De Witt (family)

De Witt
Country Netherlands
Founded 14th century
Ethnicity Dutch

De Witt is the name of an old Dutch patrician and regenten family. Originally from Dordrecht, the genealogy of the family begins with Jan de Witte, a patrician who lived around 1295.[1] [2] The family have played an important role during the Dutch Golden Age. They were at the centre of Dordrecht and Holland oligarchy from the end of the 16th century until 1672.[3]

The De Witt family during the Dutch Golden Age

During the Dutch Golden Age, the republican De Witt family opposed the royalists associated with the House of Orange-Nassau. With other republican political leaders at Dordrecht, such as the Van Slingelandts, and at Amsterdam with the Bicker and De Graeff families, the De Witts worked to abolish stadtholdership. They sought full sovereignty for individual regions, so that the Republic of the United Seven Netherlands would not yield to authoritarianism. Instead of a sovereigns (or stadtholder), political and military power would be entrusted to the States General and Holland's city regents.

From 1650 into the 1670s, the De Witts played leading roles in Dutch government. Republicans called this era the Ware Vrijheid (True Freedom), the First Stadtholderless Period.[3]

The De Witt family lost its leadership role in Rampjaar 1672, when Orangists resumed leadership and murdered brothers Johan and Cornelis de Witt.

Family members



About homonym family

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