Wednesday, May 16, 2012



Dutch mercants established a trading post at MOURE on the Gold Coast in the dying years of the 16th century. After a Portuguese attack on the Dutch trading post in 1610, the Dutch built FORT NASSAU there in 1612; it was the Dutch headquarters in the region until it was moved to ELMINA in 1637.

In 1621 the Dutch United West India Company (WIC) was founded, and Fort Nassau became it's property. After several futile attempts, the Dutch took Portugal's main stronghold, Elmina, in 1637. The WIC moved it's regional headquarters there.

The Gold Coast forts were important for the trade in both gold and African slaves, the latter a factor of growing importance due to the Caribbean sugar boom. The Dutch Navy was dominant during the earlier decades of the 17th century, taking a number of Portuguese and later Swedish forts by force. In the 1660es it was Dutch forts falling to the English; most were handed back to the Dutch in subsequent peace treaties.

In 1717-1725 the GWIC acquired Brandenburg's property and claims on the Gold Coast by purchase.
In the later half of the 18th century, the Dutch experimented with cotton plantations on the Gold Coast. Toward the end of the century the slave trade, outlawed by the British in 1807, declined. The British navy did not even bother to occupy the Dutch forts on the Gold Coast. Early in the 19th century, a number of Dutch forts - now under the administration of the Dutch Ministry of Colonial Affairs, as the GWIC, successor to the WIC, was declared bankrupt in 1792 - were abandoned. In 1872, the Netherlands ceded (sold) it's property and claims on the Gold Coast to Britain, in return for Britain conceding the Sultanate of Aceh to the Netherlands (Sumatra Treatise). The price for Elmina and the Dutch property/claims was 47,000 Guilders.  [Read more:]

THE DUTCH, SCANDINAVIAN and GERMANIC POSSESSIONS; SMALL BUT BRAVE and MARITIME EXPERTISE  --  For more than 150 years, Portugal and Spain ruled the world commerce, but this situation, certainly in the case of Africa, changed when Portugal was taken over by the Spaniard in 1580. Portugal was no more then a simple Spanish province, and used all its energy to regain independence. Since Portugal was a part of Spain, it also received as a poisoned gift the enemies of Spain, one of them being also a Spanish province, which would, become independent and take over the Portuguese maritime supremacy, namely the Spanish Low Countries.

In the 16th century, the Dutch came in the footsteps of both cited countries, with great speed. The economical situation of the Northern Netherlands was marked by a strong progress of commerce and shipping in Amsterdam and in the west Friesian towns.

On the other hand, Scandinavia and other countries around the Baltic Sea became more important in European trade. The demand of ships grew and so did the demand of timber from the forested countries of Northern Europe, indirectly taking profit of the new discovered territories and trade opportunities.

The times were changing and new competitors came on the foreground, the golden century of the Dutch was breaking out, and Scandinavia and some German States wanted their part of the cake. (source: )
Map 1: Map Detail <em> Guineae Nova Descriptio </ em>, prepared by Jodocus Hondius atlas for the Mercator (which will be discussed later)
Map 1: Map Detail Guineae Nova Descriptio, prepared by Jodocus Hondius atlas for the Mercator

The map engraved by Baptista Doetechomius and produced by Hugo Allard in 1650 is not the oldest reproduction of "Guinea" prepared by Luis Teixeira, but the most detailed. Indeed, in 1606, Jodocus Hondius in Amsterdam had published a new edition of the atlas of Mercator and had inserted his card "Guineae nova descriptio," based entirely on Teixeira 11 . (source: Africanistes)

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