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The history of the Netherlands is the history of seafaring people thriving on a lowland river delta on the North Sea in northwestern Europe.
Records begin with the four centuries during which the region formed a militarized border zone of the Roman empire.
The Catholic kings of Spain took strong measures against the new Protestantism and other dissent, which polarized those peoples of present-day Belgium and Holland.The subsequent Dutch revolt led to splitting the Burgundian Netherlands into a Catholic French and Dutch-speaking "Spanish Netherlands" (approximately modern) Belgium and Luxembourg, and a northern "United Provinces", which spoke Dutch and was predominantly Protestant, with a large Catholic minority. In the Dutch Golden Age, which had its zenith around 1667, there was a flowering of trade, industry, the arts and the sciences.A rich worldwide Dutch empire developed and the Dutch East India Company became one of the earliest and most important of national mercantile companies based on entrepreneurship and trade.During the 18th century the power and wealth of the Netherlands declined.A series of wars with the more powerful British and French neighbors weakened it.
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Britain seized the North American colony of New Amsterdam, turning it into New York.