Published: June 2018
Wim Klooster and Gert Oostindie present a fresh look at the Dutch Atlantic in the period following the imperial moment of the seventeenth century. This epoch (1680–1815), the authors argue, marked a distinct and significant era in which Dutch military power declined and Dutch colonies began to chart a more autonomous path.
The loss of Brazil and New Netherland were twin blows to Dutch imperial pretensions. Yet the Dutch Atlantic hardly faded into insignificance. Instead, the influence of the Dutch remained, as they were increasingly drawn into the imperial systems of Britain, Spain, and France. In their synthetic and comparative history, Klooster and Oostindie reveal the fragmented identity and interconnectedness of the Dutch in three Atlantic theaters: West Africa, Guiana, and the insular Caribbean. They show that the colonies and trading posts were heterogeneous in their governance, religious profiles, and ethnic compositions and were marked by creolization. Even as colonial control weakened, the imprint of Dutch political, economic, and cultural authority would mark territories around the Atlantic for decades to come.
Realm between Empires is a powerful revisionist history of the eighteenth-century Atlantic world and provides a much-needed counterpoint to the more widely known British and French Atlantic histories.
Wim Klooster is Professor of History at Clark University. His previous books include The Dutch Moment: War, Trade, and Settlement in the Seventeenth-Century Atlantic World, also from Cornell, as well as Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History (NYU Press) and Illicit Riches: Dutch Trade in the Caribbean, 1648–1795 (KITLV Press).
Gert Oostindie is Professor of Colonial and Postcolonial History at the University of Leiden and Director of the KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies. Among his previous books are Postcolonial Netherlands: Sixty-five Years of Forgetting, Commemorating, Silencing (Amsterdam University Press) and Paradise Overseas: The Dutch Caribbean – Colonialism and Its Transatlantic Legacies (Macmillan).
“Wim Klooster and Gert Oostindie’s marvellous wide-ranging history of the eighteenth-century Dutch Atlantic provides the definitive treatment of this vital nation in Atlantic history while showing also how important the Atlantic world remained to the Netherlands past its fabled ‘Golden Age.’ In particular, the authors show how crucial the Dutch were to the circulation of goods, ideas, and things in the Atlantic world in their indispensable auxiliary roles as traders between Atlantic powers, often doing so illegally. This is a brilliant—but more important, a necessary—book.” – Trevor Burnard, Head of School and Professor of History, University of Melbourne
“The concept of an Atlantic world does not make sense without the Dutch, and in this book Klooster and Oostindie show why. With a detail hitherto unavailable, they reveal how the Dutch could simultaneously possess a marginal Atlantic empire and act as the suppliers of the essential commerce and resources for the creation and perpetuation for over a century of the entangled, international realm we call the Atlantic world. This book is a major contribution to the history of that world.” – Jan de Vries, Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History and Economics, University of California, Berkeley
“Realm between Empires promises not only to deepen our understanding of the Dutch Atlantic but to challenge our understanding of the Atlantic world more broadly. It will be a crucial reference point for students and scholars of Dutch history, the Atlantic world, slavery, early modern trade, and the Caribbean.” – Evan Haefeli, Associate Professor of History, Texas A&M University
Co-publication with Cornell University Press. For distribution in the Netherlands only.