De krimpende horizon van de Hollandse kooplieden; Hollands Welvaren in het Caribisch Zeegebied 1780-1830

Theo Petrus Maria de Jong

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Summary This study, entitled 'The Narrowing Horizon of Dutch Traders', deals mainly with the development of Dutch Welfare in the Caribbean Area in the period 1780-1830. On the analogy of Means's definition of 'The Spanish Main' the term Caribbean Area here comprises the West-Indian islands and the coastal regions of Venezuela and Central America. In the Introduction some of the most important themes concerning the age of colonisation in America are indicated in brief. Thus attention is paid to the discussion in late-medieval Spain (1492 -1552) about legitimate colonisation and to the critical attitude of 18c England and France towards the colonies in the American world. In the 16th century the West-European nations -in particular the Low Countries -had come to the conviction that the superstitious and tyrannical Spanish Crown was prematurely exhausting the native population and was exploiting the riches of South America purely for its own benefit. The black legend, in which Las Casas appeared. as chief witness for the prosecution, is an expression of this West European sense of superiority with regard to Spain. Moreover in this introduction mercantilism is described as a political and economical programme of great traders and government officials, testifying to their fighting spirit. The hazards of sailing, the defectiveness of international transfer of payment and the competition of neighbouring states made world-commerce a hard struggle. Thanks to their strategic talent European traders knew how to use the American precious metal as a medium of exchange for Asiatic spices, silk and tea. In the 18th century the European sugar-plantations in West Indian islands became very prosperous. For the mercantilists slavetrade, the sugar-plantations in the islands and the trading-posts in North America, which supplied wood and corn, formed the basis of ensured prosperity. In the 18th century England and France succeeded in pushing the Dutch Republic into the background as the confident mediator between nations. In 1780 the Dutch Republic saw itself confronted with the decline of its prosperity, both in Europe and in the West Indies. The North American carriers won for themselves an important key-position as the 'Dutchmen of America'. The North American independence brought about among other things by the English opposition against the natural coalition of French sugar and the commercial energy of the continental colonists -meant a serious interference with the monopolistic relationship between the motherland and 'His Majesty's most opulent sources' in the West Indies (Bryan Edwards). After 1780 the quick growth of the cotton industry led to the rise of the class of self-confident manufacturers. The political economists Adam Smith and Tucker dissociated themselves from the complex policy of the mercantilists. New consuming markets, open to English trade, would make possible a rational exchange of goods. Thus in 1820, with Latin America in mind, Alexander Baring could claim freedom of trade as the birthright of all Britons. In the first part of this study a description is given of these changes with regard to the Caribbean Area...... Zie: Summary
Originele taal-2Dutch
KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
Toekennende instantie
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Begeleider(s)/adviseur
  • Baudet, H., Supervisor
Datum van toekenning26-mei-1966
Plaats van publicatieGroningen
Uitgever
StatusPublished - 1966

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