On this day in 1711 William IV, Prince of Orange (d. 1759) was born.
William succeeded his father as Stadtholder of Friesland and also, under the regency of his mother until 1731, as Stadtholder of Groningen. In 1722 he was elected Stadtholder of Guelders.
I n 1739 William inherited the estates formerly owned by the Nassau-Dillenburg branch of his family, and in 1743 he inherited those formerly owned by the Nassau-Siegen branch of his family.
In April 1747 the French army entered Flanders. In an effort to quell internal strife amongst the various factions, the State’s General of the Netherlands appointed William to the hereditary position of General Stadtholder of all seven of the United Provinces.
William and his family moved from Leeuwarden to The Hague. William first met Duke Louis Ernest of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1747, and 2 years later appointed him field marshal of the Dutch States Army, which later led to his being one of the regents to William’s heir. On 4 May 1747 he was confirmed as Hereditary Stattholder of the United Provinces (Netherlands).
William IV was considered an attractive, educated and accomplished prince in his prime. Although he had little experience in state affairs, William was at first popular with the people. He stopped the practice of indirect taxation by which independent contractors managed to make large sums for themselves. Nevertheless, he was also a Director-General of the Dutch East India Company, and his alliance with the business class deepened while the disparity between rich and poor grew.
William served as General Stadtholder of all the Netherlands until his death in 1751 at The Hague.