Non-Dutch Petitions in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Atlantic


  • Joris van den Tol Harvard University



vast Early America, lobbying, Dutch Brazil, New Netherland, petitions, Dutch Atlantic


This article argues for the centrality of petitions for colonial administration in the Dutch Atlantic. Moreover, through a study of non-Dutch petitioners, it demonstrates the diversity of individuals that exercised influence on colonial decision-making. This adds an important understanding of political exchanges to the well-established understanding of the Atlantic world as based on inter-imperial, cross-cultural, and multi-ethnic economic exchanges. The colonial inhabitants did not stand idly by as decisions in and from the European metropole or West India Company (WIC) administrators invaded their lives, but instead actively attempted to influence the rules and regulations that governed them. The space that allowed for this on-the-spot negotiation between the colonial government and those individuals it governed was open to virtually everybody and the topics covered were equally as varied, ranging from local decentralized authority to regulations for colonial commodities and issues of religion.


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Author Biography

Joris van den Tol, Harvard University

Joris van den Tol (1987) completed his BA in History and MA in Early Modern History at the University of Amsterdam. He defended his PhD on lobbying in relation to the Dutch colony in Brazil in March 2018 at Leiden University. He has published on smuggling and petitions in Brazil, the Dutch Republic, and Taiwan. In 2019-2021, he is a postdoc at Harvard’s History Department on a Rubicon fellowship from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). In this new research project, he examines transnational advocacy in the seventeenth-century Anglo-Dutch Atlantic. More broadly, he is interested in the political economy of the seventeenth century.




How to Cite

van den Tol, J. (2020). Non-Dutch Petitions in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Atlantic. Early Modern Low Countries, 4(2), 158–180.