Pieter van den Broecke

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Pieter van den Broecke, by Frans Hals (Kenwood House)

Pieter van den Broecke (25 February 1585, Antwerp - 1 December 1640, Strait of Malacca) was a Dutch cloth merchant in the service of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), and one of the first Dutchmen to taste coffee.[1] He also went to Angola three times. He was one of the first Europeans to describe societies in West and Central Africa and in detail trade strategies along the African coast.[2]

Life[edit]

His parents, Pieter van den Broecke Sr and Maiken de Morimont,[3] lived in Antwerp but had to flee to Alkmaar due to Calvinist sympathies.[clarification needed] The family lived in Hamburg for a while and left around 1597 for Amsterdam.[4] At the time the VOC began to develop, the younger Pieter joined it as a tradesman and climbed the career ladder. He became chief-tradesman and admiral.[citation needed]

In 1611 he brought in a cargo of 65,000 pounds of ivory to Amsterdam, after capturing a Portuguese ship.[5] In 1614 he visited Mocha and drank "something hot and black, a coffee".[1] He was made the VOC's manager in Dutch Suratte. He described the Ethiopian slave Malik Ambar. From 1616 the establishment there blossomed, with new minor establishments being set up in the hinterland.,[6] though in 1617 the Duyfken, under his command, was wrecked on the Surat coast.[7]

He operated in Maritime Southeast Asia beside Jan Pieterszoon Coen and was present at the battle of Jakarta in 1619. Pieter van den Broecke took over from Coen as head of the Banda Islands. The islands were held to be important to trade due to their superior cloves and nutmeg, and so the Dutch were at that time enforcing a trade monopoly on the unwilling local population through drastic measures.[8] So many inhabitants were killed on Banda that the island had to be deliberately repopulated.

Pieter van den Broecke's 1617 drawing of a dodo, sheep, and Red Rail on Mauritius

On his retirement he was honoured with a gold chain, which he wears in the portrait by his friend Frans Hals (now hanging in Kenwood House).[9] His son was a perkenier (plantation owner) on the Banda Islands. The Van der Broecke family continued to live on Banda for 13 more generations.[10]

Notes[edit]

De Geschiedenis van de VOC by Femme Gaastra, Walburg Press, 2002

Works and sources[edit]

  • Pieter van den Broecke: Korte historiael ende Journaelsche aenteyckeninghe, van al’t geen merck-waerdigh voorgevallen is, in de langhdurige Reysen, soo nae Cabo Verde, Angola [etc.] als insonderheyd van Oost-Indien, Hans Passchiers van Wesbusch, Haerlem (Haarlem) 1634
  • Pieter van den Broecke, Klaas Ratelband: Reizen naar West-Afrika van Pieter van den Broecke, 1605–1614, Nijhoff, ’s-Gravenhage 1950.
  • Pieter van den Broecke, Willem Philippus Coolhaas: Pieter van den Broecke in Azië, Nijhoff, ’s-Gravenhage 1962–1963.
  • Pieter van den Broecke: Station Azoren, Boer, Bussum 1970
  • Pieter van den Broecke, J. D. La Fleur: Pieter van den Broecke's journal of voyages to Cape Verde, Guinea and Angola (1605–1612), Hakluyt Society, London 2000.

External links[edit]

This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Dutch Wikipedia.