That’s the subject of my weekend column over at RealClearHistory. An excerpt:
6. The Dutch Empire vied for supremacy with the Portuguese empire, which, beginning in 1580 with the Iberian Union of Spain and Portugal, was a rival Catholic state attempting to establish a global hegemony of its own. The Portuguese were actually the first Europeans to establish trading forts throughout the world, but the aforementioned Iberian Union severely weakened Lisbon’s plans for global hegemony due to the fact that the union made Portugal the junior partner. The Dutch conquered and then established colonial rule at Portuguese colonies on four different continents, and unlike the Portuguese, focused on commercial interests rather than converting the natives to Catholicism and creating a politically connected empire. Because of the commercial nature of the Dutch project, many of the indigenous factions were happy to switch from Portugal to the Netherlands as business partners. And partners they were. Both the Portuguese and the Dutch (as well as the British and French later on) paid rent to local political units on the trading forts they built throughout the world. Such was the nature of power on the world scene before the end of the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century.
Please, read the rest.
- China’s Christianity problem (and Islam too) Ian Johnson, NY Times
- An Indian Merchant in Marseilles, 1792 Blake Smith, the Appendix
- The Island Where France’s Colonial Legacy Lives On Maddy Crowell, the Atlantic
- The Ugly Critique of Chick-Fil-A’s Christianity Stephen L. Carter, Bloomberg View
- An ancient epic poem recounts the ‘Indian war’ of Dionysus Blake Smith, the Wire
- Sketchbook of 15th-century engineer Johannes de Fontana Bennett Gilbert, Public Domain Review
- Van Gogh’s love affair with Japan Joe Lloyd, 1843
- Relatedness: De-toxifying the mind Peter Miller, Views
- Syria: the knowledge problem Chris Dillow, Stumbling and Mumbling
- Why tribal sovereignty is so important Ryan McMaken Mises Wire
- Seattle baseball fans are eating grasshoppers, not hot dogs Eric Gomez, ESPN
- Art, science, and political economy Peter Boettke, Coordination Problem