New Netherland Connections

Intimate Networks and Atlantic Ties in Seventeenth-Century America
Susanah Shaw Romney
Cloth price: $45
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Publisher: Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press
Imprint: OIEAHC
Cloth/Hardcover Publication Date: 04/2014
Pages: 336
Cloth ISBN: 9781469614250


Susanah Shaw Romney locates the foundations of the early modern Dutch empire in interpersonal transactions among women and men. As West India Company ships began sailing westward in the early seventeenth century, soldiers, sailors, and settlers drew on kin and social relationships to function within an Atlantic economy and the nascent colony of New Netherland. In the greater Hudson Valley, Dutch newcomers, Native American residents, and enslaved Africans wove a series of intimate networks that reached from the West India Company slave house on Manhattan, to the Haudenosaunee longhouses along the Mohawk River, to the inns and alleys of maritime Amsterdam.

Using vivid stories culled from Dutch-language archives, Romney brings to the fore the essential role of women in forming and securing these relationships, and she reveals how a dense web of these intimate networks created imperial structures from the ground up. These structures were equally dependent on male and female labor and rested on small- and large-scale economic exchanges between people from all backgrounds. This work pioneers a new understanding of the development of early modern empire as arising out of personal ties.

About The Author

Susanah Shaw Romney is assistant professor of history at New York University.


An excellent book that is narrowly focused with wide implications.--Itinerario

An innovative and important addition to the thriving field of New Netherland studies, as well as to the study of early modern European colonization.--William & Mary Quarterly

Romney offers a complex, refreshing view of the Dutch Atlantic world, constituting a much-needed intervention in the field of New Netherland studies.--Choice

An important book in demonstrating how early modern empires were built and functioned and how inhabitants from all social ranks on both sides of the Atlantic negotiated and made sense of their place within empire.--de Halve Maen

[Romney] has given historians a new way of conceptualizing and understanding Atlantic world empires.--American Historical Review

Critically engages Dutch and American historiographies of colonization while presenting a suggestive new approach for understanding empires as social networks based in intimacy.--The Journal of American History

Susannah Shaw Romney's excellent book is a salutary reminder that the women and men of New Netherland were part of a powerful 17th-century Dutch mercantile network that encircled the globe, and they deserve to be taken seriously.--Saint Nicholas Society of New York

Clearly shows the degree to which intimate networks structured the Dutch Atlantic, and provided a model for other scholars of early modern empire to emulate.--New Jersey Studies

How do you build an empire? Not with armies and might alone; not just with financial clout, or guile, or aggression. As Romney so elegantly demonstrates, the Dutch empire was built and maintained by individuals. Families, friends, and colleagues stitched together 'intimate networks' that stretched across the globe and became the ground-level means by which the colony of New Netherland operated.--Russell Shorto, author of Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City

Demonstrating the significance of family ties and social bonds within and between Dutch, Native, and African communities, New Netherland Connections transcends the study of a single mid-Atlantic region and gives us an intimate social history of empire.--Simon Middleton, University of Sheffield

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