Netherlands, Or Low Countries (Dutch, Ne-derlanden; Fr. Pays-Btw), a country of western Europe, formerly comprising Belgium as well as the present kingdom of the Netherlands. The term is applied to this region because a large portion of the surface is a dead plain, and much of it lies below the level of the sea, from which it is protected partly by natural sand hills and partly by vast artificial dikes or embankments. The kingdom of the Netherlands as it was before 1830 was bound-ed N. and W. by the North sea, E. by Prussia, and S. by France, from which countries it was not separated by any great natural barriers. It is the western termination of the vast plain which stretches across Europe to the Ural mountains. Three great rivers, the Rhine, the Maas, and the Scheldt, flow through it, and their mud, mixing with the sand banks thrown up by the ocean around their mouths, has formed the country, which, excepting the S. E. portion, is nothing but the delta of those rivers. It was by nature a wide morass, which man has made fertile and habitable by laboriously protecting it by embankments from the overflow of the rivers and the frequent inundations of the sea.
At present this region is divided into two kingdoms of nearly equal size, the Netherlands in the north and Belgium in the south. (See Belgium.") - The present kingdom of the Netherlands lies between lat. 50° 45'and 53° 35' N., and lon. 3° 24' and 7° 12' and is bounded X. and W. by the North E. by Germany, and S. by Belgium. Its length from N. to S. is about 190 m., and its breadth from about 60 to 120 m., with an area of 12,680 sq. in. It is divided into 11 prov-S which with their respective areas, their population in 1873 (according to the annual official calculation, the last decennial census having been taken in 1869), and their capitals, are as follows:
Area, square miles.
Population in 1873.
The grand duchy of Luxemburg, though it is governed by the king of the Netherlands as grand duke, is in point of administration entirely separate. (See Luxemburg.) The Netherlands possess important colonies in various parts of the world, whose aggregate population far exceeds that of the mother country. The principal of these are: in the East Indies, Java, Madura, Bali, Lombok, Banca, Ternate, Amboyna, Banda, Timor, and extensive territories in Sumatra, Borneo, and Celebes, with a total population in 1872 of 24,300,000; in America, Surinam (Dutch Guiana), Curacoa, and the islands of St. Eustatius, Aruba, Bonaire, St. Martin, and Saba, with a total population of nearly 100,000. The former possessions in W. Africa, comprising a few posts on the coast of Guinea, were by a treaty concluded in 1871, and ratified in February, 1872, ceded to Great Britain. The Hague is the residence of the king and the seat of the legislature, and Amsterdam the nominal capital of the kingdom; the other principal cities are Rotterdam, Utrecht, Leyden, Groningen, Arn-hem, Middelburg, Haarlem, Maestricht, Leeu-warden, Dort, Bois-le-Duc, Nimeguen, Delft, Zwolle, and Breda. - The seacoast of the Netherlands is lined in great part by sand banks cast up by the waves of the ocean, and, where these have not been formed, by vast dikes, built partly of granite blocks brought from Norway, and partly of timbers, fagots, turf, and clay.
These embankments are usually 30 ft. high, 70 ft. broad at the bottom, and wide enough at the top for a roadway. They have been constructed by the labor of many generations, at a cost estimated at not less than $1,500,000,000, and are maintained by an annual expenditure of upward of $2,000,000. Great pains and much expense are bestowed to keep them in order, and their supervision is intrusted to a board of commissioners, under whom there are many boards of sub-commissioners for particular districts, who from time-to time report to the central board the condition of the dikes under their care. (See Dike.) The principal rivers of the Netherlands are the Rhine, the Maas or Mouse, the Scheldt and the Vecht, though only the lower parts on these streams are within the limits of the country. The Rhine enters from Germany or the east with a breadth of nearly half a mile and divides into two branches, of which the southern, taking the name of the Waal, runs W. for a considerable distance till it joins the Maas. The N. branch, after running N. W. a few miles, divides into two streams, of which one, called the Leek, runs W. and joins the N. branch of the Maas near Rotterdam; and the other, called the Yssel, runs N. and falls into the Zuyder Zee. The Maas enters the Netherlands from Belgium near the S. E. corner of the kingdom, and flows at first N., then N. W., and finally W., and below Gorkum divides into two branches, one of which, the Mer-wede, again divides, and after flowing around the island of Ysselmonde falls into the North sea; the other branch, flowing more to the south, also divides into two smaller streams and falls into the same sea.
The Scheldt enters from Belgium in the southwest, and divides into two branches, one of which, called the Eastern Scheldt, flows N. between Zealand and North Brabant, and then W. by many channels, enclosing numerous islands, to the sea; the other branch, the Western Scheldt, flows W. in a broad estuary to the sea. The Vecht enters from Germany on the northeast, and falls into the Zuyder Zee at no great distance from the mouth of the Yssel. All these rivers are kept within prescribed channels by embankments, and are connected by canals, which serve not only for navigation but to prevent inundations by draining off the superfluous waters. The Netherlands originally abounded in lakes, about 90 of which have been artificially drained and converted into cultivable land, while others by inundations have been changed into gulfs of the sea. Among the latter is supposed to be that great inlet of the North sea, the Zuyder Zee, which covers about 1,200 sq. m. in the N. part of the kingdom, and is thought to have been originally a large fresh-water lake.
The lake of Haarlem, before it was drained, covered 70 sq. m. (See Deaixage, and Haarlem Meer.) The Dollart, a lake between Groningen and the Prussian province of Hanover, was formed by irruptions of the sea in 1277 and 1287, and occupies about GO sq., m. - The surface of the country is almost everywhere a dead level, and such natural elevations as exist are little more than small sandy hillocks. But the monotony of the surface is relieved by the numerous canals crossed by frequent bridges, and lined with willows and other trees, with which also the roads are bordered; by large and handsome towns at short intervals; and by countless villas and farm houses, all of which are kept in a state of the utmost order and neatness. The country is everywhere well peopled, and no population in the world exhibits a more uniform appearance of wealth, comfort, and contentment. The soil in some places, especially in the waste lands of Gelderland and Drenthe, is naturally poor, but by cultivation has been rendered as rich and productive as the other parts. Wheat, rye, barley, oats, peas, beans, buckwheat, madder, rape seed, hops, tobacco, clover seed, mustard seed, flax,. and hemp are extensively raised.
Dutch horticulture has long been famous, and among the flowers tulips and hyacinths are especially cultivated. Pulse and garden vegetables are everywhere raised in great abundance. Very large orchards of apple, pear, and cherry trees are found, especially in Gelderland. Of the entire area about three fourths is productive land, and more than one half of this consists of meadows and pasture. The woodland comprises only about 9 per cent, of the productive soil. In South Holland the pasture land is twice as extensive as the arable, while in Friesland the proportion is more than 8 to 1, and the rearing of live stock and dairy husbandry are more productive and profitable than tillage. In 1870 the country had 252,054 horses, 1,410,822 cattle, 900,187 sheep, and 329,058 hogs. Upon the excellent meadows created by draining bogs and lakes vast herds of cattle, some of which are brought from Denmark and Germany in a lean state, are fattened for market. Immense quantities of butter and cheese of the best quality are produced and exported at high prices. Another important product of the soil is peat, which is largely used for fuel. - The climate is variable, and subject to great extremes of heat and cold.
The temperature has sometimes fallen to 23° below zero, and risen to 102°. In winter the rivers and canals are sometimes frozen for three months. The country is subject to violent gales; the atmosphere is generally damp, dense fogs prevail, and agues, pleurisies, and rheumatisms are frequent. Consumption is not uncommon. The pleasantest months are August and September. From the nature of the soil, which is almost everywhere alluvial clay and sand, there are necessarily no mines, though a little bog iron has been found. The eastern provinces, especially Gelderland and Overyssel, have some forests of oak, elm, and beech, but in general the country is destitute of trees except those which have been planted by man. Plantations, however, are very numerous, and serve greatly to embellish the vicinity of the towns and villages; and the level scenery is also diversified by groups of wind mills, mostly employed in draining the low grounds. There are no large wild animals and few game birds, though partridges, hares, and rabbits are plentiful. Storks are very numerous, and remain from the middle of February till the middle of August. They are favorites with the people, and severe penalties are imposed on those who destroy them.
Water fowl are extremely abundant, and the waters of the coast are frequented by vast shoals of cod, turbot, and other fish. - The population of the Netherlands is composed mainly of Dutch, with about 250,000 Walloons, Frisians, and Germans, and about 08,000 Jews. The Dutch belong to the great Germanic family of mankind. The men are generally of middle stature, stout form, and fair complexion. The women are tall and handsome, are very domestic in their habits, and pay the most scrupulous attention to the cleanliness of their houses, So-briety, steadiness, economy, perseverance, and industry are the most striking features of the national character. Even the youth of both sexes are as sedate and cautious as the older people of other nations. Smoking is very common. Brandy, gin, and beer are favorite beverages, but intoxication is said to be very rare. There is great wealth in the Netherlands, and it is widely diffused, but there is little ostentatious display of it. The people generally live well, but frugally. The houses in the towns are plainly built and furnished. The country abounds in villas called pleasure houses (lust-huizen), which are usually built of brick, plastered and painted. - There are more than 600 ship yards in the country.
Among the chief branches of industry are the iron and brick manufactories, the oil mills, and the tobacco manufactories. The fabrication of earthenware at Delft is extensive and celebrated. This country has long been noted for its distilleries of spirits, and especially of gin, for which Schiedam is peculiarly famous. The manufacture of paper is extensive, and there are in the provinces of Friesland, Groningen, Gelderland, and North Brabant many estab-lishments for the manufacture of shoes for exportation. The Dutch linens are of superior quality, and the manufacture of linen and cotton goods is carried on extensively in most of the provinces. The cotton manufacture in 1873 employed about 230,000 spindles. At Tilburg there are woollen manufactories employing several thousand persons, and there are extensive silk manufactories at Amsterdam, Haarlem, and Breda. The fisheries of Holland have long been famous for their extent and productiveness, especially the herring fishery, which has been carried on since the 12th century, and has been termed the Dutch gold mine.
It is a common saying among the people that "the foundations of Amsterdam are laid on herring bones." In the middle of the 18th century the number of men employed in the herring, cod, and whale fisheries was computed at 100,000. In the first half of the 19th century the fisheries greatly declined, and in 1854 the number of vessels of all kinds employed was 1,375, of men 7,753, and the value of the produce about $15,000,000. Since then it has again improved, and the total number of families supported by the fisheries was in 1872 estimated at 20,000. - The commerce of the Netherlands, though not as extensive as formerly, is still great and active. In 1871 the imports were valued at 586,800,000 florins, and the exports at 460,500,000. Commerce is earned on chiefly with Great Britain, Germany, Java. Belgium, France, and Russia. The exports to the- United States from the Netherlands and the Dutch colonies during the year ending June 30, 1873, were valued at $11,700 - 000, and the imports at $12,500,000. The mercantile marine in December, 1874, comprised 1,804 vessels, with an aggregate tonnage of 495,285. In 1873 the entrances of shipping into the Dutch ports amounted to 8,7G2 vessels of 2,968,404 tons, and the clearances to 8,705 vessels of 3,029,646 tons. - The internal intercourse and commerce of the country are chiefly carried on by means of the canals, which communicate with the Rhine and other large rivers, and afford an easy and cheap conveyance for merchandise and passengers.
The usual mode of travelling on the canals was formerly, and in a very few districts is still, by trekschuits or draught boats, which are dragged by horses at the rate of 4 m. an hour; but small steamboats are now commonly used. The principal canal, the North Holland, runs N. from Amsterdam to the harbor of Nieuwe-diep on the Helder point, where it joins the sea and thus affords Amsterdam an easy intercourse with the ocean. (See Canal, vol. iii., p. 688.) - A large part of the foreign commerce of the Netherlands is conducted by the Handel Maatscliapij, or trading association, which in 1824 took the place of the Dutch East India company, which had for two centuries monopolized the trade with the East. (See East India Companies.) The Handel Maatschapij is the agent for the sale of the government colonial produce in Europe, of which it is also the carrier, and farms some branches of the public revenue of the East India colonies. Two thirds of the exports of the colonies pass through its hands, though it has no exclusive trading privileges.
Another great association is the " Society for the Promotion of the Public Good " (Maatschapij tot nut van 't algemeeri), which was organized in 1784 by a few benevolent persons, and has spread till it has upward of 200 branches throughout the country, with many thousand members, each of whom contributes to its funds a small sum annually. Its object is to promote the establishment of schools, hospitals, asylums, and other works of public utility. Its sections hold meetings once a fortnight, at which questions and measures tending to advance the common welfare are discussed, politics and ecclesiastical matters being excluded. Institutions for the relief of the destitute and suffering are abundant, though in general the poor are taken care of by the churches to which they belong. The number of savings banks in 1870 was 206, of which 102 belonged to the society of public good; 169 savings banks, from which official reports had been received, had 91,565 depositors, whose aggregate credits amounted to 11,933,086 florins. There are three great almshouses, one each at Amsterdam, Middelburg, and Groningen, which afford shelter, food, and clothing to a large number of persons.
Pauper colonies have also been formed on the waste lands of the country, and the able-bodied men employed in reclaiming them. The expense of these colonies is about $1,000,000 per annum, and the total annual revenues of the charitable institutions of the kingdom exceed $5,000,000. The total number of persons receiving aid from the state in 1869 was 213,620. Education is provided for by a non-sectarian primary instruction law, passed in 1857. It is under the care of the department of the interior, and is compulsory. In January, 1871, there were 2,608 public and 1,119 private schools, the former numbering 390,129 and the latter 111,762 pupils. The teachers are superintended by 94 district school inspectors, who are under 11 provincial superintendents. The proportion of the pupils of the primary schools to the entire population is 1 in 8. Higher education is imparted by 81 schools of middle instruction, with 7,047 pupils, and 55 Latin schools and gymnasia, with 1,128 pupils. There are three universities, at Leyden, Groningen, and Utrecht, with 1,339 students in January, 1871; two collegiate institutions called Athenaeums, at Amsterdam and Deventer; and a polytechnic institution at Delft. - By the constitution of the Netherlands full religious liberty is guaranteed to the people, and all churches are equal before the law.
On Dec. 1, 1869, the population was thus divided: Dutch Reformed, 1,956,852; Walloon Reformed, 5,371; Remonstrants, 5,486; Christian Reformed, 107,123; Mennonites, 44,227; Evangelical Lutheran, 57,545; Reformed Lutheran, 10,522; Moravians, 371; Anglican Episcopal, 456; church of Scotland, 84; English Presbyterians, 417; Roman Catholics, 1,307,765; Old Catholics (Jansenists), 5,287; Greek church, 32; Dutch Israelites, 64,478; Portuguese Israelites, 3,525; unknown, 5,161. The government partly pays the salaries of the ministers, priests, and rabbis of recognized congregations. The Reformed church holds to the "Confession of Faith" drawn up in the 16th century according to the doctrines of Zwingli and Calvin. It has a presbyterian form of government, and is ruled by a consistory in each congregation, by classes composed of the ministers of several contiguous parishes, together with one elder from each, by provincial synods, and by a general synod which meets annually at the Hague. The number of ministers in the church in 1873 was 1,596. There is a Roman Catholic archbishop at Utrecht, and bishops at Haarlem, Bois-le-Duc, Breda, and Roermond. The majority of the Roman Catholics are in North Brabant and Limburg. The church in October, 1873, had 973 congregations and 2,023 priests.
The Old Catholics have an archbishop of Utrecht, and bishops of Haarlem and Deventer. - The government of the kingdom of the Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy, of which the crown is hereditary in the house of Orange-Nassau. All the inhabitants without distinction are entitled to protection for person and property, and all natives are eligible to offices and public employment. Freedom of the press and the right of the people to assemble and to petition are inviolable. The eldest son of the king bears the title of prince of Orange. The king possesses the executive power, declares war, concludes peace, and makes treaties, commands the army and navy, fixes the salaries of all officers, and confers titles of nobility. He proposes projects of law to the legislature, whose chambers he can dissolve at pleasure, though he must command new elections in the course of 40 days after the dissolution, and must convene the new chambers within two months. He has a council of state, consisting in 1873 of 15 members besides the princes of the royal house, which may be consulted on extraordinary occasions. In, 1874 there were seven heads of departments in the ministerial council, viz., the ministers of the interior, of finance, of justice, of the colonies, of foreign affairs, of marine, and of war.
The king, the ministers, a secretary, and two royal princes constitute at present the members of the cabinet council. The legislative power is intrusted to the states general, composed of two chambers. The members of the upper house (called eerste kaner, first chamber), 39 in number, are elected by the provincial states for a term of nine years, a third of their number retiring every three years. Their president is appointed by the king once a year. The members are selected from the class who pay the highest amount of direct taxes, the number of persons eligible in 1871 being 1,098. The following is the ratio of their distribution among the provinces: Drenthe, 1; Groningen, 2; Utrecht, 2; Zealand, 2; Friesland, 3; Limburg, 3; Overyssel, 3; Gelderland, 5; North Brabant, 5; North Holland, 6; South Holland, 7. The lower house (tweede Earner, second chamber) in 1872 had 80 members, who are chosen for four years, from 41 electoral districts, to which they are assigned in the ratio of one representative to 45,000 inhabitants, Amsterdam having 6 representatives.
They are chosen at biennial elections by electors who must be 23 years of age, and pay taxes varying in different districts from about $8 per annum to about $24. Each member is paid a salary of about $800 a year and his travelling expenses. The speaker of the house is appointed by the king. The king's ministers have a right to sit and speak in either house, but not to vote. The states general meet at the Hague every year on the third Monday in September, and hold their sessions in public. They are obliged by law to sit at least 20 days. A majority is required for a quorum; and no measure can be enacted without the assent of an absolute majority of each house. In each province there are provincial "states," which are legislative and administrative bodies. Besides electing the members of the upper house of the states general, they are charged with the execution of the laws of the kingdom within their limits, and have power to make special and local laws, which, however, are subject to the sanction or veto of the king. The internal police of the provinces is left to their superintendence.
The king appoints a commissioner to preside over their sessions, which are held semi-annually. The members are elected for six years at triennial elections, by the same constituencies that elect the members of the states general. The number of the members of. these provin-cial legislatures varies in each province, that of South Holland, which is most numerous, having 80 members, and that of Drenthe, the smallest, 35. The communes into which each province is subdivided are governed by a burgomaster appointed by the king and by local councils elected by the people for a term of years. In 1874 the public debt amounted to 937,020,076 florins. The receipts were 93,-742,143 florins, and the expenditures 100,243,-980. The receipts of the colonial administration in 1874 were 124,908,G32 florins, and the expenditures 114,761,528. In the budget for 1875, presented Sept. 19, 1874, the receipts were estimated at 129,000,000 florins, and the expenditures at 119,000,000. The army in 1874 comprised 62,071 men. The navy con-d of 84 steamers and 16 sailing vessels, carrying together 773 guns, besides which there were about 7" gunboats. The fleet was manned on July 1, 1874, by 6,886 men, inclu-ding 1,864 marines.
The largest moneyed insti-tutions are the Netherlandish bank in Amsterdam, founded in 1814, which is a bank of issue and has a capital of 10,000,000 florins; the bank of Amsterdam, established in 1872, capital 10,000,000; and the hank of Rotterdam, capital 15,000,000. The aggregate length of the railroads in operation Jan. 1, 1874, was 989 m., the larger portion of which were owned by the state, besides 549 m. for which concessions have been given. The electric telegraph lines owned by the state had an aggregate length of 3,277 m.; the length of the wires was 11,738 m. The extent of the net of private telegraphs is not known. - Justice is adminis-tered by various courts, the chief of which is the high court of the Netherlands, consisting of a president, vice president, and 12 judges, appointed by the king from three candidates presented to him for each vacancy by the lower house of the states general. The judges hold office for life. This court hears appeals from the lower courts. All causes in which the state is defendant are tried before this court, and the high functionaries of government are amenable to it only.
There is also a provincial court in each province, and subordinate to them are district courts, which have each from 5 to 14 judges, and 150 cantonal courts, which have each a judge of the peace and a recorder. In 1870 the prisons of all kinds had 2,407 inmates. There is an excellent pris,,n for male juvenile delinquents at Rotterdam, and another for young females at Amsterdam, which are admirably managed and serve as schools for intellectual and religious training The first historical notice of the Netherlands (in the wider sense) which has come down to us is contained in Caesar's account of his wars with the Belgae and other barbarian tribes who inhabited its morasses. These tribes were mostly of Gallic race, though in some parts of the country several clans of Germanic origin had established themselves, preeminent among whom were the Batavi, whom Tacitus calls the bravest of all the Germans, and of whom in fact the Romans always spoke with marked respect. They were the allies, not the subjects of the Romans, and a Batavian legion formed the body gruard of the emperors down to the time of Vespasian. During the civil war between Vespasian and Vitel-lius, Claudius Civilis, a Batavian who had served for many years in the Roman army and had received a Roman education, organized a general confederation of all the Netherland tribes against the Romans (A. D. 69): but after a heroic struggle the insurgents were crushed by the armies of Vespasian, who had now attained the purple, and the Netherlands remained among the provinces of the empire till they were overrun by the northern barbarians in the 5th century.
The Batavi still formed the bravest portion of the Roman forces, and their cavalry was particularly distinguished. In the great battle at Strasburg between the Germans and the army of the future emperor Julian (357), the Batavian horse saved the day for the Rontons. This was the last of their achievements mentioned in history, and soon after-ward the Batavian nation seems to have lost its individuality and to have become merged, together with the Belgae, in the Frankish and Frisian tribes who had invaded and occupied the country. The monarchy of the Franks in the 6th and 7th centuries embraced the whole of the Netherlands. In the 8th century the Frisians revolted, but were subdued by Charles Martel about 734, and were soon afterward converted to Christianity. At the beginning of the 9th century they formed a part of the empire of Charlemagne. A century later, under the influence of the feudal system, the whole of the Netherlands was in the possession of a number of princes, owning a limited species of allegiance, some to the German empire, and some to the kings of France. In 922 Charles the Simple created by letters patent the first count of Holland. Before the 13th century the Netherlands had become divided into several dukedoms and countships, whose chiefs acknowledged little more than a nominal allegiance to any other sovereign.
The most powerful of these potentates was the count of Flanders, whose dominions in 1384 fell to the house of Burgundy; and in 1437 Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, became master of almost the entire Netherlands, and his successors acquired the rest. At this period the country had already become rich and populous, and the commercial cities had acquired a controlling influence in the government, and within their own limits enjoyed almost republican freedom. The states general, as the parliament was called, granted money to the sovereign only when they saw fit. Under the house of Burgundy the Netherlands became the most opulent and populous part of Europe; and their chief cities, Antwerp, Ghent, and Bruges, were especially distinguished for their wealth and splendor. By the marriage of Mary of Burgundy, daughter of Charles the Bold, with Maximilian, archduke of Austria (1477), the Netherlands became a possession of the house of Hapsburg. Her grandson, the emperor Charles V., resigned them to his son Philip II. of Spain in 1555. At this period the Netherlands comprised the dukedoms of Brabant, Limburg, Luxemburg, and Gelderland; the countships of Artois, Hainaut, Flanders, Namur, Zutphen, Holland, and Zealand; the baronies of Friesland, Mechlin, Utrecht, Overyssel, and Groningen; and the margra-viate of Antwerp; in all, 17 provinces.
They contained 208 walled cities, 150 chartered towns, 6,300 small towns and villages, and 60 fortresses of great strength, besides hamlets, castles, and farm houses. The reformation had made considerable progress among the people during the reign of Charles V., chiefly in the cities, and Philip II. soon after his accession undertook to root out entirely the new doctrines. After his father's abdication Philip remained in the country till August, 1559, when he departed to his Spanish dominions never to return. He left the Netherlands under the government of his sister Margaret, duchess of Parma, as regent, assisted by three councils: a council of state, a privy council, and a council of finance. Of these the council of state was the most important. It consisted at first of five members, among whom were two native nobles of the highest rank and character, the prince of Orange and Count Egmont. Three more were afterward added, the most distinguished of whom was Count Horn. But all the real power of the council was exercised by a secret committee of three, called the consirfta, and this was entirely under the control of one of its members, Antoine Perrenot, bishop of Arras, afterward Cardinal Granvelle, a native of France, who was greatly detested by the people.
The arrogance of Granvelle and the attempt to introduce the inquisition provoked a determined resistance, which was headed by the prince of Orange, Egmont and Horn, and other great nobles. An insurrection of the Protestants broke out in Flanders, Aug. 14, 1566, spread rapidly into other provinces, and lasted about a fortnight, during which great ravages were committed on the churches and monasteries. (See Iconoclasts.) This outbreak, which was temporarily suppressed by the influence of William of Orange, Egmont, and Horn, and by concessions from the frightened duchess of Parma, determined Philip to resort to the most severe measures to suppress Protestantism; and accordingly the duke of Alva was sent to the Netherlands in 1567, with a powerful army of Spanish veterans. Egmont and Horn were arrested and beheaded at Brussels (June 5, 1568), and also many other noblemen of distinction, and for six years the country suffered under a tyranny which for extent and ferocity is almost unparalleled in history. The prince of Orange withdrew to Germany, and appealed to the Protestant princes of that country for aid.
They allowed him to raise a force of volunteers, and gave him some pecuniary assistance, as did also Queen Elizabeth of England. He reentered the Netherlands in the latter part of 1568 at the head of an army, and called his countrymen to arms. A long war ensued, distinguished by sieges rather than by battles, and marked by various fortune on both sides. The states of Holland and Zealand conferred almost dictatorial powers on the prince of Orange, with the title of stadt-holder; and those provinces equipped a powerful naval force which greatly contributed to the ultimate achievement of Dutch independence. The severity of Alva having driven the greater part of the Netherlands to insurrection, and his attempts to suppress the revolution by force of arms having entirely failed, he was recalled, and departed in December, 1573. His successor, Requesens, was instructed to adopt a milder system of government; but he met with little success, and died of fever in March, 1576. Philip's brother Don John of Austria, the victor of Lepanto, succeeded him as viceroy; but after gaining several victories over the revolutionary forces, he too died of fever (some supposed of poison), Oct. 1, 1578. He was succeeded as regent by his nephew Alessandro Farnese. In the following year (the so-called pacification of Ghent of 1576, for the same purpose, having failed) the provinces of Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, Fries-land, Groningen, Overyssel, and Gelderland formed the union of Utrecht, and thus laid the foundation of the republic of the Seven United Provinces. Zutphen and North Brabant subsequently joined the confederation.
From this period the history of the Netherlands divides itself into that of Holland and that of Flanders and Brabant, or the southern provinces which remained under the Spanish dominion and adhered to the Roman Catholic faith, and now, though diminished by cessions of territory, constitute the kingdom of Belgium. (See Belgium.) The "assassination of William of Orange, July 10, 1584, was a terrible loss to the struggling commonwealth, which owed its existence mainly to his extraordinary wisdom, prudence, and firmness. The Dutch patriots, however, did not despair. They continued the contest with unabated courage and energy, and finally with a success truly astonishing when we consider the resources of Spain, at that time the first power in the world. Prince Maurice of Nassau, a son of the murdered statesman, though not yet 17 years of age, was chosen to succeed him. He proved to be one of the greatest generals of modern times, and his career till his death in 1625 was an almost unbroken series of battles, sieges, and victories. About this time the sovereignty of Holland was offered to Elizabeth of England, who declined it, but sent the earl of Leicester to the assistance of the Dutch with a body of troops.
Leicester, however, effected little, and was recalled in 1587. Philip II. died in 159$, and his successor Philip III. for some years continued the effort to subdue the revolted provinces. But the Dutch by this time had created a fleet that made them the first naval power of the world. Their ships were manned by hardy and daring seamen, who swept the most distant seas of Spanish commerce, and finally so impoverished the king of Spain by intercepting the remittances of treasure from the colonies, that in 1009 he agreed to a truce for twelve years. During the peace internal dissensions broke out in Holland between the Calvinists and Armin-ians, whose theological differences were made the basis of political parties, who contended for their respective tenets with great zeal and bitterness. These dissensions were fomented by Maurice, who aspired to become hereditary sovereign, and was already by his influence over the army exercising a species of dictatorship. He was opposed by the venerable Barneveldt, the head of the Arminian party, or as they came to be called the Remonstrants, from a remonstrance which they published in favor of universal toleration.
The Calvinist party, of which Maurice was chief, were soon known as Anti-Remonstrants, and those names have continued to be used in Holland to the present day. The Calvinists prevailed in the contest for the political supremacy, and Barneveldt and the famous Grotius, another eminent leader of the Remonstrants, were arrested on charges of treason. After an infamous trial, in which party spite and popular clamor were brought to bear on the judges, Barneveldt was condemned and executed, May 13, 1019, at the age of 71 years. Grotius by an artifice escaped from prison, and took refuge in France. On the expiration of the truce in 1621, the war with Spain was renewed. After the death of Maurice, who was succeeded by his brother Frederick Henry, operations on land were not for some time prosecuted with much vigor, but on sea the Dutch displayed great energy. They attacked Peru with ess, and conquered San Salvador and alarge portion of Brazil, which at that period belonged to the Spanish monarchy. They also made incessant attacks on the Spanish possessions in the East Indies, and laid the foundations of the Dutch empire in that part of the world. on He general pacification of Europe by the peace of Westphalia in 1648, a final treaty was made with Spain, which acknowledged the independence of the United Provinces after it had been practically maintained for 70 years.
This treat) also aggrandized the republic with -North Brabant and a portion of Limburg.
Frederick Henry had in the mean while been succeeded by William II. A few years later the republic became involved in war with the English commomvealth, and several great naval battles were fought between the celebrated Dutch commanders Van Tromp, De Ruyter, and De Witt, and the famous English admiral Blake. After his victory near the Goodwin sands, Nov. 29, 1652, Van Tromp sailed along the English coast with a broom at his masthead to indicate his sweeping the channel of English ships. In the final engagement, at the close of July, 1653, Van Tromp was killed and the Dutch were defeated with great loss. Peace was soon after concluded between the two republics, and Holland immediately engaged in a war with Portugal concerning their respective possessions in Brazil, in which many Portuguese vessels were captured. The war ended by the expulsion of the Dutch from Brazil in 1054. In 1005 Charles II. of England declared war against Holland, and hostilities on the ocean were prosecuted with much vigor.
Several desperate naval battles were fought with varying success during the years 1665-'6, the advantage on the whole being with the English. In June, 1667, however, De Ruyter sailed up the Thames with his fleet, burnt the shipping at Sheerness and Chatham, and blockaded for a short period the port of London. A month later the peace of Breda ended the war, and in the beginning of 1668 Holland entered into an alliance with England and Sweden to check the growing power of Louis XIV. of France, who had seized upon the Spanish Netherlands. But the fickle and deceitful Charles II., being bribed by Louis, ordered a treacherous attack on a rich Dutch fleet from Smyrna in March, 1672, which was bravely repulsed. On the 17th of the same month he declared war against his late allies, and sent a force to cooperate with the French. Sweden also joined the league against the Dutch, and Louis invaded Holland at the head of 100,-000 men commanded by the first generals of the age, and in a few days conquered the provinces of Utrecht, Gelderland, and Overyssel. The Dutch, whose forces did not exceed 25,000 men, were besides divided and weakened by the most violent contests between the partisans of the house of Orange and the opponents of that party, headed by the grand pensionary John De Witt and his brother Cornelius, by whose influence the office of stadtholder had been abolished in 1050 and the states general made the supreme power.
The partisans of De Witt proposed to remove the whole nation to the East Indies rather than submit; but the young prince of Orange, William III., afterward king of England, encouraged the people to resist, and declared he would, die in the last ditch. He was made stadtholder by acclamation, was intrusted with dictatorial power, and the De Witts were massacred by a mob at the Hague. The desperate resolution was taken to cut open the dikes and let in the ocean to drown the country and its invaders. This expedient was successful, and the bailed French were forced to retreat with great loss. Peace with England was concluded in 1674, and with France by the treaty of Nimeguen in 1678. The prince of Orange, who continued to hold supreme and almost absolute power in Holland, was married to the princess Mary, daughter of James II. of England, in 1G77, and attained the throne of England by the revolution of 1688. During his life, and for several years after his death in 1702, Holland bore a conspicuous part in the wars waged by the European powers against France to check the ambitious designs of Louis XIV. On the death of William III. the anti-Orange party prevailed in Holland, and no stadtholder was appointed.
The republic was governed by the states general, the grand pensionary, as the chief executive was styled, being till his death in 1720 the eminent statesman and diplomatist Heinsius. In 1747, the Orange party having regained the ascendancy, William IV. was made stadtholder of the republic; and on his death in 1751 his infant son William V. succeeded to the office, which he held till 1795, when Holland was conquered by France, and the Batavian republic established. During the seven years' war, from 1756 to 1763, Holland remained neutral; but in the progress of the American revolution she became involved in war with England, and her fleet sustained a severe defeat from the English on the Dogger bank in 1781, after a bloody fight. The French revolution found warm partisans in Holland among the anti-Orange faction, and their sympathy and assistance, together with an intense frost which enabled the French army to pass the rivers and canals on the ice in the winter of 1794-'5, rendered the conquest of Holland by Gen. Pichegru an easy task.
The Batavian republic, which in its closing years was administered by the director Schimmelpenninck, a statesman and patriot of eminent ability and integrity, terminated in 1806 by the erection of Holland into a kingdom, on the throne of which the emperor Napoleon placed his brother Louis. Louis ruled with moderation and kindness, but his preference of the interests of Holland to those of France gave such offence to his imperial brother, that in 1810 he abdicated, and Holland was incorporated as an integral part of the French empire. On the downfall of Napoleon the prince of Orange, who had been in exile in England, was declared king by an assembly of notables, under the title of William I., with a constitution limiting his power within moderate bounds. The ' ancient southern provinces, which had remained under Spanish rule at the time of the great revolution of the 16th century, and had subsequently belonged to the house of Austria, were annexed to Holland by the congress of Vienna, with the object of forming a power of sufficient force to serve as a check to the progress of France toward the northeast.
The difference of race, religion, language, and manners, however, prevented the assimilation of the two sections into one nation; and on the outbreak of the French revolution of 1830 the southern provinces revolted, and, aided by the French, established their independence as the kingdom of Belgium, with Leopold of Saxe-Coburg as king. The final settlement between the two kingdoms took place in 1839, when that part of Luxemburg which had been constituted by the congress of Vienna a grand duchy under the king of the Netherlands, was enlarged by a portion of Belgian Limburg. Since the separation the kingdom of the Netherlands has continued flourishing and peaceful, and has made rapid advances in prosperity and opulence. In 1848, after the French revolution of that year, the constitution was still further liberalized, and extensive reforms were introduced. William I. abdicated in 1840 in favor of his son William II., who died in 1849, and was succeeded by William III., the present king. In August, 1862, the states general passed a law for the abolition of slavery in the Dutch West Indies, which went into operation July 1, 1863. During the war between France and Germany the Netherlands maintained a strict neutrality.
With the exception of occasional conflicts with the natives in some of their East India colonies, the most important of which was a war with Acheen in the island of Sumatra in 1873-'5, the Netherlands have been engaged in no war with a foreign power since the conclusion of the treaty with Belgium in 1839. The contests between the liberal and conservative parties in regard to questions of internal policy have for several years been very bitter, but, with unimportant exceptions, have been carried on in conformity with the constitution and laws. - See Schiller, Gescliiclite des Abfalls der vereinigteii Niederlande ton der spanisclien Regierung; Bilderdijk, Gcschie-denis des vaderlands (12 vols., 1832-'9); Leo, Zurölf Bücher niederliindischier Gcscliiclite (2 vols., 1832-'5); and Motley, "The Rise of the Dutch Republic" (3 vols., 185.G), "The History of the United Netherlands," etc. (4 vols., 1860-'67), and "The Life and Death of John of Barneveld" (2 vols., 1874).