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Unit 3: The Age of Absolute Monarchs

Terms in this set (30)

The United Provinces of the Netherlands, also known as the Dutch Republic, pulled off what many thought to be impossible: they maintained a republican form of government during the Age of Absolute Monarchs (1600s and 1700s).

The Dutch Republic was actually made up of several states that formed a loose confederacy, with the strongest province being Holland. From their port city of Amsterdam, the Hollanders became the one of the leading economic and trading powers in the world. Dutch merchants founded the Dutch East India Company which traded in Asia (including the islands of Southeast Asia called the East Indies), Africa, the Caribbean (West Indies), and North America. Dutch settlers moved into South Africa, where the Dutch language Afrikaans is still spoken.

With so much wealth passing through Dutch ports, it is no surprise that Amsterdam became an international banking center. Dutch economists and philosophers like Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) advocated free trade among nations while arguing against government controlled economies (i.e. mercantilism). The Dutch Republic also emphasized religious toleration (the Pilgrims originally fled England for the Netherlands before their journey to the New World) and accepted persecuted peoples from across Europe. The Dutch Golden Age in painting included artists like Rembrandt (1606 - 1669) who painted intensely realistic and elegant scenes of businessmen at work, landscapes, and portraits.

By the early eighteenth century (1700s) the Dutch Republic would no longer be a major world power. England and France would displace it.

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