Netherlands

The Netherlands: Maurice (Maurits), 1584 -1625.

Early in the 1500s the Netherlands was ruled by Spain. From 1568 the House of Orange, one of the Holland's most powerful families, led a revolt against Spain, and by 1581 Holland had become a republic. It would be some years before Belgium and Luxembourg would be free of Spain.

Most people in Holland were Protestants who did not want to be ruled by Catholics.

Holland, like England, was a maritime country and relied heavily on trade. During the late 1500s sailors ventured to the East Indies and discovered the wealth of the Spice Islands. This led to Holland becoming a leading player in world trade. By the mid 1600s Holland, with its new empire, was at the forefront of European trade, art and science.

Maurits was Prince of Orange and Stadholder of Holland. He never married. During his reign the VOC (Dutch East India Company) was founded. The VOC was based in Amsterdam, an unimportant city at that time. The Dutch were renowned in England for their cruelty in the Spice Islands. Oliver Cromwell finally got the better of the Dutch and reclaimed the Company's territory, Pulo Run, in the Spice Islands.