Johan de Witt or Jan de Witt, heer van Zuid- en Noord-Linschoten, Snelrewaard, Hekendorp and IJsselveere was a key figure in Dutch politics in the mid-17th century, when its flourishing sea trade in a period of globalisation made the United Provinces a leading European power during the Dutch Golden Age. De Witt controlled the Netherlands political system from around 1650 until shortly before his death in 1672, working with various factions from nearly all the major cities, especially his hometown, Dordrecht, and the hometown of his wife, Amsterdam.
As a republican he opposed the House of Orange-Nassau. He was also strongly liberal, preferring lesser power to the central government and more power to the regenten. However, his negligence of the Dutch land army proved disastrous when the Dutch Republic suffered numerous early defeats in the Rampjaar . In the hysteria that followed the effortless invasion by an alliance of three countries, he and his brother Cornelis de Witt were blamed and lynched in The Hague, whereafter rioters partially ate the brothers. The rioters were never prosecuted, and historians have argued that William of Orange may have incited them.
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