GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY:
The Dutch vs. Venezuela

1902



Six years after England, Germany and Italy combined to put pressure on Venezuela, another crisis emerged. This time, it was the Dutch practicing gunboat diplomacy, on one of the few countries weak enough to be dominated by the Dutch navy. Once a great naval power, by 1908 the Netherlands had only a coast-defense navy but this was also tasked with protecting the East and West Indies (Indonesia and the Caribbean colonies). Therefore, the Dutch navy had weak defense battleships which were long-range enough to steam across the world to tackle any invader (for instance, Japan in Indonesia, for whom the Dutch navy of 1908 would have been no more of a speedbump than the navy of 1942). The other ships (Friesland, Gelderland) were from a class of protected cruisers also meant to be stationed abroad, comparable in strength to the British Apollo class or Italian Liguria class (both shown on the 1902 Venezuela conflict page).

Venezuela lost and then regained its gunboat navy after the 1902 conflict with England and Germany, since most of the other captured ships were returned, but some were scuttled by their captors. The Dutch only siezed a couple of smaller ships during the incident.















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