Slaves, commodities and logistics. The direct and indirect, the immediate and long-term impact of 18th-century Dutch-Republic slave-based activities

The project investigates two important claims made about the gains of the Dutch economy from slave-based production and commerce in the Atlantic region:

  • First, that the Atlantic slave-based commerce played an important role in keeping the Dutch economy afloat in the 18th century.
  • Second, that 18th-century Dutch involvement in the Atlantic economy had important long-term effects on the Dutch economic performance in the field of finance, insurance and maritime logistics.

The project therefore examines the direct and indirect, the immediate and long-term economic impact of 18th-century slave-based activities on the Dutch economy. As regards the immediate effects, the project concentrates on estimating the contribution of value added by the slavery-related Atlantic commerce, industry and finance to the Dutch economy in the 18th century. It approaches this contribution on three different levels:

  • Project 1 will examine the economic spin-off from the involvement in the slave trade and plantations.
  • Project 2 will focus on the involvement in slave-produced commodity trade and processing.
  • Project 3, ‘Finance, Insurance and Maritime Logistic’ (by Pepijn Brandon) is devoted to the Dutch role in shipping, finance and insurance related to the Atlantic slave-based economy.

In addition, project 3 and the synthesis will address the possible long-term benefits of 18th-century Dutch involvement in the expanding Atlantic economy, and therefore go beyond the 18th century.

Slaves-commodities-logistics
Prospect of the European factories at the Royal Palace of Savi. Included are the Portuguese, English, French and Dutch factories. The Dutch factory is at the bottom right (1745).

Project details


Funding

Funded by: NWO (2013 –2018)
Budget: EUR 750,000

Researcher
Dr. Pepijn Brandon, postdoc at VU Amsterdam
E-mail: p.brandon@vu.nl

Supervisors
Prof. Dr. Karel Davids (CLUE+)
E-mail: c.a.davids@vu.nl

Prof. Dr. Marcel van der Linden (International Institute for Social History)
E-mail: mvl@iisg.nl

Prof. Dr. Henk den Heijer (University of Leiden)
E-mail: h.j.den.heijer@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Publications


  • Brandon, P. (2014). “Een ‘War and Society’-geschiedenis  van de Tachtigjarige Oorlog”. Bijdragen en mededelingen betreffende de geschiedenis der Nederlanden, 129(3), 51-72.
  • Brandon, P. (2014). “Accounting for power. Bookkeeping and the rationalization of Dutch naval administration”. In J. Fynn-Paul (Ed.), War, entrepreneurs, and the state in Europe and the Mediterranean (pp. 151-169). Leiden / Boston: Brill.
  • Brandon, P. (2014). “Rijk door oorlog”. Geschiedenis Magazine, 46-49.
  • Brandon, P. & Combrink, T. (2014). “Slavenhandel kreeg juist doorstart in 1814”. De Volkskrant.