Honour - Dover 1652
By 1652 both the English and Dutch were rapidly expanding their maritime
power. With the Dutch fishing and merchant fleets much larger than the
English, but with the English having the strategic advantage of constricting
the Dutch fleets by dominating the Straits of Dover. The only other exit for
North Sea and Baltic powers being the dangerous route north bound around
Scotland into the Atlantic.
The English had made the provocative demand that on meeting an English warship in waters claimed by England, all non-English ships "honour the English flag" by lowering their topsails & dipping their flags.
The Dutch were especially reluctant to comply with this demand and relations were tense.
A Dutch fleet met an English fleet off Dover, and while the Dutch began lowering their topsails, by the the time they came within hailing distance had not dipped their flags.
The English ships under General-at-Sea Blake opened fire and a general action began between the 25 English ships and 40 Dutch ships.
Two Dutch ships struck their colours and were taken over by prize crews. But one was later recovered by the Dutch when the prize crew abandoned ship.
England won the battle and within the month, full scale war had broken out between England and the Dutch.
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This page last edited -
31 January, 2013.
Copyright © Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.