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Shaping Colonial Societies

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the economic role of Western Africa in the Dutch and the Portuguese Atlantic economies and the Atlantic system in general. To overcome some of the methodological concerns associated with the concept of the 'Atlantic system,' adopt a three-dimensional perspective. A 'national' approach to the study of the Atlantic system and its sub-systems also created practical inconveniences regarding the delimitation of the borderlines of these 'sub-systems'. The Atlantic system and sub-systems, in recent years several scholars adopted the concept of 'networks,' distinguishing between open and close networks, and studying the hierarchical relations between nodal points in these networks. This approach has favored a transnational or supra-national analysis. Most of these studies focus mainly on the relationship between the networks built by groups of merchants and settlers in the defense of their interests, often against the policies of the 'mother countries'.

Keywords:Atlantic system; Dutch; merchants; Portuguese Atlantic economies; Western Africa



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