Dutch Primacy in World Trade, 1585-1740

By Jonathan I. Israel | Go to book overview

7
Beyond the Zenith, 1672-1700

THE CRASH of 1672

During Phase Four ( 1647-72) the Dutch world trading system reached its fullest point of development. Dutch Baltic commerce, it is true, declined, but this was more than compensated for by expansion elsewhere, especially Spain, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and the East Indies. After 1647 the Dutch considerably increased their commerce with these regions and the degree of control that they exerted over a wide range of markets. Dutch industrial capacity and financial power continued to grow. But this was success of a kind that could not long continue. By 1670 the European powers were no longer prepared to tolerate it. English resentment and the abrasiveness of French and Swedish policy after 1667 were evidence enough of the storm clouds gathering above the Republic. Deeply anxious, the Amsterdam city council noted, in October 167 1, that

our trade in general, and seaborne commerce in particular, has declined noticeably in recent years and has been diverted from here by other nations; for not only the French but also other kings and states seem more and more to scheme how to ruin what remains of the trade and navigation of these United Provinces and each to take over part of it for themselves.1

Although customs returns show that there was in fact no decline in actual levels of trade as yet, immediate prospects for the Dutch entrepôt looked precarious in the extreme. France, its army at a peak of readiness, was drifting towards war with the Republic and there was every likelihood that England or Sweden, or both, would join in the French attack. By early 1672 the Amsterdam Exchange

____________________
1
GA Amsterdamvroed. xxvii, fo. 142, Yes. 8 Oct. 1671; nevertheless, Dutch customs revenues in the years 1668-71 remained at a high level (see table 6.22).

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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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