276 Route 40. AMSTERDAM. History.
of Holland granted the town exemption from the imposts of Holland
and Zeeland, and in 1311 it was finally united with Holland. In the
14th cent, the town began to assume greater importance, and was
sought as an asylum by exiled merchants of Brabant. In 1421 one-
third of the town was destroyed by a conflagration, but its prosperity
soon returned, and at the beginning of the Spanish troubles Am¬
sterdam had become a very important city. In 1490 the Emp.
Maximilian I. gave the city the privilège of using the Impérial
Crown as the crest in its armoriai bearings. The real importance
and prosperity of Amsterdam date from the close of the 16th cent.,
when the Spanish war had ruined Antwerp, and the horrors of the
Inquisition had compelled numbers of enterprising merchants and
skilful manufacturers to seek a new home in Holland. Between
1585 and 1595 the town was nearly doubled in extent, and was
greatly favoured by Prince Maurice of Orange. The conclusion of
peaee shortly afterwards (1609) and the establishment of the E.
India Company combined to raise Amsterdam within a very short
period to the rank of the greatest mercantile city in Europe. Ex-
ternal circumstances, such as the attempt of William II. of
Orange to occupy the city with his troops (1650), and the danger
threatened by the campaign of Louis XIV. (1672), did not seri-
ously affect the prosperity of the inhabitants. After the dis¬
solution of the Dutch Republic in 1806, Amsterdam became the
résidence of King Louis Napoléon (1808), and subsequently the
third city in the Empire of France (1810-13). The population is
now 379,000, or including the suburbs 400,000 (80,000 Roman
Catholics, 30,000 German and 3500 Portuguese Jews).
The trade of Amsterdam revived rapidly after the restoration of
the national independence, and is now very important, though the
number of ships that enter and clear the harbour is still scarcely a
third of that at Antwerp (in 1882, 1702 vessels of over 900,000
tons burden). As the chief mart for the colonial produce of the
Dutch colonies (tobacco, Java coffee, sugar, rice, spices, etc.), Am¬
sterdam is indeed one of the first commercial places in Europe. Its
industries are also considérable, including reflneries of sugar and
camphor, tobacco and cobalt-blue manufactories, and diamond
polishing mills (p. 312).
The older part of the city is in the form of a semicircle, the
diameter being formed by the Y. Canals or 'Grachten' of various
sizes intersect the city in every direction, and divide it into 90 is¬
lands, which are connected by means of nearly 300 bridges. The
depth of water in the Grachten is about 3-3y2 ft., below which is
a layer of mud of equal thickness. To prevent malarial exhalations
the water is constantly renewed by an arm of the North Sea Canal.
while the mud is removed by dredgers. Some of the Grachten bave
recently been entirely filled up ('gedempt'). The chief concentric
canals within the city are the Prinsen Gracht, Keizers Gracht, and