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Tromp, Martin Harpertzoon

TROMP, MARTIN HARPERTZOON (1597-1653) was born at Brielle, South Holland, in 1597. At the age of eight he made a voyage to the East Indies in a merchantman, but was made prisoner and spent several years on board an English cruiser. On making his escape to Holland he entered the navy in 1624, and in 1637 was made lieutenant-admiral. In February 1639 he surprised, off the Flemish coast near Gravelines, a large Spanish fleet, which he completely destroyed, and in the following September he defeated the combined fleets of Spain and Portugal off the English coast achievements which placed him in the first rank of Dutch naval commanders. On the outbreak of war with England Tromp appeared in the Downs in command of a large fleet and anchored off Dover. On the approach of Blake he weighed anchor and stood over towards France, but suddenly altered his course and bore down on the English fleet, which was much inferior to his in numbers. In the engagement which followed (May 19, 1652) he had rather the worst of it and drew off with the loss of two ships. In November he again appeared in command of eighty ships of war, and a convoy of 300 merchantmen, which he had undertaken to guard past the English coast. Blake resolved to attack him, and, the two fleets coming to close quarters near Dungeness on the 30th of November, the English, after severe losses, drew off in the darkness and anchored off Dover, retiring next day to the Downs, while Tromp anchored off Boulogne 4 This was mentioned in the Leipzig Allg. musik. Ztg. (1815), the merit of the invention being assigned to Heinrich 'StSlzel of Pless in Silesia.

till the Dutch merchantmen had all passed beyond danger. The statement that he sailed up the Channel with a broom at his masthead in token of his ability to sweep the seas is probably mythical. In the following February (1653), while in charge of a large convoy of merchantmen, he maintained a running fight with the combined English fleets under Blake, Penn and Monk off Portland to the sands of Calais, and, though baffling to some extent the purposes of the English, had the worst of the encounter, losing nine ships of war and thirty or forty merchantmen. On the 3rd of June he fought an indecisive battle with the English fleet under Richard Dean in the Channel, but the arrival of reinforcements under Blake on the following day enabled the English to turn the scale against him and he retired to the Texel with the loss of seventeen ships. Greatly discouraged by the results of the battle, the Dutch sent commissioners to Cromwell to treat for peace, but the proposal was so coldly received that war was immediately renewed, Tromp again appearing in the Channel towards the end of July 1653. In the hotly contested conflict which followed with the English under Monk on the 2gth Tromp was shot by a musket bullet through the heart. He was buried with great pomp at Delft, where there is a monument to his memory in the old church.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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