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Colour of ParadiseEmeralds in the Age of the Gunpowder Empires$
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Kris Lane

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780300161311

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300161311.001.0001

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Tax Dodgers and Smugglers

Tax Dodgers and Smugglers

(p.161) Chapter 7 Tax Dodgers and Smugglers
Colour of Paradise

Kris Lane

Yale University Press

This chapter describes how the rising Asian demand for Colombian emeralds coincided with the decline of the Spanish Habsburgs. The rebellion of Portugal in 1640 and final capitulation in the Netherlands in 1648 signaled the end of a remarkable era of global maritime dominance. Dutch gains at the Iberians' expense began much earlier and reached as far as Manila, but they avalanched after the Twelve Year Truce expired in 1621. Portuguese trading forts from Elmina to Melaka fell to Dutch cannons, and by 1637, much of Brazil was governed not by the King of Spain or Portugal but by Prince John Maurice of Nassau. Plunder, as in other contemporary gunpowder empires, was only the first step in Holland's larger imperial project. Primitive accumulation of this spectacular kind was followed by the more mundane business of bulk trade.

Keywords:   global maritime dominance, Colombian emeralds, Spanish Habsburgs, Manila, Twelve Year Truce, Prince John Maurice, plunder

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