chapter  5
12 Pages

Haven: Holland and the Dutch West Indies

Persecution and expulsion may have been the hallmarks of the Jewish experience in Spain and Portugal, but what of Holland? In this age of commercial experimentation, when the joint stock company was just coming into being, Jews supposedly controlled both the Dutch East India and West India Companies. A document from 1730 is also cited, stating that 400 plantation masters in Surinam possessed 80,000 African slaves. The editors of Secret Relationship accuse Jews of transforming Curacao into a huge slave market, declaring "the Jews had become notorious for their perceived ability to control trade and for flouting established rules of trade. Professor Emmer may be correct in suggesting New Christian contact with north Europeans, but any suggestion of large-scale slaving ventures must be dismissed. Dutch investors helped underwrite the first West African ventures of the Swedes.