Jacob de Gheyn (II): The siege of Geertruidenberg, march 27 - june 24 1593 (1593)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

The town of Geertruidenberg was an important fortress near Dordrecht. In the first years of the Dutch war of independence (1568-1648) the town was quickly taken by Dutch forces in 1573. On April 10, 1589 the English garrison (forces in Dutch service) and the English governor of Geertruidenberg Sir John Wingfield mutinied and surrendered the city to the Spanish army. Five years later in 1593, the Dutch army launched a counter offensive to retake Geertruidenberg. Studying the art of war of the ancient Romans, especially the Siege of Alesia (52 BC), the Dutch commander Prince Maurice of Orange build large fortifications around Geertruidenberg which cut the town complete off from the outside world (called a circumvallation). Dutch warships were stationed in the river to ensure the complete encirclement. With the help of trenches the fortress was reduced bit by bit until on 24 June 1593 the Spanish garrison surrendered to the Dutch forces. The siege of Geertruidenberg was admired throughout Europe and established the reputation in Europe of Prince Maurice of Orange as a great military leader. This maps shows the entire siege with Geertruidenberg in the lower part and all the Dutch camps (the main Dutch army is below Geertruidenberg) and military forces and ships surrounding it. The large camp at the top and at the right is the Spanish army. Drawing from 1593.