The Dutch Republic and the Spanish Slave Trade, 1580-1690


  • Cátia Antunes Leiden University
  • Ramona Negrón Leiden University



Slave trade, Dutch Republic, Seventeenth century, Spanish Empire


This article investigates the reason why groups of merchants operating from the Dutch Republic, particularly from Amsterdam, decided to take part in the exploitation of the Spanish Empire, through a very particular type of activity, that of the slave trade. We argue that Amsterdam-based merchants were heavily engaged, through various organizational forms, in supplying Spanish American markets with enslaved Africans. This participation was rewarded with a path for access to Spanish American silver, at the time the essential exchange mechanism for entry and expansion in the Mediterranean and Asian trades.


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Author Biographies

Cátia Antunes, Leiden University

Cátia Antunes is professor of Global Economic Networks: Merchants, Entrepreneurs and Empires at the Institute for History, at Leiden University. She is currently the principal investigator of the project Exploiting the Empire of Others supported by the Dutch Research Council.

Ramona Negrón, Leiden University

Ramona Negrón (1997) studied colonial history at Leiden University. She works as a PhD Candidate at Leiden University in the project Exploiting the Empires of Others: Dutch Investment in Foreign Colonial Resources, 1570-1800 led by prof.dr. Cátia Antunes and as Data Curator at the Amsterdam City Archives. She publishes in the field of maritime and colonial history, mostly on topics related to slavery studies. 




How to Cite

Antunes, C., & Negrón, R. (2022). The Dutch Republic and the Spanish Slave Trade, 1580-1690. TSEG - The Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History, 19(2), 17–44.