Puffs of white smoke rose above St. Eustatius’ crowded roadstead as the cannons of Fort Orange fired their ritual greeting to the Andrea Doria on 16 November 1776. The guards inside the Dutch fort had no idea the ship’s red and white striped flag represented America’s new Continental Congress.1 The English colonies in America had declared their independence on 4 July 1776. This, at first sight, a rather harmless event, was the beginning of a longstanding Atlantic partnership between the republican kindred spirits: the Dutch Republic and the United States of America. After the colonists had started to revolt, the Dutch desperately tried to remain neutral. The American War of Independence, however, dragged the Dutch into the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (December 1780June 1784), a conflict the Dutch had never wanted.