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Anglo-Dutch war of 1652-54
England and the Netherlands found themselves at war on three occasions within twenty years in the mid-seventeenth century and despite the variety of political causes, the underlying rationale for this essentially continuous conflict was trade. The first outbreak of hostilities came in 1652 following a chance encounter between two squadrons off Dover on 29th May. More a skirmish than a battle, this merely precipitated the formal declaration of war two months later thus setting the stage for a number of full-scale fleet actions during the remainder of that year and all through 1653. In broad terms, the Dutch suffered several major defeats and, in total, lost about 1,700 vessels against English losses of only 440, even though most of these were in the form of merchantmen taken as prizes by both sides. Nevertheless the Netherlands conceded so little under the Treaty of Westminster that concluded the war in April 1654 that further fighting soon became inevitable.