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PhD Defence

Courting Conflict: Managing Dutch East and West India Company disputes in the Dutch Republic

Thursday 13 September 2018
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden

In the early modern Dutch Republic, the Dutch East and West India Companies were summoned to court. The two companies were involved in over one hundred court cases in the High Court of Holland, Zeeland and West-Friesland (Hoge Raad), The Hague. Kate Ekama’s research examines the old, manuscript records of court cases in the High Court which documents have, to date, been understudied by social, economic and legal historians. The cases revolved around expansion-related conflicts, ranging from defending the companies’ monopolies to disputes over the payment of employees’ wages. The litigants who faced the companies in court were corporate and individual, included men and women, and subjects of the States General and foreigners. Litigation was one element of conflict management for the companies. Kate’s research shows that the States General played an important role in managing conflicts before, du ring and after litigation. Her research sheds new light on the companies as litigants, on their opponents, on how company conflicts were managed in the Republic, and in so doing, deepens our understanding of the contested nature of Dutch Empire.

Funding organisations

Kate's research was part of the NWO-funded project entitled Challenging monopolies, building global empires in the early modern period.


  • Prof.dr. C.A.P. Antunes


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PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

Press contact

Maarten Muns, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
+31 71 527 3282

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