Dutch West India company

The notes focus mainly on the Dutch West India Company, since they were the most efficient in the pre 1700’s. The Spanish Empire in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and the English in the Carolina and Virginia colonies aren’t included since the info is in the lecture notes, powerpoints, and the book. I hope this was helpful, it was difficult to obtain info so there are a few websites and sources from books. Sorry I sent it so late I got caught up .

Compare and contrast the pre 1700 labor systems utilized by the Dutch West India Company in New Netherlands, the Spanish Empire in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and the English in the Carolina and Virginia colonies. Which system was the most efficient and why?

The most efficient labor system was the Dutch West India Company in New Netherlands.

(this website has a back story behind the company : http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4776 )


The Dutch traded for coveted luxuries such as Asian tea, coffee, sugar, rice, rubber, tobacco, silk, textiles, porcelain, and spices such as cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, and cloves. The company was able to build forts in the colonies, maintain an army and navy, and sign treaties with native rulers. The company is now considered the first multinational corporation, which is a company that conducts business in more than one countrySome important former colonies in Asia include: Indonesia Then known as the Dutch East Indies, the thousands of islands of present-day Indonesia provided many highly-desired resources for the Dutch. The Dutch base in Indonesia was Batavia, now known as Jakarta (Indonesia’s capital). The Dutch controlled Indonesia until 1945. Japan

The Dutch, who were once the only Europeans allowed to trade with the Japanese, received Japanese silver and other goods on the specially-built island of Deshima, located near Nagasaki. In return, the Japanese were introduced to Western approaches to medicine, mathematics, science, and other disciplines. South Africa

In 1652, many Dutch people settled near the Cape of Good Hope. Their descendants developed the Afrikaner ethnic group and Afrikaans language. Additional Posts in Asia and Africa The Dutch established trading posts in many more places in the Eastern Hemisphere. Examples include:

Eastern AfricaMiddle East- especially IranIndiaMalaysiaCeylon – presently Sri LankaFormosa – presently Taiwan

The Dutch West India CompanyThe Dutch West India Company was founded in 1621 as a trading company in the New World. It established colonies in the following places: New York City, United States Led by explorer Henry Hudson, the Dutch claimed present-day New York, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Delaware as the “New Netherlands”.

The Dutch traded with the Native Americans, primarily for fur. In 1626, the Dutch purchased the island of Manhattan from the Native Americans and founded a fort called New Amsterdam. The British attacked the important seaport in 1664 and the outnumbered Dutch surrendered it. The British renamed New Amsterdam “New York” – now the most populated city in the United States. Suriname

In return for New Amsterdam, the Dutch received Suriname from the British. Known as Dutch Guiana, cash crops were grown on plantations. Suriname received its independence from the Netherlands in November 1975. Various Caribbean Islands

The Dutch are associated with several islands in the Caribbean Sea. The Dutch still control the “ABC Islands,” or Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, all located off the coast of Venezuela. The Dutch also control the central Caribbean islands of Saba, St. Eustatius, and the southern half of the island of Sint Maarten. The amount of sovereignty that each island possesses has changed several times in the last few years.

The Dutch controlled parts of northeastern Brazil and Guyana, before they became Portuguese and British, respectively. Decline of Both Companies The profitably of the Dutch East and West India Companies eventually declined. Compared to other imperialistic European countries, the Dutch had less success convincing its citizens to emigrate to the colonies. The empire fought several wars and lost valuable territory to other European countries.

The debts of the companies rose rapidly. By the 19th century, the deteriorating Dutch empire was overshadowed by the empires of other European countries, such as England, France, Spain, and Portugal. Criticism of the Dutch Empire

Like all European imperialistic countries, the Dutch faced severe criticism for their actions. Although colonization made the Dutch very wealthy, they were accused of brutal enslavement of native inhabitants and exploitation of the natural resources of their colonies.

The Dutch Empire Domination of TradeThe Dutch colonial empire is tremendously important geographically and historically. A small country was able to develop an expansive, successful empire. Features of Dutch culture, such as the Dutch language, still exist in the Netherlands’ former and current territories. Migrants from its territories have made the Netherlands a very multiethnic, fascinating country.


(paragraph 5) The year 1640 marked a turning point for the colony. The West India Company gave up its trade monopoly, enabling other businessmen to invest in New Netherlands. Profits flowed to Amsterdam, encouraging new economic activity in the production of food, timber, tobacco, and eventually, slaves.

The Dutch in the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600-1815 By Johannes Postma

(the pages are attached )

The Slave Trade by Hugh Thomas

Pg. 170 : The Dutch West India company obtained many slaves from ships that the captains captured in war. Trading posts were a factor in their transformation with the first being set up in 1613 on Manhattan Island. Others were located in the Caribbean, Curacao, Saint Eustatius and Saint Thomas in the Leeward Islands. Black slaves began being carried by the company to the colony of New Netherlands in North America in 1625-26

Pg. 452 The Dutch claim that their trade had a peaceable effect on Africans and at first they had pronounced against the idea of trading slaves, with the main focus of fur and other commodities. But when Amsterdam arose the hesitations were forgotten .


Timeline and brief history of the Dutch West India company

( its just pasted from the website as a reference to give a better understanding)

Hendrik HudsonThe search for a passage to India was not abandoned when the colonization of America was begun by England. The Dutch, who confined their trading to the Indies, now, more than ever, desired a shorter route. In September, 1609, Hendrik Hudson, an Englishman in the employ of the Dutch East India Company, sailed westward and entering the river now bearing his name, proceeded as far as Albany.

1614-15Dutch ColonizationFor several years no attempt at colonization was made, but traders were active and furs in great numbers were gathered. In 1614 a post called Fort Nassau was built near the site of Albany; in 1615 a Manhattan Island post was established, and some years later on the east bank of the Delaware, near Philadelphia, a second Fort Nassau was founded.

1621-1624The Dutch West India CompanyIn 1615 the States-General of Holland granted a trading charter for three years to the New Netherland Company, who quickly established extensive trading interest in the Hudson River region. This company was succeeded in 1621 by the Dutch West India Company, whose charter contemplated the “peopling of those fruitful and unsettled parts,” as well as the political and commercial government of the region.

In 1624 settlement was seriously undertaken and thirty families of Walloons were sent to America, some settling at Albany, thereafter known as Fort Orange; some at Fort Nassau, on the Delaware; some at Hartford, and the rest on Long and Manhattan islands. (The Walloons were a people of Celtic origin, but had mixed with the Romans after Caesar’s conquest of Gaul. In the sixteenth century they inhabited southern Belgium and were a slow, methodical and industrious people.)

1623The Coming of the Dutch in Delaware and New JerseyDutch traders founded Fort Nassau at the present site of Gloucester, N. J., in 1623, and a party of patroons established Swaanendael (Lewes, Delaware) in 1631. Both settlements were dispersed by the Indians within a few months, but in 1635 Fort Nassau was re-established.

1626Founding of New AmsterdamTwo years later, in 1626, Peter Minuit, the company’s director in New Netherlands, purchased Manhattan Island from the Indians for trinkets worth about twenty-four dollars and founded New Amsterdam. From this center, flourishing commercial settlements were organized in all directions. 1629

The Patroon SystemIn 1629 the company promulgated a new charter, authorizing its members to purchase lands from the Indians and to plant colonies. For each colony of fifty persons older than fifteen years, the member was given a tract of land sixteen miles along one side of any river, or eight miles along both sides, “and so far into the country as the situation of the occupiers will permit.” Over the colonies thus established the founder or patroon had almost absolute political and judicial authority. The members hastened to take advantage of this opportunity.

Among the estates thus founded was Rensselaerswyck, opposite Fort Orange (Albany). This and other similar estates endured almost intact into the nineteenth century and gave rise to an anti-rent agitation about 1840, which resulted in serious social and political disorder.

1630’s-1650’sDecline of the Dutch ColoniesThe patroons soon assumed to dictate to the company; jealousy and dissension were rampant; governors were sent out with vague instructions, or with none at all save to make large returns to their employers. These governors were sometimes men of selfish ambitions, reckless of right and wrong, tactless and incapable. Conflicts with the New Englanders on the Connecticut River and with Virginians on the Delaware resulted usually in the humiliation of the Dutch. In 1638 the company appointed a certain Kieft as governor.

He had no sooner accepted that position than his tactless Indian policy brought on a costly war with the Algonquin (1643-1645), which resulted in the destruction of all the frontier settlements. Meanwhile, the evil effects of building up a landed aristocracy had impressed the company, and in 1640 it was decided that the free estates thereafter granted to patroons should be limited to a tract one mile along the river and two miles deep. At the same time similar privileges were extended to new settlers.

1630’s-1650’sHolland versus SwedenIn the course of the dissension which had rent the Dutch West India Company, Peter Minuit, founder and governor of New Amsterdam, and some associates left the company. Under the auspices of the South Company of Sweden, Minuit led a company of Swedes to the Delaware River and there built, in 1638, Fort Christina, later called Wilmington. Sweden, as a powerful Protestant ally of Holland in the Thirty Years’ War, was in a sense the protector of the Netherlands.

The Dutch were not fully at liberty to prevent this invasion and permitted the Swedes to build a fort upon Tinicum Island, near the mouth of the Schuylkill River. At the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648, this obstacle was removed and Governor Stuyvesant planted a fort in the vicinity of Fort Christina. In 1655 the South Company of Sweden was forced to abandon the field.

1630’s-1650’sHolland versus EnglandThe same good fortune did not befall New Netherland in its relations with its stronger neighbor, New England. The trouble began as early as 1633, when rival villages were established along the Connecticut, and discord continued to grow with the development and expansion of settlement.

England had many excuses for taking possession of New Netherland. The colony separated two English communities, whose union would produce strength and solidarity; communication between New England and the South was hindered; New Amsterdam possessed the most serviceable harbor on the Atlantic; it controlled the best routes of trade with the native; it commanded an easy avenue of approach to and from Canada, the French stronghold at the north. A compromise boundary was finally fixed in 1651, at a line ten miles east of the Hudson River.

1640’sEarly Government

In 1640 it was enacted that town and village officers should be chosen by the directors of the company from a list nominated by the people. The seeds of local self-government were thus planted. In the following year Governor Kieft appointed a council of twelve representatives, chosen from the several settlements, to consult with him regarding an Indian policy; yet he allowed them little voice in the determination of that policy. Peter Stuyvesant was appointed governor in 1647, and under his administration a council of nine members, chosen by him from a list of nominees, was organized. After its first election, however, it was self-electing.

1650’s-1664Conquest of New NetherlandAt this time England and Holland were at war, and Cromwell sent out an expedition in 1654 to capture New Amsterdam. After the expedition reached America, peace was proclaimed. In 1664 Charles II, on the brink of war with the Dutch, dispatched a strong force to reduce the Dutch stronghold in America.

With some Connecticut volunteers, they proceeded to New Amsterdam, and without firing a shot or shedding a drop of blood supplanted Dutch rule in America. Thus England forged the last link in the chain which within a century was to prove invincible against her own Herculean efforts towards disruption. Under the new regime the territory was given as a proprietary province to the Duke of York, in whose honor the name of the province and of its chief city was made New York. For a time institutions were left undisturbed; prosperity returned and increased, and contentment prevailed.

1665GovernmentIn 1665 a code of laws regulating local government was drawn up by the governor and a representative assembly of colonists, and became known as the Duke’s Laws. This provided the rudiments of a system which, when fully developed, was known as the mixed system or town-country system of local government. General legislation for the colony was controlled by the proprietor, who ordained a governor and council of his own choosing, th whom he delegated all authority.

1673-1674Reconquest and RetrocessionIn 1673 a Dutch fleet appeared before New York and easily compelled its surrender. This event was welcomed by the Dutch inhabitants, whose grievances against English rule had been accumulating. Among these were dissatisfaction with the apportionment of taxes and disturbing land legislation; the grant of New Jersey to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret.

A colony was founded at Elizabethtown in 1665; it did not prosper, and in 1674 Berkeley disposed of his right to a party of Quakers, among whom was William Penn. By the Treaty of Westminster in 1674, New York was retroceded to England. In the same year, Sir Edmund Andros, later famous for his despotic career in New England, was appointed governor.

1685Development and Decline of Civil LibertyThe example of New England, the increasing boldness of the liberal party in England and the growing strength and population of the colony engendered courage in New York to demand greater powers of self government. An assembly, composed of eighteen representatives of the people, was organized, and became of equal importance and power with the governor’s council; suffrage was given to freemen and freeholders; religious toleration was guaranteed; the legislature only was authorized to levy taxes; the Duke reserved a veto power. Upon the accession of the Duke to the crown as James II in 1685, these liberties were quickly withdrawn; representative government was abolished; the Church of England was established, and schools were compelled to be licensed by the church.

1688-1691New York during the Great Revolution New York was united with New England under the rule of Andros in 1688. In the same year the Great Revolution in England placed William and Mary on the throne and inspired in New York a small uprising under the leadership of the ignorant, reckless and democratic Jacob Leisler, who made himself governor. Among the incidents of his administration was the meeting of the first general intercolonial assembly at New York in 1690.

Leisler was deposed by the royal governor, Sloughter, in 1691. Sloughter, while intoxicated, was prevailed upon by vicious friends to sign a warrant for Leisler’s execution, which was carried out before Sloughter became sober. The following year the old “Charter of Liberties” was partially restored. In spite of the ill influence of an ignorant and autocratic official class, the colony now flourished as never before.


Slavery in Early Spanish Colonies

• Many thousands of African slaves were brought along by the great Spanish explorers of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries:

• Ponce de Leon

• Vasquez

• De Soto

• Coronado

English Colonization

The settlement of our colonies was never pursued under any regular plan; but they were formed, grew and flourished as accidents, the nature of the climate, or the dispositions of private men happened to operate

– Edmund Burke

The Westward Fever

• The opportunities of the New World began to permeate all levels of English society in the 1580s.

• England’s first effort at colonization occurred in Ireland.

• England’s first attempts at American colonization were weak and unprofitable.

England Challenges Spain

• England was the slowest European power to begin expansion in the New World.

• They were initially motivated by the need to expand fishing areas and find new sources of wood.

• The rift between England and Spain centered on religion (Catholic v. Protestant).

• England defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588; a gigantic upset.


• Base against Spanish possessions in Caribbean

• First expedition in 1585 failure

• Second expedition in 1587 abandoned due to battle again Spanish Armada 1588

• Colonists initially found tribes friendly, however later turned hostile

Virginia Company of 1606

• 105 colonists

• Jamestown established April 1607

• King James granted charters not directly involved

• 1624 Virginia Company dissolved due to lack of profit

• Crown takes over colonization

The British and Jamestown

• First permanent British colony in North America founded in 1607

• Trading company looking to make money for investors

• Gold, trade, lumber, rice, silk

• Tobacco was a profitable crop

• Labor intensive

• Undesirables

• Indentured servants

Africans ArriveIn the Chesapeake

• First arrivals

• Origins unknown

• Luis Vasquez de Ayllon

• Hernando de Soto

• St. Augustine

• 1619 Dutch ship

• Unfree

• English had no law for slavery

• English custom forbade enslaving Christians

II. Black ServitudeIn the Chesapeake

• Indentured servants

• Sold labor for passage to Chesapeake

• Two to seven years

• High mortality ~ most died before term expired

• Blacks and whites

• Only skin color distinguished early laborers

• Worked, lived, and slept together as unfree

• Earned freedom at the end of term

• Anthony Johnson PROFILE

Pilgrims of Plymouth

• Separatists from Church of England

• Leave England for Leiden, Holland in 1608 but unable to establish a separate utopia

• Receives patent for offices in London 1619

• To remove children from corruption of society charter the MAYFLOWER ship to establish Plymouth colony 1620

Pilgrims of Plymouth

• Separatists from Church of England

• Leave England for Leiden, Holland in 1608 but unable to establish a separate utopia

• Receives patent for offices in London 1619

• To remove children from corruption of society charter the MAYFLOWER ship to establish Plymouth colony 1620


• Massachusetts Bay Company established Puritan settlement in Boston 1629

• Rival sects spread to form colonies in Connecticut and Rhode Island


• Maryland granted by charter from King James to the Catholic Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord of Baltimore

• Sends his brother along with co – religionists to settle St.Mary’s in 1634

New York

• Charles II grants his brother James proprietorship from Maine to the Delaware Bay

• Seize territory from Dutch in 1664 re-name New York which included New Jersey


• Charter given to eight proprietors 1663

• Not crown colonies but seen as buttress to Spanish settlement in St. Augustine

• Charleston (South Carolina) established in 1680

Colonial Rule

• Taxes and political input minimal as European warfare dominates

• November 1673 first officials a collector and surveyor assigned to Barbados, Maryland Virginia and Carolinas

Northern Colonies

• Urban

• Port Cities

• Pedestrian City

Southern Colonies

• Plantation based economy

• Waterway trade

• Decentralized

The Atlantic World

Race and Originsof Black Slavery

• 17th century British tobacco colonies

• Evolved from an economy based on white indentured servants to one based on black slaves

• British Caribbean sugar plantations created a precedent

• British gained more control over Atlantic slave trade

• Reduced price of African laborers

Race and Origins ofBlack Slavery (cont.)

• White indentured servants sought greater opportunities elsewhere

• Race and class shaped the character of slavery

• Belief that Africans were inferior to English

• Prohibitions against bearing arms

• Becoming Christian

• Discrimination in colonial polices