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Capitalism and Cartography in the Dutch Golden Age$
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Elizabeth A. Sutton

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226254784

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226254814.001.0001

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Profit and Possession in Brazil

Profit and Possession in Brazil

(p.73) Four Profit and Possession in Brazil
Capitalism and Cartography in the Dutch Golden Age

Elizabeth A. Sutton

University of Chicago Press

The WIC’s short-lived control of Brazil is explored through the examination of printed maps. The maps of Brazil published by Visscher and Joan Blaeu present a synthesis of Dutch military, commercial, and colonial success for the WIC. Visual cues evinced legal possession and economic stability. They defined cities and open land available for cultivation, waterways for transport, defense, and power, and stands of brazilwood and fields of sugar cane being made into commodities by the tools of human industry. These prints corroborated Dutch claims to the land and its resources by visually engaging with Grotius’s theory of possession. The maps and associated views emphasized ownership by depicting land as being controlled by the technologies employed for government and commerce.

Keywords:   Brazil, Pernambuco, Paraiba, WIC, West India Company, Claes Jansz Visscher, Blaeu, Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, Caspar Barlaeus, Hugo Grotius

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