In The Dutch Wars of Independence, Marjolein 't Hart assesses the success of the Dutch in establishing their independence through their eighty years struggle with Spain - one of the most remarkable achievements of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Other rebellions troubled mighty powers of this epoch, but none resulted in the establishment of an independent, republican state.
This book:tells the story of the Eighty Years War and its aftermath, including the three Anglo-Dutch Wars and the Guerre de Hollande (1570-1680). explores the interrelation between war, economy and society, explaining how the Dutch could turn their wars into commercial successes. illustrates how war could trigger and sustain innovations in the field of economy and state formation ; the new ways of organization of Dutch military institutions favoured a high degree of commercialized warfare. shows how other state rulers tried to copy the Dutch way of commercialized warfare, in particular in taking up the protection for capital accumulation.
As such, the book unravels one of the unknown pillars of European state formation (and of capitalism). The volume investigates thoroughly the economic profitability of warfare in the early modern period and shows how smaller, commercialized states could sustain prolonged war violence common to that period.
It moves beyond traditional explanations of Dutch success in warfare focusing on geography, religion, diplomacy while presenting an up-to-date overview and interpretation of the Dutch Revolt, the Anglo-Dutch Wars and the Guerre de Hollande.