During the half-century preceding the Revolt of the Netherlands Antwerp had gone far towards solving the problem of securing its seaward traffic from interference or extortion. True, in the last years Middelburg had shown that it was still a foe to be reckoned with, and its wine-staple threatened to develop into a serious infraction of the freedom of the Scheldt. Given time, however, Antwerp would doubtless have proved as capable of disposing of this as of earlier hindrances to its navigation.