On October 9th 1651 the English Parliament passed the Navigation Act, which was the beginning of enmity between England and the Dutch Republic. It was a measure designed to limit the intermediary trade of the Dutch, which brought Holland large profits. Under the terms of the Act, foreign vessels were barred from English coastal waters; foreign goods were to be transported to England exclusively on English ships, or on ships of the countries in which the goods were manufactured. Tension over the matter led to the first naval war between the Dutch Republic and England in 1652, with many huge naval battles. The Dutch navy suffered a series of losses in the decisive battles of June and July 1653, and the Dutch were finally obliged to recognise the Navigation Act. A peace treaty was signed on April 15th 1654 at Westminster.
In 1660 the English King Charles II promulgated a new Navigation Act, even less favourable to the Dutch than that of 1651. The resulting conflicts were particularly common in the colonies, and ultimately led to the Second Anglo-Dutch War. Although war was officially declared by England in March 1665, it had in fact begun in 1664 with an English assault on Dutch fortresses on the coasts of the West Indies and the capture of New Amsterdam (now New York) in North America. After the First Anglo-Dutch War the Dutch has considerably strengthened their fleet, which under de Ruyter defeated the English, reaching the mouth of the Thames (destroying Chatham dockyard) and threatening London itself. The situation obliged the English to sign the Treaty of Breda on July 31st 1667; under the terms of the treaty, England retained New Amsterdam while the Dutch received Surinam in South America from the English as well as control over the island of Pulo-Ram (in the Moluccas). The Navigation Act was somewhat reduced. The Second Anglo-Dutch War was a watershed in the history of relations between the two states. The departure of the English from Indonesia and the Dutch from North America meant in practice a division of the spheres of influence of both countries.