top of page
  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

February 20th, 1653 - The Battle of Portland

Conflict: First Anglo-Dutch War

Combatants: English vs. Dutch

Location: England

Outcome: English victory

In 1652, commercial rivalry between England and the Netherlands broke out into a two-year naval conflict. In May of that year, an English fleet engaged a Dutch fleet in a dispute over a Dutch East Indies convoy.

A Battle of the First Dutch War by Reinier Nooms

On February 18th of 1653, English commander Robert Blake with 70 vessels pursued a Dutch merchant convoy. Separated in the fog off Portland, Blake's detached ships were attacked by a Dutch fleet of 80 vessels under command of Maarten Tromp. Tromp withdrew when the English fleet emerged from the fog and reunited with Blake.

On February 20th, the two fleets engaged in a two-day battle. Tromp was eventually forced to retreat again after losing 17 men-of-war and 50 merchant ships. Blake lost about 10 of his own vessels and was wounded.

Sea-Fight with the Dutch, Feb. 18, 1653 by James Grant (Cropped)

Points of Interest:

  • Robert Blake was one of three "Generals at Sea"; former army commanders appointed to serve in the Commonwealth navy.

  • The First Anglo-Dutch War was fought entirely on the seas and noted for the English Commonwealth's use of propaganda to boost public support for the conflict.

Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp (1598-1653) by Jan Lievens
Robert Blake, General at Sea, 1598-1657 by Henry Perronet Briggs



Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).

Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.

Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page