First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-1654)

From Naval History Archive
(Redirected from First Anglo-Dutch War)
Jump to navigationJump to search
First Anglo-Dutch War
Result English Victory
Flag of the Protectorate 1653 to 1659.jpg Commonwealth Navy Flag of the Dutch Republic (1581-1795).png Dutch Navy
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the General at Sea 1650 to 1659.gif General at Sea Robert Blake Flag of the Dutch Republic (1581-1795).png Lieutenant Admiral Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp

The First Anglo-Dutch War, or, simply, the First Dutch War, (1652–1654) was a conflict fought entirely at sea between the English Commonwealth Navy and the Dutch Navy of the Dutch Republic. It was largely caused by disputes over trade, and English historians also emphasise political issues. The war began with English attacks on Dutch merchant shipping, but expanded to vast fleet actions. Although the English Navy won most of these battles, they only controlled the seas around England, and after the English victory at Battle of Scheveningen (1653) the Dutch used smaller warships and privateers to capture numerous English merchant ships so, by November 1653 Cromwell was willing to make peace, provided the House of Orange was excluded from the office of Stadtholder. Cromwell also attempted to protect English trade against Dutch competition by creating a monopoly on trade between England and her colonies.[1] It was the first of the four Anglo-Dutch Wars.


Naval war between England and Holland, caused by commercial maritime competition, particularly in the East Indies. The build up to the war included the passing of the First Navigation Act (9 October 1651), which forbade the import of goods unless transported either in English vessels or by vessels from the country of origin, a measure aimed against the Dutch. The first fighting took place on 19 May 1652 off Dover, where a 20 strong English fleet under General at Sea Robert Blake attempted to search a Dutch fleet under Lieutenant Admiral Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp (battle of Goodwin Sands).

War was declared in July, and the first major battle followed on 28 September 1652. The Battle of Kentish Knock saw an English fleet of 60 ships under Blake defeat a similar Dutch Fleet under Admiral Cornelius de Witt, after which Tromp was restored to command of the Dutch fleet, and on 30 November, with 80 ships, inflicted a severe defeat on a 40 ship strong English fleet under Blake at the Battle of Dungeness. From this point the war turned towards the English. On 18 February, a running fight began after the English fleet stalked a Dutch convoy, which led to the Battle of Portland or Beachy Head (20 February), in which Tromp lost 17 men-at-war and over 50 merchant ships from the convoy, while the English only lost 10 ships, although Blake was wounded. March 1653 saw the first issuance of the Fighting Instructions, which laid out the foundation of English Naval tactics for over a century, and insisted on line-ahead formation, with the ships following each other with only a 100 yard gap, intended to make the best use of the broadside.

The Instructions saw their first test at the Battle of the Gabbard Bank (2-3 June 1653), where the arrival of Blake with reinforcements caused the Dutch to retreat with 20 losses. From June-July 1653 the English fleet blockaded the Dutch coast, until on 25 July Tromp was able to get past the blockade. The decisive battle of the war followed. On 31 July 1653 the battle of Scheveninghen (or Texel) was fought between a combined Dutch fleet numbering 100 ships, and an equally sized English fleet under George Monck. In a twelve hour fight, the Dutch lost 30 men-at-war, 1,600 sailors, and Admiral Tromp, who was killed in the fighting. English losses were half that, and the battle marked then end of serious fighting in the war. The war was finally ended by the Treaty of Westminster (3 April 1654), in which Holland agreed to compensate England, and to respect the Navigation Act.

Naval Engagements

Battle of Goodwin Sands (19 May 1652)

The Battle of Goodwin Sands (or Dover) of 19 May 1652 developed from a chance encounter between two English squadrons and a Dutch fleet taking shelter off Dover, and led to the outbreak of the First Anglo Dutch War.

Battle of Plymouth (16 Aug 1652)

The Battle of Plymouth was a naval battle in the First Anglo-Dutch War. It took place on 16 August 1652 and was a short battle, but had the unexpected outcome of a Dutch victory over England. General-at-Sea George Ayscue of the Commonwealth of England.

Battle of Elba (28 Aug 1652)

The naval Battle of Elba (or Battle of Monte Cristo) was a naval battle which took place on 28 August 1652 during the First Anglo-Dutch war, between a Dutch squadron under Johan van Galen and an English squadron under Captain Richard Badiley.

Battle of Kentish Knock (28 Sept 1652)

The battle of Kentish Knock (28 September 1652) was the first major battle of the First Anglo Dutch War, and ended in a narrow English victory.

Battle of Dungeness (30 Nov 1652)

The battle of Dungeness (30 November 1652) was the most significant Dutch victory during the First Anglo-Dutch War, and saw a fleet under Maarten Tromp win temporary control of the English Channel.

Battle of Portland (18-20 Feb 1653)

The three day long running battle of Portland (18-20 February 1653) saw the English inflict a heavy defeat on a Dutch fleet under Admiral Maarten Tromp, in the process regaining control of the English Channel, lost after the Dutch victory at Dungeness in the previous November.

Battle of Leghorn (4 Mar 1653)

The naval Battle of Leghorn took place on 4 March 1653 during the First Anglo-Dutch War, near Leghorn (Livorno), Italy. It was a victory of a Dutch squadron under Commodore Johan van Galen over an English squadron under Captain Henry Appleton.

Battle of the Gabbard (2-3 Jun 1653)

The Battle of the Gabbard (or Nieuwpoort) of 2-3 June 1653 was the decisive battle of the First Anglo-Dutch War. It was the first battle to involve the full fleets of both nations, and ended as a major English victory.

Battle of Scheveningen (31 Jul 1653)

The Battle of Scheveningen (31 July 1653) was the final major battle during the First Anglo-Dutch War and ended as an English victory that confirmed their dominance won at the Gabbard Bank in June. The battle is also known as the Battle of Camperdown, Texel or Ter Heide.


  1. Rickard, J. (11 December 2000), First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-1654), History of War.