Treaty of Westminster (1674)

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For the treaty that ended the First Anglo-Dutch War, see Treaty of Westminster (1654).
Treaty of Westminster (1674)
Type Peace treaty
Signed 19 February 1674
Location Westminster
Sealed 5 March 1674
Effective 5 March 1674
Signatories King Charles II of England,
States General of the Netherlands
Language English

The Treaty of Westminster of 1674 was the peace treaty that ended the Third Anglo-Dutch War. Signed by the Netherlands and England, it provided for the return of the colony of New Netherland to England and renewed the Treaty of Breda of 1667. It also provided for a mixed commission for the regulation of commerce, particularly in the East Indies.

It was signed on 19 February 1674 (Old Style: 9 February 1674) by Charles II of England and ratified by the States General of the Netherlands on 5 March 1674. England was forced to sign the treaty as Parliament would not allow more money to be spent on the war and had become aware of the secret Treaty of Dover in which Charles had promised Louis XIV of France to convert to Catholicism at an opportune moment. The English were dismayed by the unexpected fact that Dutch raiders managed to capture more English ships than vice versa and that New Amsterdam had been retaken by the Dutch in 1673.

Most of the initial peace conditions demanded by the English in the Accord of Heeswijk of 1672 were not met, but the Dutch paid two million guilders (down from an original demand of ten million) to be paid over a period of three years (basically to compensate for the loss of French subsidies) and again affirmed the English right of salute, their Dominium Marium from Land's End northward to Staten Land. This was qualified by the condition that Dutch fishery would in no way be impeded by this right. The treaty conditions of 1668, regulating trade and shipping, were reconfirmed. As regards territorial disputes, the treaty was a typical status quo ante arrangement:

That whatsoever countries, islands, towns, ports, castles, or forts have or shall be taken on both sides, since the time the late unhappy war broke out, either in Europe or elsewhere, shall be restored to the former lord or proprietor, in the same condition they shall be in when the peace itself shall be proclaimed

Peace was proclaimed at Whitehall on 27 February (New Style) at 10:00 AM. The condition implied that New Netherland, retaken by Cornelis Evertsen the Youngest in 1673, would henceforth again be an English possession and that Suriname, captured by the Dutch in 1667, would remain their colony, legalising the status quo of 1667. These issues had been left undecided by the Peace of Breda of that year, an uti possidetis agreement. Also the islands of Tobago, Saba, St Eustatius and Tortola, taken by the English in 1672, would have to be returned.

As the peace could not be communicated quickly to all parts of the world, different dates had been determined upon which legal hostilities would end. From the Soundings to the coast of Norway, fighting should end by 8 March; south to Tangier by 7 April; from there to the Equator by 5 May and in the rest of the world after 24 October 1674.

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