Engel Sluiter, a longtime student of European overseas expansion, once predicted that curiosity would kill him, but he was mistaken: he died of a heart attack in Kensington, California, on 28 May 2001, just over a month prior to his 95th birthday. The son of a Dutch-born rancher, teacher, and county supervisor, and the grandson of windmill operators in Holland, he was born on a ranch near New Holland, South Dakota. His youthful enthusiasms helped to shape his adult preoccupations. One was his inexhaustible passion for knowledge, reflected, for example, in his practice of regularly slipping through an open window of the closed local library in order to find reading materials that would satisfy his curiosity. Another was his fascination with the achievements of Dutch mariners and their European rivals throughout the globe during the early modern period. A third was his penchant...

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