Dark Pages Of History Print E-mail
New Amsterdam

Dark PagesAmsterdam is the most important city of the Netherlands. Slavery has contributed to this status. It was important for the Amsterdam economy for quite a long time. A lot of money was earned with the slave trade itself and with the products that were grown using slaves, especially sugar and coffee. The large-scale and organized trade in Africans started, in 1621 when the ‘Westerly Indian Company’ was founded. This  company was actual a collection of mostly Amsterdam traders.

The WIC got hold of large areas around the Atlantic Ocean, along the west Coast of  Africa and in the ‘New World’. Nobody but the WIC was allowed to sell slaves in these territories. Paul Godess (1618-1690), a member of a powerful  Amsterdam family, was very active in the slave trade ,making a fortune of more than 130,000 guilders. He lived in a beautiful mansion at the  Herengracht 502, which is now the official residence of the mayor of Amsterdam. A plaque on the façade of the building reminds us of these dark pages of Amsterdam’s history. Amsterdam ship brought approximately 100.000 people under duress to the Americas, especially to Surinam and the  islands Curaçao and St. Eustatius.


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