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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter presents an overview of this book, which is a descriptive and quantitative economic analysis of the commercial and financial operations of the Brazilian sugar trade in all of its wholesale phases. The book demonstrates how Brazilian sugar functioned in international markets during the first eighty years of its history, and explains the sugar trade in terms of supply and demand. The trade in Brazilian sugar remained a highly inter-imperial affair, characterized by the mobility of merchants and their capital as well as a high degree of cooperation through the correspondent system. Rather than identify the group characteristics of sugar traders, it examines their networks and to look at the financial and business tools at their disposal. Though there were a number of markets for Brazilian sugar such as France and Italy, the book focuses on the Dutch Republic, and Amsterdam in particular.

Keywords: Amsterdam; Brazilian sugar trade; Dutch Republic; international markets



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