The Dutch in the Medway

A guide to the outstanding quality of this book is that it is still a standard source for Dutch historians. The Dutch Wars were not the finest times for the Royal Navy. This book explains why and just how bad it was for Britain. This book is a must for all who are interested in the days of sail, most highly recommended.


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NAME: The Dutch in the Medway
FILE: R2460
AUTHOR: P G Rogers
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  192
PRICE: £16.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Dutch Wars, United Provinces, Low Coutries, growth empires, 
seamanship, Royal Navy, corruption, Stuarts, Dutch Admiralties, 
Medway Ports, Home Fleet, River Medway
ISBN: 978-1-4738-9568-3
IMAGE: B2460.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/j5yukoc
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: A guide to the outstanding quality of this book is that 
it is still a standard source for Dutch historians.  The Dutch Wars 
were not the finest times for the Royal Navy. This book explains why 
and just how bad it was for Britain. This book is a must for all who 
are interested in the days of sail, most highly recommended. 

The lack of coverage of the Dutch Wars in English is perhaps 
understandable because there was little to commend the performance 
of the Royal Navy. What is perhaps more remarkable is that the Dutch 
have not written a large number of books covering every aspect of 
their successes against Britain. It is therefore ironic that the 
author,  an Englishman, should, in 1970, write the premier reference 
work on the Dutch raid on the Medway, and that this latest reprint is 
still the premier work.

When Dutch ships raided the Medway home of the British Royal Navy and 
made off with the flagship, Royal Charles, it was an exciting story 
in its own right. What moves this on from a ripping yarn to a work of 
research and scholarship is that the author painstakingly researched 
the subject and the Dutch Wars with help from friends in the 
Netherlands. Without losing any excitement of the action itself, he 
has managed to provide a detailed picture of the reasons for the Dutch 
Wars, the nature of the United Provinces, the seamanship of Dutch 
sailors and nature of the Dutch Empire. The well-written text is 
accompanied by a photo-plate section in full colour, making a delightful 
book.

By the time of the Dutch Wars, Britain was already a united kingdom 
that was starting to build a global Empire, based on adventuring 
merchants. Across the North Sea a small group of largely autonomous 
states, with a very small population, had become the United Provinces. 
They were the Protestant remainder of the Spanish Netherlands and had 
been Allies to Elizabeth I, breaking free from Spain with Tudor help. 
As a nation of seamen they had much in common with the British, a long 
history of trading with Eastern England with those of Dutch origin who 
had moved to England as merchants and sea defence/drainage specialists.

The Stuart Kings who followed the Tudors were arrogant penny pinchers 
who allowed the British Fleet to suffer from corruption and lack of 
funding. They expected the North Sea and Channel to be treated as 
exclusively British waters and rapidly created tension with the Dutch 
who depended on fishing and trade. The Dutch were also establishing 
successful trade factories and colonies around the world that 
restricted British expansion.

What made the Dutch domination of sea battles all the more exemplary 
was that they were fought and won against self-imposed odds. The 
United Provinces guarded their positions jealously and this created 
many difficulties in forming a fleet to fight against enemies. This 
was a factor in day to day governance and produced a number of 
Admiralties that had to contribute ships to the Dutch Fleet. This 
extended to challenges in awarding rank because one Admiralty would 
expect its commander to hold at least equal rank with a commander from 
another Admiralty. In spite of these challenges, the Dutch seamen worked 
together very successfully and audaciously. Their attack on the Royal 
Navy in its home port is a great example and was to lead on into major 
reforms of the Royal Navy, its re-equipment and a fight to remove the 
massive corruption that had so damaged it. 

Shortly after the final Dutch War, the Dutch had the last laugh when 
William of Orange and his wife Mary were invited by the British 
Parliament to depose the last Stuart King, James II, who had narrowly 
escaped death at the Battle of Sole Bay, in the final Dutch War, when 
one of the Dutch ships, Kruiningen 56 gun, bravely attacked the British 
100 gun flagship carrying James, then Duke of York, and set it on fire, 
killing most of the British officers.