Republic of the United Provinces in Elector of Brandenburg Frederick William's Policy (1640—1648)

Publication type Article
Status Published
EditionVolume 5 Issue 6 (29)
AbstractArticle deals with the policy of Brandenburg in the beginning of the reign of Elector Frederick William concerning the Republic of the United Provinces. Among the reasons of difficult relations between two states author pays attention to the influence which caused the Netherlands to the views and policy of the young Elector. The most important problem in relations between two states was Hoefysers debt. William's father Elector Georg William Frederick took a loan on highly unfavorable terms from Peter Hoefysers — member of the board of the Admiralty of Amsterdam. As a result, part of the Duchy of Jülich-Kleve that belonged to Brandenburg was to become Dutch. Despite the significant amount of money that Brandenburg paid in 1617—1640 years, the debt continued to grow. Young Elector Friedrich Wilhelm refused to recognize the debt and began negotiations to obtain the withdrawal of Dutch troops from the Duchy of Cleves. But it took another 40 years to settle the matter. Elector Frederick William was interested in an alliance with Holland. He was counting on its help in the fight against Duke of Neuburg for Jülich-Cleves inheritance. On the Congress of Westphalia Elector of Brandenburg sought recognition of his rights to Pomerania. He believed that Holland could support him in this matter. Therefore Frederick William married the eldest daughter of the Stadholder of the Netherlands Prince of Orange Louise Henriette for political purposes. In the Republic of the United Provinces the role of Stadholder was not as great as the role of the sovereign in monarchies. The foreign policy of the Netherlands was determined essentially by the States-General. Initially the Dutch diplomats supported the demands of Brandenburg for Pomerania on the Congress of Westphalia. The Netherlands was a competitor of Sweden in the Baltic trade and was not interested in strengthening the position of the latter. But serious illness and then death of the Prince of Orange Frederick Henry weakened the influence of the Elector in the Republic. At a crucial moment Frederick William did not gain the support of Holland. The western part of Pomerania and the mouth of the Oder passed to Sweden. The Elector of Brandenburg was trying to conclude a treaty of alliance with Holland but it also was not successful.
KeywordsBrandenburg, Elector, Frederick William, Neuburg, Julich-Kleve, prince of Orange, States General, Pomerania, Congress of Westphalia
Publication date10.11.2014
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