Tussenland Upheavals

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Tussenland Upheavals

Painting of Emille Bedard, notorious Meerenlander revolutionary and freedom fighter
DateMarch 1859 - July 1861 (2 years, 4 months, 23 days)
Result Formation of the semi-sovereign Federation of Tussenland
Disestablishment of the Royal Tussenland Company
Antilles Accords
• Governments of Meerenland, Westerzee, Daesemus, and Mississippi
• High Commission of Irokesenland
New Netherland
Meerenland rebels
• Suyderlings
South Tussenland
• Catholic Archdiocese of Sault Ste. Marie
Westerzee Asian rebels
Mississippi rebels
Commanders and leaders
Casimir van Boetsselaer
Evert van der Hulst
Piet van de Vegte
Emille Bedard

The Tussenland Upheavals (Amerikaens: Tussenlandt Onllusten; 1859-1861) was a series of violent revolts and diplomatic crises in the then-colony of Tussenland that led to radical political, social, and economic change in the provinces of Tussenland.

The several localised uprisings in 1859 were initially viewed by the Netherlands as unrelated, isolated conflicts. It was not until middle of 1860 that the Dutch States-General viewed the conflict as a serious issue. Francophone rebels of Meerenland province, allied with Irokees revolutionaries in the Irokesenland Protectorate, signed the Instrument of Confederation on March 16, 1860. On the twenty-fourth of July 1861, the States-General of the Netherlands passed the Act of Parliament 1861, disestablishing the Royal Tussenland Company.



Van Boetsselaer's corrupt tenure

As early as the 1830s, the unique colony of Meerenland had calls for a more democratic and accountable administration. Having only come under the Dutch during Prince Maurice's War eighty years ago, the province had a distinct identity and had felt that their will and culture were disrespected by the Netherlands' colonial regime.

The Director of Meerenland, Casimir van Boetsselaer.

Casimir van Boetsselaer's appointment as Director of Meerenland in 1854 sparked outrage across the province. Van Boetsselaer was described as 'an out-of-touch and aloof statesman' with a 'cassandran attitude'. He was unable to speak basic French and had famously refused to learn the language or engage with Meerenlander culture. In 1855, he supported the controversial provincial Dutch Language Act (Amerikaens: Ackt op de tallen v'n de Mîrenlandt, French: Loi imposant les langues hollandaises) which designated Hollandic Dutch the only official language of government and recognized the Amerikaens variant of Dutch. This law was widely considered to be part of a state effort to suppress the French dialect of Meerenland.

The Dutch States-General had motioned to relieve van Boetsselaer of his post in 1856 but this had fallen under deaf ears. In 1858, the weekly political publication the Meerenlander Mail (French: Courrier de Mirélande) had publicised a letter written van Boetsselaer to his cousin in the Netherlands. In the letter, the Director had casually admitted to tax fraud. Van Boetsselaer claimed that he was the victim of a smear campaign and refused to resign or concede powers.

The Detroit incident

When van Boetsselaer refused to resign, a mob of French-speaking Meerenlanders stormed the Director's Palace in Detroit. Having been notified of violence hours earlier, van Boetsselaer had already fled to Saint-Alexis. Dutch troops from Fort Sevres fired upon the mob, killing several Meerenlanders. The resilient rioters finally forced the Dutch troops to retreat three hours later. Two days later, van Boetsselaer returned to Detroit and denounced violence on both sides. However, he refused to compensate the families of the murdered Meerenlanders and denounced them as traitors, their acts as an insult to the House of Orange.


Ever since Irokesenland had become a protectorate of the Netherlands in 1816, the Kingdom of the Netherlands had installed a High Commissioner as as an administrative overseer in the Protectorate. He had outranked . The High Commissioner was often at odds with the Irokees majority. Tensions grew in 1847 when the High Commissioner forcibly removed the governor of Irokesenland after he refused to sell land to the British colony of Virginia.

During the Second Dutch-Spanish War of the early 1850s, many Irokees soldiers had fought for the Dutch and sustained thousands of deaths. After the Dutch lost in 1855, the Irokees demanded Dutch aid to rehabilitate their cities and communities. The Dutch, in light of their defeat and subsequent financial difficulties, contributed an insufficient amount. This failure to provide for the Protectorate convinced many Irokesenlanders that loyalty to the Dutch was unnecessary.

In 1857, the Irokees had agitated for the creation of an independent state. Tensions came to a head when a nationalist mob rallied outside the residence of the High Commissioner. With only a few men to protect him, the commissioner fled Irokesenland. On September 14, 1858, the Governor declared Irokesenland independent of the Royal Tussenland Company and of the Netherlands.


The Suyderling Revolt

The Suyderlings, literally translated as Southerners in English, were a group of wealthy former slave plantation owners who fled South Tussenland during the Zoekerist slave insurrection in the 1850s. Those who managed to avoid massacre sought refuge in the colonial capital of Daesemus, assured that the Netherlands would soon quell the slave insurrection and return them their plantations. However, the losses resulting from the Second Dutch-Spanish War forced the Dutch to recognise the independence of South Tussenland. Like the Irokees, the Suyderlings demanded reparations from the Dutch government. However, they were not able to receive adequate compensation either due to financial hardships.

The 1859 revolts

The Kingdom of the Netherlands had sent diplomatic delegations to Tussenland in 1858. However, by the March of 1859, it was clear that the rebels were unwilling to surrender or concede sovereignty. The Dutch turned to militarily subduing the revolts, despite the Royal Tussenland Company's troops being in poor condition after war with the Spanish. In 1859, a naval division from the Netherlands itself arrived in Tussenland to quell the revolts.

The Antilles Accords

On March 10, 1859, the head of the Dutch mission Piet van de Vegte arrived in Elegasthaven, the capital of South Tussenland. De Vegte attempted to negotiate for the safe passage of the Dutch warships up the Mississipi River in order to reach Tussenland from the south. South Tussenland, who had recently won independence against the Dutch four years earlier, refused. Despite Admiral Evert van der Hulst threatening to conduct raids on South Tussenland's cities if passage was not permitted, the country directly refused, confident in their robust military and their strong alliance with Spain.

Unable to secure passage through the Mississippi, the Dutch decide to ask New Netherland for permission to use a land route to reach Tussenland. The New Netherland government was hesitant to provide support after incurring major damages after supporting the Netherlands in war against Spain. Piet van de Vegte, to everyone's surprise, managed to secure military passage in return for ceding the islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire to New Netherland without the consent of the Dutch States-General. This unconventional treaty became known as the Antilles Accords.

See also