Dutch West India Company

December 18, 2010

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After Hudson’s voyage and “discovery” of New York for the Dutch, they established the area as New Netherland. They started the Dutch West India Company and monopolized trade. The success of the Dutch East India Company was an influential factor in its establishment. The United New Netherland Company, which had been trading around the Hudson River for several years, was absorbed into the Dutch West India Company. A charter was set stating that no citizen of the Netherlands could trade with any point on the African coast between the Tropic of Cancer and the Cape of Good Hope or on the American coast between Newfoundland and the Straits of Magellan without the company’s permission. The company had almost complete administrative and judicial power in its territory. Seeing the success in trade the Portuguese had, the company was initially interested taking Brazil from the them, but after 30 years of warfare, Portugal maintained the area. By 1626, the company had built Fort Orange on the site of Albany, N.Y., Fort Nassau on the Delaware River, Fort Good Hope on the site of Hartford on the Connecticut River, and Fort Amsterdam on the southern tip of Manhattan. Fort Amsterdam was the nucleus of the settlement called New Amsterdam, now New York City. New Netherland remained under the control of the company until the English finally conquered it in 1664. After England took over New Netherlands, the company engaged primarily in the African slave trade. The company ended in 1791 when its charter expired and was not renewed.

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