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Trying Out

Trying Out: An Anatomy of Dutch Whaling and Sealing in the Nineteenth Century, 1815-1885

Joost C.A. Schokkenbroek
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 366
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  • Book Info
    Trying Out
    Book Description:

    This study describes and analyses a wide array of initiatives leading to the hunt, by Dutch whalemen, of whales and seals in Arctic waters, the temperate zones of the South Pacific and the waters of the Dutch East Indies during the major part of the nineteenth century (1815-1885) an era neglected so far.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-2110-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    (pp. 19-25)

    In Dutch historiography, whaling and sealing seem to have drawn less attention than the respective trading companies, the admiralties, and subsequent activities of the Royal Netherlands Navy, or the endeavours of the merchant fleet setting sail for the Mediterranean or Baltic regions. Dutch whaling and sealing activities during the nineteenth century in particular have been almost completely neglected so far.¹

    This situation not only relates to historiography in general, but one may also discern this neglect (or modest attention at best) in a rather unexpected field: the realm of Dutch maritime historiography. Nearly all studies about whaling and sealing that...

  2. Chapter 1 Dutch Whaling and Sealing in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
    (pp. 26-44)

    Around 1600, while still at war with powerful Spain, an astounding rise in maritime enterprise took place in the young Dutch Republic. In 1602, the Dutch East India Company was established. A few years earlier Dutch mariner Willem Barentsz. tried to find a northeast passage to Asia. During his third attempt in 1596, he and his fellow sailors were forced to winter over on the desolate island of Novaya Zemlya, where he died after having suffered many ordeals. In his earlier voyages to the north, Barentsz. had not only discovered the Spitsbergen archipelago and Bear Island. In his reports on...

  3. Chapter 2 King Willem I and the Premium System (1815-1855)
    (pp. 45-67)

    Developments in the success and failure of Dutch whaling activities in the early years of the nineteenth century were discussed in the previous chapter. Here, the international context of Dutch whaling and sealing initiatives will be described. The activities on Southern and Arctic whaling grounds, undertaken by a fair number of whaling companies, were financially supported by the government. The nature of the premium system developed and introduced under the aegis of King Willem I will be discussed. To this effect, the municipal archives of Harlingen provide a wealth of data on the day-today operational nature of the premium system.⁵⁴...

  4. Chapter 3 Nineteenth-Century Dutch Whaling in the South Seas (1827-1849)
    (pp. 68-92)

    As stated earlier, Dutch whaling during the nineteenth century was conducted both in the Arctic as well as the South Pacific. In the Netherlands, initiatives to invest time and energy in whaling – a trade so popular among foreign entrepreneurs – in the South Seas came fairly late. After the failure of theAfrikaanse Visscherij Sociëteit(see Chapter 1), initiatives for whaling in the South Seas were postponed until the mid-1820s. In this chapter, the leading characters in this drama will be introduced. Attention will be paid to the manner in which they conducted their business. In this way, Dutch...

  5. Chapter 4 Nineteenth-Century Dutch Whaling and Sealing in the Arctic (1815-1885)
    (pp. 93-156)

    Dutch whaling masters had steered their ships toward the “old,” familiar whaling grounds east and west of Greenland in the early years of the nineteenth century. The resumption of war in 1803 hindered these captains in their attempts to resume whaling in the Arctic region. As had been the case with South Seas whaling, Dutch whaling entrepreneurs had to wait for peace and for the incentives from King Willem I before they could devote their time and finances to whaling expeditions to the North. In this chapter, companies and individuals working in the Arctic will be discussed. Their activities and...

  6. Chapter 5 Ships and Men. Driving and Floating Forces
    (pp. 157-216)

    Ships and men – and the interaction between these two components in working and living conditions on board – are the two most important elements in any maritime endeavour. In 1817, the Dutch government through the Minister of Foreign Affairs commented on the possibilities and difficulties of the resumption of whaling by stating,

    “Het ontbreekt ... aan die vaart aan geschikte commandeurs en zeelieden en aan kundige bouwlieden van sloepen, welke laatste geheel nieuw moeten worden aangeschaft en groote kosten vereischen”

    (“In this maritime industry [whaling] there is a lack of suitable masters and sailors and knowledgeable craftsmen of sloops,...

  7. Chapter 6 Clients, Commodities, and Distribution
    (pp. 217-232)

    In previous chapters, the organisation of the whaling and sealing industries and the people who were involved in these maritime endeavours, either behind desks in offices on the quays and wharves, or actually on the decks of whaleships, was discussed. In short, the focus has been on the producers of commodities. In this chapter, the products and the consumers will be examined in detail. What products were derived from the whaling and sealing expeditions? Who were the clients of the various Dutch whaling companies? Were they also actively involved in whaling? Did they equip ships, provision crew, and invest in...

  8. Chapter 7 Profitability of Dutch Involvement in the Whaling and Sealing Industries
    (pp. 233-268)

    In 1844,Algemeen Handelsblad, one of the leading newspapers in the Netherlands, enthusiastically reviewed the prospectus compiled earlier that year by Brandligt and Marselis to generate interest in South Seas whaling. In the article, the reviewer stated that

    “The subscribers get the greatprobabilityof an equitable profit; but thecertaintyof contributing to a variety of industries that are immediately connected with the fitting out of these ships; thecertaintyof promoting the prosperity of all factories whose products could be used as means of exchange in the Indies; thecertaintyof reviving the trade in whale oil and...

  9. Appendix 1: Overview of Nineteenth-Century Arctic Whaling and Sealing Expeditions Under Dutch Ownership (1802-1884)
    (pp. 293-305)
  10. Appendix 2: Numerical Overview of Dutch Arctic Whaling and Sealing Expeditions (1802-1884)
    (pp. 306-307)
  11. Appendix 3: Crew Lists of Groenland (1815-1825)
    (pp. 308-316)
  12. Appendix 4: Crew Lists of pink Dirkje Adema (1858-1863)
    (pp. 317-322)
  13. Appendix 5: Overview of Pupils of the Nautical College in Harlingen (1842-1864)
    (pp. 323-329)
  14. Appendix 6: Careers of Whalemen Educated at the Nautical College in Harlingen (1811-1861)
    (pp. 330-334)
  15. Appendix 7: Results of Auctions of Whale and Seal Products (1831-1838) (in ƒ)
    (pp. 335-342)