The House of Orange and Dutch Republicanism
The signature of a treaty of peace with Spain at Münster in 1648 was an acknowledgement by the one-time master that the republic of the United Provinces was now, legally as well as in fact, a free and independent state. The Eighty Years War was at an end. The victory was an extraordinary achievement, to which two forces—the province of Holland and the House of Orange—had contributed most. But the treaty was made against the will of Prince William II, who had larger ambitions that required continuation of the war, and tension between the Princes of Orange and the province of Holland became the primary fact of Dutch political life until the republic of the United Provinces ceased to exist a century and a half later. It was a contest for leadership of what continued to be for the rest of the seventeenth century one of the great powers of Europe.
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