The Navigation Acts
The Navigation Ordinance of 1651 was the first major Navigation Act passed. It was put into effect by the Commonwealth government, led by Oliver Cromwell. The act stated that goods imported into England and the English Commonwealth territory must be brought in or carried on ships belonging to English, Irish, or colonial vessels. The Ship must consist of an English Captain and three fourths of the crew must be English as well. The Navigation Act of 1651 itself did not apply to a certain country, it was primarily aimed at the Dutch Republic. In the mid-1600s, the Dutch had dominated most of the international trade. They were dominating the trade on England's coast as well, this did not make the Commonwealth government happy and they knew it had to be stopped. The Navigation Act excluded Dutch merchants from essentially all trade with England and English Commonwealth territory, since the Dutch vessels would only be able to import a limited quantity of products from the Dutch Republic (mainly cheese and butter). The Dutch fishing industry was also affected. Salt-fish and fish-oil could only be imported or exported from Commonwealth territories in English vessels. The Dutch constantly violated the Act, it was commonly used as a way to
usurp Dutch ships. In 1652 George Ayscue captured 27 Dutch ships, and over a hundred more Dutch ships were taken by the British between October 1651 and July 1652. Moreover, the death of Dutch stadtholder William II., resulted in the Dutch to expand their military, leading to the expansion of the English military. With several more causes and an accidental confrontation of fleets, the Anglo-Dutch War (1652-1654) begins. After a couple of victories in 1653 (the Battle of Portland, the Battle of the Gabbard and the Battle of Scheveningen), the English conqored the Dutch, and the Treaty of Westminster was signed. This made the Dutch come to recognize the Navigation Act, but it had little influence on...