Jan Willem de Winter

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Jan Willem de Winter
WinterWillem.gif
Born(1761-03-23)23 March 1761
Kampen, Dutch Republic
Died2 June 1812(1812-06-02) (aged 51)
Paris, First French Empire
Allegiance
Branch
Service years1771–1812
RankVice admiral
Wars
Awards Legion of Honour

Jan Willem de Winter (French: Jean Guillaume De Winter, 23 March 1761 – 2 June 1812) was a Dutch admiral during the Napoleonic Wars.

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).

Contents

Biography

Early life

De Winter was born in Kampen and entered naval service at a young age. He distinguished himself by his zeal and courage, and by the time of the Patriottentijd in 1787 had reached the rank of lieutenant. The overthrow of the Patriot party forced him to fly for his safety to France.

<i>Patriottentijd</i> Period of political and social instability in the Netherlands between 1780 and 1787

The Patriottentijd was a period of political instability in the Dutch Republic between approximately 1780 and 1787. It takes its name from the radical political faction known as the Patriotten who opposed the rule of the stadtholder, William V, Prince of Orange, and his supporters who were known as Orangists.

Here he threw himself heart and soul into the cause of the French Revolution, and took part under Charles François Dumouriez and Charles Pichegru in the campaigns of 1792 and 1793, and was soon promoted to the rank of brigadier-general. [1]

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Charles François Dumouriez French general

Charles-François du Périer Dumouriez was a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars. He shared the victory at Valmy with General François Christophe Kellermann, but later deserted the Revolutionary Army, and became a royalist intriguer during the reign of Napoleon as well as an adviser to the British government. Dumouriez is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3.

In 1795, when Pichegru overran the Dutch Republic, De Winter returned with the French army to his native country. The new regime now utilized the experience he had gained as a naval officer by giving him the post of adjunct-general for the reorganization of the Batavian Navy. In 1796 he was appointed vice-admiral and commander-in-chief of the fleet. He spared no efforts to strengthen it and improve its condition, and on 11 October 1797 he ventured upon an encounter off Camperdown with the British fleet under Admiral Adam Duncan.

Dutch Republic Republican predecessor state of the Netherlands from 1581 to 1795

The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or simply United Provinces, and commonly referred to historiographically as the Dutch Republic, was a confederal republic formally established from the formal creation of a confederacy in 1581 by several Dutch provinces—seceded from Spanish rule—until the Batavian Revolution of 1795. It was a predecessor state of the Netherlands and the first fully independent Dutch nation state.

Batavian Navy

The Batavian navy was the navy of the Batavian Republic. A continuation of the Staatse vloot of the Dutch Republic, though thoroughly reorganized after the Batavian Revolution of 1795, the navy embarked on several naval construction programs which, at least on paper, made her a serious rival of the Royal Navy during War of the Second Coalition. However, the Capitulation of Saldanha Bay, the Battle of Camperdown and the Vlieter Incident showed that she did not measure up to that expectation. Nevertheless, the organisational reorganizations proved durable, when the Batavian Republic was succeeded by the Kingdom of Holland, and later, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, so that the present-day Royal Netherlands Navy should trace its ancestry through her.

Battle of Camperdown Major naval action of the French Revolutionary Wars

The Battle of Camperdown was a major naval action fought on 11 October 1797, between the British North Sea Fleet under Admiral Adam Duncan and a Batavian Navy (Dutch) fleet under Vice-Admiral Jan de Winter. The battle was the most significant action between British and Dutch forces during the French Revolutionary Wars and resulted in a complete victory for the British, who captured eleven Dutch ships without losing any of their own. In 1795, the Dutch Republic had been overrun by the army of the French Republic and had been reorganised into the Batavian Republic, a French client state. In early 1797, after the French Atlantic Fleet had suffered heavy losses in a disastrous winter campaign, the Dutch fleet was ordered to reinforce the French at Brest. The rendezvous never occurred; the continental allies failed to capitalise on the Spithead and Nore mutinies that paralysed the British Channel forces and North Sea fleets during the spring of 1797.

After an obstinate struggle the Dutch were defeated, and De Winter himself was taken prisoner. He remained in England until December, when he gave his parole and was released. His conduct in the Battle of Camperdown was declared by a court-martial to have nobly maintained the honour of the Dutch flag. [1]

Ambassador

From 1798 to 1802 De Winter filled the post of ambassador to the French Republic, and was then once more appointed commander of the fleet. He was sent with a strong squadron to the Mediterranean to repress the Tripoli pirates, and negotiated a treaty of peace with the Tripolitan government. He enjoyed the confidence of Louis Bonaparte, then King of Holland, and, after the incorporation of the Netherlands in the French empire, in an equal degree of the emperor Napoleon. By the former he was created Marshal of Holland and Count of Huessen, and given the command of the armed forces both by sea and land.

Tripoli Capital city in Greater Tripoli, Libya

Tripoli is the capital city and the largest city of Libya, with a population of about 1.158 million people in 2018. It is located in the northwest of Libya on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean Sea and forming a bay. It includes the port of Tripoli and the country's largest commercial and manufacturing centre. It is also the site of the University of Tripoli. The vast Bab al-Azizia barracks, which includes the former family estate of Muammar Gaddafi, is also located in the city. Colonel Gaddafi largely ruled the country from his residence in this barracks.

Louis Bonaparte French Prince

Louis Napoléon Bonaparte was a younger brother of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. He was a monarch in his own right from 1806 to 1810, ruling over the Kingdom of Holland. In that capacity he was known as Louis I.

Marshal of Holland was an honorary title bestowed on military leaders of the Kingdom of Holland, a client state of Napoleon Bonaparte's French Empire which encompassed most of the modern-day state of the Netherlands. The title was based on Marshal of the Empire, installed by Napoleon in 1804 to replace the previous title Marshal of France.

Later life

Napoleon gave him the grand cross of the Legion of Honour and appointed him inspector general of the northern coasts, and in 1811 he placed him at the head of the fleet he had collected at the Texel. Soon afterwards De Winter was taken ill and compelled to go to Paris, where he died on 2 June 1812. He had a splendid public funeral and was buried in the Panthéon. His heart was enclosed in an urn and placed in the Bovenkerk Church in Kampen. [1]

Notes

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