Dutch Slave Trade Essay

This essay has a total of 1507 words and 6 pages.

Dutch Slave Trade


Dutch Slave Trade

During the 17th and 18th centuries, mercantilism was the emerging economic policy through
which the slave trade developed in Europe. In the Netherlands many historical events gave
rise to a desire for domination of international trade. They were serious tradesman and
were heavily involved in the profitable business of slavery. The Dutch, intelligent and
self-ruling tradesmen took no time in displaying their dominance over rival countries,
Portugal, England and Spain, in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean. They established their
international superiority in trade and impacted today's society.

From 1609 to 1713, the Dutch Republic was going through "The Golden Age." It was a time of
economic wealth, and a higher standard of life compared to most European countries.
However, the Netherlands had the highest cost of living out of all European countries. It
was the period in which mercantilism expanded, and domination of trading power was
necessity. England, France, and Portugal were also expanding their boundaries of trade,
which will begin a long fight for mastery at sea. The Dutch was the trading capital of the
world at this time; in which is represented in this quote," Although the Dutch tenaciously
resisted the new competition, the long distance trading system of Europe was transformed
from one largely conducted through the Netherlands, with the Dutch as universal
buyer-seller and shipper, to one of multiple routes and fierce
competitiveness."(Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 24, pg. 890). The Netherlands operated in
7 provinces, known as the United Provinces, and the Dutch society was mainly consisted of
bourgeoisie, sailors, and merchants. Because of the major trade industry in Holland, and
that agricultural was secondary to the trading industry, the Dutch people were taxed
extremely high for goods. However, a wave of culture flowed through Dutch Society,
influenced by the economic profit that the Dutch gained from trade.

The production of sugarcane and cotton in the New World increased the urgency for laborers
in the new colonies, in which led to the major importation of African slaves. These
plantations and farms, in the New World sparked the golden business of slave trading, a
business that will guide the Dutch to economic wealth. The Dutch entered the slave trade
around the 16th century and beginning of the 17th century. The people in Holland rebelled
against the Spanish rule in 1566, and around 1572, Spanish government closed Iberian ports
to the Dutch to halt the revolts. However, this in turn led to the entrance into
international trade. This will begin a long struggle for trading power with the
Portuguese, Spanish, English, and French.

The Dutch didn't take long to make their presence felt. The quote from the book The Slaves
describes their attitude coming into the trade, "The Dutch, fiercely independent, and
aggressive traders…did not take long to establish themselves internationally." The Dutch
were determined to control the trading power in West Africa. By mid 16th century, the
Dutch had set up posts along the West African coast, and forts in present day Indonesia.
The Dutch also controlled most of the Eastern Sea and had set up forts along the Caribbean
and the coast of Dutch Guiana. The Dutch were very bright when it came to technological
advances. One example of their knowledge was the invention of the canal and irrigation
tactics. The Dutch intelligence in trade soon overcame the Portuguese in Africa. First
off, the Dutch armed their boats and also trained the sailors. This system will prevent
rivals and enemies to sink their ships or purge their cargo from the ship. The Dutch also
raided particular forts, which gave them good geographic points on the map, and limited
the power of their rivals. These forts were ports for trading routes, where ships may need
supplies, and were also loading areas for slaves. One fort that the Dutch raided in the
beginning of the 17th century was at Mina. Mina was a Portuguese fort, which had been
their major trading fort since late 1400s. The Dutch captured Mina after few loses in
battle, and then settled a new government, and necessary troops to defend it. The Dutch
had also gave out charters to companies, in which they were allowed trading and settling
in various locations around the world. The two major companies for the Dutch were the East
Indies Company and the Dutch West India Company. These two companies will give the Dutch a
more superior outlook on the trading business by establishing provinces in the New World
and also Southeast Asia. These few tactics will help the Dutch tradesmen secure dominance
over their rivals, the Portuguese in Africa.

The charter given to the East India Company allowed them to conduct business between the
Dutch Republic and the Cape of Good Hope. The Dutch East India Company established and
maintained the Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia during the 17th and 18th century. The
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