The article aims at analyzing the monetary system of the Dutch colony New Netherland. It first carves out the formal structure of the colony's currency system and then goes on to show that the liberalization of New Netherland's economy exacerbated contradictions lurking inside the currency system and thereby fueled political conflicts among the West India Company, colonists, and Native Americans. By analyzing different strategies to deal with this situation, the article proposes that the contradictions could not be resolved, as their cause—economic liberalization—was irreversible. This analysis sets the stage for discussion of a possibility that scholars have not yet explored: Iroquois could have partly shaped the monetization of New Netherland and thus could have been accountable for its failing monetary policy by deliberately controlling the amount of sewant in circulation.
Skip Nav Destination
Research Article| April 01 2015
Mario Schmidt; Entangled Economies: New Netherland's Dual Currency System and Its Relation to Iroquois Monetary Practice. Ethnohistory 1 April 2015; 62 (2): 195–216. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-2821904
Download citation file: