Rampjaar #tbt to that time when we didn't let xenophobia get in the way of some sweet, motherfucking, payback. 1789.
# tbt to that time when we didn't let xenophobia get in the way of some sweet, motherfucking, payback. 1789.
The paintings, drawings, and sculptures included in ‘Rampjaar' are a disconnected series of the struggles and triumphs of the people of the Low Countries in their fight against the First Frenglish Empire under the mad Francis III (The Terrible). The Dutch, despite their circumstances were initially reluctant to band together to resist their powerful occupier. The separate provinces made their own treaties with Frengland and Friesland became an ally of Frengland in exchange for independence from The Kingdom of Holland and Zeeland. The latter was embroiled in major conflicts in New Frengland (New England), The Caribbean, South America, The Cape Colony (Kaapkolonie), and The East Indies against the Frenglish menace. Eventually, The Kingdom of Holland and Zeeland (a sub branch of the House of Orange-Nassau) ceased to exist in Europe. The Frenglish occupation that began in 1737 continued until 1790 (A part of the global 50 Years War). The death of Willem Ferdinand of House Orange at the hands of an angry Dutch mob gave Francis III, the Emperor of Frengland all the excuses he needed to annex the Low Countries. For Willem was initially willing to accept Frenglish suzerainty in exchange for increased autonomy within his own kingdom and lands. Francis III initially wanted to conquer the Kingdom of Fennoscandia (most of present day Scandinavia) for Frengland but needed to move his warships through the North Sea to attack. He then settled on a land invasion via the Kingdom of Holland and Zeeland to invade Denmark first. This action was not received well by the Dutch or his erstwhile German allies across the Rhine. This misstep caused the fledgling Prussian Empire to enter the war on the side of the Dutch but they would be hampered by fierce resistance from the Frenglish allied Duchies of Baden, Wurttemberg, Bavaria, and Hesse. However, as the war continued on, and Francis grew more cruel in his quest to control all of Western Europe, his allies melted away and joined forces with the Prussians and the Dutch resistance, eventually leading to the Treaty of Danzig which ended all battles on the European continent, annexed Belgium to the Batavian Republic (Netherlands), and created the independent Kingdom of Luxembourg. Field Marshall Hippolyte Perreau as president of the First Frenglish Republic replaced Francis III and his wife. Francis and Magda were sentenced to death but were not killed for a few years despite popular opinion for immediate death. Batavia however had a much rougher transition. The recent acquisition of Belgium into the republic was not feasible, as much of the arable land had been destroyed by war while Frenglish lands remained largely untouched. The question of who would rule was also a point of contention within Batavia. Most of the people were inspired by the recent republican era in Frengland and denounced the House of Orange-Nassau but the royalists were in control of what was left of the production centers and the economic infrastructure. They also controlled the traders, the lifeblood of the republic and immediately an invasion force was sent to the Cape Colony to retake that land from the Frenglish. That effort ended in failure and the few islands in the Caribbean and the East Indies, and New Amsterdam was all that they had although these regions were soon to become embroiled in conflict again.
The major reason for the success of the Batavians was their use of all and any manpower they could muster. Peoples from all over the Dutch world, slave and free, East Indian and Surinamese fought for their freedom and the preservation of their country adopted or otherwise. Frengland on the other hand, had massive armies to levy against any foe but lacked motivation. An incident early in the war also forced Frengland to change their policies on the use of "foreign" soldiers to fight their wars. Although the empire itself was established by the muskets of slave soldiers from the Caribbean (The Sugarcane Army) they wanted a professional "white" army to be the model. The Sugarcane Army defected and went to Prussia (a mistake that would cost the Frenglish Empire dearly in the wars to come) and only a handful of "black" soldiers were employed in the main body of the military. Outside the European continent, the Frenglish had no such reservations and impugned all natives to fight for the glory of the empire. This action led to many successes outside of Europe in all places except one, Sainte Domingue (Haiti). Here, Dutch pirates and their fast moving fluyts carried Prussian artillery officers to instruct the slave resistance fighters in combat in exchange for exclusive trading rights after the war was over. Another Frenglish setback was simply that they were spread too thin. Their global network of forts needed land and naval power to keep the locals in check and their enemies in fear. Both Frengland and Batavia still engaged in the slave trade and profited where they could but without "safe" markets to sell or employ their "human commerce" it was hard to keep it up. Some Dutch merchants and traders made exclusive rights with Frengland to remain neutral during the war. Frengland agreed as they thought this would be a form of embargo on the Dutch and would hasten their acquiescence and obedience. It worked for a time. It worked for a long time until the Prussians joined in the fight and the iron grip of Frengland began to loosen. Spain, a country with much negative history with the Low Countries had been all but annexed by Frengland. And when Frengland allowed the Berbers, Bedouins, and Turks to invade Andalusia, some Dutch resistance fighters went over to help. It was to no avail however. Much of Andalusia had been taken but when the Prussians took up arms, the powerful Ottoman navy and their support troops withdrew and left the Berbers and the Bedouins on their own. They were annihilated and pushed back across the Strait of Gibraltar but the Ottomans were able to prevent the Catholic League of Vatica (Italy) and Austria from molesting any part of their empire.
So, all of the works here illustrate much of the little wars that took place from 1738-1793. It in not by any means a complete history of the Netherlands involvement in the 50 Years war. It is simply and assortment of stories, and battles that occurred during that period of incessant warfare. The disaster year didn't really end in 1790 for Batavia but at least they had one less country to fight. Before they began to fight amongst themselves. There will be more to come.