A Chronology of Dutch History

57 B.C.: Caesar invades the country inhabited by tribes of Gallo-Celtic stock and tribes of Germanic origin.

500 A.D.: Clovis, king of the Franks, becomes the first Christian ruler.

9th Century: With the breakup of the Carolingian empire, the lands pass to the east Frankish (German) kingdom and thus to the Holy Roman Empire.

1421: The St. Elizabeth flood, the greatest in Dutch history, destroys more than 50,000 lives.

15th Century: The feudal states of Holland, Zeeland, Gelderland, and Brabant fall under the dominion of the house of Burgundy, which thus virtually controls all of the Netherlands.

1515: Charles V, of the house of Hapsburg, becomes emperor and by 1543 rules over the provinces which today comprise the Netherlands.

1555: Charles passes over his lands to his son, Philip II of Spain.

1559-1564: In the first period of religious revolt, the Dutch attempt to throw off Spanish rule and establish Protestantism.

1568: The Eighty Years War begins as the Spanish Duke of Alba invades the Netherlands.

1576: The Low Countries unite under William the Silent — founder of Dutch independence — in the Pacification of Ghent.

1579: The Union of Utrecht confederates the seven northern provinces, which two years later declare themselves free from Spain. The Union remains in force until the fall of the Dutch Republic in 1703.

1580 1666: Frans Hals is the first great artist of free Holland,

1584: William the Silent is assassinated at Delft by a fanatic while the struggle against Spain is at its height.

1602: The Dutch East India Company is granted a charter.

1606-1669: Rembrandt van Rijn.

1621: The Dutch West India Company is formed.

1632-1675: Jan Vermeer— Holland’s most gifted genre painter.

1648: The Thirty Years War is victoriously concluded by the Treaty of Munster which recognizes Holland’s independence.

1795: The French attack the Republic of the United Provinces. William V flees to England and the French set up the Batavian Republic.

1805: Holland is incorporated into the Napoleonic empire.

1815: William I, of the house of Orange, becomes the king of the Netherlands and the country becomes a constitutional monarchy.

1830: The southern provinces (Belgium) break away and declare their independence.

1853-1891: Vincent van Gogh — Holland’s greatest post-impressionist.

1863: The Dutch West Indies abolish slavery.

1914-1918: Neutrality is maintained in World War 1.

1932: The twenty-mile enclosing dam across the Zuider Zee is completed.

1940: The Germans invade the Netherlands and occupy it for five years.

1948: Queen Wilhelmina abdicates in favor of her daughter, Juliana, who rules with a coalition government.

1949: The former Dutch East Indies become the independent United States of Indonesia.