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The 18th century is still the least popular among Ottoman historians. Recently, with the influential counter-narrative of Ottoman decline and the coining of a new term—the 'Second Ottoman Empire'—by Baki Tezcan, our understanding of periodization in Ottoman history has changed. It is now recognized that there was no golden age followed by centuries of decline.
In this book, Tonio Andrade tells the story of a wild and uncultivated island originally inhabited by aboriginal hunters and traders.
At the start of this century, Britons were polled about which century was the worst century of the last millennium. They alighted on the 14th century as the century when the four horsemen of the apocalypse rode most freely. The 14th century was the worst because the bubonic plague devastated the population of Eurasia.
In a seminal article on Portuguese merchants published 35 years ago (1), David Grant Smith suggested (on p. 247) that emigrants from Madeira ‘constituted a sort of gentile Diaspora’, highlighting how family ties and friendships originating on this small Portuguese Atlantic island ‘endured and formed the basis for a network of commercial relationships’.
This is a short book on what turns out to be a rather bigger subject than might have been expected from the title; not because the Dutch slave trade was so important, but because Emmer uses it as an entry to a wide range of issues concerning the Atlantic slave trade in general and its historiography.