Episode 10: Michiel de Ruyter: The Modest Admiral Who Kept the English at Bay

Hailing from humble origins, Michiel Adrienszoon was later given the surname de Ruyter, the ‘raider’. His greatest triumph was the Battle of Solebay in 1672. There he launched a pre-emptive strike against and defeated the English fleet as it prepared to attack the Netherlands jointly with the French.

Originally a merchant sailor, Michiel de Ruyter operated in waters from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. A reluctant hero and an apolitical figure, he loyally served the Dutch Republic under Jan de Witt and subsequently William III of Orange. De Ruyter is most famous in England for inflicting on the Royal Navy its most embarrassing defeat of the 17th century in the raid on Chatham in 1667.

The guest for this episode, David ‘JD’ Davies, is the chairman of the Society for Nautical Research and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. A prize-winning and bestselling author, he specialises principally in the early history of the Royal Navy. His most acclaimed scholarly non-fiction books include Pepys’s Navy: Ships, Men and Warfare 1649-89 and Kings of the Sea: Charles II, James II and the Royal Navy. His series of naval fiction set in the 17th century, The Journals of Matthew Quinton, was described by The Times as ‘a series of real panache’, and he has also published a trilogy set in Tudor times around the fictional character of Jack Stannard.

The views or statements expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the podcast does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by RUSI employees are those of the employees and do not necessarily reflect the view of RUSI.


Beatrice Heuser

Senior Associate Fellow

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Paul O’Neill

Senior Research Fellow

Military Sciences

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