Early Anglo-Dutch Trade in the Caribbean and New Amsterdam
This chapter introduces New Amsterdam, the Leeward Islands, and Barbados and describes the earliest interactions between English and Dutch adventurers in these places. Located far from the seat of power in a dangerous, chaotic, and tenuous Atlantic, the settlers who built their plantations and businesses in Barbados and the Leeward Islands discovered soon after their arrival in the 1620s that they could not rely on metropolitan connections alone to advance their settlements. Colonists eager for trade quickly learned to build intraimperial relationships with other English settlements, but they also formed advantageous commercial ties with colonists from other empires, most notably Dutch traders. Predisposed toward Dutch collaboration because of decades of military, political, and cultural ties at home, driven by the fragility of their nascent settlements, and attracted by the experience and skills of Dutch merchants already trading there, English colonists incorporated these foreigners into their regular commerce in the first decades of settlement.
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