Dutch Caribbean

Henk den Heijer

in The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199227990
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Dutch Caribbean

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  • Slavery and Abolition of Slavery



This article reviews scholarship on the history and historiography of slavery in the Dutch Caribbean. The history of the Dutch slave trade and slavery started a new phase with the Dutch West India Company's (WIC) seizure of Curaçao from the Spanish in 1634. Strategically located north of Venezuela and possessed of a superb deep-water port at Willemstad, the island would develop in little more than a decade into an important transit port for slaves destined for sale in the Spanish colonies. During the last quarter of the seventeenth century, Dutch interlopers from West Africa supplied most of the slaves offered for sale in the island of St Eustatius. Between 1719 and 1727 the WIC organized the island into an open slave market. The recent historiography of Dutch slavery has also dissolved crusted stereotypes of slave docility by detailing a range of ways, from passive resistance to open rebellion, that slaves countered dehumanization and altered the terms of their bondage.

Keywords: slaves; slavery; slave trade; Dutch West India Company; Curaçao; resistance

Article.  8902 words. 

Subjects: History ; Colonialism and Imperialism ; Slavery and Abolition of Slavery

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