Holland (heartland of today's Netherlands) had a great influence on the spirits and wine trade in the late Middle Ages. From the end of the 16th century, Holland rose to become the leading maritime power far ahead of England, France, Portugal and Spain. Around 1650, it had the largest merchant fleet in the world with around 10,000 ships. They bought alcoholic beverages all over Europe and brought them with ships to their colonies in North America, East and West India, Ceylon, New Zealand and Tasmania. They were also the main suppliers of the European countries. The port of Rotterdam developed into a main transhipment centre for wine.