1st Edition

The Dirty Secret of Early Modern Capitalism
The Global Reach of the Dutch Arms Trade, Warfare and Mercenaries in the Seventeenth Century

ISBN 9781138692886
Published October 30, 2019 by Routledge
244 Pages

USD $150.00

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Book Description

This book shows how the Dutch accumulation of great wealth was closely linked to their involvement in warfare. By charting Dutch activity across the globe, it explores Dutch participation in the international arms trade, and in wars both at home and abroad. In doing so, it ponders the issue of how capitalism has often historically thrived best when its practitioners are ruthless and ignore the human cost of their search for riches. This complicates the traditional Marxist understanding of capitalists as middle-class exploiters in arguing for a much greater agency among lower-class Dutch soldiers and sailors in their efforts to benefit from skills that were in high demand.

Table of Contents


1. War in the Low Countries, 1566-1713: Beginnings, Victories, Glory

2. The Early Modern Dutch and War, Part 1: Economy, Society and Culture

3. The Early Modern Dutch and War, Part 2: Morale

4. Sailors, Soldiers and Arms Abroad, Part 1: Empire

5. Sailors, Soldiers and Arms Abroad, Part 2: Beyond Europe

6. Dutch Activity in Scandinavia

7. Dutch Activity in Russia, Part 1: Trade and Technology

8. Dutch Activity in Russia, Part 2: Merchants and Mercenaries


Appendix: On Kondratiev Waves and Dutch Capitalism

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Kees Boterbloem is full professor in the Department of History at the University of South Florida in Tampa.