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A “Malicious Business”: Piracy in the Dutch Republic

  • Virginia West Lunsford

Abstract

From the early years of the Dutch Republic, the laws condemning and proscribing zeerooverij--piracy—were serious and manifold. The charter document of the five Admiralty colleges, drafted in 1597, explicitly forbade the crime.1 In 1611, the States-General promulgated a general proclamation “against the Pirates,” the first sweeping regulation treating the misdeed.2 Denouncing Dutch zeeroovers as “scum” and “rabble” who were “Enemies of the human race,” and whose “robbery [and] plundering” represented transgressions “against all the Law[s] of Nature and People,” the edict declared the authorities’ intention to “pursue, quell, punish, and demolish” those who committed such grievous acts. It also stated the government’s firm intention to discipline the perpetrators by threatening their lives and possessions, corrective measures that also awaited those who aided and abetted the scoundrels.3

Keywords

Corporal Punishment Criminal Record Errant Privateer Dutch Government Dutch Court 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    J.J. Baud, Proeve eener Geschiedenis der Strafivetgeving tegen de Zeerooverij (Utrecht: D. Post Uiterweer, 1854), 79–80.Google Scholar
  2. 23.
    C.R. Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire, 1600–1800 (New Yerk: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965; London: Penguin, 1990), 75.Google Scholar
  3. 24.
    Verz. Thysius: States-General, Pardon aan de zeelieden … August 25, 1651 (‘s-GravenHage: Wed. en Erfg. van H. Jzn. v. Wouw, 1651).Google Scholar
  4. 45.
    J.C.A. de Meij, De Watergeuzen en de Nederlanden 1568–1572 (Amsterdam: N.V. Noord-Hollandsche Uitgevers, 1972). Sea Beggar officers were nobles from both northern and southern provinces, but camc primarily from Holland and Friesland (see 149–150). These two provinces also dominated the crews, which included men originating from througout the region (see 157).Google Scholar
  5. 48.
    R.B. Prud’homme van Reine, “Nederlandse Kaapvaart en Piraterij in Beeld,” Kapers op de Kust: Nederlandse Kaapvaart en Piraterij, 1500–1800 (Vlissingen: Uitgerverij ADZ, 1991), 35.Google Scholar
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  7. 87.
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  8. 88.
    Nicolaes Wassenaer, Historisch Verhael Aller Gedenkwaerdiger Geschiedenissen die Hier en Daer in Europa …. Voorgevallen Sijn., Vol. 13 (Amsterdam: Jan Jansz., 1627–1628), 30 vs. Wassenaer’s words were also reiterated verbatim in the preface of Claes Compaen’s biography, ‘t Begin, Midden en Eynde Der Zee-Rooveryen van den Alderfamieusten Zee-Roover, CLAES G. COMPAEN …(1659 ), iv.Google Scholar
  9. 89.
    Simon de Vries, Historic van Barbaryen, en des zeys Zee-Roovers …, trans. G.V. Broekhuizen (Amsterdam: Jan ten Hoorn, 1684) 65.Google Scholar
  10. 113.
    David F. Marley, Pirates and Engineers: Dutch and Flemish Adventurers in New Spain (1607–1697) (Windsor, Ontario: Netherlandic Press, 1992), 53.Google Scholar
  11. 117.
    Alexander O. Exquemelin, The Buccaneers of America, trans. Alexis Brown (Mineola, NY: Dover, 2000), 80; and Alexander Olivier Exquemelin, De Americaensche Zee-Roovers …(Amsterdam: Jan ten Hoorn, 1678), 42–44.Google Scholar

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© Virginia West Lunsford 2005

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  • Virginia West Lunsford

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