The Dutch Golden Age stood out as a period when the seven united provinces commanded the unparalleled ability to mobilize labor and project violence across the world. In the history of the Atlantic World this period can be characterized as its “Dutch moment”. For a few decades The Netherlands were a crucial factor in the military and economic balance of forces in the trans-Atlantic world of trade, conquest, enslavement and settlement. As Klooster states, violence was a crucial element of this Dutch moment. The “Dutch Atlantic empire was forged in the battlefield”. Front and center in this new history of the Dutch Atlantic is Brazil. This has not always been the case. For long, Dutch Brazil was only remembered as having an art-historical relevance. This often-ignored episode in Dutch history is now returning to its rightful place in the canon of the Golden Age (…) By using the metaphor of the “unleashed lion” Klooster has magnificently captured the early Dutch steps into the Atlantic. In the opening chapters Klooster offers us new information about the early ventures and he has also managed to dig up details of forgotten colonization schemes in the later period. An overemphasis on military prowess would not do justice to the Dutch Atlantic moment. Klooster keenly chose to include revolts and mutinies in his narrative of the Dutch moment. Resistance by the sailors and soldiers often confined the ambitions of commanders and this observation adds valuable insights to our understanding of the dynamics of the expansion. The violence projected outwards could just as easily come to haunt those in power, a notion that adds to the metaphor of the “unleashed lion”.

Karwan Fatah-Black in Wim Klooster, The Dutch Moment: War, Trade, and Settlement in the Seventeenth-Century Atlantic World (Bmgn-lchr.nl)



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