Academic journal article Early American Studies

Anglo-Dutch Connections and Overseas Enterprises: A Global Perspective on Lion Gardiner's World

Academic journal article Early American Studies

Anglo-Dutch Connections and Overseas Enterprises: A Global Perspective on Lion Gardiner's World

Article excerpt

Dutch antecedents and influences, whether military, colonial, religious, or commercial, figured in English overseas enterprises in important ways. These Anglo-Dutch connections were fundamental to the overseas careers of men such as Lion Gardiner, an Englishman who migrated from the Dutch Republic to Connecticut in 1635. Gardiner worked as an engineer in Holland, and it was this valuable training that proved to be the crucial ingredient for his subsequent employment in the Saybrook plantation in New England. His marriage to a Dutch woman ensured that his personal attachment to the United Provinces lasted throughout his life. As Gardiner's marriage intimates, the English and Dutch formed close attachments, as friends, colleagues, and families, in Europe and beyond. In New England Gardiner straddled an international border, just as he had in Europe. But this international context was a feature not only of Gardiner's world on Long Island and in the Connecticut and Hudson River valleys where New Netherland and New England met, but also in other parts of the Americas and on the other side of the world. The English and Dutch wrangled over adjacent territory on the "wild coast" of South America, for example, and especially in the region of the Guianas, where colonies were tossed back and forth between the two nations as various settlement efforts failed and as larger conflicts ended in peace treaties that reallocated territory. The English and Dutch, moreover, crossed and established and contested boundaries all around the world, not only in the Atlantic world that Lion Gardiner and others like him came to know over the course of their long and varied careers but also in the East Indies.

Relationships between the English and the Dutch in North America remain surprisingly understudied.1 Nor, indeed, have scholars linked earlier and simultaneous Anglo-Dutch interactions elsewhere to colonial enterprises in seventeenth-century North America. This article offers a global perspective on the Anglo-Dutch connections that shaped the development of English and Dutch overseas activities in North America and beyond in the first decades of the seventeenth century. It thus shifts our gaze from the physical space Gardiner inhabited in and around Long Island Sound to the international context that produced that world. This article traces a story of international conflict and cooperation from Europe to America to the East Indies and back, finally, to Gardiner's home turf of Long Island Sound, in a preliminary effort to explore the global connections that informed English and Dutch colonial activity in North America.

English and Dutch relations within and beyond Europe were embedded in European politics. By 1660 England had transformed itself from a kingdom on the European margins to one well positioned to take advantage of new opportunities all around the world. In this remarkable period the English dislodged the Spanish from some of their holdings in the Americas, challenged Spanish dominion over the American continents, and established new long-distance trade routes to the eastern Mediterranean and the East Indies. England emerged in the seventeenth century as a kingdom on the rise. The story of English ascent, however, is not only an English story. It involved a complex reordering of European geopolitics at home in Europe and around the world. And the Dutch were crucial to this enterprise, engaged as they were in their own assault against Iberian dominion and commercial expansion. Both states envisioned commercial enterprises far from Europe, whether the deer trades of North America and Taiwan or the coveted and lucrative spice trade in the Indonesian archipelago, as further dimensions of European conflicts. Indeed, for the Dutch East India Company (established in 1602), making war in the Indies on the Portuguese and Spanish, the primary enemies of the Dutch Republic, was just as important as profiting through trade.2 English and Dutch encroachment in the Caribbean in the 1620s and 1630s served a similar function of displacing the Spanish from the region and diminishing their power beyond Europe. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.