The Mahu and De Cordes Fleet
T he circumstances which led Adams to enter Dutch service stemmed &om political events in Europe. Within thirty years of the outbreak of Holland's revolt fxom
Spain which began in 1556, the burghers of the United Provinces had created a bustling commercial economy and along with it, an ever-increasing navy and merchant marine. This spurt of Dutch maritime activity was given added impetus when, in 1594, Philip I1 (1527-98), King of Spain and Portugal, closed the port of Lisbon to his 'rebel subjects' in an attempt to cut them off fxom the then lucrative Portuguese commerce. As an immediate and unforeseen result of this ban, the pioneer expedition of Dutch ships to Java and Sumatra was formed and Cornelius de Houtman, an escapee from a Portuguese prison, was given command of it. De Houtman's return to Holland with his ships richly laden with the rare commodities of the Indies aroused tremendous enthusiasm for hrther voyages.