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Lecture | CMGI Brown Bag Seminar

Dutch entrepreneurs in the eighteenth-century Portuguese Empire: Trade, business, and politics

Wednesday 6 April 2022
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference room (2.60)


Like the Spanish Atlantic empire, the Portuguese empire was decidedly porous, as foreign merchants could, through various means and strategies, divert profits from colonial trade, which formally precluded them. The direct and indirect involvement of Dutch firms dates to earlier times, but the eighteenth century marks a renewed interest in the resources, and economic opportunities opened up first by the Brazilian gold cycle and then by a shift in the political economy of the Portuguese empire. By favouring an entrepreneurial approach that focuses on firms (family firms and partnerships), this project aims to shed light on: 1) the underlying motives that guided Dutch firms’ decisions in accessing the Portuguese empire; 2) the various strategies (legal and illegal) used to circumvent restrictions and to mitigate agency problems; 3) the transnational business networks that linked Dutch firms in Lisbon with investors in Amsterdam and other European port cities.

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