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Doing Business With Western Africa: Private Investors, Agency And Commercial Networks

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers new insights on Dutch-Portuguese rivalries in the Atlantic. It shows the Portuguese Crown and the States General both aimed to build and maintain territorial and commercial Atlantic empires in the early modern period and both wished to hold a monopoly over such an empire. The chapter also diverges from the traditional scholarship concerning the reasons behind the success of the Dutch in the mid-17th century Atlantic. The evidence presented in the chapter shows that the Dutch success in the Atlantic in the first half of the 17th century was mainly due to their naval and military power. The chapter presents the myths of the inefficiency of the Portuguese royal monopolies and of the commercial modernity of the Dutch Company.

Keywords:Atlantic empire; Dutch; Portuguese; Western Africa



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