368 Route 43. AMSTERDAM. History.
the privilege of using the imperial crown as the crest in its armorial
bearings. The real importance and prosperity of Amsterdam date
from the close of the 16thcent., when the Spanish war had ruined
Antwerp, and numbers of merchants, manufacturers, and artists
were compelled to quit the Spanish Netherlands (comp. pp. 58, 170).
Between 1585 and 1595 the town was nearly doubled in extent, and
was greatly favoured by Prince Maurice of Orange. The establishment
of the Dutch East India Company (1602) and the conclusion of peace
(1609) combined to raise Amsterdam within a very short period to
the rank of the greatest mercantile city in Europe. The number of
inhabitants in 1622 is believed to have been 105,000. External
circumstances, such as the attempt of William Il. of Orange to
occupy the city with his troops (1650), and the danger threatened
by the campaign of Louis XIV. (1672), did not seriously affect the
prosperity of the inhabitants. The 18th century brought no increase
of prosperity, and towards the end of it the Netherlands paid with
the loss of a great part of their fleet for siding against Great Britain
in the American war of independence. The annexation of Holland
by France in 41795 (comp. p. xlii) and Napoleon’s continental
blockade (1806-13) completely annihilated the trade of Amsterdam,
though even at that time the population was 217,000. The con-
struction of the North Holland Canal (p. 405), which was intended
to supersede the unfavourable approach through the Zuiderzee, did
not have the desired result. There was no permanent revival of
trade until the completion of the North Sea Canal (p. 406) placed
Amsterdam in the ranks of modern seaports. And this position was
strengthened in 1892 by the Merwede Canal, which, running via
Utrecht to the Lek and the Merwede (p. 452), places Amsterdam in
direct connection with the Rhine. At the end of 1908 the popula-
tion was 565,689, including 95,000 Roman Catholics, about 60,000
Jews from Eastern Europe, and 5000 Portuguese Jews.
Amsterdam is the chief money-market in Holland, the seat of
the Bank of the Netherlands (Pl. D, E,4; one of the leading financial
establishments of Europe), and the headquarters of the large ship-
ping companies. In the number of ships that enter and clear
the harbour annually (in 1902 over 2000, chiefly steamers; over
3,000,000 tons) and in transit-trade Amsterdam is far behind
Rotterdam and Antwerp, though as a mart for the colonial produce
of the Dutch colonies (tobacco, sugar, rice, spices, etc.) it is one of
the first commercial places in Europe. Its industrial establishments
also are considerable, including ship-building yards, refineries of
sugar and camphor, tobacco and cobalt-blue manufactories, candle-
factories, machine-shops, breweries, and diamond polishing mills.
The houses are all constructed on foundations of piles, a fact
which gave rise to the jest of Erasmus of Rotterdam, that he knew
a city whose inhabitants dwelt on the tops of trees like rooks. The
upper stratum of the natural soil is loam and loose sand, upon
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K 29612:[a,1,11], Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience
Baedeker, Karl, Belgium and Holland, including the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg: handbook for travellers, K 29612:[a,1,11], Collectie Stad Antwerpen, Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience