The Eighteenth-Century Dutch, Danish, and Swedish Free Ports in the Northeastern Caribbean: Continuity and Change

Han Jordaan, Victor Wilson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    This chapter will elaborate on David Armitage’s concept of “cis-Atlantic” history, in the sense of being a regional history within an Atlantic context. More specifically, it will study three places within the Caribbean region with a similar institution – the free port city – and their inhabitants. The focus will be mainly on the transfer of ideas, commercial networks and migration. Firstly, it is argued that the experience of Dutch transit trade informed and influenced Danish and Swedish colonial policy to a considerable extent. Secondly, it is argued that the commercial networks were operated similarly and had contacts in all three free ports, due to their proximity to each other as well as to the existing regional systems of trade. Also, it is argued that their similar roles during the end of the eighteenth century gave rise to competition and affected contemporary discussions on trade policies in both colony and metropole. Lastly, it is argued that the occupation of the Dutch colonies gave rise to migration flows that deeply affected the development of St. Thomas and St. Barthélemy well into the nineteenth century, and that migration from colonies such as Statia ensured a continuity of trade in the region. This is a brief study of three colonies within the Caribbean region during the late 18th century with a similar institution, the free port. The focus of the study is on the transfer of ideas, commercial networks and migration between the three places. Firstly, it is argued that the experience of Dutch transit trade informed and influenced Danish and Swedish colonial policy to a considerable extent. Secondly, it is argued that the commercial networks were operated similarly and had contacts in all three free ports, due to their proximity to each other as well as to the existing regional systems of trade. It is also argued that their similar roles during the end of the eighteenth century gave rise to competition and affected contemporary discussions on trade policies in both colony and metropole. Finally, it is argued that the occupation of the Dutch colonies gave rise to migration flows that deeply affected the development of St. Thomas and St. Barthélemy well into the nineteenth century, and that migration from colonies such as St. Eustatius ensured a continuity of trade in the Caribbean region.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Title of host publicationDutch Atlantic Connections, 1680-1800: Linking Empires, Bridging Borders
    EditorsGert Oostindie, Jessica V. Roitman
    PublisherBrill
    Pages275–308
    ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-27131-9
    ISBN (Print)978-90-04-27132-6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

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