Empire by Treaty? The role of written documents in European overseas expansion, 1500-1800

Martine Van Ittersum (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    Treaty-making was integral to European imperialism and colonialism in the early modern period. Europeans did not seek to enter into equal treaties with indigenous rulers or peoples, but to conclude agreements that advanced their own claims to trade and/or territory. Two case studies – the Banda Islands and the Hudson Valley in the seventeenth century – serve to illustrate this point. Of course, the extent to which Europeans achieved their aims depended on local power constellations in Africa, Asia or the Americas, and the diplomatic fallout back in Europe. Still, in a world of endemic violence, treaty and alliance making were essential preparations for the next round of warfare and, thus, empire-building.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Dutch and English East India Companies
    Subtitle of host publicationDiplomacy, Trade and Violence in Early Modern Asia
    EditorsAdam Chulow, Tristan Mostert
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam
    PublisherAmsterdam University Press
    Number of pages25
    ISBN (Print)9789462983298
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2018

    Publication series

    NameAsian History


    • treaty making
    • claims making
    • Banda Islands
    • Hudson Valley
    • Dutch West India Company (WIC)
    • international law


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