Pieter van den Broecke's Journal of Voyages to Cape Verde, Guinea and Angola (1605-1612)
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In the summer of 1630, Pieter van den Broecke returned to Amsterdam after completing his fifth voyage overseas as a commercial agent for various Dutch companies who were then expanding their worldwide trading networks. Van den Broecke used this homecoming to compose a lengthy manuscript describing his experiences, and to arrange its publication in 1634. However, this published version presented his account in a highly abridged and significantly altered form. The present edition offers for the first time an English translation of those parts of Van den Broecke’s original manuscript which describe the four trading voyages he made to Africa in the early seventeenth century. His manuscript is an important historical source because he was among the earliest of Europeans to describe in detail the communities he encountered in West Africa and Central Africa and to describe in detail the sophisticated commercial strategies of Dutch merchants then trading on the Atlantic coast of Africa. This edition begins with an introductory essay presenting Van den Broecke’s biography and places the writing of the manuscript within the context of his professional aspirations. The edited translation of Van den Broecke’s narrative is extensively annotated with reference both to other contemporary accounts and to relevant modern scholarship.