2. THE MÜNSTER WAR 1665-1666
1st Münster-Dutch War 1665-1666
The Dutch had supported the city of Münster against the Princebishop Christoph von Galen during the years 1657-1661 and also East Frisia in a border conflict with the Princebishopric during the years 1663-1664. Von Galen was looking for compensation (read revenge) and was looking for an excuse. This was offered to him as their arose a political struggle about the Münsteran fief of Borculo, located in the Dutch Province of Overijssel. In June 1665 Von Galen concluded an alliance with England, which was involved already in the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War with the Republic since March 1665. In September 1665 Münster declared war to the Republic. With English subsidies Münster raised an army of 20.000 foot and 10.000 cavalry and invaded the Republic on September 23rd, starting with occupying Borculo.
Besides the necessary garrisons, the Republic could was only able to bring 6.000 men in the field. A number that could hardly put up any resistance to the Münster army.
The Münster army occupied several towns on their way to the Province of Groningen. As the Dutch threatened to cut off the Münster troops in Groningen, while they were besieging Bourtange, peace was concluded at Kleve on April 18th 1666. Borculo became Dutch.
During this short war the weakness of the neglected Dutch army was revealed painfully.
The attack on Coevorden by the Army of Münster in 1665
Bourtange as it is today with a renovated gate
Actually this was a war between the Bishopric of Münster and the Dutch Republic. Louis XIV for once played a positive role here towards the Republic as an ally.
He sent an aid-corps of 4.000 foot and 2.000 horse to assist the Dutch army and threaten the Münster supply lines. However the neutral Spaniards didn’t allow passage to the French through the Spanish Netherlands and they were forced to come to terms with the Princebishop of Liége and to follow the route through the valley of the river Maas. By the time they arrived the Dutch had been able to stop the Münster army by opposing their geographic advantages against the bad command of the Münster army.