Dutch former Colonies and Settlements, Asia

Dutch former Colonies and Settlements, Asia

Ceylon, sri lanka, colombo, fort, voc


* Al Mukha (Mocca), (1620-16.. / 1697-1757) * Aden, (1614-1620)

Persia (Iran)

* Esfahan (of Ispahan) (1623-1747)
* Bandar-e Abbas (of Gamron) (1623-1766)
* Kharg. Fort Mosselstein (1750-1766)
* Bandar-e Kong(1665-1753)
o Al Basra (1645-1646; 1651-??)

India various

* Surat (1616-1795)
* Agra (1621-1720)
* Burhanpur
* Ahmadabad (1617-1744)
* Bharuch (of Brochia, Broach)
* Vengurla (1637-1685)
o Sindi ( Tatta ) (1652-1660)

India Malabar (Southern part of Westcoast India)

* Cranganore or Cranganor (Kodungallor) (1662)
* Cochin de Cima (Pallipuram) (1661)
* Cochin, Cochin de Baixo or Santa Cruz (1663)
* Quilon (Coylan) (1661)
* Cannanore (1663-1790)
* Kundapura (1667- ca.1682)
* Kayankulam (ca. 1645)
* Ponnani (ca. 1663)

India Coromandel (East coast of India)

* Golkonda
* Bimilipatnam,
* Jaggernaikpoeram (now Kakinada)
* Daatzeram (now Drakshawarama)           
* Nagelwanze
* Palikol
* Masulipatnam
* Petapoeli (Nizampatnam)
* Paliacatta (now Pulicat)
* Sadras(
* Tierepopelier (now Thiruppapuliyur)
* Tegenapatnam, Kudalur (now Cuddalore)
* Porto Novo(nowParangipettai)
* Negapatnam
* Tuticorin or Tutucorim
* Travancore, nowadays part of India


* Pipely (1635-..)
* Hougli/Chinsura (vanaf 1635)
* Baleshwar(Bellasoor), (vanaf 1676)
* Murshidabad * Dhaka

Sri Lanka (Ceylon) (1658-1796) Maldiven (1645-1796)

Myanmar (Burma)

* Bandel(1608-1631,1634)
* Syriam(1635-1679)

* Mandalay(1625-1665)
* Martaban(1660)
* Pegu(???)*

Thailand (Siam)

* Ayutthaya, main quarter 1613 – 1767.
* Patani (Pattani), trading house 1602 – 1623.
* Sangora (Songkhla), trading house 1607 – 1623.
* Ligor (Ligoor, now Nakhon Si Thammarat), trading house – 1756.


o Ponomping (Phnom Penh) o Laauweck (Lawek)


* Malacca (1641-1824)

Dutch East Indies (Indonesia)

o Ambon (1600-1963)
o Banda (1621-1963)
o Batavia, Hoofdstad op Java (1619-1963)
o Indies Various

Vietnam (Tonkin)

* Yonkin, comptoir van 1636 – 1699 * Hoi An, comptoir van 1636 – 1741.

Taiwan (Formosa)

* Anping (Fort Zeelandia)
* Tainan (Fort Provincia)
* Pescadores Islands (Fort Vlissingen) (1620-1624)
* Keelung (Fort Noord-Holland, Fort Victoria)
* Tamsui (Fort Anthonio)
* Wanckan (Fort Vlissingen)
* Pescadores Islands (1620-1624)


o Kanton
o Xiamen
o Hainan
o Macau


* Hirado (1609-1641) * Deshima (1641-1853)

Dutch former Colonies, Africa

The Dutch former Colonies, Africa

The Settlements

Amsterdam Island 1633-1792


           o 26 August 1641.- 21/24 August 1648.,
           o  São Paulo de Luanda (Luanda): Fort Aardenburgh (26 August 1641.- 21/24 August 1648.)          
           o São Filipe de   Benguela (Benguela): (Sept. 1641- 1648) to Portugal
           o Pinda or Mpinda (Sonyo):-at the mouth of the Congo River (1648) to Portugal
           o Ensandeira island:(at the mouth of the Kwanza river) Fort Mols (1645/6-1648) to Portugal
           o Malemba (Cabinda


           o Great Popo(1680 – ?)
           o Ouidah (1670s. or 1687 / 1702 – 1724 or 1726)
           o Jaquim or Jakri (Godomey) Fort Zelandia (1726 � 1734)
           o Offra(1675 – 1691)
           o Appa or Ekpo (1732 – 1736)
           o Savi
          o Allada or Ardra


          o Loango (Boary) (1648/1686/1721-1726)
          o Ngoyo or G’oy

Equatorial Guinea

          o Annobon: 1641-164?/ 1665-16.. (to Portugal)  
          o Delagoa Bay ( Maputo Bay ): Away Lydsaamheid (January 1721 – 23 Dec. 1730)

Ghana. Gold coast

o Fort Amsterdam (Ghana) (Nabij Cormantin) (1665 – 1721 / 1785 – 1867 door verdrag met Engeland)
o Fort Apollonia (16.-1768 / 1868-1872) (Cape Apollonia (Benyin))
o Fort Batenstein (Nabij Butri)(1656 – 1665 / 166..-1872)
o Fort Cape Coast Castle
o Fort Conraadsburg, Fort de Veer (1810/1811), **Fort Naglas (1828), Fort Java (1828), Fort Scomarus (1828),
o Fort Crêvecoeur (Ussher Town (Accra)) (1649-1782/ 1786-1868)
o Fort Elise Carthago (1650)
o Fort Goede Hoop, (1667 or 1705/06 fort – 1782/1785 – 1867/68)
o Fort Hollandia(Poquefoe of Pokesu (Princess Town)) 1725 fort – 1814/1815 opgegeven
/1687* – 1698/1711 – 1712/1732 – 1804 opgegeven
o Fort bij Kpone: (1697 – Apr. 1700 / 1706 – ?)
o Fort Leydsaamneyd of Lijdzaamheid (of Patience, nabij Apam) (1697/1698 – 1782/ 1785-1868)
o Fort Metaal Kruis, nabij Dixcove (1868 – 1872)
o Fort Nassau, nabij Mouri (16240 (1598 of 1611 / 12 – 1664/1665 – 1782/1785 – 1867
door verdrag met Engeland)
o Fort Oranje, nabij Sekondi(1640 of 1670/75 – 1872)
o Fort Ruychaver (Jul./Aug. 1654 – 1659)
o Fort Santo Antonio de Axim (Feb. 1642 – 1664 / 1665 – 1872)
o Fort Elmina (hoofdstad)
o Fort San Sebastian, nabij Shama (1637 – 1664 / 1664 – 1872)
o Fort Singelenburgh, nabij Keta (? – 1737)
o Fort Vredenburgh, nabij Komenda (1688 fort – 1782 / 1785 – 1872)
o Fort Witsenn, nabij Takoradi
o Cong (Cong-hoogte): – 1659 opgegeven
o Egya:(1647 – ? / 1663 – 1664)
o Kumase (1837-1842 / 1848-1853 / 1859-1869)
o Petit Popo of Popo / (Anecho of Aneho) (1731 – 1760)


o  Cape Mount


          o Antongil Bay: 1641/2 factory – 1646/7
          o Fort Dauphin


o Fort Arguin (1638-1658/1664-1710) finally French

Mozambiqe 1720-1730

o  Maputo Bay


          o Benin (1705 – 1736)
          o Badagri (1737 – 1748)
          o Epe (1732 – 1755)

San Thome and Principe

o (18 Oct. 1599 – 20 Oct. 1599/3 oct 1641-16 Oct 1641,


o  Goree 1588-1664

Sierra Leone

oTasso Island (1664 destroyed by Admiral De Ruter)

St. Helena  1645-1651


o Petit Popo or Popo (Anecho or Aneho) (1731 – 1760

South Africa

o  (Cape colony), (Kaapstad/Capetown) (1652 – 1806) finally British


Rev. Dr. S. S. Quarcoopome Institute of African Studies University of Ghana Legon, Ghana West Africa

The area in Africa, which was involved in the transatlantic slave trade, was the Guinea Coast. It stretches from the area of the present day Senegal to the southern borders of present day Angola. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to set foot in this area in the fifteenth century. Their objective was to find a sea route to India and the Orient as the Turks in 1453 had closed the land route. The Portuguese started trading in copper, brass, European cloth, etc in exchange for gold, which was in high demand in Europe. It was they who began to acquire slaves from the Bight of Benin and Biafra and the area of Niger Delta for the mining of the gold deposits in the Gold Coast, thereby introducing the Africans to the practice of using forced African slave labor, a practice foreign to the institution of slavery in West Africa.

It was the Portuguese who first took Africans as slaves to Europe after 1441. After 1460, they exported between 700 to 800 slaves to Portugal to work on the sugar plantation in Southern Portugal and Spain and the islands of Fernando Po, Sao Tome and Principe By the 1480’s, the Portuguese interest in gold had changed to the purchase and sale of slaves. It is interesting to note that it was a Papal Bull, which authorized the opening of the slave market in Lisbon. The English Parliament also passed an Act legalizing the purchase of slaves in 1545. Even in 1452, the Pope declared that the possession of slaves was the right of all Christians.

As the Portuguese continued to explore the western sea route to India, their neighbors, the Spaniards were opening up the Atlantic route to America and the Caribbean, in the spirit of the Papal Bull of demarcation of 1493. After the exploration of the American continent, consequent to the voyages of Columbus, Vespucci and others, many nations rushed to establish colonies there. The earliest and the largest colonies were established by the Spaniards, Dutch, French and the English. They established big mining companies as well as coffee, cotton and sugar plantations.

From the beginning, indentured labor was recruited from Europe. These were mostly criminals, prisoners and those who could not pay their passage to America but were eager to go there to make their fortunes. However, it soon turned out that they were too few and were unequal to the task. Attempts to use the indigenous Americans also failed. In the process about 90% of their population were wiped out due to cruelty, violence and lack of resistance to disease introduced by the Europeans.

Attention was therefore shifted to the native African, who, as a result of their use by the Portuguese, had proved to be strong, hard working, resistant and could stand the diseases and the tropical weather. A Spanish monk, Las Casas, mooted the idea of recruiting Africans. Furthermore, it was observed that African rulers could be persuaded to sell their war captives and criminals. Consequently the Atlantic Slave trade initiated.

The first batch of African slaves to be exported to the Americas was in about 1501, from Lisbon Portugal. Forty years later, the slaves were being transported direct from the Guinea Coast. By 1630, the demand for slaves increased tremendously because of new farms opened up by the English, Dutch, the French in the Caribbean and Brazil. By the treaty of 1713 known as Asiento, Spain permitted Britain to introduce 144,000 Negro slaves into the Spanish American colonies up to 1733. In 1750, because of the lucrative nature of this trade the Spanish government bought back the Asiento for 100,000 pounds!

African slaves were packed like sardines in Slave ships from the Guinea Coast. They were stripped naked, fed like animals, underfed and over worked, in the ships, the conditions were appalling and unhygienic, so that sometimes a whole shipload of slaves died.

The produce of sugarcane, coffee, and cotton from the American plantations were shipped to Europe as raw materials to feed factories. From Europe cheap manufactured goods such as cotton cloth, brass wave, rum, inferior guns and gun powder were shipped to West Africa and exchanged for Africans captured and sold by Africans to be transported to work in the plantations of America. while Africa gave its most important resource, its people to build the economies and prosperity of Europe, she obtained in return consumables, which did not help in her growth and development. This is the Triangular or the Atlantic Slave Trade.

The Portuguese and the Europeans who followed them to Guinea, built forts and castles to store their goods as well as the acquired slaves. The coast of the present day Republic of Ghana, is littered with the highest concentration of forts and castles than any other coastline in Africa. Some of the most important ones are Elmina Castle, Cape Coast Castle, Christianborg Castle, Fort Crevecour, James Fort, Axim Fort etc. others were Factories or Baracoons. For over three hundred years, the slave trade was the main issue in the relation between Africa and Europe. It is not clear how many people were transported out of Africa. Historians have calculated the number to be anywhere between twenty-five million to seventy million, including those who died in the wars and those who perished in the middle passage, as well as those who survived and landed in America.

It affected Africa politically, economically, demographically and culturally Its impact is still very much with us presently.

Dutch former Colonies, Central America

Dutch former Colonies, Central America

Porto Rico San Juan (1625)
Sint Kruis (1625-1650)
Thortolleneiland (Tortola) (1648-1672)
Anegada (16??-1680)
Virgin Gorda (16??-1680)
Nederlandse Antillen en Aruba (Nederlands West-Indië):
Aruba (1636-1805/1815-)
Curaçao (1634-1805/1815-)
Bonaire (1633-1805/1815-)
Sint Maarten (Ned.) en St. Martin (Fr.) (1620-1633/ 1644-1648
Sint Eustatius (1636-)
Saba (1620s/1640-1816-)
Trinidad en Tobago: Nieuw Walcheren (Tobago) *Honduras:
Trujillo (1623) Baai-eilanden
Dutch Expansion

After losing most of their colonies in Brazil, the Dutch continued fighting for expansion. One of Curaçao’s most important governors, Peter Stuyvesant, led an attack against St. Martin in 1644, and the following year he was made governor of New Amsterdam (present-day New York), as well as retaining his position in Curaçao.

In 1648, the Dutch and the French decided to split St. Martin, and the two countries control the island to this day. The Dutch kept the important salt areas, for which they had claimed the island originally.

A few years earlier in 1640, the Dutch founded Saba. However, this colony was home to so little agriculture that its people remained predominantly white, without much African slave labor. This was very unique among the Caribbean islands.

Curaçao served as the Dutch base for raiding not only the mainland of South and Central America, but Cuba and Puerto Rico. However, it wasn’t until after the war with Spain ended in 1648 that Curaçao became a profitable colony. The Treaty of Muenster recognized the Dutch colonies, but prohibited trade with Spain.

The Dutch controlled most of the trade in the region, but Curaçao’s position in the slave trade was also historically important, and the island became a slave depot. Since the Dutch controlled a majority of the region’s human trafficking as well as other commerce, Spain eventually turned a blind eye to their colonies’ illicit trade with the Dutch.

Although at first the Dutch and the English worked together to wrest control of the Caribbean from Spanish hands, they do not always share the region so easily. Soon, problems between the two come to a head.


Dutch Family with Slaves

Dutch Family with Slaves 1725

Dutch former Colonies, North America

North America

During the 17th century, Dutch traders established trade posts and plantations throughout the Americas; actual colonization, with Dutch settling in the new lands was not as common as with settlements of other European nations. Many of the Dutch settlements were lost or abandoned by the end of that century, but the Netherlands managed to retain possession of Suriname until it gained independence in 1975, as well as the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, which remain within the Kingdom of the Netherlands today.   The Dutch connection with North America began in September 1609, when Henry Hudson, an English Captain, in service to the VOC (Vereenigde OostIndische Compagnie)discovered with his ship “De Halve Maene” (The Half Moon) the river which today bears his name. He was in search of a NW passage to Asia.Shortly after the return of the Hudson expedition, Dutch merchants sent out new expeditions, the aim of all these expeditions was fur trade with the Indians.

In 1614, the States General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands granted a charter for three years to the New Netherlands Company of Amsterdam.
The first Dutch settlement in North America was built in late 1614 on Castle island (an island on the Hudson river little below the site of Albany, NY). This trading-post was called Fort Nassau, but this fort lay frequently under water and for that was abandoned in 1617.
In 1621 the new born West Indische Compagnie (WIC) granted a charter that included the coast and countries of Africa from the tropic of Cancer to the Cape of Good Hope and also all the coast of America.

In 1624 the first WIC expedition started, a ship whit about thirty families of colonist (most of them were Walloons) reached the Hudson or Great River, they anchored near the abandoned Fort Nassau, here later in 1624 a new fort called Fort Oranije was built on the west side of the river where Albany now stands. In the same year the Dutch began to build two forts, one on the South River (Delaware) named Fort Nassau, and the other on the Fresh River (Connecticut) which was called Fort De Goede Hoop.

In 1626 a fort was built on Manhattan Island at the mouth of the Hudson River, this fort was called Fort Amsterdam and around it the town of Nieuw Amsterdam developed, it was destined to become the capital of the Dutch colony, in 1628 the population at Nieuw Amsterdam was of 270 souls.
In 1630 three patroonships were founded: on the South River, Swanendael; on the North River at its mouth, Pavonia; and at Fort Oranije, Rensselaerswyck. The last, Rensselaerswyck, was the only successful patroonship in Nieuw Netherlands.
In 1633 a wooden church was erected in Nieuw Amsterdam, and in 1642 it was replaced by a stone church inside the Fort.

In March 1638 a Swedish expedition arrived in the South River (Delaware) where they founded the colony of Nya Sverige. The Dutch that were at Fort Nassau strongly protested.

In 1647 the population of Nieuw Holland was of 1.500-2.000 souls.
In 1652 the population of the city of Nieuw Amsterdam was of 800 souls, a Municipal Government was given to it in 1652-53, a Burgomaster was appointed.
In 1664 the population of Nieuw Amsterdam was of 1.600 souls, that of the whole Nieuw Holland was of about 10.000 souls.

On 8 September 1664 (during the Second Anglo-Dutch War) the English took possession of Nieuw Amsterdam and they renamed the city, New York. At the treaty of Breda (1667) Nieuw Nederland was exchanged with the English for the colony of Suriname which at that time was a more developed and rich colony.

The Dutch in August 1673 (during the third Anglo-Dutch War) retook possession of New York, the fort was renamed Fort Willem Hendrick while New York became Nieuw Oranje. But at the treaty of Westminster that was signed in February 1674 the colony went back to the English. In November 1674 the Dutch flag waved for the last time in Nieuw Oranje (New York).

List of Fortifications in the USA

 CONNECTICUT: Fort Goed Hope (Hartford): Fort Goed Hope, Fort Huis ter Hope

DELAWARE: Prinseneiland, Moordenaarseiland (Murderer's Island, Prince's Island): Fort
 ....  read more

– It starts with the herring

How it starts….

It starts with the herring…

Dutch Herring Fleet in the Sixteen’s Century

Gibbing is the process of preparing salt herring (or soused herring), in which the gills and part of the gullet are removed from the fish, eliminating any bitter taste. The liver and pancreas are left in the fish during the salt-curing process because they release enzymes essential for flavor. The fish is then cured in a barrel with one part salt to 20 herring. Today many variations and local preferences exist on this process.
The process of gibbing was invented by Willem Beuckelszoon , a 14th century Zealand Fisherman. The invention of this fish preservation technique led to the Dutch becoming a seafaring power.

Sometime between 1380 and 1386,  William Buckels of Biervliet (“Beer Creek”) in Zeeland discovered that “salt fish will keep, and that fish that can be kept can be packed and can be exported”.

Buckels’ invention of gibbing created an export industry for salt herring that was monopolized by the Dutch. They began to build ships and eventually moved from trading in herring to colonizing and the Dutch Empire.

Herring and Salt

In the 1400’s, the herring shoals, a mainstay of the Hanseatic League, migrated from the Baltic to North Sea. The Hanseatic League’s loss was the Dutch Republic’s gain, since, in the absence of refrigeration, salted herring was then an important source of protein in Europe, especially the Netherlands whose population was 40% urban and had to import about 25% of its food. The other half of this trade was salt for preserving the herring. The best sources of salt were off the coasts of France (the Bay of Biscay) and Portugal. These two activities complemented each other well, since the herring season lasted from June to December, so the Dutch could collect salt from December to June.

The Dutch ran large scale operations compared to those of other countries. Unlike the simple open English fishing boats, the Dutch sailed virtual floating factories, called buses, with barrels of salt for curing the herring on board. Although the claims by other competing countries that the Dutch had 3000 ships working the herring shoals were vastly exaggerated (500 being closer to the mark), the Dutch still produced such a volume of salted herring that they could undersell their competition and drive them out of business.

The Dutch pattern of growth

Dutch control of the herring trade touched off a cycle where the Dutch would get profits, invest those profits in new ventures, which generated more profits and so on. This initially led into two general areas of development, foreign trade and the domestic economy, each of which fed back into the cycle of profits and so on. Both of these also led to expansion of trade across the globe to the Mediterranean, West Indies, Africa, East Indies, and the South Pacific, which also fed back into the cycle of profits.

In terms of foreign trade, the Dutch first expanded their operations into the Baltic Sea where they traded for Norwegian timber, Polish grain, and Russian furs for both home consumption and selling abroad. The Baltic trade became so important that the Dutch referred to it as the “Mother Trade.”

All this trade required durable, efficient, and cheaply built ships that could operate in the rough waters of the North and Baltic Seas as well as the shallow coastal waterways that were typical of the Netherlands. What the Dutch came up with was the fluyt , a marvel of Dutch efficiency and engineering. The fluyt was both sturdy enough to withstand rough seas and shallow draught for inland waterways. Unlike other countries’ merchant ships, which doubled as warships, the fluyt carried few, if any, guns, leaving extra space for cargo. It was cheaper to build, costing little more than half as much as other ships, thanks to the use of mechanical cranes, wind-driven saws, and overall superior shipbuilding techniques.

The fluyt also had simpler rigging that used winches and tackles, thus requiring a crew of only 10 men compared to 20-30 on other European ships. This resulted in two things. First of all, the Dutch could carry and sell goods for half the price their competition had to charge, giving them control of Europe’s carrying trade. Second, they were able to dominate Europe’s shipbuilding industry.

Meanwhile, the Dutch were developing their domestic economy in two ways. First they invested in a wide variety of industries, some traditional and some new: textiles, munitions, soap boiling, sugar refining, tobacco curing, glass, and diamond cutting. The need for efficient handling of all the money from this and other enterprises spurred the Dutch to develop another aspect of their economy: financial institutions For one thing, they established the Bank of Amsterdam in 1609, the first public bank in North-West Europe, being modeled after the Bank of Venice (f.1587). The vast sums of cash this bank attracted in deposits allowed it to lower interest rates, which in turn brought in more investments, and so on. Even in wartime, the Bank of Amsterdam was able to lower its interest rates from 12% to 4%. The Dutch also created a stock market. At first this was just a commodities market. Only later did it evolve into a futures commodities market where, by the time a shipload of such goods as wool or tobacco landed, someone had already bought it in the hope of reselling it for a profit.

The success of the Baltic Mother Trade and their domestic economy led the Dutch to expand their foreign trade on a global scale. They did this in three basic directions. First was the Mediterranean, where recurring famines hit in the 1590’s, signaling the start of a “Little Ice Age” that would afflict Europe for the next century. This opened new markets for Polish grain, which the Dutch traded in return for, among other things, marble. (It was this Italian marble which Louis XIV would buy from the Dutch for his palace at Versailles.) The Dutch even expanded this Mediterranean trade to include doing business with the Ottoman Turks.

Second, when Portugal (then under Spain’s rule) closed access to its supplies of salt, the Dutch crossed the Atlantic to find salt in Venezuela. While there, they found the plantations in the West Indies needed slaves, which got them involved in the African slave trade. They also discovered an even more lucrative condiment in the Caribbean than salt: sugar. Soon, the Dutch were founding their own colonies (e.g., Dutch Guiana) and sugar plantations and gaining control of the sugar trade. Soon, sugar was rivaling even the spices of the Far East in value. However, this is not to say the Dutch ignored the Far Eastern trade.

However, breaking into the lucrative Asian Spice market, the third new direction of Dutch expansion, was not so easy. For one thing, they had to find the East Indies. Amazingly, the Portuguese had kept the South East Passage around Africa a secret for a full century since da Gama’s epic voyage. The Dutch looked in vain for a northeast passage around Russia. They also sought a southwest passage, which Oliver van der Noort found (1599-1601), making him the third captain to circumnavigate the globe after Ferdinand Magellan and Sir Francis Drake. But that route was no more practical for the Dutch than it had been for the Spanish and English.

Finally, Jan van Linschuten, a Dutch captain who had served Portugal, showed the way around Africa in 1597. Although the first voyage was not a financial success, the second was, bringing back 600,000 pounds of pepper and 250,000 pounds of cloves worth 1.6 million florins, double the initial investment. Investors rushed to get in on the action, forming the Dutch East Indies Company in 1602. This privately owned company operated virtually as an independent state, seizing control of the spice trade from Portugal’s weakening grip. From there, always in search of new markets, the Dutch explored the South Pacific, discovering Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania, the last two names bearing evidence of their presence.

Such a far-flung trading empire, combined with the struggle with Spain, required a navy to protect its merchant ships. Therefore, the Dutch developed such a navy, excelling in this as well as their other endeavors. At this point, warships generally followed the principle of the bigger the better. As a result, the man-of-war, as it was called, was a huge and bulky gun platform that did not suit the Dutch needs. For one thing, they needed more of a shallow draught vessel that could sail in their home waters. They also needed a long-range ship that could protect their far-flung commercial interests. The result was the frigate, a sleeker shallow draught vessel with only about 40 guns, but capable of long-range voyages. Dutch frigates, along with their excellent sailors and captains, made the Dutch the supreme naval power of the early 1600’s and also helped them dominate the warship-building industry, building navies for both sides in a Danish-Swedish war and even for their French rivals. And, of course, this brought in more money and pushed the Dutch to expand their domestic industries and finance operations in three ways.


The Herring Busse

Dutch Herring Fleet in the Sixteen’s Century

The Fluyt

A cultural golden age

 By the early 1600’s, Amsterdam was the center of world trade, which allowed the Dutch to engage in one more type of activity: patronage of the arts. The seventeenth century saw the Dutch Republic become the center of a cultural flowering much as Italy had been during its Renaissance. Along with money to patronize the arts and sciences, the Dutch Republic had both a free and tolerant atmosphere and enterprising spirit willing to challenge old notions and creatively expand the frontiers of the arts and sciences. The Dutch Republic acted as a virtual magnet for Jewish émigrés from Spain and Portugal and Calvinist dissidents from England, some of who would eventually move on to Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. The Jewish philosopher from Spain, Spinoza, and the French mathematician, Descartes, were two of the shining lights that the Dutch attracted. Notable among Dutch artists were Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, Van Dyck, Steen, Ruysdael, and Hobbema, whose portraits, domestic scenes, landscapes, and mastery of light and shadow brought their age to life on the canvass as no artists before them had done.


The Golden Age of the Dutch Republic was to be short lived, once again largely because of geography. It was the Dutch Republic’s great misfortune to border the great land power of the day, France. In the 1670’s, the French king, Louis XIV, due to a combination of jealousy of Dutch prosperity and hatred of Protestants, launched a series of wars that would embroil most of Europe and put the Dutch constantly on the front line of battle. At the same time, just across the channel, the growing economic and naval power, England, was challenging the Dutch on the high seas and in the market place. Three brief but sharply fought naval wars plus the strain of fighting off Louis exhausted the Dutch and allowed England to become the premier economic, naval, and colonial power in the world by the 1700’s. However, England owed the techniques and innovations for much of what it would accomplish in business and naval development to the Dutch from the previous century.

— The Dutch former Colonies and Settlements

The Dutch former Colonies and Settlements

The Dutch Empire consisted of the overseas territories controlled by the Netherlands from the 17th to the 20th century. The Dutch followed Portugal and Spain in establishing an overseas colonial empire, aided by their skills in shipping and trade and the surge of nationalism accompanying the struggle for independence from Spain. Alongside the English, the Dutch initially built up colonial possessions on the basis of indirect state capitalist corporate colonialism, via the Dutch East and West India Companies. Dutch exploratory voyages such as those led by Willem Barents, Henry Hudson and Abel Tasman revealed to Europeans vast new territories.

With Dutch naval power rising rapidly as a major force from the late 16th century, the Netherlands dominated global commerce during the second half of the 17th century during a cultural flowering known as the Dutch Golden Age. The Netherlands lost many of its colonial possessions, as well as its global power status, to the British when the metropole fell to French armies during the Revolutionary Wars. The restored portions of the Dutch Empire, notably the Dutch East Indies and Suriname, remained under Dutch control until the decline of European imperialism following World War II.

Today, the Netherlands are part of a federacy called the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with its former colonies Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles.