The legal framework of slavery in the Dutch Republic and its colonies

Activity: Talk or presentation typesTalk or presentation (not at a conference)Academic


The modern legal definitions of slavery are written from a criminal law point of view, it is forbidden to be involved in trafficking in human beings and the law criminalizes several types of human exploitation. The 2012 ‘Bellagio–Harvard Guidelines on the Legal Parameters of Slavery’ give guidelines where to search for legal institutions connected to the right of ownership. These parameters can be used as a questionnaire for a legal historical research on slavery. In the Dutch Republic, Roman law was next to contemporary legislation applied in all its territories, but in a rather selective manner. Which parts of the law where applied, and why were other parts excluded?

The sale, barter, or right to reclaim property are all private law concepts which were applicable to enslaved people in Holland and its colonies in the period 1600 to 1863. What was the private law applicable to enslaved inhabitants of the Dutch Republic, the WIC territories in Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire, as well those living in the territories of the “Societeit van Suriname” and the VOC territory in De Kaap?
Period19 Jul 2023
Event titleSummerschool Pázmány Péter Katolikus Egyetem
Event typeSeminar
LocationBudapest, HungaryShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational