Ship drawing sheds new light on Amsterdam’s role in slave trade

Print of the Beeckestijn, now identified as a slave ship, forms part of Amsterdammers and Slavery exhibition

The only known contemporaneous drawing of a Dutch West India Company slave ship from the early 1700s in which more than 1,000 people died has been identified and is being exhibited as part of a wider attempt by the city of Amsterdam to reckon with its past.

The Beeckestijn transported about 4,600 slaves from the African west coast to the Dutch colonies of Suriname and St Eustatius over seven voyages to South America and the Caribbean between 1722 and 1736. At least 1,000 slaves died on board.

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