Presented by Historian John V. Quarstein
About the presentation:
During the early 17th century, England and Holland began to obtain colonies, expanded their trade, and attacked Spanish and Portuguese merchant vessels. When Oliver Cromwell assumed power in England, he issued the 1651 Navigation Acts to exclude the Dutch from trading with English colonies. This resulted in a series of conflicts known as the First, Second, and Third Anglo-Dutch Naval Wars. When the Second Anglo-Dutch Naval War began, Virginia’s defenses were very weak with forts in disrepair, and only one blockship, HMS Elizabeth, on station. In late May 1667, Admiral Abraham Crijnsen entered the Chesapeake Bay with four warships. Crijnsen destroyed Elizabeth, defeated the Virginia militia at Old Point Comfort, and then captured the entire Maryland and Virginia tobacco fleets. Virginia endeavored to rebuild several forts, but they were useless when a Dutch fleet returned in July 1672. Once again, the Dutch captured the tobacco fleet about to be conveyed to England. No other enemy fleet would ever again enter the Chesapeake. The Dutch gave an expensive lesson to Virginia to never again be unprepared to defend itself.