European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies to 1648

By Frances Gardiner Davenport | Go to book overview

30.
Treaty of alliance between Denmark and the United Netherlands, concluded at the Hague, May 14, 1621. Ratification by the States General, August 9, 1621. [Ratifications not exchanged.]

INTRODUCTION.

Christian IV. of Denmark included among his ambitious aims the development of Danish commerce, not only within European waters, but beyond the seas. In 1616 he founded an East India Company after the Dutch pattern,1 and two years later negotiated with the Dutch for privileges in the East India trade. The Dutch commissioners employed in these negotiations deprecated any attempt on the part of the Danes to undermine the Dutch company or to make common cause with Spaniards or Portuguese against them; they refused to infringe the monopoly of Eastern commerce granted by the States General to their own company, or to allow Dutch seamen to serve on foreign ships. On the other hand, they consented to the Danes' undertaking explorations in unoccupied lands in the East and agreed to order the Dutch in those regions to treat them as friends. They attempted to divert the attention of the Danes from the East by referring to the West Indies, and even went so far as to hand them a project for a Danish West India Company.2

A few months later Dr. Jonas Charisius, Danish ambassador at the Hague, was instructed to establish friendship and union between the Danish and Dutch East India companies, and to recruit in the Netherlands ships' officers for the voyages to Guinea, the West Indies, and Terra Australis.3

The need of mutual political support seemed for a time to outweigh commercial rivalry. At the close of 1620, when the twelve years' truce with Spain4 was about to expire and the Catholics were winning victories in the Palatinate and Bohemia, the States General joined the German Protestant Union in urging King Christian, who although a Lutheran had shown a leaning toward Spain, to help the Protestant cause. The king and Rigsraad were compliant. Christian was anxious to separate the Dutch from their allies,

____________________
1
Ch. de Lannoy and H. Vander Linden, L'Expansion Coloniale: Néerlande et Danemark ( 1911), pp. 402 ff.
2
Arend et al., Algemeene Geschiedenis, III. ( 3), 31, 35-39, 587.
3
G. W. Kernkamp, Verslag van een Onderzoek in Zweden, Noorwegen, en Denemarken naar Archivalia ( 1903), pp. 207-208. In the minds of most men at this time, the term Terra Australis referred, not to Australia but to a southern continent which was supposed to bound the Indian Ocean on the south.
4
Doc. 28.

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