List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Chronology; Introduction: the enigma of the Republic; 1. A turbulent beginning; Part I. War Without End: 2. An independent state (1609–50); 3. A world power (1650–1713); 4. The armed forces; 5. Financial might; Part II. Golden Age: Economy and Society: 6. A market economy; 7. A world-wide trading network; 8. Riches; 9. Toil and trouble; Part III. Unity and Discord: Politics and Governance: 10. Community; 11. The authorities; 12. A dissonant chorus; Part IV. An Urban Society: 13. Religious pluralism; 14. A new approach to science and philosophy; 15. The Dutch school of painting; 16. The urban landscape; Conclusion: the end of the Golden Age; Further reading; Index.