I'm sketchingly quoting it by memory, but it dates the decline at 1702).
Since decline starts in 1702 it hasn't in the pre-1702 period. As simple as that.

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Seriously? => Louis XIV didn't wage war to hurt William (or the Republic at that), he waged war to ensure the gloire of France (and himself) and to pursue longterm geopolitical goals. He certainly acquired the latter (see also the paragraph below the map) and he did hurt the Republic as he did force new mercantile regulations upon them. No: he didn't acquire part of their lands, but as far as France went, he acquired far more profitable gains.
Then the Dutch probably didn't stick to that mecrantile regulation . The war started in Holland and it was probably not Louis intend that the rest of Europe would follow. In that case it was aimed to damage the Dutch Republic and I find that mercantile regulation a very light damage comparted what he wanted to achieve. Or do you think that Louis would declare war on Spain by it self if it hadn't aided the Dutch Republic just to acquire Franch-Comte and territories in Flanders.

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Look at this map again: do you know the exact ramifications of the territorial gains (red) France made during the 1672-1678/9 war? The Republic could never offer such a bounty as the Franche-Comté.
It could offer all it's territory below the rhine. Something Louis was aiming for.

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France advanced her borders with an enormous and wealthy chunk of land, giving her strategically important and well defendable beachheads for future wars. The acquisition of the Franche-Comté launched them directly to the Rhine and Alpine mountains and safeguarded some of the wealthiest provinces for the dangers of war. The acquisition of whole chunks of the southern Netherlands gave France a more defensible border in the north as well, with several well fortified cities amongst them, moreover it pushed the border ever further away from Paris, one of the main strategic longterm goals of the Bourbon dynasty (and Valois-branch before them).
And has Louis really provited from this in the future? Not that I am aware of. It's always nice to gain territory and it may have strengthenend Louis position, but all his enemies were still in tact and ready to fight another war.

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For example: a dutch officer with the age of say 30 in 1648 would be 54 by 1672, 24 years of not honing your skills and on top of that being an old man compared to: a french officer with the age of say 30 in 1667 and being 35 in 1672. Which would have more experience (and if you're going to say the older one because of age, take into account that's a particularly weak argument since 24 years of peacetime dilly-dallying compared to only 5 years is well... + this =>) and the physical aptitude to put it into practice?
Point taken here ;p.


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No, but a sense of easy-goingness and unpreparedness threatens to infiltrate your ranks. The reaction of the Dutch to the French invasion (coupled with of course a rather diligent French military operating) was hectic and showed of just how unprepared they were (even if war had been brewing for months).
The first shock is always hard, but over the course of the war the Dutch showed their flexibility and strength in war.
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In Germany or the Spanish Netherlands.
While an army still wandered near the main cities?


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Because if you would put the 2 quoted episodes into the larger picture which I've also explained (I described the entire course of the war earlier on), this were only minor successes which in the overal war effort didn't harm the French that much at all, they only alleviated the largest burdens for the Republic since France now had bigger (as in: half of Europe) fish to fry. So while the Republic was for the moment somewhat in the safe zone as far as the war went, the stakes had been raised to a much higher level by the entry of well, the other half of Europe The Republic was very happen to opt out in 1678 with making only concessions on their mercantile treaties, like I've already said, the rest of the coalition didn't take kindly to this action which was basically 'abandoning-your-allies-in-the-face-of-a-very-dangerous-and-not-yet-fully-defeated-enemy-during-negotiations-over-peace-101'
Some call it betraying other playing smart. Still Louis actual goal to really harm the Republic wasn't achieved. During his entire reign that northern protestant country would always be a burden to him.

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That's something I guess you should form your own opinion on, I can only give you the basic facts. Like I said, they differed in many aspects of their character, whereas Louis XIV continuously challenged all of Europe, William continuously tried to confront him by rallying his opponents behind one banner and in this he was succesful, not that it by default halted French expanion or expansionism. Personally I don't really care about who was equal to who so I don't really have an opinion, I'd only go as far as listing each one's respective achievements.
It's just interesting to see how much the two are alike on their political fields.
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Also, William did not save the Republic from downfall, the dutch did that themselves (helped by French feuding at the top level between Turenne and Louvois), it was not William's idea to flood the watercourses, the dutch themselves decided on it.
Well perhaps not during the flood, but he leaded the Dutch armies in the Southern Netherlands, Germany etc.


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Napoleon III was a complete military disaster Don't compare William III to him
He was not a military disaster. People always pick on him because of his defeat at the battle of Sedan. Yes he was captured, but did Napoleon III actually really performed some stupid military actions. In these days generals and marshals did most of the work and should have taken most of the blame. Besides Napoleon III had some achievements in Italy.



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I think those similarities are somewhat superficial and even so, we'd be talking only about achievement in the European political spectrum, when we're talking about those 2 on a personal level, it's fire and water baby, fire and water
True true

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Well, at Bouchain in 1676 they probably must have seen each others tents Other then that, not that I'm aware of.
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I wonder if they couldn't hold it out in a room for 5 minutes or if they would be best friends. Since they have not meet eachother in youth and were constantly at war I guess they didnt meet. Perhaps only on the peace table, but even that I doubt. Both are just fascinating man.
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Old August 30th, 2011, 05:00 AM   #15

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
No of course not but I keep try to point out that I find France's advantage above his enemies bigger then you. It was a giant facing (on military scale) four dwarfs. As you have said France had much more experience, it had more resources, more manpower, better generals and a form of state of which the monarch practically decided it's policy. Most of the coalition countries didn't had all this advantages. The Dutch were a naval power, Spain was as good as bankrupt, Brandenburg was still minor and Austria didn't posess the skill the French had. Louis (at the start) had more of everything and everything was of better quality. The Franco-Dutch war was quite a prestation, but can not be compared to the odds other great Kings and Conquerers had to face.
Let us agree to disagree for now, in fact, this theorem on the power of France would actually be food for thought for an entire thread on its own.

Just some remarks:
- Brandenburg had already a formidable army (as was shown in his operations in the north were he on his own destroyed the entire Swedish military power)
- several other members of the empire could levy large contingents
- Austria, while for now lacking the talent comparable to men like Turenne, Luxembourg or Condé (Eugène only entering the spotlights from 1683 onward), could already levy larger armies + they were in near continuous warfare with the Ottomans which ensured that their troops certainly wouldn't be lacking in battle experience
- for Spain the problem was of course financially

=> So no, war is not as simple as numbers (just think of the 7 Years War). France had an enormous potential but that potential was engaged at a variety of fronts. Turenne was operating in Germany with only a smaller force of around 30 000 and faced with an opponent that would outnumber him if they united - the success of his actions lay in obstructing their uniting of forces, during this war France had some 280 000 men under arms (by the end of it at least) operating all along the border of France (and not as simple as 280/4 = groups of around 70 000 men so to say, we have garrisons, reserves etc, like I said, armies did rarely exceed the size of 50 000 on campaign, something that everyone could very well match).

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Your numbers say otherwise.
That's because you are staring yourself blind at numbers and fail to put them into context.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
I am not creating things out of nothing. Facts are if there are 20,000,000 people of which 400,000 are soldiers then the average citizen (not including woman, children and the eldery this time) would be 1:120.
You fail to see my point: what exactly is the meaning of this ratio to you? What does it say? Tell me, for I fail to see the meaning this ratio carries to you?

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
And France had those funds. It was one of the most prosperous and welthiest nations in Europe (the state not it's citizens). It had good furtile lands, a good working bureaucracy, a stable government, enough citizens to tax money from etc. It had a much better position (intern) then let's say Spain. France equaled if not topped it's European advisaries plus had the advantage as is much pointed out of it's demography.
Yep, and this - not military manpower - more then anything determines the military power of France. That was my point all along. Also: France though incredibly rich was incredibly badly administered, I mean it's prepostorous just how much money disappeared in the pockets of corruption, this is of course the rule not the exception in the Early Modern Era, my only point here being to point out that though France was indeed incredibly wealthy, it was far from ably administered but by the standards of the time that was only normal.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Well well well the glory days ended in 1648 is not all true. Real national concription only started to occur around the revolution. Before Kings and Emperors still had to rely mostly on mercaneries. If only we look the soldiers Louis XVI to protect him: Swiss and Flemish regiments. Why because as long as they get paid the remain loyal. With Frenchman this is a much other case.
I advise you to read the 'G. Mortimer (ed.), “Early Modern Military History, 1450-1815”, Oxford, 2004', having studied the military history of Early Modern Europe in more then enough detail for my thesis, let me tell you one thing: the Levée en masse was not - NOT - the first time that conscription was used, it was only the first time it took place on such a scale and with such an impact. And a more relevant point, the 17th century was the era when professional armies (that doesn't even entail national conscripts, just professional soldier, not mercs, volunteers, enlisting for prolonged service).

So no, you are simple completely wrong. Emperors and kings began to rely on professional armies of conscripts/volunteers (regional differences in space and time at that) not mercenaries. Looking at the honorary guards that protected kings is a particularly bad example. Have you conducted thorough research into the early modern military history? I have, and if you were read the book above, you'd see my point.


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Yes as you was stating that France had some burdens (which is true of course) I am trying to explain that things didn't look bright for the coalition either during the entire course of the war.
True, but the gap in differences between France and the coalition was not stellar. The main difference and advantage to France is that a coalition is ultimately always a coalition and often lacks in unity of command, such as during the episode at Bouchain were William could only stare at Louis with his 50 000 men since Monterrey wasn't willing to risk his Spanish contingents in a decisive battle.



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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Then do explain.
The only point intended there was to point out that the burden of maintaining a 10 armies (example) is comparably more burdensome then 10 smaller nations each providing one army to their alliance, thus each constituent member only carrying the burden of 1 (not 10) armies.


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
I think it does.
No it didn't: coalitions were formed to oppose the bigger bullies.


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
That's all good and well, but it doesn't deny my point of saying that the Golden Century didn't last for less then thirty years.
I'm saying historians do. There is no exact determining of how long it lasted, just average periodical measurements, at largest some claim it to be the 17th century, I'd narrow it down to the period culturally most relevant, as in: when the greatest minds of the Republic were still alive and culture flourished the most.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
First of all we shouldn't rely on one or a few quotes out of one history book. Secondly the quote states very clear that although the Dutch had to pay for their position they would keep it until the beginning of the 18th century.
First of all, I think my source is the academic compendium for bachelors in history at the university of Ghent, not some 3rd world nation. It's written by several dutch and belgian historians. So excuse me but my source is more then credible. You have something that trumps it, show me.

And yes, I specifically said 'stagnation' towards 1702, (relative) 'decline' after 1702.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
De laatste decennia van de 17e eeuw vertonen dat beeld not niet. Wel beginnen de aanwijzingen zich aan te dienen, dat de grote tijd voorbij is. Handel en scheepvaart zijn weliswaar niet in verval, maar in plaats van groei is er nu stilstand en achteruitgang.

This part states very clear that indeed the Dutch would soon lose their prominent position over England, but that it hadn't gone yet at least not until the end of the 17th century. The country may not have grown anymore, but since it was already on a extrodinary position it couldn't. I rather see it as the Dutch republic got stuck on it's peak and remained there for a while. At the beginning of the 18th century it came crushing down and England took over. And since you have clearly stated that the Dutch Golden Century started in 1625 and we can make up that it definitely ended in 1702 we can state that it's duration was almost a century.
Already explained that the criteria for the Golden Century vary and that many choose to stick with cultural markations. Other then that you simply repeated my point. I don't really see how you're disagreeing with me at all in the above.


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Yes the are, but it seems that while I see stagnation not immediatly as losing of ones prominent position and wealth. Since England didn't strive the Dutch by until William's death the Dutch still had their position and trade was still flowing. The Dutch were wealthy and it enjoyed great prestige. Why would you state it already ended in 1648 while the same amount of wealth would at least durate until the end of the 17th century?
That was my point, I never said otherwise. You disagree on something you agree


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
No and that is not what I am trying to point out. Of course the Dutch may have still be wealthy, but it's like taking hundred euro from an European employee. He still belongs to the wealthy group of European citizen, but he became a bit poorer. Perhaps while his friends remains the same amount of get's a raise. Both still belong to a wealthy group but the one has decreased in wealth. Same with the situation between England and the Republic. The Dutch remained wealthy, but it became less wealthy (also I am talking about the state not about the average citizen) then England, but as I have stated this only started to occur at the beginning of the 18th century. If you really want to make a point then you have to give me a very good reason why you find that the prominent position and wealth of the state suddenly ended at the end of the eighty years war. Cause in most cases at the end of a war prosperity starts and does not end their
I never said it ended in 1648! (Golden Century =/= period of Dutch economical/political greatness by definition, my argument only deals with the economical and political aspects but the Golden Century I judge by its cultural standards, that's why my span of time is smaller but otherwise this is entirely unrelated to the argument in se, if you want to adress economic aspects as well, you can very well stretch the Golden Age up to 1702 and perhaps a few decades into it, however, that's not relevant to the contents of my argument) I said 'by 1672-78' (using this war only as marking point, not as the exact date when it happened, things like these happen gradually of course) that things began to gradually stagnate while in the same period England for example was growing at a tremendous rate and that only by 1702 (again using the death of William as a canonical marking point) a decline had begun. And I've also specifically said that this didn't entail the Republic becoming poor, it entailed her losing her leading mercantile role (to Britain at that).


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
The moedernegotie is one of the first things we learn about Dutch history so don't worry that I haven't heard about it . Still the quote you have give me states very clear that trade didn't show signs of decline or stagnation yet. Since trade still is untouched and the moedernegotie being the main branch of this why do you then state that the Sont trade was declining?
The quote I gave you said exactly that the dutch mercantile empire was stagnating (in growth) and subsequently declining. My quote was a general one and not about the Moedernegotie specifically, but since I now have my sources with me, the numbers are like this:

-> By 1767 the number of ships passing through the Sont were 6495, of those 2273 ships were dutch, all in all good for a staggering 35%. However, these numbers conceal a serious decline both in relative and absolute terms:

- many of the Dutch vessels now travelling the Sont were smaller vessels from Friesland and the Wadden Isles, the great bulk-carriers had seriously diminished in number. For example: the bulk-carrying fleet of Hoorn fell from 10 700 lasts (this is a term referring to tonnage) in the 1680's, to 1856 lasts in the 1730's, to 1201 lasts in the 1750's.

- economically the biggest blow to seafaring came when the fishing industry collapsed and the rich trades receded in the beginning of the 18th century (like I said, decline from 1702 onward, not in 1702 itself, but gradually)

- the contraction of ship-building was symptomatic for a nationwide decline, the number of shipyards on the Zaan fell from over 40 in 1690 to 27 in the 1730's to 23 in 1750.

- only in the re-export of colonial produce did the dutch economy continue to grow, however, compared to the massive growth of the French and British export it was actually relative decline.

- by 1770 the dutch share in the Baltic grain trade was at just over 40% while a 100 years early it was still a virtual monopoly

-> Another consequence of the economic stagnation was de-urbanisation, which was quite strange since all of Europe was experiencing an urbanisation trend, many cities in the Republic were actually in reverse throughout much of the 18th century:

Leiden: 70 000 (1688), 44 000 (1749), 31 000 (1795)
Rotterdam: 50 000 (1688), 44 000 (1749), 57 500 (1795)
Haarlem: 50 000 (1688), 26 000 (1749), 21 000 (1795)
Middelburg: 30 000 (1688), 25 000 (1749), 20 146 (1795)
Delft: 24 000 (1688), 13 910 (1749), 14 500 (1795)
Gouda: 20 000 (1732), 11 700 (1795)
Enkhuizen: 14 000 (1688), 10 400 (1732), 6800 (1795)
Zaandam: 20 000 (1688), 12 500 (1749), 10 000 (1795)

Behind the staggering decline in Haarlem and Leiden lay the collapse of the fine-cloth industry which had made them so prosperous before. In Leiden the production fell from 25 000 rolls in 1700 to 8 000 in the late 1730's.

-> The burden of the maintaining of her leading mercantile role had caused the national debt to increase from 38 000 000 guilders in 1678 to 128 000 000 guilders in 1713, due to the ever increasing burdens it had to carry as France and Britain assaulted her dominant status. The Dutch were evidently punching succesfully above their weight, but it could only last that long, this is again what I meant with stagnation and relative decline: the cost of succes comes at an ever increasing price, till finally that price became to high and it began to crash down, that happened in the 18th century.

-> The growth the Dutch economy had experienced now also became a burden. The dutch taxpayer paid about 3x as many taxes as his British or French equivalent. The high indirect taxes on consumption however led to correspondingly higher wages and diminished competitiveness. Cloth-workers in Leiden costs 2x as much as those workers across the frontier in the southern Netherlands and 3x as much as those in the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. By 1700 the traditional customers of dutch products began to search elsewhere and they also began to find it more convenient to ship their goods in their own ships. It was only logical that sooner or later the Dutch would lose their technological gap, that others would construct their own "fluyts", erect their own merchant marine and simply cut out the dutch middleman.


Like I said, in absolute terms some sectors of the Dutch economy still grew and the Dutch nation remained quite wealthy, but her dominant position - and this is the only thing relevant when speaking of stagnation and decline on a global level - was gone forever. In trade they still showed tenacity but at home we see them moving away from manufacturing towards financing, a typical step when a state that in the past had acquired a lot of weatlth in some industry or mercantile enterprise, they in time began to suffer under the increased competition and shifted to a role of investing their profits from the past in the enterprises of their former concurrents rather then to compete them as the latter was a lost cause by default. Charles Wilson called the Republic from then on a 'rentier economy', a passive player in the European economy.


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Since decline starts in 1702 it hasn't in the pre-1702 period. As simple as that.
Which I never suggested. Stagnation and relative decline do not equal decline or collapse. Stagnation implies a halting of growth in absolute or relative terms and relative decline implies (with a possibility of slight absolute growth) a diminishing return on investments made, this is simple economics 101.


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Then the Dutch probably didn't stick to that mecrantile regulation . The war started in Holland and it was probably not Louis intend that the rest of Europe would follow.
No but it did & that changed everything and raised the stakes and changed the goals. Two predators are figthing over an object, suddenly some other predators with also some nice juicy objects decide to attack the other predator. He bests them all and feasts upon their objects, yet the one he attacked first was no longer of any grave concern given the profit he would gain from defeating the others. Did this predator lose because the turn of events managed to bring him larger profits?


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
In that case it was aimed to damage the Dutch Republic and I find that mercantile regulation a very light damage comparted what he wanted to achieve.
Because the goals had changed when the rest of Europe decided to stab France in the back.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Or do you think that Louis would declare war on Spain by it self if it hadn't aided the Dutch Republic just to acquire Franch-Comte and territories in Flanders.
Ehm... DUH ... he had just attacked the Republic with no good excuse whatsoever. It was blatant imperialism without even an attempt to cover it up legally as with the previous war. The main goal throughout his reign was natural borders for France, the Pyrenees and the Rhine were those borders, the Republic wasn't really in the way for that, the biggest factor was still the Spanish territories in Flanders and Franche-Comté and along the Pyrenees and some Empire principalities along the way. Every opportunity to snatch territory away and expand his borders with his motto of "natural borders" in mind was more then good enough for Louis to start a war. And he fought many wars after that to do so.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Click the image to open in full size.


It could offer all it's territory below the rhine. Something Louis was aiming for.
Who could offer that? Louis was aiming for expansion, he wasn't a retard so he realised that the rest of Europe wasn't going to hand it all to him, yet the gains are more then sizeable.


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
And has Louis really provited from this in the future? Not that I am aware of. It's always nice to gain territory and it may have strengthenend Louis position, but all his enemies were still in tact and ready to fight another war.
... Seriously? When was war ever to fully destroy your opponent? This is the Early Modern period, not the Second World War.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
While an army still wandered near the main cities?
Of course, what's the point staying put with 20 000 soldiers behind a wall of water which stretched out over several miles you know, it wasn't just a big river, an entire stretch of land was reformed into an inner sea, not much to fear from the other side unless they all swam across. And with the Dutch controlling the seas not much to fear from launching boats or anything.

Also, William undertook a military campaign in the Republic at the end of 1673, which was at the time when Condé decided to abandon the country because of the capture of Bonn and all that, William quickly took some remaining garrisoned cities (which surrendered generally since fighting on when Condé was going elsewhere was quite pointless), like at Naarden where the officer leading the garrison, Du Pas, gave the city to the prince of Orange (14 septembre 1673) after 4 days since he wanted to avoid a direct assault which he surely lose. William avoided a direct confrontation with Condé when he was still in the country and the former was to busy with trying to cross the water to really go on a wild goose chase and then of course he no longer saw any reason in staying. Other then that, William was generally abroad in the Germany (in the beginning) and the Southern Netherlands (most of the war) adding his forces to that of the rest of the coalition to unsuccesfully try and stop Louis.


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Some call it betraying other playing smart.
In the early modern era it was unanimously seen as betrayal. That's not a moral judgement, that's a fact, the Republic opted out before the others and left those in a more perilous position at the negotiating table.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Still Louis actual goal to really harm the Republic wasn't achieved. During his entire reign that northern protestant country would always be a burden to him.
Not really. The only real problem with the Republic was its mercantile dominance, 1672 was to adress that and only partially succeeded, other then that, it was the economic policy of Colbert that pursued that end. Geopolitically the goals of France under Louis XIV where the Rhine and the Pyrenees, look again at the above map: he amply achieved those goals.


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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
Well perhaps not during the flood, but he leaded the Dutch armies in the Southern Netherlands, Germany etc.
Every major battle he participated in he lost though.

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Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering View Post
I wonder if they couldn't hold it out in a room for 5 minutes or if they would be best friends. Since they have not meet eachother in youth and were constantly at war I guess they didnt meet. Perhaps only on the peace table, but even that I doubt. Both are just fascinating man.
Negotiations were generally conducted by embassies, not by monarchs personally. Given the difference in personality, I'm thinking both men would have thoroughly hated/despised one another
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