The Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Netherlands - also known as the Dutch War of Independence - was nearing its end in the 1640s. Dunkirk, in the Spanish Netherlands, was a base for the notorious Dunkirkers, effectively privateers who undertook piratical raids. The United Provinces repeatedly attempted to halt their activities, but King Charles I of England favoured the Spanish cause, and in 1642 sent English ships to break the Dutch blockade. However, their mission was unsuccessful, as they were soon halted by the Parliamentarian section of the Navy.
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