Slavery Insured

07 November 2023 - 12:50

The project “Slavery Insured: A study into the Amsterdam Assurantie Compagnie 1771 and its involvement in slavery, 1771-1873” focuses on the history of one Amsterdam insurance company and its involvement in slavery. So far, the role of insurance companies in both the slave trade and the trade in slave-produced commodities has remained under-researched.

The nearly complete archive of the Assurantie Compagnie of 1771 provides an opportunity to systematically examine how the company profited from slavery. The project takes both a qualitative and quantitative approach to answer the following questions:

  1. What was the extent and weight of the company’s slavery-related practices?
  2. How was the practical organization of their involvement in slavery?
  3. What was the relationship between the slavery-related practices of the Assurantie Compagnie of 1771 and other actors in the insurance industry in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries?
  4. How did the activities of the Assurantie Compagnie and its directors affect the lives of enslaved people?
  5. What role did moral and political views play in the Assurantie Compagnie’s involvement in slavery?
  6. Are there possible intersections between slavery and other forms of colonial coerced labor during the period of abolition?

The answers to these questions will contribute both academically and socially to the knowledge of and debate about the Dutch slavery past.

The research is conducted by Eva Seuntjens (PhD candidate). Supervisors are Prof. Dr. Pepijn Brandon en Dr. Sabine Go

The project started 1 April 2023 and will be running for four years.

:A page from one of the ledgers of the Amsterdam Assurantie Compagnie of 1771, in which Dutch merchant Nicolaas Jan van Baggen takes out insurance on the lives of enslaved people.