The Dutch Empire

The Dutch Empire is the name given to the various territories controlled by the Netherlands from the 17th to the 20th century. The Netherlands reigned supreme during much of the 17th century, which is known as Dutch Golden Age.

The Netherlands followed Spain and Portugual in establishing a colonial empire outside of continental Europe. Their skills in shipping and trading and their surge of nationalism and militarism accompanying the struggle for independence from Spain aided the venture. Alongside the British, the Dutch initially built up colonial possessions on the basis of corporate colonialism, with the Dutch East India Company dominant. State intervention in the colonial enterprise came later.

Dutch sailors also participated in the surge of exploration that unfolded in the 16th and 17th centuries. But the vast new territories revealed by Barents, Hudson and Tasman in the Arctic and in Australasia/Oceania did not generally become permanent Dutch colonies.

Netherland territories included Indonesia (1602-1945), Sri Lanka (17th century-1802), the Netherlands Antilles (since 1634), Tobago (1654-1678), Suriname (17th century-1975), Guyana (1667-1815), Belgium (1815-1830), Luxembourg (1815-1867), South Africa (1652-1805), parts of Malaysia (1610-1830), and a part of eastern Brazil (1630-1654). Territories that were later gained were the areas in the United States called New York City, New York (1624-1664, 1673-1674), Albany, New York (1614-1617, 1624-1664, 1673-1674). Furthermore, the Dutch owned trade posts all over the world, including Dejima, Japan (1641-1853), Corandèl (New Zealand), Smeerenburg (on Svalbard) and Elmina (Ghana).

When The Netherlands' metropole succumbed to French conquest/control/annexation from 1795 to 1814, many of her colonial possessions were siezed by the British.

The restored portions of the Dutch empire, notably the Dutch East Indies, remained under Amsterdam's control until the decline of traditional imperialism in the 20th century.

Areas under Netherlands control at various times included:

  • Berbice (1627- 1814), now part of Guyana
  • Brazil (in part) ( - 1654), now part of Brazil
  • Cape Colony (1652 - 1806), now part of South Africa
  • Ceylon (1658 - 1796), now Sri Lanka
  • Demerara (1752 - 1814), now part of Guyana
  • Deshima (1641 - 1857), now part of Japan
  • Dutch East Indies (1602 - 1949), now Indonesia
  • Dutch Guiana (1667 - 1975), now Suriname
  • Dutch West Indies (see Netherlands Antilles)
  • Essequibo (1616 - 1814), now part of Guyana
  • Netherlands Antilles (1620 - present)
  • Netherlands New Guinea (1828/1895 - 1961), now part of Indonesia
  • New Netherland (including New Amsterdam and later New Sweden) (1614 - 1674), now part of the United States of America
  • Smeerenburg (circa 1620 - circa 1660), now part of Svalbard, Norway
  • Taiwan (1624 - 1662), now Republic of China - Taiwan
  • Tobago (1628 - 1677), now part of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Travancore, now part of India
  • Virgin Islands (in part) (1625 - 1680), now British Virgin Islands
  • The Dutch had also settlements at the Gold Coast, Angola, Mauritius and Malacca. In the beginning of the nineteenth century it also included Belgium and Luxembourg as part of the Kingdom. (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)