The Battle of Ramillies was a major engagement of the War of the Spanish Succession fought on 23 May 1706. The encounter was a resounding success for the allied forces of England, the Dutch Republic, and Denmark; but the battle had followed a year of indecisive campaigning in 1705 where Allied over-confidence after their success at the Battle of Blenheim had resulted in an abortive campaign along the Moselle, forcing the Duke of Marlborough to abandon his plans for a push into France. Yet despite the Allies' inability to achieve a decisive victory, Louis XIV was eager for peace; but he wanted it on reasonable terms. Therefore, rather than standing on the defensive, French armies on all fronts swung over to the offensive.
The year 1706 had begun well for Louis XIV's generals, who had gained early success in Italy and in Alsace, where Marshal Villars had forced the Margrave of Baden to retreat across the Rhine. Louis now pressed Marshal Villeroi to seek out Marlborough and bring the Allies to battle in the Spanish Netherlands. Accordingly, the French Marshal set off from Louvain at the head of 60,000 men, and provocatively marched towards Léau.
Enchanted by his new homeland of New Netherland, Van der Donck made detailed accounts of the land, vegetation, animals, waterways, topography, and climate. Van der Donck used this knowledge to actively promote immigration to the colony, publishing several tracts, including his influential Description of New Netherland. Charles Gehring, Director of the New Netherland Project, has called it "the fullest account of the province, its geography, the Indians who inhabited it, and its prospects…It has been said that had it not been written in Dutch, it would have gone down as one of the great works of American colonial literature."