Prosperity of the West India Company


This pamphlet of 1642 contains a number of proposals to increase the profits of the Dutch West India Company for the benefit of its shareholders. The company was established in 1621 under a charter granted by the States-General, the governing body of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Similar to the Dutch East India Company, which was founded in 1602 to promote trade with Asia, the West India Company was granted a 24-year monopoly on all trade by Dutch merchants and inhabitants in a region that included the Americas and West Africa. The Dutch maintained a colony on the northeast coast of Brazil between 1624 and 1654, and the proposals in the pamphlet mainly relate to Brazil and the sugar trade, as well as to the financing of the West India Company’s military force and some issues having to do with slavery. Many of the pages show, on the right-hand side, detailed sums of costs and profits, calculated in gulden, the currency of the day. The pamphlet is signed “P. Le Candele,” in the city of Middelburg, Province of Zeeland.

Last updated: September 22, 2014