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Located on over 90 islands in the IJ arm of the IJsselmeer. Early inhabitants built dikes on both sides of the Amstel River to prevent flooding, and a dam was built between the dikes in 1270. Chartered in 1306. Became affluent in the15th century due to trade with Baltic seaports, and was the financial center of the world by 17th century. United Dutch East India Company was founded in 1602, followed by the West India Company in 1621. Capital of the Batavian Republic under Napoleon, later of the kingdom of Holland, and became part of the French Empire in 1810. Under German occupation from 1940-1945. Center of the world's diamond trade.
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