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Showing the Way: The Dutch Interlude
Showing the way: The Dutch interlude

The declaration of Independence by the northern provinces1 of the Low Countries in 1581 and their meteoric rise in the world economy has been hailed as one of the greatest miracles in bourgeois history.2 Even though the major wealth creating provinces in the south continued to remain within the Habsburg Empire, the merchant communities within the new Dutch Republic organised themselves as a force to reckon with. Up to the 17th century, the merchant communities in many parts of Europe were able to rule cities, more or less independent of superior control, and to direct far-flung federations of towns. In the 17th century, the merchant communities got their first chance to run an entire ...

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