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The Dutch former Colonies

The Slave Trade

The Dutch in West Africa


By the end of the 17th century, the Dutch had succeeded the Portuguese in the domination of the West African Trade. The Dutch were serious and determined to control the African trade. They armed their boats and captured Portuguese forts along the coast. The drive which had led to the development of a complex canal and lock system to control flooding in their country as early as the 15th century, led them to dominate the Portuguese trade. By the 17th century the Dutch had a forty boat fleet which traded on the West African Coast year round. This fleet belonged to the Dutch West India Trading Company. This company, a national venture, was well-organized and well-funded, unlike the ventures of the other European countries. At this point in time, the trading expeditions of the other countries were controlled by individuals who had no success in making inroads into the Portuguese dominated trade. The Dutch also succeeded in replacing the Portuguese because they had no interest in colonizing or converting the people to Christianity. The Dutch dominated the trade from 1600-1700.

The 16th century was a period of marked growth in Europe which allowed the Europeans to discover the African Coast on their own and to expand their trading network. The engraving, pottery, textile-making, shipbuilding and metal trades flourished in many European countries, but the Dutch were especially skilled and advanced in their technological discoveries. They relied on their fishing and trade, but their drainage engineering for increased reliance on agriculture was a technological advancement symbolic of Dutch technological advancement.


In spite of their dominance in the West African trade in the 17th century, the Dutch were not invincible. The French and English, adopting Dutch tactics, encroached on the Dutch monopoly of the region. They, too, created companies for the organization of trade to Africa and built new forts. But, most devastating to the Dutch was the passage of the Navigation Acts which forbade the importation of slaves into English and French colonies. Part of the Dutch success as traders was that they role as middlemen for other European counties. Denied this role, the Dutch suffered great loses of power in the slave trade

So it starts...

The human freight

In the forts

on the ship





Mothers has to make new babies..

Mothers has to make new babies..