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The Raid on the Medway was a successful Dutch attack on the largest English naval ships, laid up in the dockyards of their main naval base Chatham, that took place in June 1667 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. The Dutch, under nominal command of Lieutenant-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, bombarded and then captured the town of Sheerness, sailed up the River Thames to Gravesend, then up the River Medway to Chatham, where they burnt three capital ships and ten lesser naval vessels and towed away the HMS Unity and the HMS Royal Charles, pride and normal flagship of the English fleet. The raid led to a quick end to the war and a favourable peace for the Dutch. It was the worst defeat in the Royal Navy's history.
The bend in the Herengracht, Amsterdam, by Dutch artist Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde, depicts life in the Dutch Golden Age, a highly prosperous period of Dutch history. The period lasted roughly the whole of the seventeenth century and saw Dutch trade, science, and art being among the most acclaimed in the world.