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Hiberno-Scottish and Anglo-Saxon missionaries, particularly Willibrord , Wulfram and Boniface , played an important role in converting the Frankish and Frisian peoples to Christianity by the 8th century. Boniface was martyred by the Frisians in Dokkum In the early 8th century the Frisians came increasingly into conflict with the Franks to the south, resulting in a series of wars in which the Frankish Empire eventually subjugated Frisia.

In , at the Battle of the Boarn , the Frisians in the Netherlands were defeated by the Franks , who thereby conquered the area west of the Lauwers. The Franks then conquered the area east of the Lauwers in when Charlemagne defeated Widukind. The linguistic descendants of the Franks, the modern Dutch -speakers of the Netherlands and Flanders , seem to have broken with the endonym "Frank" around the 9th century. Although the people no longer referred to themselves as "Franks", the Netherlands was still part of the Frankish empire of Charlemagne.

In , the Frankish empire was divided into three parts, giving rise to West Francia in the west, East Francia in the east, and Middle Francia in the centre. This division was an important factor in the historical distinction between Flanders and the other Dutch-speaking areas. Middle Francia Latin : Francia media was an ephemeral Frankish kingdom that had no historical or ethnic identity to bind its varied peoples.

It was created by the Treaty of Verdun in , which divided the Carolingian Empire among the sons of Louis the Pious. Situated between the realms of East and West Francia , Middle Francia comprised the Frankish territory between the rivers Rhine and Scheldt , the Frisian coast of the North Sea , the former Kingdom of Burgundy except for a western portion, later known as Bourgogne , Provence and the Kingdom of Italy.

Middle Francia fell to Lothair I , the eldest son and successor of Louis the Pious , after an intermittent civil war with his younger brothers Louis the German and Charles the Bald. In acknowledgement of Lothair's Imperial title, Middle Francia contained the imperial cities of Aachen , the residence of Charlemagne , as well as Rome.

Most of the lands north of the Alps , including the Netherlands, passed to Lothair II and consecutively were named Lotharingia. Although some of the Netherlands had come under Viking control, in it technically became part of East Francia , which became the Holy Roman Empire in In the 9th and 10th centuries, the Vikings raided the largely defenceless Frisian and Frankish towns lying on the coast and along the rivers of the Low Countries.

Although Vikings never settled in large numbers in those areas, they did set up long-term bases and were even acknowledged as lords in a few cases. In Dutch and Frisian historical tradition, the trading centre of Dorestad declined after Viking raids from to ; however, since no convincing Viking archaeological evidence has been found at the site as of , doubts about this have grown in recent years.

One of the most important Viking families in the Low Countries was that of Rorik of Dorestad based in Wieringen and his brother the "younger Harald" based in Walcheren , both thought to be nephews of Harald Klak. And again in , Rorik was received by Charles the Bald in Nijmegen , to whom he became a vassal. Viking raids continued during that period. Harald's son Rodulf and his men were killed by the people of Oostergo in Rorik died sometime before Buried Viking treasures consisting mainly of silver have been found in the Low Countries.

Two such treasures have been found in Wieringen. A large treasure found in Wieringen in dates from around and is thought perhaps to have been connected to Rorik. The burial of such a valuable treasure is seen as an indication that there was a permanent settlement in Wieringen. Around , Godfrid arrived in Frisian lands as the head of a large force that terrorised the Low Countries.

Controlling most of Frisia between and his death in , Godfrid became known to history as Godfrid, Duke of Frisia. His lordship over Frisia was acknowledged by Charles the Fat , to whom he became a vassal. Godfried was assassinated in , after which Gerolf of Holland assumed lordship and Viking rule of Frisia came to an end.

Viking raids of the Low Countries continued for over a century. Remains of Viking attacks dating from to have been found in Zutphen and Deventer. In , King Henry of Germany liberated Utrecht. These Viking raids occurred about the same time that French and German lords were fighting for supremacy over the middle empire that included the Netherlands, so their sway over this area was weak. Resistance to the Vikings, if any, came from local nobles, who gained in stature as a result.

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The German kings and emperors ruled the Netherlands in the 10th and 11th century. The Dutch city of Nijmegen used to be the spot of an important domain of the German emperors. Several German emperors were born and died there, including for example Byzantine empress Theophanu , who died in Nijmegen. Utrecht was also an important city and trading port at the time. The Holy Roman Empire was not able to maintain political unity.

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In addition to the growing independence of the towns, local rulers turned their counties and duchies into private kingdoms and felt little sense of obligation to the emperor who reigned over large parts of the nation in name only. Friesland and Groningen in the north maintained their independence and were governed by the lower nobility. The various feudal states were in a state of almost continual war.

Gelre and Holland fought for control of Utrecht. Utrecht, whose bishop had in ruled over half of what is today the Netherlands, was marginalised as it experienced continuing difficulty in electing new bishops. At the same time, the dynasties of neighbouring states were more stable.

Groningen , Drenthe and most of Gelre, which used to be part of Utrecht, became independent. Brabant tried to conquer its neighbours, but was not successful. Holland also tried to assert itself in Zeeland and Friesland, but its attempts failed. The language and culture of most of the people who lived in the area that is now Holland were originally Frisian. The sparsely populated area was known as "West Friesland" Westfriesland. As Frankish settlement progressed, the Frisians migrated away or were absorbed and the area quickly became Dutch. The rest of Friesland in the north continued to maintain its independence during this time.

It had its own institutions collectively called the " Frisian freedom " and resented the imposition of the feudal system and the patriciate found in other European towns. They regarded themselves as allies of Switzerland. The Frisian battle cry was "better dead than a slave". They later lost their independence when they were defeated in by the German Landsknecht mercenaries of Duke Albrecht of Saxony-Meissen.

The center of power in these emerging independent territories was in the County of Holland. Originally granted as a fief to the Danish chieftain Rorik in return for loyalty to the emperor in , the region of Kennemara the region around modern Haarlem rapidly grew under Rorik's descendants in size and importance. In , the name "Holland" first appears in a deed referring to a region corresponding more or less to the current province of South Holland and the southern half of what is now North Holland. Holland's influence continued to grow over the next two centuries.

The counts of Holland conquered most of Zeeland but it was not until that Count Floris V was able to subjugate the Frisians in West Friesland that is, the northern half of North Holland. Around AD there were several agricultural developments described sometimes as an agricultural revolution that resulted in an increase in production, especially food production.

The economy started to develop at a fast pace, and the higher productivity allowed workers to farm more land or to become tradesmen. Much of the western Netherlands was barely inhabited between the end of the Roman period until around AD, when farmers from Flanders and Utrecht began purchasing the swampy land, draining it and cultivating it. This process happened quickly and the uninhabited territory was settled in a few generations.

They built independent farms that were not part of villages, something unique in Europe at the time. Guilds were established and markets developed as production exceeded local needs. Also, the introduction of currency made trading a much easier affair than it had been before. Existing towns grew and new towns sprang into existence around monasteries and castles , and a mercantile middle class began to develop in these urban areas.

Commerce and town development increased as the population grew. At home, there was relative peace. Viking pillaging had stopped. Both the Crusades and the relative peace at home contributed to trade and the growth in commerce. Cities arose and flourished, especially in Flanders and Brabant. As the cities grew in wealth and power, they started to buy certain privileges for themselves from the sovereign , including city rights , the right to self-government and the right to pass laws.

In practice, this meant that the wealthiest cities became quasi-independent republics in their own right. Two of the most important cities were Brugge and Antwerp in Flanders which would later develop into some of the most important cities and ports in Europe. Most of these wars were fought over the title of count of Holland , but some have argued that the underlying reason was because of the power struggle of the bourgeois in the cities against the ruling nobility. The Cod faction generally consisted of the more progressive cities of Holland.

The Hook faction consisted for a large part of the conservative noblemen. But perhaps the most well known is Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut. Leading noblemen in Holland invited the duke to conquer Holland, even though he had no historical claim to it. Some historians [ who? Europe had been wracked by many civil wars in the 14th and 15th centuries, while Flanders had grown rich and enjoyed peace. Most of what is now the Netherlands and Belgium was eventually united by the Duke of Burgundy in Before the Burgundian union, the Dutch identified themselves by the town they lived in, their local duchy or county or as subjects of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Burgundian period is when the Dutch began the road to nationhood. Holland's trade developed rapidly, especially in the areas of shipping and transport. The new rulers defended Dutch trading interests. The fleets of Holland defeated the fleets of the Hanseatic League several times. Amsterdam grew and in the 15th century became the primary trading port in Europe for grain from the Baltic region. Amsterdam distributed grain to the major cities of Belgium, Northern France and England. This trade was vital to the people of Holland, because Holland could no longer produce enough grain to feed itself.

Land drainage had caused the peat of the former wetlands to reduce to a level that was too low for drainage to be maintained. Charles V —58 was born and raised in the Flemish city of Ghent ; he spoke French. When he was a minor, his aunt Margaret acted as regent until France relinquished its ancient claim on Flanders in From to , Charles's government in the Netherlands had to contend with the rebellion of Frisian peasants led by Pier Gerlofs Donia and Wijard Jelckama. Gelre attempted to build up its own state in northeast Netherlands and northwest Germany. Lacking funds in the 16th century, Gelre had its soldiers provide for themselves by pillaging enemy terrain.

These soldiers were a great menace to the Burgundian Netherlands, as when they pillaged The Hague. The dukes of Burgundy over the years through astute marriages, purchases and wars, had taken control of the Seventeen Provinces that made up the Low Countries. They are now the Netherlands in the north, the Southern Netherlands now Belgium in the south, and Luxemburg in the southeast. Known as the "Burgundian Circle," these lands came under the control of the Habsburg family. Charles —58 became the owner in , but in he left to become king of Spain and later became the Holy Roman Emperor.

Charles turned over control to regents his close relatives , and in practice rule was exercised by Spaniards he controlled. The provinces each had their own governments and courts, controlled by the local nobility, and their own traditions and rights "liberties" dating back centuries. Likewise the numerous cities had their own legal rights and local governments, usually controlled by the merchants, On top of this the Spanish had imposed an overall government, the Estates General of the Netherlands, with its own officials and courts.

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With the emergence of the Protestant Reformation, Charles—now the Emperor—was determined to crush Protestantism and never compromise with it. Unrest began in the south, centered in the large rich metropolis of Antwerp. The Netherlands was an especially rich unit of the Spanish realm, especially after the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis of ; it ended four decades of warfare between France and Spain and allowed Spain to reposition its army. In , Charles granted the Netherlands status as an entity in which many of the laws of the Holy Roman Empire became obsolete.

The "Transaction of Augsburg. A year later the Pragmatic Sanction of stated that the Seventeen Provinces could only be passed on to his heirs as a composite entity. During the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation rapidly gained ground in northern Europe, especially in its Lutheran and Calvinist forms. By the s, the Protestant community had become a significant influence in the Netherlands, although it clearly formed a minority then.

Nevertheless, the Catholic rulers Charles V, and later Philip II , made it their mission to defeat Protestantism, which was considered a heresy by the Catholic Church and a threat to the stability of the whole hierarchical political system. On the other hand, the intensely moralistic Dutch Protestants insisted their Biblical theology, sincere piety and humble lifestyle was morally superior to the luxurious habits and superficial religiosity of the ecclesiastical nobility.

In the second half of the century, the situation escalated. Philip sent troops to crush the rebellion and make the Netherlands once more a Catholic region. In the first wave of the Reformation, Lutheranism won over the elites in Antwerp and the South. The Spanish successfully suppressed it there, and Lutheranism only flourished in east Friesland.

The second wave of the Reformation, came in the form of Anabaptism , that was popular among ordinary farmers in Holland and Friesland. Anabaptists were socially very radical and equalitarian; they believed that the apocalypse was very near. They refused to live the old way, and began new communities, creating considerable chaos. The movement was allowed in the north, but never grew to a large scale. The third wave of the Reformation, that ultimately proved to be permanent, was Calvinism. It arrived in the Netherlands in the s, attracting both the elite and the common population, especially in Flanders.

The Catholic Spanish responded with harsh persecution and introduced the Inquisition of the Netherlands. Calvinists rebelled. First there was the iconoclasm in , which was the systematic destruction of statues of saints and other Catholic devotional depictions in churches. Blum says, "His patience, tolerance, determination, concern for his people, and belief in government by consent held the Dutch together and kept alive their spirit of revolt.

The other states remained almost entirely Catholic. This treaty ended a forty-year period of warfare between France and Spain conducted in Italy from to Spain had been keeping troops in the Netherlands to be ready to attack France from the north as well as from the south. With the settlement of so many major issues between France and Spain by the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis, there was no longer any reason to keep Spanish troops in the Netherlands.

Thus, the people of the Netherlands could get on with their peacetime pursuits. As they did so they found that there was a great deal of demand for their products. Fishing had long been an important part of the economy of the Netherlands. However, now the fishing of herring alone came to occupy 2, boats operating out of Dutch ports.

Spain, still the Dutch trader's best customer, was buying fifty large ships full of furniture and household utensils from Flanders merchants. Additionally, Dutch woolen goods were desired everywhere. The Netherlands bought and processed enough Spanish wool to sell four million florins of wool products through merchants in Bruges. So strong was the Dutch appetite for raw wool at this time that they bought nearly as much English wool as they did Spanish wool. Total commerce with England alone amounted to 24 million florins.

Much of the export going to England resulted in pure profit to the Dutch because the exported items were of their own manufacture. The Netherlands was just starting to enter its "Golden Age. The population reached 3 million in , with 25 cities of 10, people or more, by far the largest urban presence in Europe; with the trading and financial center of Antwerp being especially important population , Spain could not afford to lose this rich land, nor allow it to fall from Catholic control.

Thus came 80 years of warfare. A devout Catholic, Philip was appalled by the success of the Reformation in the Low Countries , which had led to an increasing number of Calvinists. His attempts to enforce religious persecution of the Protestants, and his centralization of government, law enforcement, and taxes, made him unpopular and led to a revolt.

With the approach of Alba and the Spanish army, William the Silent of Orange fled to Germany with his three brothers and his whole family on 11 April The Duke of Alba sought to meet and negotiate with the nobles that now faced him with armies. However, when the nobles arrived in Brussels they were all arrested and Egmont and Horn were executed.

The first fifty years through were uniquely a war between Spain and the Netherlands. During the last thirty years — the conflict between Spain and the Netherlands was submerged in the general European War that became known as the Thirty Years' War. The Act of Abjuration or Plakkaat van Verlatinghe was signed on 26 July , and was the formal declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king. William of Orange Slot Dillenburg, 24 April — Delft, 10 July , the founder of the Dutch royal family, led the Dutch during the first part of the war, following the death of Egmont and Horn in The very first years were a success for the Spanish troops.

However, the Dutch countered subsequent sieges in Holland. In November and December , all the citizens of Zutphen and Naarden were slaughtered by the Spanish. From 11 December that year the city of Haarlem was besieged, holding out for seven months until 13 July Oudewater was conquered by the Spanish on 7 August , and most of its inhabitants were killed. Maastricht was besieged, sacked and destroyed twice in succession in and by the Spanish. In a war composed mostly of sieges rather than battles, Governor-General Alexander Farnese proved his mettle.

His strategy was to offer generous terms for the surrender of a city: there would be no more massacres or looting; historic urban privileges were retained; there was a full pardon and amnesty; return to the Catholic Church would be gradual. The conservative Catholics in the south and east supported the Spanish.

Farnese recaptured Antwerp and nearly all of what became Belgium. Flanders was the most radical anti-Spanish territory. The war dragged on for another half century, but the main fighting was over. The Peace of Westphalia , signed in , confirmed the independence of the United Provinces from Spain.

The Dutch people started to develop a national identity since the 15th century, but they officially remained a part of the Holy Roman Empire until National identity was mainly formed by the province people came from. Holland was the most important province by far. The republic of the Seven Provinces came to be known as Holland across Europe.

The Catholics in the Netherlands were an outlawed minority that had been suppressed by the Calvinists. After , however, they made a striking comeback also as part of the Catholic Counter-Reformation , setting up seminaries, reforming their Church, and sending missionaries into Protestant districts. Laity often took the lead; the Calvinist government often arrested or harassed priests who seemed too effective. Catholic numbers stabilized at about a third of the population in the Netherlands; they were strongest in the southeast.

During the Eighty Years' War the Dutch provinces became the most important trading centre of Northern Europe, replacing Flanders in this respect. During the Golden Age, there was a great flowering of trade, industry, the arts and the sciences in the Netherlands. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Dutch were arguably the most economically wealthy and scientifically advanced of all European nations. This new, officially Calvinist nation flourished culturally and economically, creating what historian Simon Schama has called an "embarrassment of riches".

Due to these developments the 17th century has been dubbed the Golden Age of the Netherlands. The invention [81] of the sawmill enabled the construction of a massive fleet of ships for worldwide trading and for defence of the republic's economic interests by military means. National industries such as shipyards and sugar refineries expanded as well.

The Dutch, traditionally able seafarers and keen mapmakers, [82] obtained an increasingly dominant position in world trade, a position which before had been occupied by the Portuguese and Spaniards. It was the first-ever multinational corporation , financed by shares that established the first modern stock exchange. It became the world's largest commercial enterprise of the 17th century. To finance the growing trade within the region, the Bank of Amsterdam was established in , the precursor to, if not the first true central bank. The Dutch also dominated trade between European countries.

The Low Countries were favorably positioned on a crossing of east-west and north-south trade routes and connected to a large German hinterland through the Rhine river. Dutch traders shipped wine from France and Portugal to the Baltic lands and returned with grain destined for countries around the Mediterranean Sea. By the s, an average of nearly Dutch ships entered the Baltic Sea each year. Renaissance Humanism , of which Desiderius Erasmus c. Overall, levels of tolerance were sufficiently high to attract religious refugees from other countries, notably Jewish merchants from Portugal who brought much wealth with them.

The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in France in resulted in the immigration of many French Huguenots , many of whom were shopkeepers or scientists. Still tolerance had its limits, as philosopher Baruch de Spinoza — would find out. Due to its climate of intellectual tolerance the Dutch Republic attracted scientists and other thinkers from all over Europe. Especially the renowned University of Leiden established in by the Dutch stadtholder , William of Oranje , as a token of gratitude for Leiden's fierce resistance against Spain during the Eighty Years' War became a gathering place for these people.

Dutch lawyers were famous for their knowledge of international law of the sea and commercial law. Hugo Grotius — played a leading part in the foundation of international law. Again due to the Dutch climate of tolerance, book publishers flourished. Many books about religion, philosophy and science that might have been deemed controversial abroad were printed in the Netherlands and secretly exported to other countries. Thus during the 17th century the Dutch Republic became more and more Europe's publishing house. Christiaan Huygens — was a famous astronomer , physicist and mathematician.

He invented the pendulum clock , which was a major step forward towards exact timekeeping.

He contributed to the fields of optics. The most famous Dutch scientist in the area of optics is certainly Anton van Leeuwenhoek , who invented or greatly improved the microscope opinions differ and was the first to methodically study microscopic life, thus laying the foundations for the field of microbiology. Famous Dutch hydraulic engineer Jan Leeghwater — gained important victories in The Netherlands's eternal battle against the sea. Leeghwater added a considerable amount of land to the republic by converting several large lakes into polders , pumping all water out with windmills.

Painting was the dominant art form in 17th-century Holland. Dutch Golden Age painting followed many of the tendencies that dominated Baroque art in other parts of Europe, as with the Utrecht Caravaggisti , but was the leader in developing the subjects of still life , landscape , and genre painting. Portraiture were also popular, but history painting — traditionally the most-elevated genre struggled to find buyers. Church art was virtually non-existent, and little sculpture of any kind produced. While art collecting and painting for the open market was also common elsewhere, art historians point to the growing number of wealthy Dutch middle-class and successful mercantile patrons as driving forces in the popularity of certain pictorial subjects.

Some notable artistic styles and trends include Haarlem Mannerism , Utrecht Caravaggism , the School of Delft , the Leiden fijnschilders , and Dutch classicism. Due to the thriving economy, cities expanded greatly. New town halls, weighhouses and storehouses were built. In the countryside, many new castles and stately homes were built.

Most of them have not survived. Starting at Reformed churches were commissioned, many of which are still landmarks today. Overall, Dutch architecture, which generally combined traditional building styles with some foreign elements, did not develop to the level of painting. The Golden Age was also an important time for developments in literature. Since Latin was the lingua franca of education, relatively few men could speak, write, and read Dutch all at the same time.

Music did not develop very much in the Netherlands since the Calvinists considered it an unnecessary extravagance, and organ music was forbidden in Reformed Church services, although it remained common at secular functions. On 2 June , it was granted a charter for a trade monopoly in the West Indies meaning the Caribbean by the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands and given jurisdiction over the African slave trade , Brazil, the Caribbean , and North America.

Its area of operations stretched from West Africa to the Americas, and the Pacific islands. The company became instrumental in the Dutch colonization of the Americas. The first forts and settlements in Guyana and on the Amazon River date from the s. Actual colonization, with Dutch settling in the new lands, was not as common as with England and France. Many of the Dutch settlements were lost or abandoned by the end of that century, but the Netherlands managed to retain possession of Suriname and a number of Dutch Caribbean islands.

The colony was a private business venture to exploit the fur trade in beaver pelts. During the s, the colony experienced dramatic growth and became a major port for trade in the Atlantic World , tolerating a highly diverse ethnic mix. Descendants of the original settlers played a prominent role in the History of the United States , as typified by the Roosevelt and Vanderbilt families.

The Hudson Valley still boasts a Dutch heritage. The concepts of civil liberties and pluralism introduced in the province became mainstays of American political and social life. Although slavery was illegal inside the Netherlands it flourished in the Dutch Empire, and helped support the economy. It was overtaken by Britain around Historians agree that in all the Dutch shipped about , African slaves across the Atlantic, about 75, of whom died on board before reaching their destinations.

From to , the Dutch traders sold , slaves in the Dutch Guianas, , in the Dutch Caribbean islands, and 28, in Dutch Brazil. It had many world firsts—the first multinational corporation , the first company to issue stock, and was the first megacorporation , possessing quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, negotiate treaties, coin money, and establish colonial settlements.

England and France soon copied its model but could not match its record. Between and the VOC sent almost a million Europeans to work in the Asia trade on 4, ships. It returned over 2. The VOC enjoyed huge profits from its spice monopoly through most of the 17th century. Afterward, they established ports in Dutch occupied Malabar , leading to Dutch settlements and trading posts in India.

However, their expansion into India was halted, after their defeat in the Battle of Colachel by the Kingdom of Travancore , during the Travancore-Dutch War. The Dutch never recovered from the defeat and no longer posed a large colonial threat to India. Its possessions were taken over by the government and turned into the Dutch East Indies.

The marooned crew, the first Europeans to attempt settlement in the area, built a fort and stayed for a year until they were rescued. The VOC, one of the major European trading houses sailing the spice route to East Asia, had no intention of colonizing the area, instead wanting only to establish a secure base camp where passing ships could shelter, and where hungry sailors could stock up on fresh supplies of meat, fruit, and vegetables. To remedy a labour shortage, the VOC released a small number of VOC employees from their contracts and permitted them to establish farms with which they would supply the VOC settlement from their harvests.

This arrangement proved highly successful, producing abundant supplies of fruit, vegetables, wheat, and wine; they also later raised livestock. The small initial group of "free burghers", as these farmers were known, steadily increased in number and began to expand their farms further north and east. The majority of burghers had Dutch ancestry and belonged to the Calvinist Reformed Church of the Netherlands , but there were also numerous Germans as well as some Scandinavians. The Huguenots in South Africa were absorbed into the Dutch population but they played a prominent role in South Africa's history.

There was a close association between the cape and these Dutch possessions in the far east. These slaves often married Dutch settlers, and their descendants became known as the Cape Coloureds and the Cape Malays. During the 18th century, the Dutch settlement in the area of the cape grew and prospered. By the late s, the Cape Colony was one of the best developed European settlements outside Europe or the Americas. Its strategic position meant that almost every ship sailing between Europe and Asia stopped off at the colony's capital Cape Town.

The supplying of these ships with fresh provisions, fruit, and wine provided a very large market for the surplus produce of the colony. Some free burghers continued to expand into the rugged hinterlands of the north and east, many began to take up a semi-nomadic pastoralist lifestyle, in some ways not far removed from that of the Khoikhoi they had displaced. In addition to its herds, a family might have a wagon , a tent , a Bible, and a few guns. As they became more settled, they would build a mud -walled cottage , frequently located, by choice, days of travel from the nearest European settlement.

These were the first of the Trekboers Wandering Farmers, later shortened to Boers , completely independent of official controls, extraordinarily self-sufficient, and isolated from the government and the main settlement in Cape Town. Dutch was the official language, but a dialect had formed that was quite distinct from Dutch. The Afrikaans language originated mainly from 17th-century Dutch dialects. Kazan became an important Islamic center for Russias Muslims, and its famous Muslim modernists, or jadids, were known throughout the Islamic world.

The communist takeover changed all this. It featured the abolition of religious institutions and the suppression or killing of most clergy. Like other Soviet Muslim citizens, Tatars and Bashkirs were forcibly cut off from their religious traditions for 70 years. During the Soviet period, the muftiat in Ufa was responsible for no more than 20 mosques. Such mosques were visited mostly by retired older men. Twenty to 30 clergy, who were educated mainly in the religious schools of Uzbekistan, sufficed to tend these mosques. New mosques sprang up everywhere, and old mosques were returned to believers.

A dramatic shortage of imams developed for all the new and old mosques, and this created a vacuum into which flowed. When the shortage persisted, other Muslim countries and Turkish religious associations offered their help. Many youngsters traveled to these Islamic countries to receive education sufficient to become Muslim clerics. The main tendency of this early post-Soviet period was toward stabilizing inter-confessional relations and facilitating the interaction of state bodies with Muslim institutes and organizations.

Today, Tatarstan, along with Dagestan and the Moscow region, is considered a leader among the regions of the Russian Federation in terms of the number of functional religious communities. This project was facilitated by Tatarstans former president Mintimer Sheymiyev, a gesture that demonstrated the states debt to religious affairs. The mosque memorializes the independent Kazan Khanate period, which was destroyed in , the date from which all Muslims of the region were brought under the Russian rule.

According to the Republic of Tatarstans official website, revivals in the Muslim ummah religious society have not always been peaceful. The most difficult problem is the unveiling of various radical currents hiding under the larger Islamic umbrella, which undermine the traditions of the regions established Islamic practice. The problem of wahabism spreading in Russia is especially serious because it erodes both religious and national traditions, struggles that take place within state institutions.

The problem of spreading wahabism and other Islamist approaches is linked to training of clergy, especially those who receive religious education abroad. In the early s shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed, religious propagandists from Saudi Arabia began arriving in Russia to spread their conservative doctrine.

So, too, did Turkish imams and educators, most belonging to the Fethulla Glen movement. They opened private schools, which attracted the attention of parents because of the. The problem of spreading wahabism and other Islamist approaches is linked to training of clergy. Students able to attend Glenist schools learned Russian, English, and their national tongue. At the same time, the Glenists propagated Islamic education in the dormitories.

Moscow eventually identified these Turkish schools as dangers to religious stability in Tatarstan and moved to close them down. Kazan at first resisted Moscows decision, but on the basis of a High Court verdict in , the last Glenist schools were closed, all Glenist religious activities were forbidden, and a number of Turkish citizens were deported. Glens movement is derived from Nurcular movement, which seeks to purify Islam, but it is some distance from the radical conservative doctrines of the wahabis or salafis.

Moscows concern clearly was that the Glenist pathway could lead to these radical destinations, and indeed some Glenist students embarked on this journey. Authorities sought ways to put barriers in front of these conservative movements. One approach was to revitalize the development of national religious traditions, which were considered less susceptible to the force of Islamic conservatism due to their deep historical content.

Efforts were also made to marginalize the revival of obsolete or alien religious practices within Tatar Islam. But these efforts and others have not been able to stop the influence of salafist Islam, which insists on the recognition of sharia religious laws and customs from the Prophets time. In an interview with Rimzil Veliev on June 7, , Yakubov spoke directly about how this emerging radicalism was surmounting impeding nationalist barriers, like the Tatar language. On this front, he lamented that the Tatar language would likely disappear from mosques in 10 to 15 years because of the inflow of imams from the Caucasus who belong to the Shafi school of Sunni Islam Tatars and Bashkirs belong to Hanafi school and use Russian in their preaching, not Tatar or Bashkir.

In fact, the conservative North Caucasians are actively infiltrating all Tatar mosques, not just in Tatarstan, but throughout Russia. Tatars are the second largest ethnic group 5. Most live in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan and neighboring republics in the Volga-Ural region. But there are also large numbers in Moscow, while others are found in Siberia. The diffusion of the Tatar population away from Tatarstan strains the ability of outlying Tatars and their families to maintain Tatar as their first language.

At the time, the Trump Organization had only a handful of staff members involved in dealmaking. According to Rtskhiladze, Trump, Jr. At one point, Rtskhiladze and Cohen held two days of meetings in New York to discuss the project. Trump, Jr. According to former executives at the Trump Organization, the company lacked rigorous procedures for assessing foreign partners.

A month after Trump visited Georgia, he agreed to license his name to, and provide oversight of, a luxury hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, a deal that I examined in an article in The New Yorker earlier this year. Trump received several million dollars from the brother and the son of an Azerbaijani billionaire who was then the Minister of Transportation—a man who, U. Veselnitskaya came to the meeting accompanied by business associates who have extensive ties to Georgia and Azerbaijan.

The price was twelve million dollars, and the seller was Vento, L. Riviera, L. In other words, the Silk Road Group was selling property to itself. The Financial Action Task Force, headquartered in Paris, is led by representatives from thirty-seven nations. In , the task force issued a report about the use of real-estate projects for money laundering. The report makes note of several red flags. Shortly after acquiring the properties, the companies are voluntarily wound up, and the criminals then repurchase the property at a price considerably above the original purchase price.

This enables them to insert a sum of money into the financial system equal to the original purchase price plus the capital gain, thereby allowing them to conceal the origin of their funds. The complete story of what Jacek did next would require more than a single magazine article to describe. He co-authored a fiery book and made a conspiratorial film about the secret forces lined up against the Polish right.


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He was a member, at different times, of different parties or factions, sometimes quite marginal and sometimes more centrist. He became a member of the European Parliament. He came to specialize in so-called black PR. Famously, he helped torpedo the presidential campaign of Donald Tusk who eventually became prime minister , in part by spreading the rumor that Tusk had a grandfather who had voluntarily joined the Wehrmacht, the Nazi army. Jacek did not win the popular acclaim he thought a teenage Solidarity activist was entitled to.

And this was a huge disappointment. Yet fate dictated that he failed over and over again … He concluded that this was a great injustice. Since his arrival at Telewizja Polska, the younger Kurski has changed the station beyond recognition, firing the best-known journalists and radically reorienting its politics. Although the station is funded by taxpayers, the news broadcasts no longer make any pretense of objectivity or neutrality. In April of this year, for example, the station made an advertisement for itself.

It showed a clip from a press conference; the leader of the opposition party, Grzegorz Schetyna, is asked what his party achieved during its eight years in government, from to Schetyna pauses and frowns; the video slows down and then ends.

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In reality, Schetyna spoke for several minutes and listed a number of achievements, from the mass construction of roads to rural investments to advances in foreign policy. Jacek—deprived of respect for so many years—is finally having his revenge. He is right where he thinks he should be: at the center of attention, the radical throwing figurative Molotov cocktails into the crowd.

The illiberal one-party state suits him perfectly. From Orwell to Koestler, the European writers of the 20th century were obsessed with the idea of the Big Lie. The vast ideological constructs that were Communism and fascism, the posters demanding fealty to the Party or the Leader, the Brownshirts and Blackshirts marching in formation, the torch-lit parades, the terror police—these Big Lies were so absurd and inhuman, they required prolonged violence to impose and the threat of violence to maintain.

They required forced education, total control of all culture, the politicization of journalism, sports, literature, and the arts. By contrast, the polarizing political movements of 21st-century Europe demand much less of their adherents. To put it differently, all of them encourage their followers to engage, at least part of the time, with an alternative reality. In Hungary, the lie is unoriginal: It is the belief, shared by the Russian government and the American alt-right, in the superhuman powers of George Soros , the Hungarian Jewish billionaire who is supposedly plotting to bring down the nation through the deliberate importation of migrants, even though no such migrants exist in Hungary.

In Poland, at least the lie is sui generis. The story has special force in Poland because the crash had eerie historical echoes. Dozens of senior military figures and politicians were also on board, many of them friends of mine. My husband reckons that he knew everybody on the plane, including the flight attendants. A huge wave of emotion followed the accident.

Television announcers wore black mourning ties; friends gathered at our Warsaw apartment to talk about history repeating itself in that dark, damp Russian forest. At first the tragedy seemed to unify the country. After all, politicians from every major party had been on the plane, and huge funerals were held in many cities. Even Vladimir Putin, then the Russian prime minister, seemed moved. He went to Smolensk to meet Tusk, then the Polish prime minister, on the evening of the crash. Nothing like it has ever been shown so widely in Russia, before or since.

Teams of Polish experts were on the ground that same day. They did their best to identify bodies, many of which were nothing but ash. They examined the wreckage. Once the black box was found, they began to transcribe the cockpit tape. The plane had taken off late; the president was likely in a hurry to land, because he wanted to use the trip to launch his reelection campaign. There was thick fog in Smolensk, which did not have a real airport, just a landing strip in the forest; the pilots considered diverting the plane, which would have meant a drive of several hours to the ceremony.

After the president had a brief phone call with his brother, his advisers apparently pressed the pilots to land. Some of them, against protocol, walked in and out of the cockpit during the flight. Also against protocol, the chief of the air force came and sat beside the pilots. Seconds later, the plane collided with the tops of some birch trees, rolled over, and hit the ground. But as the investigation unfolded, its findings were not to his liking. There was nothing wrong with the plane. Or perhaps, like Donald Trump, he saw how a conspiracy theory could help him attain power.

Sometimes he has implied that the Russian government downed the plane. None of his accusations can be proved, however.


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Perhaps to distance himself somewhat from the lies that needed to be told, he gave the job of promoting the conspiracy theory to one of his oldest and strangest comrades. His odd stare and his obsessions—he has said that he finds the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to be a plausible document—even led the Law and Justice Party to make an election promise in Macierewicz would definitely not be the defense minister. Immediately, Macierewicz began to institutionalize the Smolensk lie.

He created a new investigation commission composed of cranks, among them an ethnomusicologist, a retired pilot, a psychologist, a Russian economist, and other people with no knowledge of air crashes. The previous official report was removed from a government website. Police entered the homes of the aviation experts who had testified during the original investigation, interrogated them, and confiscated their computers. When Macierewicz went to Washington, D.

When, some weeks after the election, European institutions and human-rights groups began responding to the actions of the Law and Justice government, they focused on the undermining of the courts and public media. And yet the decision to put a fantasy at the heart of government policy really was the source of the authoritarian actions that followed. Although the Macierewicz commission has never produced a credible alternate explanation for the crash, the Smolensk lie laid the moral groundwork for other lies.

Those who could accept this elaborate theory, with no evidence whatsoever, could accept anything. They could accept, for example, the broken promise not to put Macierewicz in the government. The lie also gave the foot soldiers of the far right an ideological basis for tolerating other offenses. The Smolensk conspiracy theory, like the Hungarian migration conspiracy theory, served another purpose: For a younger generation that no longer remembered Communism, and a society where former Communists had largely disappeared from politics, it offered a new reason to distrust the politicians, businesspeople, and intellectuals who had emerged from the struggles of the s and now led the country.

More to the point, it offered a means of defining a new and better elite. Anyone who professes belief in the Smolensk lie is by definition a true patriot—and, incidentally, might well qualify for a government job. The emotional appeal of a conspiracy theory is in its simplicity.

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It explains away complex phenomena, accounts for chance and accidents, offers the believer the satisfying sense of having special, privileged access to the truth. But—once again—separating the appeal of conspiracy from the ways it affects the careers of those who promote it is very difficult. The museum, which she directs, explores the history of totalitarianism in Hungary and, when it opened, was one of the most innovative new museums in the eastern half of Europe.

From its opening day, it has also had harsh critics. In , it was still a shock to see the two regimes compared, though perhaps it is less so now. Others felt that the museum gave insufficient weight and space to the crimes of fascism, though Communists ran Hungary for far longer than the fascists did, so there is more to show. I liked the fact that the museum showed ordinary Hungarians collaborating with both regimes, which I thought might help Hungary understand its responsibility for its own politics, and avoid the narrow nationalist trap of blaming problems on outsiders. Yet this is precisely the narrow nationalist trap into which Hungary has now fallen.

It has gone much further than Law and Justice in politicizing the state media and destroying the private media, achieving the latter by issuing threats and blocking access to advertising. Eventually he sold his Hungarian property and left the country. Schmidt—a historian, scholar, and museum curator—is one of the primary authors of that lie.