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Open Access The Eighteenth-Century Danish, Dutch and Swedish Free Ports in the Northeastern Caribbean: Continuity and Change

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The Eighteenth-Century Danish, Dutch and Swedish Free Ports in the Northeastern Caribbean: Continuity and Change

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Chapter Summary

This chapter elaborates on David Armitage's concept of "cis-Atlantic" history, in the sense of being a regional history within an Atlantic context. More specifically, it discusses three places within the Caribbean region with a similar institution, the free port city, and their inhabitants. The focus is mainly on the transfer of ideas, commercial networks and migration. First, it is argued that the experience of Dutch transit trade informed and influenced Danish and Swedish colonial policy to a considerable extent. Second, it is argued that the commercial networks were operated similarly and had contacts in all three free ports (St. Thomas and St. John free ports, Danish and Swedish free ports, and neutral free ports). Finally, it is argued that the occupation of the Dutch colonies gave rise to migration flows that deeply affected the development of St. Thomas and St. Barthelemy well into the nineteenth century.

Keywords: Caribbean region; cis-Atlantic history; Danish colonial policy; David Armitage; Dutch transit trade; free ports; Swedish colonial policy



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