Dutch ship Eendracht (1655)

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Van Minderhout Battle of Lowestoft.jpg
The Royal Charles and the Eendracht in the Battle of Lowestoft
History
Dutch EnsignDutch Republic
Name: Eendracht
Builder: Jan Salomonszoon van den Tempel, Dordrecht
Fate: Blown up at the Battle of Lowestoft on 13 June 1665
General characteristics
Class and type: 57-gun ship of the line
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Armament: 57 guns (later 73 guns)

The Eendracht or Eendragt ("Concord" - more precisely translated as "Unity") was the usual flagship of the confederate navy of the United Provinces (a precursor state of the Netherlands) between 1655 and 1665. Eendragt was the more common spelling in the 17th century; Eendracht is the modern Dutch standard spelling.

Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp had for many years insisted on the construction of a new flagship to replace the Brederode, which was too lightly armed with only 56 guns. For reasons of cost and impracticality (Dutch home waters being very shallow) this was refused until the events of the First Anglo-Dutch War made it painfully clear that much heavier ships were needed. The Admiralty of de Maze based in Rotterdam (one of the five autonomous Dutch admiralties) therefore in 1652 laid the keel of a larger ship. In February 1653 it was decided that the cost was to be shared confederately by the seven provinces of the Netherlands. The project was on instigation of Cornelis de Witt moved to the wharf of Goossen Schacks van der Arent in Dordrecht under the supervision of shipwright Jan Salomonszoon van den Tempel who also had designed Brederode and the earlier flagship Aemilia.

Due to conflicts about cost, size and materials, Eendracht was only finished in January 1655 when the First Anglo-Dutch War had already ended and Tromp was dead. At first it was intended to name the then-58-gun ship Prins Willem after the infant son of the late stadtholder William II of Orange, but Johan de Witt, Grand Pensionary with the States of Holland, decided to rename the project after the main ideal of his domestic policy: the concord between all provinces and citizens, also expressed in the official motto of the Republic: Concordia res parvae crescunt, "Small things grow through concord". When he happened to be absent for a month the orangist faction changed the name back, but the States hurriedly reverted this when De Witt after his return merely expressed his amazement. Eendracht became the flagship of Tromp's successor Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam. She fought successfully in the Northern Wars, defeating the Swedish fleet in the Battle of the Sound on 8 November 1658.

In the Battle of Lowestoft on 13 June 1665, the first battle of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, Eendracht, then armed with 73 guns, duelled the much heavier 80-gun English flagship Royal Charles. The Dutch chain shot killed a number of courtiers standing next to Lord High Admiral James Stuart on the English ship, but in the early afternoon Eendracht was hit in the powder room and exploded, killing Van Obdam. There were only five survivors out of the crew of 409.