Saturday, November 03, 2007
Resources for the Dutch navy in the First Anglo-Dutch War
My latest thinking on resources for the Dutch navy in the First Anglo-Dutch War is that none of the current published works really are adequate. For English speakers who want information about the orders of battle, ships, and captains, the only choice is The First Dutch War, published by the Navy Records Society "a long time ago". Everything else only deals with generalities. Michael Baumber's book General-at-Sea has a bit of detail, but not Dutch fleet lists. For that matter, the most detailed Dutch source, also very old, is Dr. Johan E. Elias's work Schetsen uit de Geschiedenis van ons Zeewezen. There is some detail there, but mostly the book is a source for references to the archives. There also Dr. Ballhausen's book, Der Erste Englisch-Höllandische Seekrieg 1652-1654, which is in German. His lists are filled with errors, but his book is still valuable. He has many references into obscure published sources, although they need to be checked, as they may not always support his conclusions. For Dutch ship information, the only option in the published literature is A. Vreugdenhil's Ships of the United Netherlands 1648-1702. It is both incomplete and has many errors, sadly. Frankly, the best sources are all unpublished, at this point. Most are in the Nationaal Archief in The Hague, as well as the various municipal archives, the Zeeuws Archief in Zeeland, the Westfries Archief in Hoorn, and a few others. There are also the maritime-related museums, such as the Scheepvaart, which is currently closed for renovation. We can only hope that some new published sources will appear soon, even if they are in Dutch, so that everyone does not have to try to find the unpublished information for themselves.