1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Holland, County and Province of
HOLLAND, COUNTY AND PROVINCE OF.—The first mention of Holland in any document is found in an imperial gift brief dated May 2nd, 1064. In this the phrase “omnis comitatus in Hollandt” occurs, but without any further description of the locality indicated. A comparison with other documentary evidence, however, leads to the identification of Holland with the forestum Merweda, or the bush-grown fenland lying between the Waal, the old Meuse and the Merwe. It is the district surrounding the town of Dordrecht. A portion of the original Holland was submerged by a great inundation in 1421, and its modern appellation of Biesbosch (reed-forest) is descriptive of what must have been the condition of the entire district in early times. The word Holland is indeed by many authorities thought to be a corruption of Holt-land (it was sometimes so spelt by 13th-century writers) and to signify wood-land. The earliest spelling is, however, Holland, and it is more probable that it means lowlying-land (hol = hollow), a derivation which is equally applicable to the district in Lincolnshire which bears the same name.
The title count of Holland appears to have been first borne by the Frisian count Dirk III., who founded Dordrecht (about 1015) and made it his residence (see below). It was not, however, till late in the 11th century that his successors adopted the style The first Count of Holland.“Hollandensis comes” as their territorial designation (it is found for the first time on a seal of Dirk V. 1083), and that the name Holland became gradually extended northwards to connote all the land subject to the rule of the counts between Texel and the Maas.
The beginnings of the history of this feudal state (the later
Holland) centre round the abbey of Egmont in whose archives
its records have been preserved. In 922 Charles the
Simple gave in full possession to a count in Frisia,
Dirk by name (a shortened form of Diederic, Latin Theodoricus),
“the church of Egmont with all that belonged to it from Swithardeshage
to Kinhem.” This man, usually known as Dirk I.,
died about 939 and was succeeded by his son of the same name.
Among the records of the abbey of Egmont is a document by
which the emperor Arnulf gave to a certain count Gerolf the
same land “between Swithardeshage and Kinhem,” afterwards
held by Dirk I. It is generally assumed that this Gerolf was
Extent of his dominions.
Dirk III. his father, otherwise their deed of gift would not have been preserved among the family papers. Dirk II. was the founder of the abbey of Egmont. His younger son Egbert became archbishop of Treves. His elder son Arnulf married Liutgardis, daughter of Siegfried of Luxemburg and sister-in-law of the emperor Henry II. He obtained from the emperor Otto III., with whom he was in great favour in 983, a considerable extension of territory, that now covered by the Zuider Zee and southward down to Nijmwegen. In the deed of gift he is spoken of as holding the three countships of Maasland, Kinhem or Kennemerland and Texla or Texel; in other words his rule extended over the whole country from the right bank of the Maas or Meuse to the Vlie. He appears also to have exercised authority at Ghent. He died in 988. Arnulf was count till 993, when he was slain in battle against the west Frisians, and was succeeded by his twelve-year-old son Dirk III. During the guardianship of his mother, Liutgardis, the boy was despoiled of almost all his possessions, except Kennemerland and Maasland. But no sooner was he arrived at man’s estate than Dirk turned upon his enemies with courage and vigour. He waged war, successfully with Adelbold, the powerful bishop of Utrecht, and made himself master not only of his ancestral possessions, but of the district on the Meuse known as the Bushland of Merweda (forestum Merweda), hitherto subject to the see of Utrecht. In the midst of this marshy tract, at a Foundation
Defeat of Godfrey of Lorraine.
Beginning of the County
of Holland. point commanding the courses of the Meuse and the Waal, he built a castle (about 1015) and began to levy tolls. Around this castle sprang up the town of Thuredrecht or Dordrecht. The possession of this stronghold was so injurious to the commerce of Tiel, Cologne and the Rhenish towns with England that complaints were made by the bishop of Utrecht and the archbishop of Cologne to the emperor. Henry II. took the part of the complainants and commissioned Duke Godfrey of Lorraine to chastise the young Frisian count. Duke Godfrey invaded Dirk’s lands with a large army, but they were impeded by the swampy nature of the country and totally defeated with heavy loss (July 29, 1018). The duke was himself taken prisoner. The result was that Dirk was not merely confirmed in his possession of Dordrecht and the Merweda Bushland (the later Holland) but also of the territory of a vassal of the Utrecht see, Dirk Bavo by name, which he conquered. This victory of 1018 is often regarded as the true starting-point of the history of the county of Holland. Having thus established his rule in the south, Dirk next proceeded to bring into subjection the Frisians in the north. He appointed his brother Siegfrid or Sikka as governor over them. In his later years Dirk went upon a pilgrimage to the Holy Land from which he returned in 1034; and ruled in peace until his death in 1039.
His son, Dirk IV., was one of the most enterprising of his
warlike and strenuous race. He began the long strife with the
counts of Flanders, as to the lordship over Walcheren
and other islands of Zeeland; the quarrel was important,
Quarrel with Flanders about Zeeland. as dealing with the borderland between French and German overlordship. This strife, which lasted 400 years, did not at first break out into actual warfare, because both Dirk and Baldwin V. of Flanders had a common danger in the emperor Henry III., who in 1046 occupied the lands in dispute. Dirk allied himself with Godfrey the Bearded of Lorraine, who was at war with the emperor, and his territory was invaded by a powerful imperial fleet and army (1047). But Dirk entrenched himself in his stronghold at Vlaardingen, and when winter came on he surrounded and cut off with his light boats a number of the enemy’s ships, and destroyed a large part of their army as they made their way amidst the marches, which impeded their retreat. He was able to recover what he had lost and to make peace on his own terms. Two years later he was again assailed by a coalition headed by the archbishop of Cologne and the bishop of Utrecht. They availed themselves of a very hard winter to penetrate into the land over the frozen water. Dirk offered a stout resistance, but, according to the most trustworthy account, was enticed into an ambuscade and was killed in the fight (1049). He died unmarried and was succeeded by his brother Floris I.
Floris, like his predecessors, was hard-fighting and tenacious.
He gradually recovered possession of his ancestral lands. He
found a formidable adversary in the able and warlike
William, who, becoming bishop of Utrecht in 1054,Floris I.
was determined to recover the lost possessions of his see; and
in 1058, in alliance with Hanno, archbishop of Cologne, Egbert,
margrave of Brandenburg, the bishop of Liége and others,
invaded the Frisian territory. At first success attended the
invaders and many places fell into their hands, but finally they
were surprised and defeated near Dordrecht. The counts of
Guelders and Louvain were among the prisoners that fell into
the hands of Floris. The attack was renewed in 1061. In a
battle at Nederhemert Floris met with his death in the hour
of victory. He is said to have been killed as, wearied with
pursuing, he lay asleep under a tree. He was succeeded by his
Dirk V.son, Dirk V., a child, under the guardianship of his
mother, Gertrude of Saxony. Bishop William seems
now to have seized his opportunity and occupied all the territory
that he claimed. In this he was confirmed by two charters of
the emperor Henry IV. (April 30 and May 2, 1064). Among
the possessions thus assigned to him is found comitatus omnis
in Hollandt cum omnibus ad bannum regalem pertinentibus. An
examination of these documents shows the possessions of Dirk
as in Westflinge et circa oras Rheni, i.e. west of the Vlie and
around the mouths of the Rhine. Gertrude and her son appear
to have withdrawn to the islands of Frisia (Zeeland), leaving
William in undisturbed occupation of the disputed lands.
In 1063 Gertrude contracted a marriage with Robert, the
second son of Baldwin V. of Flanders, a man famous for his
adventurous career (see Flanders). On his marriage his father
Robert the Frisian guardian to his stepson
invested him with Imperial Flanders, as an apanage
including the islands of Frisia (Zeeland) west of the
Scheldt. He now became guardian to his stepson,
in whose inheritance lay the islands east of the Scheldt.
Robert thus, in his own right and that of Dirk, was
ruler of all Frisia (Zeeland), and thus became known
among his Flemish countrymen as Robert the Frisian. The
death of his brother Baldwin VI. in 1070 led to civil war in
Flanders, the claim of Robert to the guardianship of his nephew
Arnulf being disputed by Richilde, the widow of Baldwin.
The issue was decided by the decisive victory of Robert at
Cassel (February 1071) when Arnulf was killed and Richilde
taken prisoner (see Flanders). While Robert was thus engaged
in Flanders, an effort was made to recover “the County of
Holland” and other lands now held by William of Utrecht.
The people rose in revolt, but by command of the emperor
Henry IV. were speedily brought back under episcopal rule by
Godfrey the Hunchback
of Lorraine conquers Holland.
of Utrecht surrenders it to Dirk V.
Dirk VI. an army under the command of Godfrey the Hunchback, duke of Lower Lorraine. Again in 1076, at the request of the bishop, Duke Godfrey visited his domains in the Frisian borderland. At Delft, of which town tradition makes Godfrey the founder, the duke was treacherously murdered (February 26, 1076). William of Utrecht died on the 17th of the following April. Dirk V., now grown to man’s estate, was not slow to take advantage of the favourable juncture. With the help of Robert (his stepfather) he raised an army, besieged Conrad, the successor of William, in the castle of Ysselmonde and took him prisoner. The bishop purchased his liberty by surrendering all claim to the disputed lands. Henceforth the Frisian counts became definitively known as counts of Holland. Dirk V. died in 1091 and was succeeded by his son Floris II. the Fat. This count had a peaceful and prosperous reign of thirty-one years. After his death (1122) his widow, Petronilla of Saxony, governed in the name of Dirk VI., who was a minor. The accession of her half-brother, Lothaire of Saxony, to the imperial throne on the death of Henry V. greatly strengthened her position. The East Frisian districts, Oostergoo and Westergoo, were by Lothaire transferred from the rule of the bishops of Utrecht to that of the counts of Holland (1125). These Frisians proved very troublesome subjects to Dirk VI. In 1132 they rose in insurrection under the leadership of Dirk’s own brother, Floris the Black. The emperor Conrad III. (1138), who was of the rival house of Hohenstaufen, gave back these Frisian districts to the bishop; it was in truth somewhat of an empty gift. The Frisian peasants and fisher folk loved their independence, and were equally refractory to the rule of any distant overlord, whether count or bishop. Dirk VI. was succeeded in 1157 by Floris III.
Floris III. reversed the traditional policy of his house by allying himself with the Hohenstaufens. He became a devoted adherent and friend of Frederick Barbarossa. He had troubles with West Friesland and Groningen, and a Floris III. war with the count of Flanders concerning their respective rights in West Zeeland, in which he was beaten. In 1170 a great flood caused immense devastation in the north and helped to form the Zuider Zee. In 1189 Floris accompanied Frederick Barbarossa upon the third Crusade, of which he was a distinguished leader. He died in 1190 at Antioch of pestilence. His son, Dirk VII., had a stormy, but on Dirk VII. the whole successful reign. Contests with the Flemings in West Zeeland and with the West Frisians, stirred up to revolt by his brother William, ended in his favour. The brothers were reconciled and William was made count of East Friesland. In 1202, however, Dirk was defeated and taken prisoner by the duke of Brabant, and had to purchase peace on humiliating terms. He only survived his defeat a short time and died early in 1204, leaving as his only issue a daughter, Ada, 17 years of age. The question of female succession thus raised was not likely to be accepted without a challenge by William. It had been the intention of Dirk VII. to secure the recognition of his daughter’s rights by appointing his brother her guardian. His widow Alida, however, an ambitious woman of strong character, as soon as her husband was dead, hurried on a marriage between Ada and Count Louis of Loon; and attempted with the nobles of Holland, who now for the first time make their appearance as a power in the country, to oppose the claim which William had made to the countship as heir in the male line. A struggle William I. ensued. William was supported by the Zeelanders and Ada was forced to fly to England. William, by a treaty concluded with Louis of Loon in 1206, became undisputed count. He took an active part in the events of his time. He fought by the side of the emperor Otto IV. in the great battle of Bouvines in 1214 (see Philip Augustus), and was taken prisoner. Two years later he accompanied Louis, the eldest son of Philip Augustus, in his expedition against King John of England. William is perhaps best known in history by his taking part in the fourth Crusade. He distinguished himself greatly at the capture of Damietta (1219). He did not long survive his return home, dying in 1222. The earliest charters conveying civic privileges in the county of Holland date from his reign—those of Geertruidenberg (1213) and of Dordrecht Floris IV. (1220). His son Floris IV., being a minor, succeeded him under the guardianship of his maternal uncle, Gerard III. of Gelderland. He maintained in later life close relations of friendship with Gerard, and supported him in his quarrel with the bishop of Utrecht (1224–1226). Floris was murdered in 1235 at a tournament at Corbie in Picardy by the count of Clermont. Another long minority followed his death, during which his brother Otto, bishop of Utrecht, acted as guardian to his nephew William II.
William II. became a man of mark. Pope Innocent IV.,
having deposed the emperor Frederick II., after several princes
had refused to allow themselves to be nominated in
the place of the Hohenstaufen, caused the young
Elected King of the Romans.
Alliance with Edward I. of England. count of Holland to be elected king of the Romans (1247) by an assembly composed chiefly of German ecclesiastics. William took Aachen in 1248 and was there crowned king; and after Frederick’s death in 1250, he had a considerable party in Germany. He brought a war with Margaret of Flanders (Black Margaret) to a successful conclusion (1253). He was on the point of proceeding to Rome to be crowned emperor, when in an expedition against the West Frisians he perished, going down, horse and armour, through the ice (1256). Like so many of his predecessors he left his inheritance to a child. Floris V. was but two years old on his father’s death; and he was destined during a reign of forty years to leave a deeper impress upon the history of Holland than any other of its counts. Floris was a man of chivalrous character and high capacity, and throughout his reign he proved himself an able and beneficent ruler. Alike in his troubles with his turbulent subjects and in the perennial disputes with his neighbours he pursued a strong, far-sighted and successful policy. But his active interest in affairs was not limited to the Netherlands. He allied himself closely with Edward I. of England in his strife with France, and secured from the English king great trading advantages for his people; the staple of wool was placed at Dort (Dordrecht) and the Hollanders and Zeelanders got fishing rights on the English coast. So intimate did their relations become that Floris sent his son John to be educated at the court of Edward with a view to his marriage with an English princess. To balance the power of the nobles he granted charters to many of the towns. Floris made himself master of Amstelland and First Charter to Amsterdam. Gooiland; and Amsterdam, destined to become the chief commercial town of Holland, counts him the founder of its greatness. Its earliest extant charter dates from 1275. In 1296 Floris forsook the alliance of Edward I. for that of Philip IV. of France, probably because Edward had given support to Guy, count of Flanders, in his dynastic dispute with John of Avesnes, count of Hainaut, Floris’s nephew (see Flanders). The real motives of his policy will, however, never be known, for shortly afterwards a conspiracy of disaffected nobles, headed by Gijsbrecht van Amstel,Murder of Floris V. Gerard van Velzen and Wolfert van Borselen, was formed against him. He was by them basely murdered in the castle of Muiden (June 27, 1296). The tragic event has been immortalized in dramas from the pens of Holland’s most famous writers (see Vondel, Hooft). The burghers and people, who knew him to be their best friend, took such vengeance on his slayers as permanently to reduce the power of the nobles.
John I., his son, was in England when his father was murdered;
he was but 15 years of age, feeble in body and mind. He was
married to Eleanor, daughter of Edward I. His
reign was a struggle between John of Avesnes, the
young count’s guardian and next heir, and Wolfert van Borselen,
Extinction of the first line of Counts. Their high character. who had a strong following in Zeeland. In 1299 van Borselen was killed, and a few months later John I. died. John of Avesnes was at once recognized as his successor by the Hollanders. Thus with John I. ended the first line of counts, after a rule of nearly 400 years. Europe has perhaps never seen an abler series of princes than these fourteen lineal descendants of Dirk I. Excepting the last there is not a weak man among them. Physically handsome and strong, model knights of the days of chivalry, hard fighters, wise statesmen, they were born leaders of men; always ready to advance the commerce of the country, they were the supporters of the growing towns, and likewise the pioneers in the task of converting a land of marshes and swamps into a fertile agricultural territory rich in flocks and herds. As individuals they had their failings, but one and all were worthy members of a high-souled race.
John of Avesnes, who took the title of John II., was the son
of John of Avesnes, count of Hainaut, and Alida, sister of
William II. of Holland. On his succession to the
countship the Hollanders were willing to receive him,
but the Zeelanders were hostile; and a long struggle
John II. of the House of Avesnes.
William III. ensued before his authority was generally recognized. In 1301 Bishop William of Utrecht invaded Amstelland, but was killed in battle. John made use of his victory to secure the election of his brother Guy as bishop in his place. A war with the Flemings followed, in which the Flemings were at first victorious, but after a struggle of many vicissitudes they were at length driven out of Holland and Zeeland In 1304. John II. died in that year and was succeeded by his son William III., surnamed the Good (1304–1337). In his reign the long-standing quarrel with Flanders, which had during a century and a half caused so many wars, was finally settled by the treaty of 1323, by which the full possession of West Zeeland was granted to William, who on his part renounced all claim in Imperial Flanders. The Amstelland with its capital, Amsterdam, which had hitherto been held as a fief of Utrecht, was by William, on the death of his uncle Bishop Guy, finally annexed to Holland. This count did much to encourage civic life and to develop the resources of the country. He had close relations through marriage with the three principal European dynasties of his time. His wife was Jeanne of Valois, niece of the French king; in 1323 the emperor Louis the Bavarian wedded his daughter Margaret; and in 1328 his third daughter, Philippa of Hainaut, was married to Edward III. of England. By their alliance William III. occupied a position of much dignity and influence, which he used to further the interests and increase the welfare of his hereditary lands. He was in all respects a great prince and a wise and prudent statesman. He was succeeded by his William IV. son, William IV., who was the ally of his brother-in-law, Edward III., in his French wars. He was fond of adventure, and in 1343 made a journey to the Holy Land in disguise, and on his way took part in an expedition of the knights of the Teutonic Order against the infidel Wends and Lithuanians. He was killed in battle against the Frisians in 1345. He left no children, and the question as to the succession now brought on Holland a period of violent civil commotions. The Empress Margaret. His inheritance was claimed by his eldest sister, the empress Margaret, as well as by Philippa of Hainaut, or in other words, by Edward III. of England. Margaret came in person and was duly recognized as countess in Holland, Zeeland and Hainaut; but returned to her husband after appointing her second son (the eldest, Louis, renounced his rights) Duke William of Bavaria, as stadholder in her place. William was but sixteen, and disorder and confusion soon reigned in the land. The sudden death of the emperor in 1347 added to the difficulties of his position. In 1349 Margaret was induced to resign her sovereignty, andWilliam V. of the House of Bavaria. the stadholder became count under the title of William V. This was the time of the formation of the famous parties in Holland, known as Kabbeljauws (Cods) and Hoeks (Hooks); the former, the burgher party, were the supporters of William (possibly the name was derived from the light blue, scaly looking Bavarian coat of arms), the latter the party of the disaffected nobles, who wanted to catch and devour the fat burgher fish. In 1350 such was the disorder in the land that Margaret, at the request of the nobles, came to Holland to take into her own hands the reins of government. The struggle between the nobles and the cities broke out into civil war. Edward III. came to Margaret’s aid, winning a sea-fight off Veere in 1351; a few weeks later the Hooks and their English allies were defeated by William and the Cods at Vlaardingen—an overthrow which ruined Margaret’s cause. Edward III. shortly afterwards changed sides, and the empress saw herself compelled (1354) to come to an understanding with her son, he being recognized as count of Holland and Zeeland, she of Hainaut. Margaret died two years later, leaving William, who had married Matilda of Lancaster, in possession of the entire Holland-Hainaut inheritance (July 1356). His tenure of power was, however, very brief. Before the close of 1357 he showed such marked signs of insanity that his wife, with his Albert of Bavaria. own consent and the support of both parties, invited Duke Albert of Bavaria, younger brother of William V., to be regent, with the title of Ruward (1358). William lived in confinement for 31 years. Albert died in 1404, having ruled the land well and wisely for 46 years, first as Ruward, then as count. Despite outbreaks from time to time of the Hook and Cod troubles, he was able to make his authority respected, and to help forward in many ways the social progress of the country. The influence of the towns was steadily on the increase, and their government began to fall into the hands of the burgher patrician class, who formed the Cod party. Opposed to them were the nobility and the lower classes, forming the Hook party. In Albert’s latter years a fresh outbreak of civil war (1392–1395) was caused by the count’s espousing the side of the Cods, while the Hooks had the support of his eldest son, William. Albert was afterwards reconciled William VI.
Jacqueline of Bavaria. to his son, who succeeded him as William VI. in 1404. On his accession to power William upheld the Hooks, and secured their ascendancy. His reign was much troubled with civil discords, but he was a brave soldier, and was generally successful in his enterprises. He died in 1417, leaving an only child, a daughter, Jacqueline (or Jacoba), who had in her early youth been married to John, heir to the throne of France. At a gathering held at the Hague (August 15, 1416) the nobles and representatives of the cities of Holland and Zeeland had promised at William’s request to support his daughter’s claims to the succession. But John of France died (April 1417), and William VI. about a month later, leaving the widowed Jacqueline at 17 years of age face to face with a difficult situation. She was at first welcomed in Holland and Zeeland, but found her claims opposed by her uncle, John of Bavaria, supported by the Cod party. Every one from whom she might have expected help betrayed her in turn, her second husband John IV. of Brabant, her third husband Humphrey of Gloucester, her cousin Philip the Good of Burgundy, all behaved shamefully to her. Her romantic and sad life has rendered the courageous and accomplished Jacqueline the most picturesque figure in the whole history of Holland. She struggled long against her powerful kinsfolk, nor did she know happiness till near the end of her life, when she abandoned the unequal strife, and found repose with Francis of Borselen, Ruward of Holland, her fourth husband. Him Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, craftily seized; and thereby in 1433 the Duchess Jacqueline was compelled Accession
of the Burgundian Dynasty.
Philip the Good.
Flourishing state of Holland. to cede her rights over the counties of Holland and Hainaut. Consequently at her death in 1436, as she left no children, Philip succeeded to the full and undisputed possession of her lands. He had already acquired by inheritance, purchase or force almost all the other Netherland states; and now, with the extinction of the Bavarian line of counts, Holland ceased to have an independent existence and became an outlying province of the growing Burgundian power (see Burgundy). During the years that followed the accession to the sovereignty of Duke Philip, Holland plays but an insignificant part. It was governed by a stadholder, and but small respect was shown for its chartered rights and privileges. The quarrels between the Hook and Cod factions still continued, but the outbreaks of civil strife were quickly repressed by the strong hand of Philip. Holland during this time contented herself with growing material prosperity. Her herring fishery, rendered more valuable by the curing process discovered or introduced by Benkelszoon, brought her increasing wealth, and her fishermen were already laying the foundations of her future maritime greatness. It was in the days of Duke Philip that Lorenz Koster of Haarlem contributed his share to the discovery of printing. During the reign of Charles the Bold (1467–1477) the Hollanders, like the other subjects of that warlike prince, suffered much from the burden of taxation An outbreak at Hoorn was by Charles sternly repressed. The Hollanders were much aggrieved by the establishment Charles the Bold.
Mary of Burgundy. of a high court of justice for the entire Netherlands at Mechlin. (1474). This was regarded as a serious breach of their privileges. The succession of Mary of Burgundy led to the granting to Holland as to the other provinces of the Netherlands, of the Great Privilege of March 1477, which restored the most important of their ancient rights and liberties (see Netherlands). A high court of justice was established for Holland, Zeeland and Friesland, and the use of the native language was made official. The Hook and Cod troubles again disturbed the country. Hook uprisings took place at Leiden and Dordrecht and had to be repressed by armed force.
By the sudden death of the Duchess Mary in 1482 her possessions,
including the county of Holland, passed to her infant son
Philip, under the guardianship of his father the Archduke
Maximilian of Austria. Thus the Burgundian
dynasty was succeeded by that Maximilian
Philip II. the Fair.of the Habsburgs. During the regency of Maximilian the turbulence of the Hooks caused much strife and unrest in Holland. Their leaders. Francis of Brederode and John of Naaldwijk, seized Rotterdam and other places. Their overthrow finally ended the strife between Hooks and Cods. The “Bread and Cheese War,” an uprising of the peasants in North Holland caused by famine, is a proof of the misery caused by civil discords and oppressive taxation. In 1494, Maximilian having been elected emperor, Philip was declared of age. His assumption of the government was greeted with joy in Holland, and in his reign the province enjoyed rest and its fisheries benefited from the commercial treaty concluded with England. The story of Holland during the long reign of his son and successor Charles III. (1506–1555), better known as the emperor Charles V., belongs to the general history of the Netherlands The Emperor Charles V. (Charles III.).
William of Orange Stadholder.
The revolt of
Union of Utrecht.
Sovereignty. (see Netherlands). On the abdication of Charles, his son Philip II. of Spain became Philip III., count of Holland, the ruler whose arbitrary rule in church and state brought about the revolt of the Netherlands. His appointment of William, prince of Orange, as stadholder of Holland and Zeeland was destined to have momentous results to the future of those provinces (see William the Silent). The capture of Brill and of Flushing in 1572 by the Sea-Beggars led to the submission of the greater part of Holland and Zeeland to the authority of the prince of Orange, who, as stadholder, summoned the states of Holland to meet at Dordrecht. This act was the beginning of Dutch independence. From this time forward William made Holland his home. It became the bulwark of the Protestant faith in the Netherlands, the focus of the resistance to Spanish tyranny. The sieges of Haarlem, Alkmaar and Leiden saved Holland from being overwhelmed by the armies of Alva and Requesens and stemmed the tide of Spanish victory. The act of federation between Holland and Zeeland brought about by the influence of William was the germ of the larger union of Utrecht between the seven northern provinces in 1579. But within the larger union the inner and closer union between Holland and Zeeland continued to subsist. In 1580, when the sovereignty of the Netherlands was offered to the duke of Anjou, the two maritime provinces refused to acquiesce, and forced William to accept the title of count of Holland and Zeeland. In the following year William in the name of the two provinces solemnly abjured the sovereignty of the Spanish king (July 24). After the assassination of William (1584) the title of count of Holland was never revived.
In the long struggle of the united provinces with Spain,
which followed the death of Orange, the brunt of the conflict
fell upon Holland. More than half the burden of the charges
of the war fell upon this one province; and with Zeeland it
furnished the fleets which formed the chief defence of the country.
Hence the importance attached to the vote of Holland in the
assembly of the States-General. That vote was given by deputies
at the head of whom was the advocate (in later times called
the grand pensionary) of Holland, and who were responsible to,
and the spokesmen of, the provincial states. These states, which
met at the Hague in the same building as the States-General,
consisted of representatives of the burgher oligarchies (regents)
of the principal towns, together with representatives of the
nobles, who possessed one vote only. The advocate was theGovernment
Johan van Oldenbar-
neveldt. paid minister of the states. He presided over their meetings, kept their minutes and conducted all correspondence, and, as stated above, was their spokesman in the States-General. The advocate (or grand pensionary) of Holland therefore, if an able man, had opportunities for exercising a very considerable influence, becoming in fact a kind of minister of all affairs. It was this influence as exerted by the successive advocates of Holland, Paul Buys and Johan van Oldenbarneveldt, which rendered abortive the well-meant efforts of the earl of Leicester to centralize the government of the United Provinces. After his departure (1587) the advocate of Holland, Oldenbarneveldt, became the indispensable statesman of the struggling republic. The multiplicity of his functions gave to the advocate an almost unlimited authority in the details of administration, and for thirty years the conduct of affairs remained in his hands (see Oldenbarneveldt). This meant the undisputed hegemony of Holland in the federation, in other words of the burgher oligarchies who controlled the town corporations of the province, and especially of Amsterdam. This authority of Holland was, however, more than counterbalanced by the extensive powers with which the stadholder princes Contest between the Principles of National and Provincial Sovereignty. of Orange were invested; and the chief crises in the internal history of the Dutch republic are to be found in the struggles for supremacy between two, in reality, different principles of government. On the one side the principle of provincial sovereignty which gave to the voice of Holland a preponderating weight that was decisive; on the other side the principle of national sovereignty personified in the princes of Orange, to whom the States-General and the provincial states delegated executive powers that were little less than monarchical.
The conclusion of the twelve years’ truce in 1609 was a triumph
for Oldenbarneveldt and the province of Holland over the
opposition of Maurice, prince of Orange. In 1617 the
outbreak of the religious dispute between the Remonstrant
Maurice Prince of Orange and John of Oldenbarn-
Frederick Henry Prince of Orange.
William II. Prince of Orange.
John de Witt.
William III. Prince of Orange. and Contra-remonstrant parties brought on a life and death struggle between the sovereign province of Holland and the States-General of the union. The sword of Maurice decided the issue in favour of the States-General. The claims of Holland were overthrown and the head of Oldenbarneveldt fell upon the scaffold (1619). The stadholder, Frederick Henry of Orange, ruled with well-nigh monarchical authority (1625–1647), but even he at the height of his power and popularity had always to reckon with the opposition of the states of Holland and of Amsterdam, and many of his plans of campaign were thwarted by the refusal of the Hollanders to furnish supplies. His son William II. was but 21 years of age on succeeding to the stadholdership, and the states of Holland were sufficiently powerful to carry through the negotiations for the peace of Münster (1648) in spite of his opposition. A life and death conflict again ensued, and once more in 1650 the prince of Orange by armed force crushed the opposition of the Hollanders. The sudden death of William in the hour of his triumph caused a complete revolution in the government of the republic. He left no heir but a posthumous infant, and the party of the burgher regents of Holland was once more in the ascendant. The office of stadholder was abolished, and John de Witt, the grand pensionary (Raad-Pensionaris) of Holland, for two decades held in his hands all the threads of administration, and occupied the same position of undisputed authority in the councils of the land as Oldenbarneveldt had done at the beginning of the century. Amsterdam during this period was the centre and head of the United Provinces. The principle of provincial sovereignty was carried to its extreme point in the separate treaty concluded with Cromwell in 1654, in which the province of Holland agreed to exclude for ever the prince of Orange from the office of stadholder of Holland or captain-general of the union. In 1672 another revolution took place. John de Witt was murdered, and William III. was called to fill the office of dignity and authority which had been held by his ancestors of the house of Orange, and the stadholdership was declared to be hereditary in his family. But William died without issue (see William III.) and a stadholderless period, during which the province of Holland was supreme in the union, followed till 1737. This change was effected smoothly, for though William had many differences with Amsterdam, he had in Anthony Heinsius (van der Heim), who was grand pensionary of Holland from 1690 to his death in 1720, a statesman whom he thoroughly trusted, who worked with him in the furtherance of his policy during life and who continued to carry out that policy after his death. In 1737 there was once more a reversion to the stadholdership in the person of William IV., whose powers were strengthened and declared hereditary William IV. Prince of Orange. both in the male and female line in 1747. But until the final destruction of the federal republic by the French armies, the perennial struggle went on between the Holland or federal party (Staatsgesinden) centred at Amsterdam—out of which grew the patriot party under William V.—and the Orange or unionist party (Oranjegesinden), which was strong in the smaller provinces and had much popular support among the lower classes. The French conquest swept away the old condition of things never to reappear; but allegiance to the Orange dynasty survived, and in 1813 became the rallying point of a united Dutch people. At the same time the leading part played by the province of Holland in the history of the republic has not been unrecognized, for the country ruled over by the sovereigns of the house of Orange is always popularly, and often officially, known as Holland.
The full title of the states of Holland in the 17th and 18th centuries was: de Edele Groot Mogende Heeren Staaten van Holland en Westfriesland. After 1608 this assembly consisted of nineteen members, one representing the nobility (ridderschap), and eighteen, the towns. The Constitution of the States of Holland. member for the nobles had precedence and voted first. The interests of the country districts (het platte land) were the peculiar charges of the member for the nobles. The nobles also retained the right of appointing representatives to sit in the College of Deputed Councillors, in certain colleges of the admiralty, and upon the board of directors of the East India Company, and to various public offices. The following eighteen towns sent representatives: South Quarter—(1) Dordrecht, (2) Haarlem, (3) Delft, (4) Leiden, (5) Amsterdam, (6) Gouda, (7) Rotterdam, (8) Gorinchem, (9) Schiedam, (10) Schoonhoven, (11) Brill; North Quarter:—(12) Alkmaar, (13) Hoorn, (14) Enkhuizen, (15) Edam, (16) Monnikendam, (17) Medemblik, (18) Purmerend. Each town (as did also the nobles) sent as many representatives as they pleased, but the nineteen members had only one vote each. Each town’s deputation was headed by its pensionary, who was the spokesman on behalf of the representatives. Certain questions such as peace and war, voting of subsidies, imposition of taxation, changes in the mode of government, &c., required unanimity of votes. The grand pensionary (Raad-Pensionaris) The Grand Pensionary. was at once the president and chief administrative officer of the states. He presided over all meetings, conducted the business, kept the minutes, and was charged with the maintenance of the rights of the states, with the execution of their resolutions and with the entire correspondence. Nor were his functions only provincial. He was the head and the spokesman of the deputation of the states to the States-General of the union; and in the stadholderless period the influence of such grand pensionaries of Holland as John de Witt and Anthony Heinsius enabled the complicated and intricate machinery of government in a confederacy of many sovereign and semi-sovereign authorities without any recognized head of the state, to work with comparative smoothness and a remarkable unity of policy. This was secured by the indisputable predominance in the union of the province of Holland. The policy of the states of Holland swayed the policy of the generality, and historical circumstances decreed that the policy of the states of Holland during long and critical periods should be controlled by a succession of remarkable men filling the office of grand pensionary. The states of Holland sat at the Hague in the months of March, July, September and November. During the periods of prorogation the continuous oversight of the business and interests of the province was, however, never neglected. College of Deputed Councillors. This duty was confided to a body called the College of Deputed Councillors (het Kollegie der Gekommitteerde Raden), which was itself divided into two sections, one for the south quarter, another for the north quarter. The more important—that for the south quarter—consisted of ten members, (1) the senior member of the nobility, who sat for life, (2) representatives (for periods of three years) of the eight towns: Dordrecht, Haarlem, Delft, Leiden, Amsterdam, Gouda, Rotterdam and Gorinchem, with a tenth member (usually elected biennially) for the towns of Schiedam, Schoonhoven and Brill conjointly. The grand pensionary presided over the meetings of the college, which had the general charge of the whole provincial administration, especially of finance, the carrying out of the resolutions of the states, the maintenance of defences, and the upholding of the privileges and liberties of the land. With particular regard to this last-named duty the college deputed two of its members to attend all meetings of the states-general, to watch the proceedings and report at once any proposals which they held to be contrary to the interests or to infringe upon the rights of the province of Holland. The institution of the College of Deputed Councillors might thus be described as a vigilance committee of the states in perpetual session. The existence of the college, with its many weighty and important functions, must never be lost sight of by students who desire to have a clear understanding of the remarkable part played by the province of Holland in the history of the United Netherlands. (G. E.)