By David Maland
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Extra resources for Europe at War 1600–1650
Trade, religion and politics in the United Provinces The foundations ofDutch prosperity were laid at the end ofthe fifteenth century, when they wrested control of the North Sea herring fisheries from the Hanseatic League. The League, comprising nearly eighty ports around the Baltic and the north Atlantic coasts, had been catching, salting and distributing up to 13,000 tons ofherring each year, but it could no longer compete with the initiative and hard work ofthe Dutch seamen. Recognising that the herring live in shoals near the EURO PE DURING THE TWELVE YEARS TRUCE 16°9-21 45 surface in order to feed upon the plankton, they invented a drift net 350 feet long which they towed at night, when the luminous surface shoals were easily detectable.
Maurice too agreed. He did not wish to lose the power and the patronage he enjoyed as commander-in-chief, but a truce was less of a blow than a peace treaty and he was promised compensations in the way of a substantial pension. With his acquiescence and with Oldenbarneveldt's active support, coupled with a threat of resignation if the truce were not approved, the measure was finally agreed to by the States-General despite the Calvinist dergy, the exiles and the champions of a West India Company-which could not be founded with official backing during the suspension of hostilities.
The emperor Rudolf declared the duchies to be 'fiefs escheated to the Empire in default of male heirs', and entrusted their administration, pending his final adjudication, to his younger brother Leopold, bishop of Passau and of Strassburg. Ernest and Wolfgang Wilhelm, meanwhile, had already arrived in the duchies and agreed by the Treaty of Dortmund inJ une 1609 that they would hold them in common pending adjudication by the members ofthe Evangelical Union. A month later Leopold seizedJülich by force.