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Dutch West India Company

Geoctroyeerde Westindische CompagnieCreated by: PICRYLDated: 2017
New Amsterdam, a small city on Manhattan Island
Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie, or Dutch West India Company, was a chartered company (known as the "WIC") of Dutch merchants. Among its founding fathers was Willem Usselincx (1567–1647). On June 3, 1621, it was granted a trade monopoly in the West Indies (meaning the Caribbean) by the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands and given jurisdiction over the Atlantic slave trade, Brazil, the Caribbean, and North America. The intended purpose of the charter was to eliminate competition, particularly Spanish or Portuguese, between the various trading posts established by the merchants. The company became instrumental in the Dutch colonization of the Americas. Some historians date the origins of the firm to the 1500s with arrivals of colonial settlers in what is now called New York long before the English at Jamestown, Virginia.
The WIC was organized similarly to the Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, abbreviated as VOC). Like the VOC, the WIC company had five offices, called chambers (kamers), in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hoorn, Middelburg and Groningen, of which the chambers in Amsterdam and Middelburg contributed most to the company. The board consisted of 19 members, known as the Heeren XIX (the Lords Nineteen).
The company was initially relatively successful; in the 1620s and 1630s, many trade posts and colonies were established. The largest success for the WIC in its history was the seizure of the Spanish silver fleet, which carried silver from Spanish colonies to Spain, by Piet Heyn in 1628; privateering was at first the most profitable activity.
In 1629 the WIC gave permission to a number of investors in New Netherlands, which included New Amsterdam, covered parts of present-day New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and New Jersey.
The settlers had little success with populating the colony of New Netherland, and to defend themselves against local Indians. The main focus of the WIC now went to Brazil and in 1630 the West India Company conquered a part of Brazil.
Due to the Peace of Westphalia the hijacking of Spanish ships was no longer allowed. Merchants from Amsterdam and Zeeland decided to work with marine and merchants from Hamburg, Glückstadt (then Danish), England and other countries. In 1663 and 1664 the WIC sold more enslaved Africans than the Portuguese and English together. The first West India Company suffered a long agony and ended in 1674.
The Collection includes Dutch maritime prints of the time period.
1509
1509
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2010
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2010
416 Media in collectionpage 1 of 5
West Indies from BL Royal 20 E IX, ff. 23v-24

West Indies from BL Royal 20 E IX, ff. 23v-24

Map of the West Indies, with the eastern coast of North America, Central America, and the north coast of South America. Image taken from ff. 23v-24 of Boke of Idrography (The 'Rotz Atlas'). Written in English.

[Portolan chart of the Mediterranean and Black Seas with the west coast of Spain and Portugal] /

[Portolan chart of the Mediterranean and Black Seas with the west coas...

Portolan chart with seaport names given for all coastlines. Title devised by cataloguer. Fragmentary signature on upper right portion leading into neck reads "Io Placid...". Oriented with north to the right (in... more

West-Indische paskaert waer in de graden der breedde over weder zijden vande middellijn wassende so vergrooten dat die geproportioneert sijn tegen hunne nevenstaende graden der lengde. vertonende behalve Europaes zuydelijcste alle de seekusten van Africa en America, begrepen in 't Octroy bij de H.M.H. Staten Generael der vereenigde Nederl. verleent aende Generale West Indische Compagnie.

West-Indische paskaert waer in de graden der breedde over weder zijden...

Shows the west coast of North America from Belle Isle, Newfoundland, both coasts of South America, mediterranean Europe, and the east coast of Africa. Includes illustrations. Available also through the Library ... more

[Birds and turtles of the French West Indies; men spear-fishing from rowboat]

[Birds and turtles of the French West Indies; men spear-fishing from r...

Illus. in: Du Tertre, Histoire generale des Antilles habitees par les François, Paris, 1667-1671, plate between pp. 246-247. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: ... more

[West Indies: manufacture of sugar]

[West Indies: manufacture of sugar]

Illus. in: Du Tertre, Histoire generale des Antilles habitees par les François, Paris, 1667-1671, between pp. 122-123. Reference copy may be in SSF (Gr) - INDUSTRY FOOD MISC. 1667. This record contains unverifi... more

[West Indies: manufacture of manioc or cassava]

[West Indies: manufacture of manioc or cassava]

Illus. in: Du Tertre, Histoire generale des Antilles habitees par les François, Paris, 1667-1671, between pp. 420-421. Reference copy may be in SSF (Gr) - INDUSTRY SUGAR MISC. 1667. This record contains unverif... more

[West Indies: manufacture of indigo]

[West Indies: manufacture of indigo]

Illus. in: Du Tertre, Histoire generale des Antilles habitees par les François, Paris, 1667-1671, between pp. 106-107. Reference copy may be in SSF (Gr) - INDUSTRY DYES AND DYEING MISC. 1667. This record contai... more

Carte exacte de toutes les provinces, villes, bourgs, villages et rivières du vaste et puissant empire de la Chine : faite par les ambassadeurs hollandois dans leur voyage de Batavia à Peking /

Carte exacte de toutes les provinces, villes, bourgs, villages et rivi...

Relief shown pictorially. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. Includes ill. LC copy annotated in ink on verso: 95. Vault

Nieuwe kaart van het Eyland Sumatra /

Nieuwe kaart van het Eyland Sumatra /

Relief shown pictorially. Also covers Malay Peninsula and adjacent minor islands. Oriented with north to the left. Prime meridian: Ferro [?]. Printed number in upper right corner: N'o 11. Available also through... more

An accurate map of the West Indies. Exhibiting not only all the islands posses'd by the English, French, Spaniards & Dutch, but also all the towns and settlements on the continent of America adjacent thereto.

An accurate map of the West Indies. Exhibiting not only all the island...

Scale ca. 1:14,000,000. Relief shown pictorially. Also shows southern United States, Central America, and northern South America. "Where may be had just publish'd for the use of the curious as well as students,... more

A new map of North America, with the British, French, Spanish, Dutch & Danish dominions on that great continent; and the West India Islands,

A new map of North America, with the British, French, Spanish, Dutch &...

Scale ca. 1:18,500,000. Relief shown pictorially. Hand colored. Shows boundaries, cities and towns, roads, forts, Indian villages and tribal territory, and vegetation. Also shows anchorages, currents, and route... more

The West Indies exhibiting the English, French, Spanish, Dutch & Danish settlements.

The West Indies exhibiting the English, French, Spanish, Dutch & Danis...

Scale ca. 1:6,500,000. Relief shown pictorially. Prime meridian: London. Shows southern United States, Mexico, Central America, northern South America, and West Indies. LC Maps of North America, 1750-1789, 1689... more

The West Indies exhibiting the English, French, Spanish, Dutch & Danish settlements.

The West Indies exhibiting the English, French, Spanish, Dutch & Danis...

Scale ca. 1:6,500,000. Hand colored. Relief shown pictorially. Prime meridian: London. Shows southern United States, Central America, northern South America, and West Indies. From the author's The natural and c... more

[A scene in the West Indies showing Natives on the beach with a British sailor and three large casks, and two ships in the harbor]

[A scene in the West Indies showing Natives on the beach with a Britis...

Title devised by Library staff. Illus. in: The West-India atlas; or, A compendious description of the West-Indies: illustrated with 40 correct charts and maps, taken from actual surveys.... / Thomas Jefferys, G... more

The West Indies, exhibiting the English, French, Spanish, Dutch & Danish settlements with the adjacent parts of North & South America, from the best authorities.

The West Indies, exhibiting the English, French, Spanish, Dutch & Dani...

Scale ca. 1:15,000,000. Prime meridian: Ferro. Relief shown pictorially. LC Maps of North America, 1750-1789, 1737 Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. "Engraved for Middle... more

[Allegorical cartouche showing West Indians harvesting cane, a Native woman breast feeding an infant, and cherubs]

[Allegorical cartouche showing West Indians harvesting cane, a Native ...

Title devised by Library staff. Illus. in: De nieuwe groote lichtende zee-fakkel ... / Claes Janszoon Vooght. Amsterdam : G.H. van Keulen, 1782, no. 1. Published in: The American Revolution in drawings and prin... more

To the right honble. Lord Rodney admiral of the White, vice admiral of Great Britain, Commander in Chief of his majesties fleet in the West Indies, this view of the glorious & signal victory obtain'd over the French fleet ... is most respectfuly offered by his lordships most obedt. & very humble servant Thomas Walker Lieut. 2d Battn. 60th light Infantry / Thos. Walker delin. ; Jno. Wells sculp.

To the right honble. Lord Rodney admiral of the White, vice admiral of...

Print shows the British fleet under Lord Rodney breaking the line of the French fleet under Count de Grasse; the French fleet "thrown into confusion" and attempting "to form a new line" with the British fleet b... more

St. Lucia in the West Indies taken possession of by Admiral Barrington Monsieur de Micoud and the inhabitants having capitulated the 30th of December, 1778, being the day after Count d'Estaign left the island much disconcerted / Hamilton delin. ; Thornton sculp.

St. Lucia in the West Indies taken possession of by Admiral Barrington...

Print shows six ships in line flying the French flag, however, appears to be disembarking British troops who are about to take possession of the island after the French have withdrawn. Title from item. Engraved... more

Bowles's new map of North America and the West Indies, exhibiting the British Empire therein with the limits and boundaries of the United States as also the dominions possessed in that quarter, by the Spaniards, the French & other European states, the whole compiled from the best surveys and authentic memoirs which have appeared to the present year, 1783.

Bowles's new map of North America and the West Indies, exhibiting the ...

Scale ca. 1:5,500,000. Hand colored. Prime meridian: Ferro. "Publish'd as the Act directs 2. Jan. 1783." Includes historic notes. Insets: A particular map of Baffin and Hudson Bays [ca. 1:18,000,000]--A map of ... more

The West Indies, including part of Virginia, North Carolina, East Florida, South Carolina, West Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico, with part of the coast of South America: From the Bay of Honduras, to the mouth of the River Oronoko.

The West Indies, including part of Virginia, North Carolina, East Flor...

Scale ca. 1:6,000,000. Hand colored. Prime meridian: London. Relief shown pictorially. Second state : Hispaniola is no longer divided into French and Spanish sections and an explanatory note has been deleted. L... more