In the 1500s, the Netherlands were ruled by the Habsburgs. The Habsburgs were an astoundingly inbred German noble family with faces that were about 85% chin. For some reason, they were the rulers of the Spanish Empire.
The people of the the Low Countries didn’t want to be ruled by German people, Spanish people or inbred people, let alone a combination of the three. They wanted self-determination, a republic and the right to worship the protestant version of God. So, in the mid-1500s, the Dutch Revolt began.
The Spanish Empire ruled Spain, part of Italy, Austria, and– you know the countries that speak Spanish today? All of those. It was a daunting enemy, but the Low Countries had one thing going for them: stupefying amounts of money. And they planned to leverage that to win.
One of the things the Dutch spent that money on was Fort Bourtange. Since the Spanish were allied with the Holy Roman Empire, they’d need a way to protect the Dutch land from the Deutschland. One of the main roads to Germany passed through a marsh, so the leader of the revolt, Willem van Oranje, ordered the construction of a fort across it.
Building a star fort with forty buildings, a crownwork, four ravelins and two moats is an expensive operation. But not only did they build it, they built it on a sandbar in the middle of a marsh.
Fort Bourtange was such an obvious deathtrap that not many people were inclined to order their armies to assault it. But, about 100 years after its construction, Bernhard von Galen, the Prince-Bishop of Münster, came along to give it the old college try. During a parley before the attack, he told the fort’s commander, Captain Protts, he had 200,000 guilders for him if he’d surrender Bourtange. Protts famously responded by telling von Galen he had 200,000 bullets for him and his men. Von Galen decided to send his soldiers to go receive them, which resulted in a crushing defeat for his army. He then went on to besiege the nearby city of Groningen, which he also failed at.
In later years, the fort began to transition into a village, where the soldiers of the garrison lived with their families. Then, in the 1800s, the fort was turned into a village for local farmers.
Well, this map was a ton of work, but I hope you like it! I’m going to make a roof-level version of the fort next, which should only take a couple days, then I’ll be moving on to the next map. I plan to make a big push on getting some Black Loch maps done over the next few months as well.
Anyway, let me know what you think of Fort Bourtange!
There’s an annotated version of this map and DM notes available to patrons.