Jan de Witt
Witt, Jan de
Born Sept. 24, 1625, in Dordrecht; died Aug. 20, 1672, in The Hague. Dutch statesman; in effect ruler of the Republic of the United Provinces (of the Netherlands) from 1650 to 1672. From 1653, grand pensionary of the province of Holland.
De Witt represented the interests of the Dutch merchant oligarchy and followed a policy aimed at barring the princes of the House of Orange from governing the country and of securing the hegemony of the province of Holland in the republic. In the wars against England and Portugal and later against the Anglo-French-Swedish coalition (1672), he strove to defend Dutch commercial and colonial positions. Military setbacks and the invasion of the country by French forces in 1672 (Dutch War of 1672-78) led to a popular uprising in The Hague (largely provoked and utilized by the political opponents of De Witt—the Orangists) during which De Witt was murdered.
A. N. CHISTOZVONOV