By 1700, Rotterdam was the second largest merchant city in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam. Rotterdam was originally a fishing village created on land claimed by draining the mouth of the Rotte River in the 13th century. Canal-building allowed it to become a major port. Dutch commerce and shipping increased greatly in the 17th century, with the development of trade to the East Indies. At this time, Rotterdam expanded its harbours.

Napoleon’s occupation, from 1795 to 1815, put a stop to most trade. But Rotterdam adapted to the demands of large ocean-going steamships and increased passenger traffic by building new waterways yet again. Its economy remains almost entirely based on shipping
Canadian Heritage Information Network
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