In the Netherlands, William the Silent, also known as William of Nassau and Prince of Orange, was a robust champion of Protestantism who encouraged thousands of Jews, new Christians, as he called them, and Huguenots, Christian Protestants from France, to migrate to Amsterdam. Thanks to this influx, Amsterdam became the trading capital of the world and the Dutch ruled the waves for much of the 17th century.
Sephardim were money men while Huguenots were entrepreneurs, and together, they formed a fabulous team. They created the English East India Company and the Dutch East India Company in 1600, and 1602 respectively, but the head office remained in Amsterdam where its operations were unhindered by kings of divine right.
In order to protect the North American fur trade, they built a fort at the tip of Manhattan in 1609 which would become New Amsterdam in 1624, and later, New York. In 1652, they expanded and created a colony on the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, in order to protect the spice trade with Asia. The Dutch East India Company ruled the oceans, and its founders, Jews and Huguenots, became so rich and powerful that very early on they started thinking about the demise of the Roman Christian Empire that had persecuted them over so many centuries.
The owners of the greatest company on earth lost no time in devising a plan to move their headquarters to London and take charge of England’s economy as they had done with Holland. Though England was meant to give the company a bigger and more convenient base to work from, there was a major problem. When Henry VIII had personally replaced the Pope as head of the Church of England a century before, he had lost the financial services of the Roman Christian Empire, and he had scrambled to fill the void that the loss had created. In a futile move, he had sold off all the unprofitable Church real estate, but that had brought in very little revenue. If he turned to the Jews as he did, it was only because he was desperate, antisemitism being still rampant in the country. So, although the Huguenots were welcomed with open arms for their considerable know-how, Jews were only tolerated because of their money-lending talents, and therefore, the Jews and Huguenots couldn’t work as a team as freely as they did in Amsterdam.
If they wanted to transfer the center of power from Amsterdam to London, they would have to find a way get an English king that would accept parliamentary rule. They would have to get rid of kings of divine right once and for all. Fortunately, there was already a parliament in place, and there were strong anti-royalist feelings in the country. Around this time, the word Catholic started being used to distinguish the papists from the Protestants, whether Anglican, Lutheran, or Calvinist. So, because Charles I, a Catholic, had just been crowned after marrying the catholic Bourbon Princess Henrietta, it wouldn’t be too difficult to finance an army that would answer to an anti-royalist parliament, defeat the catholic king and force him to accept parliamentary rule. The country was ripe for civil war.
Oliver Cromwell came to the financiers’ attention in 1642, when he joined the roundheads, the pro-parliamentarians. At the outset of what became known as the English civil war, he distinguished himself militarily and was subsequently promoted to commander of the New Model Army. Over the next few years, the royalist forces were defeated, and when Charles 1, the divine right king, was captured following a battle in Scotland in 1645, he was handed over to the English parliament which was under the protection of Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army. However, Charles refused to accept a constitutional monarchy and escaped. In 1647, he was recaptured, and in 1648, he was tried, convicted and executed. Cromwell then dominated the Rump Parliament that was created in 1649.
But Oliver Cromwell was a puritan fanatic who was extremely aggressive towards Ireland and Scotland, both catholic strongholds. Not able or not wanting to work with the Irish and Scottish parliamentarians, he simply dissolved parliament. After taking on the title of Lord Protector of England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland, he turned the powerful English navy against the very financiers that had financed his rise to power, the owners of the East India Company. He wanted England to take charge of the Atlantic trade. Of course, that was not meant to happen, at least not with Cromwell at its head.
When Cromwell died from natural causes in 1658, his inept son couldn’t hold the Protectorate together, and several parliaments succeeded each other until the Convention Parliament asked, in 1660, the Royalists to take charge. During the Restoration period (1660-1688), two kings of divine right, the two sons of Charles I, James II and Charles II, ruled and continued fighting the Dutch East India Company.
The Jews and Huguenots in Amsterdam and London just had to find a way to put a stop to the fratricidal naval wars and especially the rule of kings of divine right in England. An arranged marriage between the House of Orange of Holland and the House of Stuart of England would be a very good way to bring the two countries together and get rid of the kings of divine right. In the interim, the financiers turned their attention to France.