Christoph Bernhard Galen, van

First name
Christoph Bernhard
Last name
Galen, van
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Born in
Died in

Christoph Bernhard Freiherr von Galen was Prince-bishop of Münster. He was born into a noble Westphalian family. Von Galen declared war (14 September 1665) on the Dutch to gain access to the North Sea coast on account of the disputed border-territory of the lordship of Borculo. See: BBK, vol. 2, col. 166; LThK, vol. 4, col. 490. Since the English were busy negotiating peace with Spain, Louis XIV of France—entangled in a peace treaty (1662) with the Dutch to help out against Van Galen’s invasion—foresaw the collapse of the United Provinces at its northern borders. He also feared a strong British-Spanish alliance and moved towards concluding peace with England. Afraid to lose the Northern Netherlands to Habsburg or France, the English ordered Lord Chancellor Edwar Hyde (1609–74) and Sir George Downing (1623–1684), British ambassador in The Hague, to ask the Dutch States General for peace. The States refused and pleaded for a treaty based on their pre-war status quo ante. See: Nimwegen, 2006, pp. 416–24; Rommelse, 2006.

Von Galen's ill-counseled decision to invade the Dutch Province of Friesland ‘as Aesop’s goat goes into the well’ was discussed by Spinoza and Oldenburg (see 1665.11.20, Ep 32).