Using cutting-edge theory regarding trade networks and diaspora, this study challenges the historiographical argument that the Sephardim, and indeed, a variety of religio-ethnic groups, achieved their commercial success by relying on geographically dispersed family members and fellow ethnics. The book’s findings challenge the reigning understanding that commercial success stemmed from endogamous business relationships and socio-cultural insularity. The book demonstrates that the most successful Sephardic merchants of early seventeenth century Amsterdam built their fortunes not thanks to familial or diasporic connections, but through “loose ties,” economic networks comprised of non-Sephardim. Focusing on three of the most prominent Sephardic merchants in Amsterdam, and a random sampling of other Sephardi merchants, the book reveals a multi-ethnic and multi-religious trade network of non-Jewish merchants.
Jessica Vance Roitman, Ph.D. (2009) in History, Leiden University, is Rubicon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London. She was a Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. She has published on colonial and inter-cultural trade and Sephardic migration.
Table of contents
Chapter I: Inter-culturality and the Sephardim
Chapter II: Diaspora, Migration, and the Foundations of Inter-cultural Trade
Chapter III: Merchants at Work: Opportunity, Integration, and Innovation
Chapter IV: Networks in Action
Chapter V: The Importance of the Occasional
Chapter VI – The 1602 Sugar Confiscation – A Case Study in Inter-cultural Lobbying and Influence
Chapter VII: The Same but Different
Concluding remarks and avenues for further research
Appendix 1: Largest Shippers to the Mediterranean, 1590-1620
Appendix 2: Associates of Manoel Rodrigues Vega, 1597-1613
Appendix 3: Associates of Manoel Carvalho, 1602-1636
Appendix 4: Associates of Bento Osorio, 1610-1640
Appendix 5: Dutch signatories of the 1602 petition to the burgomasters of Amsterdam and their relationships with Sephardic merchants
Appendix 6: Data Analysis – Methods and Conclusions
All those interested in Early Modern economic, social, and cultural history, Sephardic (Jewish) history, diasporas, and the application of social theory to history. Historians and sociologists will be particularly interested.