Dutch History. 1795

Some history facts: in 1795 the revolutionary French Army occupied the Netherlands and the (not very beloved) "Stadhouder" Willem V fled to England. In those days the Dutch people were devided in "Patriots" and "Royals"; the first group welcomed in the beginning the French soldiers, till they saw that they extorted the people and country very much. That extortion went on till the end of the Napoleon European Empire in 1813 by high taxes, a lack of goods and money, closed sea harbours and outside cargo, obliged Dutch soldiers for the French Army, high number of out-of-workers and beggars especially in the closed sea harbours like Appingedam was in those days, later it was the next city Delfzijl and an increasing poverty. Hard times, especially after 1810 when the Netherlands became a part of the French empire, without any autonomy (like the country had before). All the wars cost Napoleon so much money, goods and soldiers that all the occupied countries had to pay for it, by taxes, goods and soldiers. (And he thought that Holland was the wealthiest country he occupied, I read in an histoy book). I mean about 30.000 Dutch soldiers fought for Napoleon in 1812 in Russia, and most of them never came back. So 1810 was a crucial year, the first year as part therefore you find all the French words as "marie", "quartier", etc. in the documents of France. The following surname obligation was part of Napoleons wish to find more and extra soldiers for his continuing European wars. Till 1810 there was a small (illegal) possibility to smuggle extra goods and food by the sea harbours, but from 1810 (I read) that Napoleon placed extra soldiers and costum houses clerks in the Dutch harbours, like probably also happened in Appingedam. The outside trade stopped then totally and 70-80 % of the harbour employees got out of work (by example in Amsterdam). A lot of beggars as result.

Translation and transcription: Albert Geurink.
Date: 1 October 2004.

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