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Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Dutch navy in the First Anglo-Dutch War: what we know and sources

When we look at the period of the First Anglo-Dutch War, we can divide up war into segments of time, based on our knowledge and sources. We can characterize the sources as being from the Nationaal Archief, in The Hague, from Notary Archives from the cities, and more obscure sources such as the Riksarkivet in Stockholm. From February 1652 until August 1652, our knowledge is very incomplete. We have fairly good information from this period about ships hired by the Directors of Amsterdam. We also have good information about ships of the Admiralty of Rotterdam (or the Maze). We have some lists, but little actual ship data from this period. From September 1652 until December 1652, we have better ship data for the Admiralty of Amsterdam, the Admiralty of Zeeland, and the Admiralty of Friesland. We have poor information from this period about the Admiralty of the Noorderkwartier and the various directors other than Amsterdam. We also do not have much information about the VOC ships employed from July to October 1652. Given that the Vogelstruis served from at least July to February 28, 1653, we have very little information (which seems rather surprising). The period of January 1653 to April 1653 is the least documented period of the war. While we have some information from this period, we really do not have the fundamentals: fleet lists and ship data for the majority of the navy. From April until November 1653, we have much more complete information, although still with gaps. It will take some revelations about obscure sources and privately held papers to change the situation. We can speculate that there is more (and we know this to be true) that is known but is being closely held for now. I would be happy to buy other authors' books, if I can find out the sources that they used. I like having photographs of the original documents, not just information about what was found.

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