Today, the Dutch Commonwealth of Nations is the world’s Superpower. None can challenge it in the marketplace, nor on the highseas1. Its currency is universally accepted and its language is the de facto common language of the business world and is the largest second-language and the second largest first-language2. The United Provinces are home to the world’s largest, and oldest, stock market along with the world’s most powerful banks. Amsterdam itself rose from the marshes of Holland to grow into the financial capital of Earth.
The Dutch Empire was one built on commerce and trade. Throughout the centuries, the cities of the United Provinces were centers of trade. The story of how several squabbling and independent provinces forged a world empire is a complex history. It is also one of the most unlikely tales in human history. The United Provinces battled the mightiest power of its day for independence, fought off repeated and destructive invasions by an expansionist neighbor, and defeated a naval rival and upstart to pave its way to supremecy.
Empires have risen and fell, but the Dutch Commonwealth persevered. France, Spain, United Kingdom and even Germany have lost colonies to revolution. The Dutch lost its colonies to evolution. Eventually treated as equals, Dutch colonies became full fledged members of the Commonwealth, contribiting everything from sugar to gold to the common good of all Dutch speaking nations.
However, before there could be a Commonwealth, or even a United Provinces, there were the beginnings of the Dutch nation. Its history is filled with conflicts and rivalries from within, beginning all the way back in the Upper Paleolithic.