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The Sephardim and the dutch

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Chapter Summary

The Spanish government imposed embargoes in order to stop the flow of goods and bullion to the Dutch Republic, which traditionally had a positive trade balance with Iberia. Prosopographical information derived from a combination of Dutch and French notarial records, genealogical studies and a multinational variety of local histories confirms that the relationship between members of the Jewish diaspora and early Dutch multinational mercantile families enabled a successful, albeit incomplete, circumvention of the economic and political obstacles created by the embargoes. Odette Vlessing's detailed study of Amsterdam's Sephardic community has shown that the early Dutch regulations governing the commercial activities of the 'Portuguese' in the United Provinces reflect the acute awareness of the States General of the group's economic value. The Jewish merchants had to work within the Dutch legal framework and, even more significantly, all trade had to be channeled via the northern Netherlands.

Keywords: Amsterdam's Sephardic community; Dutch Republic; French notarial record; Iberia; Jewish merchants; northern Netherlands; Portuguese; Spanish government



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