The Dutch invade England!

Did you know England was successfully invaded by the Dutch in 1688, in what is described as the Glorious revolution?

However, in reality it was a bloodless invasion that benefited both sides.

On the British side, the Parliament, which was predominantly protestant, were worried about the dictatorial manner of King James II, a Catholic, who believed in the divine right of kings and was promoting Catholics to positions of power.  That is what the civil war thirty years before was all about, and the Parliament did not want to go through all that again, especially as they thought they had won.  The Parliament’s feelings were mirrored by the people, so a solution had to be found.

In the meantime…

Across the North Sea was Prince William of Orange, married to Mary, the daughter of James II’s first wife, and both were Protestant.  William was the Stadholder of Holland, he had been appointed to that position by both the Provincial Estates and the States-General, and therefore he understood what the English Parliament wanted, in fact by agreeing to their terms he would have greater leeway in England than he had as Stadholder.  To this must be added that ever since he was elected Stadholder on his 18th birthday back in 1672, Holland had continuously been fighting the French, now they were his mortal enemy. An alliance between England and Holland would give him the military strength he needed.

It therefore looked a win, win for both sides, they just had to achieve it.

The Glorious Revolution

It started with an invitation from seven Parliamentarians to William and Mary, as there was a legitimate link with Mary being James’s daughter.  William, for safety, put together an enormous armada of 463 ships and then sailed it down the channel, so it could be seen by people in the south of England.  He sailed all the way to Torbay, where he disembarked with over 14,000 men on 5th November 1688, and started his march cross country to London.

As he reached each town he was welcomed by supportive crowds. King James sent an army of 30,000 men to stop him. Unfortunately, over 26,000 of them deserted, James got the message, disbanded his army and left the country for France, leaving the throne to his daughter and her husband, William.

It was a real invasion, in which nobody died, however, in truth, the Dutch did successfully invade, now obviously, we don’t want to remember that, and this is why it is called the Glorious Revolution.

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