Subprime plantation mortgages in Suriname, Essequibo and Demerara, 1750-1800. On manias, Ponzi processes and illegal trade in the Dutch negotiatie system

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Subprime plantation mortgages in Suriname, Essequibo and Demerara, 1750-1800. On manias, Ponzi processes and illegal trade in the Dutch negotiatie system

Type: Research master thesis
Title: Subprime plantation mortgages in Suriname, Essequibo and Demerara, 1750-1800. On manias, Ponzi processes and illegal trade in the Dutch negotiatie system
Author: Hoonhout, Bram
Issue Date: 2012-01-16
Keywords: negotiaties
Atlantic history
Economic history
cross-imperial networks
Guyana
financial crises
modernity
Abstract: A system of subprime plantation mortgages was created by the Dutch in the second half of the 18th century. A credit structure was set up that would link Dutch investors with their West Indian colonies, by providing plantation mortgages (called negotiaties) for those dreaming of becoming planters. Interest rates were high: attractive for investors, but all too cumbersome for the new plantation owners. Many planters, mostly producing coffee, could not repay their loans, leading to the demise of the system as many bankrupt planters returned home and investors lost their capital. That is the case in Suriname at least, because in the near-by colonies of Essequibo and Demerara the plantation economy had only just took-off and continued to expand. This thesis tries to explain that divergence, next to identifying the winners and losers in the system and testing several explanatory concepts in order to gain a better conceptual understanding of the negotiatie structure. Results are that winners and losers were different than previously thought: investors could still be winners, while the fund managers could easily be losers. Additionally, the negotiatie system should be termed a classic mania, that could persist only for a limited time because of the Ponzi aspects, visible in the need for continuous refinancing. Lastly, the plantation mortgage structure could be seen as a failed transition to modernity, one that tried to bridge the commercial and financial interest of the Dutch economy, but was too much rooted in mercantilist thought. This was less the case for Essequibo and Demerara, where an open, but partly illegal, connection with the rest of the Atlantic was more important than the obligatory relationship with the metropolis. Next to legal supplies, illegal trade occurred on a large scale and proved crucial for the development of the two colonies.
Supervisor: Antunes, mw. dr. C.A.P.
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: History: Societies and Institutions (Research MA)
Specialisation: History of European Expansion and Globalisation
ECTS Credits: 40
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/18502
 

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