Sunday, June 11, 2006

History of The Netherlands

History of The Netherlands. This is a brief history of the European nation of the Netherlands. On a side note, I offer my congratulations to the Dutch soccer team which beat Serbia and Montenegro (which doesn't exist anymore except on the soccer pitch as Montenegro is now independent) today 1-0 in the World Cup in Germany.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica notes, "The name Holland (from Houtland, or Wooded Land) was originally given to one of the medieval cores of what later became the modern state and is still used for 2 of its 12 provinces (Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland). The irregular outline of The Netherlands, not unlike a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, encloses some 16,164 square miles (41,864 square kilometres) of mostly flat land, which lies between the North Sea on the north and west, Germany on the east, and Belgium on the south. Large parts of the total area consist of water, however. "

From the site:

The Dutch are primarily of Germanic stock with some Gallo-Celtic mixture. Their small homeland frequently has been threatened with destruction by the North Sea and has often been invaded by the great European powers.

Julius Caesar found the region which is now the Netherlands inhabited by Germanic tribes in the first century B.C. The western portion was inhabited by the Batavians and became part of a Roman province; the eastern portion was inhabited by the Frisians. Between the fourth and eighth centuries A.D., most of both portions were conquered by the Franks. The area later passed into the hands of the House of Burgundy and the Austrian Habsburgs. Falling under harsh Spanish rule in the 16th century, the Dutch revolted in 1558 under the leadership of Willem of Orange. By virtue of the Union of Utrecht in 1579, the seven northern Dutch provinces became the Republic of the United Netherlands.

During the 17th century, considered its "golden era," the Netherlands became a great sea and colonial power. Among other achievements, this period saw the emergence of some of painting's "Old Masters," including Rembrandt and Hals, whose works--along with those of later artists such as Mondriaan and Van Gogh--are today on display in museums throughout the Netherlands and the world.

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