Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


History (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Mary Lindemann

Second Committee Member

Hugh Thomas

Third Committee Member

Ashli White

Fourth Committee Member

Frank Palmeri


In the seventeenth-century western Mediterranean, the conflict between the Dutch Republic and North African principalities over the issues of corsairing and the capture of Christians created a type of diplomacy that significantly deviates from our traditional understanding of how early modern diplomacy evolved, namely as an exchange of resident ambassadors between European states. As a study in the New Diplomatic History, this dissertation emphasizes the significance of cultural practices and political interests between Europe and other parts of the world. Over the course of the seventeenth century, North African society greatly influenced the rhythms and patterns of the evolving diplomatic relations, practices, and policies in the western Mediterranean in four particular ways. First, Europe and the Maghreb employed a mixed group of negotiators to conduct their affairs and did not exchange resident ambassadors as sovereigns in Europe usually did. Dutch consuls, whose role as merchant-consuls transformed into that of state-representatives, became the pre-eminent diplomats conducting the Republic’s affairs in North Africa. Second, Dutch and North African negotiators sought to combine commercial and political interests rather than follow the grand political agendas that governments in Europe often developed and pursued. Third, because the Dutch and North Africans did not exchange plenipotentiary resident ambassadors, Dutch consuls stationed in the Maghreb were forced to adjust to North African customary practices, especially those of ransoming captives and lavish gift-giving. Finally, these adjustments to North African negotiating practices, especially the giving of gifts that eventually became a form of paying tribute, demonstrate how early modern diplomacy in the western Mediterranean did not evolve in a linear manner. Thus, by examining Dutch-North African relations in the seventeenth century, this study raises new questions about the origins and the development of early modern diplomacy and invites us to rethink the position of European states in global power relations.


diplomacy; barbary; North Africa; Dutch Republic; corsair; captive