Treaty of Westminster signed


Treaty of Westminster signed

Westminster, London The 19th of February 1674 AD

After the Third Anglo-Dutch War, 1672-1674 had seen little advantage gained by either side, if anything the Dutch having got the better of the conflict - Admiral de Ruyter had prevented the English and French blockading the Dutch coast, and the Dutch had edged things in other clashes, including the capture of New Amsterdam - a peace treaty was to the advantage of both parties.
The French as the third party to the affair, but not part of the treaty, lost out, as was certainly the intention of Parliament - Charles II in the secret Treaty of Dover had promised Louis XIV he would convert to Roman Catholicism when the time was right, a prospect which scared Parliamentarians hugely, leading to their veto on more spending on the pro-French war with the Dutch.
By the terms of the Treaty of Westminster the Dutch paid the English 2,000,000 guilders over three years, and agreed to the English Dominium Marium (nominal control of the seas demonstrated by foreign ships having to salute British vessels), though their fishing fleet was to be unaffected by any such niceties. As far as territorial matters were concerned the situation reverted to status quo ante, which in practical terms meant the Dutch kept Surinam, captured by them in 1667, but had to return New Amsterdam which had only recently been taken by Cornelis Evertsen.
In the longer term then the Treaty of Westminster can be seen as most important to the future USA than either England or The Netherlands: what had once been Nouvelle Angouleme when the French first arrived there, then became Nieuw Amsterdam when the Dutch dominated, and had been New York after the British seized it in 1664, returned to that appellation having briefly been renamed New Orange by its Dutch captors during the Third Anglo-Dutch War. It was to remain a (largely and sometimes broadly speaking) English language city till the present day.
As regards international relations the 1674 treaty was of relatively minor consequence; but in British politics it had demonstrated the renewed distrust of the Stuart dynasty, which would have serious repercussions after the death of Charles II some 11 years later.

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