Jan Theunisz. Blanckerhoff: Battle on the Zuiderzee, October 11, 1573 (1663)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

This painting shows a very important Dutch victory during the Dutch war of Independence (1568-1648). After the capture of Brielle on April 1, 1572 by Dutch forces most of the cities in West-Holland choose the side of the Dutch rebels except Amsterdam. During the Spanish counter-offensive to retake the lost territory, the support of Amsterdam proved to be very important for the Spanish army. When Haarlem was finally captured after an epic siege of about 8 months the Dutch rebellion seemed to collapse. The Spanish army went to besiege Alkmaar in order to crush the Dutch rebellion. On the Zuiderzee Dutch ships could disturb the Spanish supply routes to Amsterdam. After the capture of Haarlem, the Spanish sent Maximilien de Hénin-Liétard, Count of Boussu with a fleet of 30 ships to search and destroy the Dutch ships. Opposing him was a Dutch fleet of about 25 ships, commanded by Cornelis Dirkszoon - mayor of Monnickendam. After a series of skirmishes the two fleets finally attacked each other near Hoorn. Because the Spanish ships were better armed the Dutch ships  attempted to board their enemy. During the battle, the Spanish flagship, The Inquisition, ran aground and was boarded by the Dutch. After an epic fight, Maximilien de Hénin-Liétard, Count of Boussu surrendered to the Dutch and the remaining Spanish ships fled. After this lost battle and the failed Siege of Alkmaar, the campaign of the Spanish to retake the rebel cities was a failure. Amsterdam changed sides soon after this. Alva, the Spanish commander was recalled and The Netherlands had taken their first big step toward independence. The painting shows Spanish flagship in the middle being attack from all sides. Hoorn can be seen in the background. This painting is from 1663.

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