Dutch Primacy in World Trade, 1585-1740

By Jonathan I. Israel | Go to book overview

5
The Dutch and the Crisis of the World Economy, 1621-1647

THE RESUMPTION OF THE DUTCH -- SPANISH CONFLICT

Historians of early modern Europe broadly agree that the European and world economy entered an age of general crisis around 1620. The major manifestations of this world economic general crisis were the depression in the Mediterranean (which set in in 1621 and continued down to the eighteenth century), the slump of the 1620S in the Baltic, the disruption of the economies of Germany and central Europe during the Thirty Years' War, and, beginning in the years 1622-3, the onset of a long-term decline in Spain's transatlantic trade with the New World.1 This contraction in international trade went hand in hand with a reversal of activity in other spheres, including industrial output, which was particularly severe in Italy, Germany, and Flanders, though in France and England also this was a period of difficulty and instability.2 Around 1620 the long, sustained expansion of the world economy since the late fifteenth century came to a definitive end.3

For the Dutch economy, the period 1621-47, Phase Three in the evolution of Dutch world-trade primacy, was one of relative stagnation and profound restructuring. But, if we are to grasp the nature and significance of this restructuring process, it is essential that we analyse it against the background of changes in the world economy, just as Phases One and Two of Dutch world-trade hegemony have to be grasped in the light of the major world economic shifts of the time. Historians have produced a variety of explanations for the decades-long world economic crisis which began around 1620. Some of these are of a purely economic nature.

____________________
1
Chaunu, Séville el l'Atlantique, viii. pt. 2, 1519-21.
2
De Vries, Economy of Europe, 16-21.
3
Ibid.; van der Wee and Peeters, "Un modèle économique", 114; Romano, "Tra XVI e XVII secolo", 487-8.

-121-

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Dutch Primacy in World Trade, 1585-1740
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • List of Figures xii
  • List of Maps xiii
  • List of Tables xiv
  • List of Abbreviations xix
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Origins of Dutch World-Trade Hegemony 12
  • 3 - The Breakthrough to World Primacy, 1590-1609 38
  • 4 - The Twelve Years' Truce, 1609-1621 80
  • 5 - The Dutch and the Crisis of the World Economy, 1621-1647 121
  • 6 - The Zenith, 1647-1672 197
  • 7 - Beyond the Zenith, 1672-1700 292
  • 8 - The Dutch World Entrepoôt and the Conflict of the Spanish Succession,1700-1713 359
  • 9 - Decline Relative and Absolute, 1713-1740 377
  • 10 Afterglow and Final Collapse 399
  • 11 - Conclusion 405
  • Bibliography 417
  • Index 447
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