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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > June 2015 > The Extraordinary Tale of…

The Extraordinary Tale of…

While peace was being negotiated, Dutch ships sailed deep into English territory to win an audacious victory...

The Royal Navy’s humiliating defeat at Medway


The English and Dutch were at war in 1667 – although that was hardly unusual. From 1652-74, the two nations were constantly at each other’s throats, fighting for control over the sea. Whoever owned the waters owned the trade routes.

This, the Second Anglo-Dutch War, lasted two years, before grinding to a halt. The English held a crucial advantage after a victory in August 1666, but the Great Fire of London and a severe plague outbreak had left the country’s coffers depleted. With his subjects demoralised, King Charles II sued for peace and was confident of negotiating some flattering terms. But as he played for time, the Dutch navy looked to change the terms of the treaty – with a bold attack that the English didn’t see coming.

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June 2015 issue of History Revealed
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