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...