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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book A Spirited Exchange: The Wine and Brandy Trade between France and the Dutch Republic in its Atlantic Framework, 1600-1650. The book covers the wine trading merchants of Rotterdam and highlights the importance of their personal networks to their commercial activities. The wine trading merchants operated within well-organized municipal and provincial institutions, but were the first to claim customary exemptions when it benefited their business. The strong overlap between Rotterdam’s commercial and political elite ensured that the business climate favored trade and manufacturing, and in this the situation in Rotterdam was representative for conditions in the other maritime ports. The significant risks of transporting high-value commodities from Asia and the Americas to Holland could be off-set by the relatively routine and predictable coastal trade in bulk goods for the European markets.

Keywords: Americas; Asia; brandy trade; Dutch Republic; France; Holland; Rotterdam; wine trade

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