Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologizes for the Netherlands’ historical role in slavery and the slave trade
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologizes for the Netherlands’ historical role in slavery and the slave trade. By 1814, more than 600,000 enslaved African women, men and children had been shipped to the American continent, in deplorable conditions, by Dutch slave traders. Most were taken to Suriname, but others were sent to Curaçao, St Eustatius and other locations.They were wrenched from their families and stripped of their humanity.
They were transported – and treated – like cattle. Often under the governmental authority of the Dutch West India Company. In Asia, between 660,000 and over one million people – we don’t even know exactly how many – were traded within the areas under the authority of the Dutch East India Company.
Pulicat and the Slave trade by Dutch in India: Pulicat served as the Coromandel headquarters of the Dutch East India Company. Diamonds were exported from Pulicat to the western countries. Nutmeg, cloves, and mace too were sent from here to Europe. A gun powder factory was also set up by the Dutch to augment their military power.
One less known fact about the Dutch is they were involved in slave trade. People from Bengal and from settlements such as Tengapattinam and Karaikal were brought to Pulicat. The Dutch employed brokers at Madras for catching and shipping slaves. Famines, droughts and war that resulted in food shortage led to the flourishing of the slave trade. Wil O Dijk, a Ph.D. Scholar at Leiden University in one of her research papers noted that the passenger list of slaves transported in VOC ships within and from the Bay of Bengal from June 1621 to November 1665 showed a total of 26,885 men, women and children – of which 1,379 died.