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Amsterdam's Atlantic: Print Culture and the Making of Dutch Brazil

The rise and fall of Dutch Brazil (1624-1654) was a major news story in early modern Europe, and marked the emergence of a "public Atlantic" centered around Holland's capital city.

Michiel van Groesen
15 January 2017
University of Pennsylvania Press

Dutch Brazil made a lasting impact on the Atlantic world. Its establishment by the West India Company in 1624 shattered Habsburg supremacy in Latin America. It brought religious tolerance to the Americas on a scale hitherto unimaginable and created one of the first truly multicultural societies, where Protestant soldiers, Catholic planters, African slaves, Sephardic Jews, and various indigenous groups lived side by side under Dutch rule. Political and popular opposition in Amsterdam, however, brought a reversal of fortune. In 1654, the Dutch surrendered Recife to Luso-Brazilian forces and never again returned to the South Atlantic.

Amsterdam's Atlantic examines the rise and fall of this hotly contested colony that generated extensive coverage in print media of the time. It does so by taking the perspective of public debate in the United Provinces, and argues that Dutch Brazil transformed (and was transformed by) the early modern media landscape at home.

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