2004
Volume 130, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163

Abstract

Abstract

This article tackles the commercial circuits in the interior regions of New Netherland, where seventeenth-century colonial settlers exchanged goods and services. Research in the Low Countries has shown that rural regions had their own commercial circuits depending on the nature of the products and services that were traded. In some parts of Flanders large farmers acted as powerful intermediaries in these circuits. However, the situation in the North American colony was very different. The combination of ample availability of land and small population size led to almost three-quarters of rural households owning more than enough land, livestock, and horses to be self-sufficient. Transactions in labor and capital therefore played only a minor role, but exchanging goods with merchants in the urban circuit, by contrast, justified an intermediary role. And while contemporary sources speak of fear about the dominance of merchants in setting prices for agricultural goods, our findings show that rural players may actually have operated relatively autonomously and been able to set prices independently of market volatility.

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2017-11-01
2022-01-24
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): colonial; intermediary; New Netherland; rural; West India Company
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