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New Netherland, New York Genealogy
The following series was translated from the original Dutch by Willem Rabbelier and
Cor Snabel of the Netherlands. It is published with their permission on The Olive Tree Genealogy pages.
THE WIC (West Indies Company)
The WIC, West Indies Company (West-Indische Compagnie) was a
shaped after the example of the Dutch VOC, East Indies Company, which
started in 1602, with the goal to trade and found colonies in the
area outside of Europe. They received their charter from the States General,
reserved the 'right on shipping and trade' to this company.
The WIC obtained the trading monopoly on the entire coast from the
Americas, to Cape Magelhaes, and the African coast between the tropic
Cancer and the Cape of Good Hope, next to the control over the colonies.
is not far from reality though to mention that privateering was
main goal: as a matter of fact, in the first decades, the WIC was a
force, ‘instrument par excellence’ for the Dutch States-General in their
struggle with Spain and Portugal. (The side effect of this was, that the
tended to base their organization financially a little too much on the flow of
money resulting from privateering).
The company was divided in five Kamers (Chambers): Amsterdam, Zeeland,
Maze, Noorderkwartier and Stad en Land (Groningen). The Chambers were
general government of the so called Heren XIX (Heren = litt. Gentlemen;
lords, masters, XIX=19). The Heren XIX consisted of 8 representatives
Amsterdam, 5 from Zeeland and 2 from Maze, Noorderkwartier and Stad en
Lande each; the States General however had one important representative
this organization. Generally speaking we may assume that especially the
Amsterdam Chamber was the most influential one with her 20
Kiliaen van Rensselaer was one of them.
(Maze by the way stands for the area north of Amsterdam, while
Noorderkwartier stands for the northern part of Holland, with main
as Hoorn, Enkhuizen and Medemblik).
Due to miscalculations the WIC never came up to the high, profitable
of the Dutch VOC: especially the structure of the WIC, the commercial
failure of the Dutch 'Brazil adventure’ (the "Nieuw Holland' colony
from 1630-1654) and the conflicting interests of the Amsterdam
weakened the Company: already in 1638 the WIC had to let go the
trade-monopoly on Brazil and the Caribbean. Conquest and defense
and shareholders consumed the lion’s share of the WIC money.
From the beginning the WIC and the States General were focussed on trade
and quick profits: as for New Netherland, they did not fall in with the
'colonization' ideas from men like Kiliaen van Rensselaer, Samuel Godijn
Johannes de Laet from the Amsterdam Chamber.
The main reason that small groups of colonists were sent to New
actually was a pragmatic one -- in order to protect and legitimate Dutch
territorial claim on the area only!
When the peace-treaty at Muenster was signed in 1648, which made an end
the war between Spain and the Republic and the Thirty Year War, the WIC
quickly declined, until she was liquidated finally in 1674. But before
happened the activities already were narrowed down to slave, gold,
ammunition trade mainly; a system in which Curacao played a main role.
A new WIC was launched shortly after in 1675, but this time smaller,
less financial means and less bewindvoerders (directors, managers):
only ten, this time. Until 1743 this WIC maintained part of the original
monopolies: the trading of African slaves and products such as gold. After
the WIC was engaged solely in the administration of the remaining
and American oversea territories and fortresses until she was closed
in 1791 forever.
EEN ZEGENRIJK GEWEST
Nieuw-Nederland in de zeventiende eeuw.
Uitgeverij Prometheus/Bert Bakker Amsterdam, 1999
ISBN 90 5333 803 9
GESCHIEDENIS VAN DE LAGE LANDEN IN JAARTALLEN
Uitgev. Spectrum, Utrecht/Antwerpen, 1971
ISBN 90 274 0492 5
DE GESCHIEDENIS VAN DE W.I.C.
Henk den Heijer
Uitgeverij Walburg Pers Zutphen 1994
ISBN 90 601 1912 6
Choose from the Marine Museum Series
Introduction to Marine Museum Series
List of all ships sailing from Netherlands to the New World 1609 - 1674
List of all ships sailing from the New World to the Netherlands 1609 - 1674
#1: Dutch First Presence in the Atlantic Area
#2: The Isle of Texel
#3: The West Indies Company/West-Indische Compagnie (WIC)
#4: The Crossing: Routes and Duration
#5: Colonist Arrivals in the New World Between 1624-1640
#6: Colonist Arrivals in the New World Between 1641-1657
#7: Colonist Arrivals in the New World Between 1658-1660
#8: Colonist Arrivals in the New World Between 1661-1664
#9: Privateering Under W.I.C. Command
#10: Food on Board Ship
#11: Harbour Procedures in New Amsterdam
Your Name in History
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