Creolization and Contraband: Curaçao in the Early Modern Atlantic World by Linda RupertCreolization and Contraband: Curaçao in the Early Modern Atlantic World by Linda Rupert

Creolization and Contraband: Curaçao in the Early Modern Atlantic World

byLinda Rupert

Paperback | July 1, 2012

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When Curaçao came under Dutch control in 1634, the small island off South America's northern coast was isolated and sleepy. The introduction of increased trade (both legal and illegal) led to a dramatic transformation, and Curaçao emerged as a major hub within Caribbean and wider Atlantic networks. It would also become the commercial and administrative seat of the Dutch West India Company in the Americas.

The island's main city, Willemstad, had a non-Dutch majority composed largely of free blacks, urban slaves, and Sephardic Jews, who communicated across ethnic divisions in a new creole language called Papiamentu. For Linda M. Rupert, the emergence of this creole language was one of the two defining phenomena that gave shape to early modern Curaçao. The other was smuggling. Both developments, she argues, were informal adaptations to life in a place that was at once polyglot and regimented. They were the sort of improvisations that occurred wherever expanding European empires thrust different peoples together.

Creolization and Contraband uses the history of Curaçao to develop the first book-length analysis of the relationship between illicit interimperial trade and processes of social, cultural, and linguistic exchange in the early modern world. Rupert argues that by breaking through multiple barriers, smuggling opened particularly rich opportunities for cross-cultural and interethnic interaction. Far from marginal, these extra-official exchanges were the very building blocks of colonial society.

Linda M. Rupert is an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Title:Creolization and Contraband: Curaçao in the Early Modern Atlantic WorldFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.93 inPublished:July 1, 2012Publisher:University of Georgia PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820343064

ISBN - 13:9780820343068

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Table of Contents


Part I: Emergence of an Entrepôt
Chapter One: Converging Currents
Chapter Two: Atlantic Diasporas
Chapter Three: "Cruising to the Most Advantageous Places"

Part II: Socio-Cultural Interactions in a Maritime Trade Economy
Chapter Four: A Caribbean Port City
Chapter Five: Curaçao and Tierra Firme
Chapter Six: Language and Creolization


Editorial Reviews

The volume is a rich and complex presentation, well-researched and dense with information. . . . Brief summary sentences along with occasional overviews skillfully convey its core points.

- Alan F. Benjamin - The Americas