Sunday, February 01, 2009

The supposed 226 ships in 1652

The plan for equipping the Dutch navy in 1652 called for 226 ships: 40 convoyers funded at the peace treaty in 1648, 36 cruisers funded in 1651, 50 Directors' ships funded in 1652, and 100 ships to be hired by the admiralties in 1652. I have not seen these figures mentioned after December 1652. In fact, there were never this many ships hired at one time. There seem to have been fewer than 40 convoyers left by April 1652. All 36 cruisers were in service by then. It may be the case that all 50 Directors' ships were hired and in service by about May 1652. Almost immediately, two were lost. The Sint Laurens was captured by the English on 29 May and the Erasmus was sunk in June. There is a debate over whether there was ever a Directors' ship hired by the Stad en Lande or Groningen. The admiralties were never able to provide the 100 ships. Many were soon lost or discarded, so that by December the total had fallen well below the eighty-some actually hired. By June 1652, the the lists seem to be jumbled, in that ships that had served an admiralty were listed as Directors' ships and ships were listed under different Directors.

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