Although the finds are not very abundant, the presence of prehistoric people who settled in the Netherlands since the middle Paleolithic is documented. The gradual retreat of the Pleistocene glaciers favored the formation of inhabited areas also in the Mesolithic, but to see a greater occupation of the Dutch territory it is necessary to reach the Holocene times, in which we are witnessing the succession of various European cultures, including especially the Neolithic ones of ceramics. bands and that of the funnel-shaped vase, more typical of Central Europe, and the Aeneolithic one of the bell-shaped vase of Iberian extraction.
HISTORY: FROM ROMAN DOMINATION TO THE REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED PROVINCES
According to globalsciencellc, the current Netherlands were originally inhabited by Celtic populations, but when the Romans in the century. I a. C. entered there they had been Germanized by Frisoni and Batavi. The Romans colonized the territory for a short time up to the Elbe, then only up to the Ems; when the great barbarian invasions began they retreated first to the west of Lake Flevo, then to the Rhine; the country, so temporarily free, was then occupied by the Franks, while the Frisians remained compressed along the coastal strip. Christianity followed, which also had its martyrs there (among them St. Frederick, eighth century, bishop of Utrecht), and the subsequent Carolingian domination, with the division of the country now to the Meuse (876), now to the Scheldt (843 and 880) which, accomplished by dynastic competitions, ended up assuming a stable ethnic character, the Franks having prevailed in the west, the Germans in the east. With the decline of the Empire, secular and ecclesiastical feudal possessions were formed, all the more free from hierarchical controls as the lands were poor and unhealthy. It was in that period of neglect that Lake Flevo joined the sea becoming the Zuidersee, probably due to a tsunami. With the end of the piracy of the Vikings, the Normans and the Danes (10th and 11th centuries) the cities began to prosper and other new ones arose and, united in leagues (hanse), had periods of great economic prosperity by acquiring commercial privileges for themselves or by preventing other similar leagues from obtaining them or, in any case, by limiting them; however they never freed themselves from feudal ties so that the country, starting from 1381, through a series of successions and credits began to unite under the government of very few families until it was reduced to only one, that of the Burgundians, who, while leaving to the the ancient privileges they enjoyed were common, they were lords of the whole area, except Gelderland. During the dominion of this family the Low Countries reached a very high degree of civilization and culture; however, the policy of expansion on a European level followed by the Dukes Philip the Good (1419-67) and Carlo the Bold (1467-77) was paid with gold by the residents of the Netherlands who, after the death of the latter duke, either rebelled, as happened for Gelderland which regained its independence, or prevented its heirs (Maria di Burgundy, Philip the Fair and the latter’s son, Charles, the future emperor Charles V) to use their wealth for purposes unrelated to the interests of the country, which with Charles V had become global.
These disagreements were further aggravated when in the Netherlands, which had been freed from ties to the Empire by Charles V who wanted to leave his son Philip heir, the reformed religion penetrated, first sacramentalism, then Anabaptism and, lastly, anabaptism. the Calvinism. When Philip, who was an intransigent Catholic, in the place of the tolerant Maria of Hungary appointed governors first the Duke of Savoy, then Margaret of Habsburg who was joined by Bishop Grenvelle (1559), the religious and national revolt broke out violently starting from Valenciennes (1562), a city now belonging to France. The attempt to impose the Tridentine laws on the country further fueled the struggle, which saw on the one hand the ruthless repression of the new governor, the Duke of Alba; on the other, the violence against the Catholics of the population, which arose under the leadership of a great Dutch feudal lord, William of Orange. In 1572 the whole country was in flames and in 1576 it proclaimed its union in Ghent overcoming particularisms and religious rivalries. But the latter soon proved to be so insurmountable that the southern Catholic countries (today’s Belgium) returned to submit to the king of Spain Philip II, while the northern ones, Calvinists, reaffirmed their union in 1579 in Utrecht and in 1581 proclaimed the decadence of the sovereign. In 1584 William of Orange was assassinated by a fanatic but the political and military skills of his son Maurizio did not make this serious loss felt. At the beginning of the century. XVII the Dutch, skilfully exploiting the defeat of the Invencible Armada (1588), stole numerous colonies (Brazil, Guayana, Curaçao, Cape Town, Java, the Moluccas) from Spain and Portugal, which in 1580 had been united to their domains by Philip II, and went as far as Japan; Amsterdam became the richest shopping center in the world for both spices and pearls and diamonds. But the exceptionally favorable situation could not last both because of the scarcity of the population and because of the excess of individualism of that people who did not want to know about founding a solid central power, and the powers of the statolder, who in each of the provinces could be a different person, they were also limited. The war continued until 1609, when a twelve-year truce was stipulated. The hostilities resumed parallel to the Thirty Years’ War, ended with the Treaty of Münster (1648) which sanctioned both the end of a war that lasted eighty years, and the full recognition of the independence and sovereignty of the Netherlands, which officially became the Republic of the United Provinces.