Battle of Texel

The naval Battle of Texel or Battle of Kijkduin took place off the southern coast of island of Texel on 21 August 1673 (11 August O.S.) between the Dutch and the combined English and French fleets. It was the last major battle of the Third Anglo-Dutch War, which was itself part of the Franco-Dutch War (1672–1678), during which Louis XIV of France invaded the Republic and sought to establish control over the Spanish Netherlands. English involvement came about because of the Treaty of Dover, secretly concluded by Charles II of England, and which was highly unpopular with the English Parliament.

Battle of Texel
Part of the Franco-Dutch War

The 'Gouden Leeuw' at the Battle of Texel, 21 August 1673, by Van de Velde the Younger. At the centre is Admiral Cornelis Tromp's flagship, the Gouden Leeuw.
Date21 August [O.S. 11 August] 1673
Result Dutch victory
 Dutch Republic
Commanders and leaders
  • 92 warships
  • 30 fireships
Casualties and losses
± 1,000 killed ± 2,000 killed

The overall commanders of the English and Dutch military forces were Lord High Admiral James, Duke of York, afterwards King James II of England, and Admiral-General William III of Orange, James' son-in-law and also a future King of England. Neither of them took part in the fight.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine commanded the Allied fleet of about 92 ships and 30 fireships, taking control of the centre himself, with Jean II d'Estrées commanding the van, and Sir Edward Spragge the rear division. The Dutch fleet of 75 ships and 30 fireships was commanded by Lieutenant-Admiral-General Michiel de Ruyter, with Lieutenant-Admirals Adriaen Banckert in charge of the van and Cornelis Tromp the rear. The Dutch were also disadvantaged due to their warships being on the average smaller than both their English and French opponents.


The Battle of Texel was joined when a Dutch fleet sought to oppose the landing of troops by a combined Anglo-French fleet.

De Ruyter first decided not to leave his defensive position in the Schooneveld, from which he had successfully engaged the allied fleet in the double Battle of Schooneveld. However the Dutch Spice Fleet was returning from the Indies, filled with precious cargo. With half the country under French occupation for almost a year, the Dutch Republic's finances were in disastrous straits. The Dutch could not afford to lose the wealth the Spice Fleet was bringing, let alone allow it to be captured by the enemy. As such stadtholder William ordered De Ruyter to seek to engage the enemy.

Although outnumbered, De Ruyter gained the weather gauge and sent his van under Adriaen Banckert in to separate the Allied van (under D'Estrées) from the main fleet. His ploy was effective, and the French ships were unable to play a significant part in the remainder of the battle, which became a gruelling encounter between the bulk of the Dutch fleet and the English centre and rear divisions. Both suffered badly during hours of fierce fighting.

Spragge and Tromp, commanding their respective rear divisions, clashed repeatedly – Spragge had publicly sworn an oath in front of King Charles that this time he would either kill or capture his old enemy Tromp – each having their ships so damaged as to need to shift their flags to fresh ships three times. On the third occasion, Spragge drowned when his boat took a shot and sank.

Because of Spragge's preoccupation with duelling Tromp, the English centre had separated from the rear, clashing with the Dutch centre under De Ruyter and Lieutenant-Admiral Aert Jansse van Nes. The fight raged for hours, due to turnings of the wind each side suddenly gaining or losing the advantage of the weather gauge. Banckert managed to disengage from the French and joined the Dutch centre, upon which Rupert decided to move north to the rear squadron to prevent that he would have to fight a superior Dutch force, followed by De Ruyter with the mass of his ships. The fight then focused on an attempt by the Dutch to capture Spragge's isolated flagship, the Prince, which in the end failed.

With both fleets exhausted, the English eventually abandoned their attempt to land troops (the landing force known as the Blackheath Army was still waiting in England to be shipped), and both sides retired. No major ship was sunk (although several fireships were expended on each side), but many were seriously damaged and about 3,000 men died: two-thirds of them English or French. After the battle Prince Rupert complained that the French had not done their share of the fighting, but historians ascribe the lack of French impact on the battle to de Ruyter's brilliant fleet handling. It is true however that Count d'Estrées had strict orders from Louis XIV not to endanger the French fleet, as he himself admitted after the battle. Despite its inconclusive finish, the battle was a clear strategic victory for the Dutch.


The Spice Fleet arrived safely, bringing the much needed financial reprieve. In the months following, the Netherlands formed a formal alliance with Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. The threat posed by German and Spanish invasions from the south and east forced the French to withdraw from the territory of the Republic. The Third Anglo-Dutch War came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Westminster between the English and the Dutch in 1674. Fourteen years later the Glorious Revolution, which saw Stadtholder William III ascend the throne of England, put an end to the Anglo-Dutch conflicts of the 17th century. Only in 1781 would the Dutch and British fleets fight each other again in the battle of Dogger Bank.

Ships involved

England and France

? [cf "Journals and Narratives of the Third Dutch War", Roger Charles Anderson, Naval Records Society, London. Complete English ship lists are given for the naval battles of this war, but smaller vessels, e.g. fireships, of which there were many present during this action, are not included in Anderson's book.] John Winkler

White Squadron (French): 30 SOLs about 1828 guns

  • 27 SOLs from the previous battle, plus 3 new ones:
  • Royale Therese 80 - RA Marquis de Martel
  • Pompeux 70
  • Diamant 60
Red squadron (English): 29 SOLs (I-IV rates) about 1870 guns + 2-V
  • Sovereign - A
  • London - VA
  • Charles - RA
  • Royal Katherine
  • Henry
  • Victory
  • French Ruby
  • Edgar
  • Warspite
  • Old James
  • Triumph
  • Resolution
  • Rupert
  • Monmouth
  • Mary
  • Crown
  • Advice
  • Pearl - fifth rate

Blue squadron (English): 27 SOLs (I-IV rates) about 1690 guns + 2-V

  • Prince - A
  • Royal Charles
  • St. Andrew - VA
  • Cambridge
  • St. George
  • Unicorn
  • Henrietta
  • Dreadnought
  • Lion
  • Gloucester
  • Dunkirk
  • Monk
  • Bristol
  • Bonaventure
  • Ruby
  • Success - fifth rate
  • Guernsey - fifth rate

Division of Rear-Adm. of Blue

  • St. Michael - RA
  • Swiftsure
  • Rainbow
  • York
  • Greenwich
  • Hampshire
  • Portsmouth
  • Foresight
  • Sweepstakes

Unknown location (most of them in Red Sq.)

  • Fairfax
  • Plymouth
  • Anne
  • Happy Return
  • Princess
  • Newcastle
  • Yarmouth
  • Leopard
  • Nonsuch (or Portland)
  • Stavoren
  • Mary Rose
  • Diamond
  • Swallow
  • Assurance
  • Falcon
  • Mermaid (probable) - fifth rate

The Netherlands

Admiralty of Amsterdam

Ships of the line
  • Akerboom 62 (Jacob Teding van Berkhout)
  • Stad Utrecht 66 (Jan Davidszoon Bondt)
  • Prince te Paard 55 (Adam van Brederode)
  • Wakende Kraan 44 (Pieter Claesz Dekker)
  • Zeelandia 44 (Daniël Elsevier)
  • Steenbergen 68 (Jan Paulusz van Gelder, killed in battle)
  • Hollandia 80 (Rear Admiral Jan de Haen)
  • Gideon 62 (Barend Hals)
  • Provincie van Utrecht 60 (Jan Janszoon de Jongh)
  • Leeuwen 50 (Jan Gijsels van Lier)
  • Spiegel 70 (Commodore Jacob van Meeuwen)
  • Komeetstar 68 (Pieter Middelandt)
  • Essen 50 (Philips de Munnik)
  • Wapen van Holland 44 (Matthijs Dirkszoon Pijl)
  • Waesdorp 68 (Engel de Ruyter)
  • Tijdverdrijf 56 (Gilles Schey)
  • Agatha 50 (Pieter Cornelisz de Sitter)
  • Kalantsoog 68 (Volkert Hendrickszoon Swart, died from wounds)
  • Beschermer 50 (David Swerius (Sweers), killed in battle)
  • Oliphant 82 (Vice-Admiral Isaac Sweers, killed in battle)
  • Geloof 56 (Cornelis Tijloos)
  • Gouden Leeuw 82 (Lt-Admiral Cornelis Tromp, captain Thomas Tobiaszoon)
  • Zuiderhuis 45 (Isaak Uitterwijk)
  • Amsterdam 60 (Cornelis van der Zaan)


  • Oudkarspel 34 (Jan van Abkoude)
  • Bommel 24 (Jan Bogaart)
  • Edam 36 (Willem van Ewijk)
  • Haas 24 (Hans Hartwich)
  • Damiaten 32 (Mattheus Megank)
  • Popkensburg 24 (Jan Noirot)
  • Middelburg 36 (Hendrik Span)
  • Brak 22 (Roemer Vlacq)

Advice yachts

  • Egmond 10 (Jan Kramer)
  • Triton 10 (Nicolaas Portugaal)
  • Kits 4 (Gilles Saloy)
  • Kater 10 (Abraham Taalman)


  • Zaaier 4 (Wijbrand Barendszoon)
  • Jacob en Anna (Jan Boomgaard)
  • Leidster 4 (Pieter van Grootveld)
  • Vrede 4 (Dirk Klaaszoon Harney)
  • Wapen van Velsen 4 (Jan van Kampen)
  • Zalm 4 (Cornelis Jelmertszoon Kok)
  • Kasteel van Loon 4 (Pieter Hendrikszoon Pop)
  • Melkschuit 4 (Jacob Schenk)
  • Salvador 4 (Jacob Vroom)
  • Draak 4 (Willem Willemszoon)

Admiralty of de Maze

Ships of the line
  • De Zeven Provinciën 80 (fleet flag, Lt-Admiral-General Michiel de Ruyter, flag captains Gerard Callenburgh and Pieter de Liefde)
  • Delft 62 (Philips van Almonde)
  • Ridderschap 64 (Eland du Bois)
  • Voorzichtigheid 84 (Jan van Brakel)
  • Gelderland 63 (temporary Rear-Admiral Cornelis de Liefde, mortally wounded)
  • Vrijheid 80 (Vice-Admiral Jan Evertszoon de Liefde, killed in battle)
  • Eendracht 72 (Lt-Admiral Aert Jansse van Nes)
  • Maagd van Dordrecht 68 (Vice-Admiral Jan Jansse van Nes)
  • Dordrecht 44 (Frans van Nijdek)
  • Zeelandia 42 (Simon van Panhuis)
  • Schieland 58 (Adriaan Poort)
  • Wassenaer 59 (Barend Rees)


  • Schiedam 20 (Cornelis van der Hoevensoon)
  • Utrecht 34 (Jan Snellensoon)
  • Rotterdam 30 (Jacob Pieterszoon Swart)
  • Harderwijk 24 (Mozes Wichmansoon))

Advice yachts

  • Hoop 6 (Isaac Anteuniszoon van Anten)
  • Rotterdam 6 (Wijnand van Meurs)


  • Sint Pieter (Gerrit Halfkaag)
  • Jisper Kerk 4 (Lens Harmenszoon)
  • Blackmoor 4 (Abraham van Koperen)
  • Maria 4 (Dirk de Munnik)
  • Eenhoorn (Willem de Rave)
  • Louise 4 (Jan Daniëlszoon van Rijn)

Admiralty of the Northern Quarter

Ships of the line
  • Pacificatie 76 (Cornelis Bakker)
  • Jupiter 42 (Pieter Bakker)
  • Gelderland 45 (Maarten de Boer)
  • Eenhoorn 70 (Rear-Admiral Jan Janszoon Dick)
  • Westfriesland 78 (Jan Heck)
  • Wapen van Nassau 58 (Pieter Karseboom)
  • Wapen van Alkmaar 63 (Jan Krook)
  • Wapen van Enkhuizen 72 (Leendert Kuiper)
  • Justina van Nassau 66 (Jan Gerritszoon van Muis)
  • Noorderkwartier 60 (Jacob Roos)
  • Prins van Oranje 64 (Claes Corneliszoon Valehaen)
  • Wapen van Medemblik 44 (Hendrik Visscher, killed in battle)
  • Caleb 50 (Claes Pietersz Wijnbergen)


  • Vis (Harmen de Boer)
  • Catharina 2 (Pieter Sievertszoon Bouckertsen)
  • Witte Mol 4 (Hendrik Munt)

Admiralty of Zealand

Ships of the line
  • Walcheren 70 (Lt-admiral Adriaen van Trappen Banckert)
  • Zierikzee 60 (Vice-admiral Cornelis Evertsen de Jonge)
  • Dordrecht 50 (Willem Hendrickszoon)
  • Ter Veere 50 (Dirk Jobszoon Kiela, killed in battle)
  • Utrecht 50 (Simon Loncke)
  • Domburg 60 (Carel van der Putte)
  • Vlissingen 48 (Salomon Le Sage)


  • Delft 34 (Adriaen van Trappen Banckert de Jonge)
  • Ter Goes 34 (Anteunis Matthijszoon)

Advice yachts

  • Hazewind 7 (Tobias Adriaanszoon)
  • Goes 8 (David van Geerstdale)
  • Waterhond 4 (Jacob Hamers)
  • Zwaluw 6 (Matthijs Lauwerens)
  • Jonge Maria 10 (Arnoud Leunissen)
  • Tonijn 6 (Pieter de Moor)
  • ? (Hendrik Pieterszoon)
  • Bruinvis 6 (Jan Corneliszoon Poot)
  • Parel 6 (Teunis Post)
  • Lapmande 8 (Schuyen)


  • Samuel en Jacob 4 (Simon Arendszoon)
  • Dadelboom 2 (Reinier Dirkszoon)
  • Catharina 4 (Frederik Konvent)
  • Sevellie 2 (Anteunis Janszoon Schalje)
  • Burg 2 (Huibrecht Wolfertszoon)

Admiralty of Frisia

Ships of the line
  • Elf Steden 50 (Witzo Johannes Beima)
  • Prins Hendrik Casimir 70 (Rear-Admiral Hendrik Bruynsvelt)
  • Groningen 70 (Vice-Admiral Enno Doedes Star)
  • Oostergo 58 (Jan Janszoon Vijselaer)


  • Windhond 30 (Jan Pieterszoon Vinckelbos)

Advice yachts

  • Hoop 6 (Cornelis Reindertszoon Eenarm)
  • Liefde (Jochem Jansen)


  • Welkomst (IJsbrand Albertszoon)

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