Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter (March 24, 1607 - April 29, 1676) is the most legendary admiral in Dutch history. De Ruyter fought the English in the first three Anglo-Dutch wars and scored several huge victories.
In the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-1654) De Ruyter proved his worth under Admiral Maarten Tromp, winning the Battle of Texel. Soon after Tromp had been killed at the Battle of Scheveningen De Ruyter took over the command of the Dutch fleet. Much later he would have to contest command of the fleet with Tromp's son Cornelis Tromp, but remained on top.
In the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667) his most famous battles were the Four Days Battle 1666 and the Raid at Medway 1967. The Medway raid was a costly and embarrassing defeat for the English, bringing the Dutch close to London.
De Ruyter was highly respected by his sailor soldiers, because of his dislike of hierarchy (himself being of humble origin), while at the same time not shying away from bold decisions.