IT WAS THE DUTCH THAT STARTED THE SLAVE TRADES IN THE AMERICAS IN 1621 FROM NEW YORK TO BRAZIL…THEN THEY PARTNERED WITH ENGLAND AND DENMARK TO ESTABLISH NEGROLAND IN WEST AFRICA AROUND 1729!!!
The Dutch Empire (Dutch: het Nederlandse koloniale rijk) comprised the overseas colonies, enclaves, and outposts controlled and administered by Dutch chartered companies, mainly the Dutch West India and the Dutch East India Company, and subsequently by the Dutch Republic and the modern Netherlands.
Dutch West India Company, byname of West India Company, Dutch West-Indische Compagnie, Dutch trading company, founded in 1621 mainly to carry on economic warfare against Spain and Portugal by striking at their colonies in the West Indies and South America and on the west coast of Africa. While attaining its greatest success against the Portuguese in Brazil in the 1630s and ’40s, the company depleted its resources and thereafter declined in power. It was dissolved in 1794.
On June 3, 1621, it was granted a charter for a trade monopoly in the West Indies (meaning the Caribbean) by the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands and given jurisdiction over Dutch participation in the Atlantic slave trade, Brazil, the Caribbean, and North America. The area where the company could operate consisted of West Africa (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Cape of Good Hope) and the Americas, which included the Pacific Ocean and the eastern part of New Guinea. The intended purpose of the charter was to eliminate competition, particularly Spanish or Portuguese, between the various trading posts established by the merchants. The company became instrumental in the largely ephemeral Dutch colonization of the Americas in the seventeenth century. From 1624-1654, the WIC held Portuguese territory in northeast Brazil, but they were ousted from Dutch Brazil following fierce resistance.
Using booty acquired from the capture by the Dutch seaman Piet Heyn of part of a Spanish treasure fleet off Cuba in 1628, the company challenged the Portuguese hold on Brazil beginning in 1630. Dutch Brazil, also known as New Holland, was the northern portion of the Portuguese colony of Brazil, ruled by the Dutch during the Dutch colonization of the Americas between 1630 and 1654. The main cities of the Dutch colony of New Holland were the capital Mauritsstad (today Recife), Frederikstadt (João Pessoa), Nieuw Amsterdam (Natal), Saint Louis (São Luís), São Cristóvão, Fortaleza (Fort Schoonenborch), Sirinhaém and Olinda.
From 1630 onward, the Dutch Republic conquered almost half of Brazil’s settled European area at the time, with their capital in Recife. The Dutch West India Company (WIC) set up their headquarters in Recife. The governor, Johan Maurits, invited artists and scientists to the colony to help promote Brazil and increase immigration. However, the tide turned against the Dutch when the Portuguese won a significant victory at the Second Battle of Guararapes in 1649. On 26 January 1654, the Dutch surrendered and signed the capitulation, but only as a provisional pact. By May 1654, the Dutch demanded that the Dutch Republic was to be given New Holland back. On 6 August 1661, New Holland was formally ceded to Portugal through the Treaty of The Hague.
The Dutch West India Company attained its greatest success during the administration of Count John Maurice (1636–44). The effort proved too costly, however, and the Dutch company capitulated to the Portuguese in 1654. The company also established several colonies in the West Indies and Guyana between 1634 and 1648, including Aruba, Curaçao, and Saint Martin, but later lost many of them to the French. The Dutch colony in North America, New Netherland (renamed New York in the mid-1660’s), became a province of the company in 1623. A combination of low Dutch immigration, autocratic administration, and under-investment, however, damaged the ability of New Netherland to compete with the neighbouring English colonies, and it was ceded to the English in 1667.
THE HISTORY OF DUTCH RESENTMENT AND THE ORIGIN OF THE DUTCH WEST INDIA COMPANY
The Netherlands became part of the domains of the ‘Spanish branch’ of the Habsburg dynasty when Emperor Charles V divided the holdings of the Habsburg Empire following his abdication in 1555. In 1566, the Dutch revolt erupted and in 1568 the Dutch Republic embarked on the long, torturous path of the Eighty Years’ War (also known as the Dutch War of Independence) and began the invasion and looting of Spanish (and, later, Portuguese) colonies in the Americas and of Asia, including an attempted invasion of the Philippines (then part of the Spanish East Indies).
From 1517, the port of Lisbon in Portugal was the main European market for products from India that was attended by other nations to purchase their needs. But as a result of Portugal’s incorporation in the Iberian Union with Spain by Philip II in 1580, all Portuguese territories were thereafter Spanish Habsburg branch territory, and thus all Portuguese markets were closed to the United Provinces. Thus, in 1595, the Dutch decided to set sail on their own to acquire products for themselves, making use of the “secret” knowledge of the Portuguese trade routes, which Cornelis de Houtman had managed to acquire in Lisbon.
Pursuing their quest for alternative routes to Asia for trade, the Dutch were disrupting the Spanish-Portuguese trade, and they eventually ranged as far afield as the Philippines. The Dutch sought to dominate the commercial sea trade in Southeast Asia, going so far in pursuit of this goal as to engage in what other nations and powers considered to be little more than piratical activities.The Portuguese victory at the Battle of Guararapes, ended Dutch presence in Brazil.
The joining of the two crowns deprived Portugal of a separate foreign policy, with King Phillip II’s enemies becoming Portugal’s enemies as well. War with the Dutch led to attacks on most of Portugal’s far-flung trading network in and around Asia, including Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), and Goa, as well as attacks upon her commercial interests in Japan, Africa (especially Mina), and South America. Even though the Portuguese had never been able to capture the entire island of Ceylon, they had been able to keep the coastal regions under their control for a considerable time before the coming of the Dutch in war. Portugal’s South American colony, Brazil, was partially conquered by both France and the United Provinces.
THE DUTCH’S GRAND DESIGN
In the 17th Century, the “Grand Design” of the West India Company involved attempting to corner the international trade in sugar by attacking Portuguese colonies in Brazil and Africa, seizing both the sugarcane plantations and the slave ports needed to resupply their labor. Although weakened by the Iberian Union with Spain, whose attention was focused elsewhere, the Portuguese were able to fight off the initial assault before the Battle of Matanzas Bay provided the Dutch West India Company with the funds needed for a successful operation. Johan Maurits was appointed governor of “New Holland” and landed at Recife in January 1637. In a series of successful expeditions, he gradually extended the Dutch possessions from Sergipe on the south to Maranhão in the north.
The Dutch West India Company also succeeded in conquering Goree, Elmina Castle, Saint Thomas, and Luanda on the west coast of Africa. Both regions were also used as bases for Dutch privateers plundering Portuguese and Spanish trade routes. The dissolution of the Iberian Union in 1640 and Maurits’s recall in 1643 led to increased resistance from the Portuguese colonists who still made up a majority of the Brazilian settlers. The Dutch were finally overcome during the 1650s but managed to receive 4 million reis (63 metric tons of gold) in exchange for extinguishing their claims over Brazil in the 1661 Treaty of the Hague. The West India Company was taken over by the state in 1791 and was dissolved in the wake of the French invasion of the Dutch Republic in 1794.
In a 1729 map titled: “NEGROLAND and GUINEA. with the European Settlements, Explaining What Belongs to England, Holland, Denmark & Company. The map clearly shows the usurped and subjugated regions of West Africa in 1729; which include the Kingdom of Benin (‘Bennin’) by the Gulf of Guinea, and what is today Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Benin, Ghana, Togo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Cameroon.