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.

1420 Huybrecht van Eyck (c. 1385–90 – 18 September 1426) begins the Ghent Altarpiece in Saint Bavo’s Cathedral.
1421 A storm on St. Elizabeth’s Day breaks dykes along the Maas and Waal rivers, causing a flood that drowns 10,000 people.
1428 Treaty of Delft
1432 Jan van Eyck completes the Ghent Altarpiece.
1438 Dutch-Hanseatic War begins.
1441 Treaty of Copenhagen ends the Dutch-Hanseatic War
1477 Beginning of the rule of the Austrian Habsburgs.

1506 Holland is inherited by the future Habsburg Emperor and King of Spain Charles V.
1510 War of Holland against the Hanseatic League.
1523 The first two Antwerp Lutherans (ex-Augustine monks) are burnt in Brussels. They are the first two martyrs of the Reformation (forerunner of the Spanish inquisition).
1526 Carolus Clusius born
1526 The first Dutch Bible, written in Flemish, is published in Antwerp by Jacob van Liesvelt.
1529 The Diet of Speyer issues a harsh edict against the Anabaptists, decreeing that anyone who rebaptized others or had been rebaptized was to be executed without an ecclesial trial.
1530 November 5, St. Felix’s Flood occur in Belgium and Netherlands, many towns disappear with more than 100,000 deaths.
1531 First Anapbatist¹ executed in Delft. Revolutionary Anabaptists organise in Amsterdam.
1532 November 1, All Saints flood in, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. Several towns disappear, with many thousands of deaths.
1533 William the Silent born in Dillenburg castle, then in the County of Nassau-Dillenburg, in the Holy Roman Empire (now in Hesse, Germany).
1534 Anabaptists try to spread their beliefs to Amsterdam, and their repression follows.
1535 Eighteen Anabaptists burned at the stake in Leiden.Sixty-two are executed in Amsterdam.
1536 Death of Erasmus
1539  Twenty-eight Anabaptists executed in Delft.
           The Revolt in Ghent
1544 William becomes Prince of Orange
1545 First signs of Calvinism in the Southern Netherlands.
1548 Stevin born
1555 Philip II of Spain sends the duke of Alba to the Low Countries to confront the Protestant Reformation.
1559 William of Orange stadholder of Holland and Zeeland.
1566 August 10, the Beeldenstorm (Iconoclasm) begins in Steenvoorde (French Flanders), when the chapel of the Sint-Laurensklooster is defaced.

>1568 The Seventeen Provinces rally against Spain in the beginning of the Eighty Years’ War.

1570 November 1, the All Saints flood occurs in Belgium and Netherlands. Several towns disappear and there are more than 20,000 deaths.

1571 Founding of the Calvinistic Dutch Reformed Church at the Synod of Emden.
1572 Capture of Brielle by the Sea Beggars
1573 the Sea Beggars defeat a Spanish squadron under the command of Admiral Bossu off the port of Hoorn in the Battle on the Zuiderzee.

1575 The University of Leiden founded by Willem de Zwijger (the Silent)

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.
1584 William the Silent, Prince of Orange, assassinated by Balthasar Gérard at the Prinsenhof in Delft

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.

1619 Batavia established

1621 Snellius, in Cyclometricus, discovers the law of refraction

1621 Dutch West India Company chartered.

1626 Peter Minuit “purchased” Manhattan Island from the Manhattoes Native Americans for the equivalent of $24, legalising the Nieuw Amsterdam settlement founded the previous year at the mouth of the Hudson River.

1629 Huygens born, 14 April

1632 Leeuwenhoek born, 24 October

1633 The Tulip bulb mania or Tulipomania takes hold.

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

1641 The Dutch get permission from the Japanese shogun to develop a small trading post on Deshima.

1642 Rembrandt completes 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. The independence of the Netherlands was recognized by the Treaty of Westphalia.

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

1664 New Amsterdam renamed New York by the English.

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

1674 Leeuwenhoek describes infusoria, (protists)

1675 Huygens patents the pocket watch

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.

1740 Batavia Massacre

1782 Dutch become first to officially recognise nationhood of the United States.

<1795 Velvet Revolution. French troops occupy Holland with the aid of Dutch revolutionaries and establish the Batavian Republic. William V flees to England.

1799 The United East India Company is liquidated.

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.


¹All Anabaptist dates taken from, The prosecution of Anabaptists in Holland, 1530-1566 by Geraerts, Jaap


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