Time Line

General History of the Netherlands, in Progress…

1st cent. BC The area’s first inhabitants – Frisians, Batavians, and other tribes – settle the coastal territory along the Rhine River. The Batavians become allies of Rome.
12 BC Roman general Drusus attempts to push the empire’s frontier in Holland beyond the Rhine.
4th cent. AD Barbarian invasions. Saxons settle in the east and Franks in the south.
814 On the death of Charlemagne, the Frankish emperor of the West and conqueror of the Saxons and Frisians, his empire is divided. The Low Countries become part of Lotharingia, squeezed between the German lands and France.
10th century The counts of Holland and Zeeland and the bishopric of Utrecht begin to gain greater control of their own affairs.

1170 November 1, All Saints’ Flood, Netherlands, marks beginning of creation of Zuiderzee

1275 Count Floris V of Holland grants “Aemstelledamme” freedom from tolls on travel and trade. The year is regarded as Amsterdam’s official foundation date.
1384 Duke Philip the Bold begins to gain control of the Low Countries for Burgundy.
1421 A storm on St. Elizabeth’s Day breaks dikes along the Maas and Waal rivers, causing a flood that drowns 10,000 people.
1477 Beginning of the rule of the Austrian Habsburgs.
1506 Holland is inherited by the future Habsburg Emperor and King of Spain Charles V.

1526 Carolus Clusius born

1530 November 5, St. Felix’s Flood, Belgium and Netherlands, many towns disappear, more than 100,000 deaths

1532 November 1, All Saints flood, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, several towns disappear, many thousands of deaths

1548 Stevin born

1555 Philip II of Spain sends the duke of Alba to the Low Countries to confront the Protestant Reformation.

1568 Dutch rally against Spain in the beginning of the Eighty Years’ War.

1570 November 1, All Saints flood, Belgium and Netherlands, several towns disappear, more than 20,000 deaths

1575 University of Leiden founded by Willem de Zwijger

1578 Amsterdam abandons the Spanish and Catholic cause. Calvinists take over in what is called the Altercation. Public Catholic worship is outlawed and churches are confiscated.

1579 The Union of Utrecht unites the seven provinces of the northern Low Countries.

1580 Snellius born, 30 October

1581 The United Provinces declare their independence from Spain.

1585 Stevin publishes De Thiende (The Dime) introducing decimal fractions.

1588 Beeckman born, 10 December

1602 The United East India Company (V.O.C.), destined to become a powerful force in Holland’s “Golden Age” of discovery, exploration, and trade, is founded.

1605 Hortensius born

1608 Hans Lippershey patents the first telescope.

1609 Beginning of the 12-year truce with Spain. The English navigator Henry Hudson, under contract to the United East India Company, sails from Amsterdam and “discovers” Manhattan Island and the future site of New York.

1621 Snellius, in Cyclometricus, discovers the law of refraction

1621 Dutch West India Company chartered.

1626 Peter Minuit “purchases” Manhattan Island from the Manhattoes Native Americans for the equivalent of $24, legalizing the Nieuw Amsterdam settlement founded the previous year at the mouth of the Hudson River. In 1664 it was renamed New York by the English.

1629 Huygens born, 14 April

1632 Leeuwenhoek born, 24 October

1634 October 11–12, Burchardi flood, broke the Island of Strand into parts (Nordstrand and Pellworm) in Nordfriesland

1637 Swammerdam born, 12 February

1638 Ruysch born, 23 March

1642 Rembrandt paints The Night Watch.

1642-43 Navigator Abel Tasman is the first European to reach Tasmania and New Zealand.

1648 End of Eighty Years’ War with Spain.

1651  March 4–5 Netherlands, St. Peter’s Flood

1652 Jan van Riebeek founds Cape Town, South Africa.

1655 Christiaan Huygens discovers Titan, a moon of Saturn.

1656 Huygens determines Saturns rings were formed by rocks.

1656 Christiaan Huygens builds a pendulum clock.

1657 Huygens releases the first book on probability: Calculating in Games of Chance

1661 Huygens observes the transit of Mercury

1668 Swammerdam describes red blood cells

W.J. s’Gravesande born, 27 September

Boerhaave born, 31 December.

1669 Swammerdam describes epigenesis in insects.

1672 Rampjaar (Disaster Year) following the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War and the Third Anglo-Dutch War,the Dutch Republic was simultaneously attacked by England, France, and the prince-bishops Bernhard von Galen, bishop of Münster, and Maximilian Henry of Bavaria, archbishop of Cologne. The invading armies quickly defeated the Dutch States Army and conquered part of the Republic.

1674 The English are defeated by the navy under Michiel de Ruyter, resulting in the Treaty of Westminster

1675 Huygens patents the pocket watch

1674 Leeuwenhoek describes infusoria, (protists)

1676 Leeuwenhoek’s descriptions of bacteria first read at the Royal Society, London.

1677 Leeuwenhoek discovers spermatozoa.

1678 Huygens presents the wave theory of light

1682 Leeuwenhoek discovers the banded pattern of muscle fibres.

1686 November 12, Saint Martin flood, Netherlands, 1586 deaths

1689 Stadhouder William III and his wife, Mary, become king and queen of England.

1782 Dutch become first to officially recognize nationhood of the United States.
1799 The United East India Company is liquidated.
1795 Velvet Revolution. French troops occupy Holland with the aid of Dutch revolutionaries and establish the Batavian Republic. William V flees to England.
1806-10 Louis Bonaparte, Napoléon’s brother, reigns as king of Holland.
1813 The Netherlands regains independence from the French.
1814 Holland becomes the kingdom of the Netherlands, a constitutional monarchy headed by Willem I of the House of Oranje-Nassau, and incorporating Belgium.
1830 Belgium breaks free from Dutch rule.

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