Dutch War of 1672–78

Dutch War of 1672–78

 

the name, in the historical literature, of the war between coalitions of states, led by France on one side and the United Provinces (the Dutch republic) on the other. France, dissatisfied with the results of the War of Devolution of 1667, initiated the war.

This second aggressive war of Louis XIV reflected the French-Dutch colonial and commercial rivalry and the attempt by France to consolidate its hegemony in Europe. France drew England (1670) and Sweden (1672) into the anti-Dutch alliance. In 1672, England began a naval war and France began a land war.. The French army, led by first-class generals (Turenne, Condé, and others), took a series of important Dutch fortresses and advanced deep into the country, directly threatening Amsterdam. The Dutch succeeded in stopping the advancement of the French troops only by opening the sluices of the dikes and flooding part of the country. William III of Orange was placed at the head of the Dutch armed forces.

A combination of factors compelled Louis XIV to agree to peace (the Peace of Nijmegen of 1678–79): the formation in 1673–74 of an anti-French coalition comprising Holland, Spain, Denmark, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and the majority of the princes of the Empire, including the elector of Brandenburg; England’s departure from the war in 1674; the defeat of the French troops on the Rhine and the victories of the Brandenburg troops over the Swedes in Pomerania; and a wave of popular uprisings in France itself.

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