This month a start is made with conserving and digitizing part of the archive of the Second or New West India Company (NWIC). The project is financed by the Metamorfoze program. The collection will be available on www.gahetna.nl as soon as digitization is finalized. The archive of the Old West India Company (1621-1674) is already on line.
Selection from a large NWIC archive
The Mutual Cultural Heritage Program of the Nationaal Archief and prof. dr. Henk den Heijer (Maritime History at Leiden University and WIC specialist) selected more than 7 meters of NWIC archives for conservation and digitization. The selection contains series of incoming letters for the meetings of the ‘Heren X’ (Lords Ten, directors of the NWIC) from Ghana (Gold Coast), Guyana, Curaçao, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten and Saba, and also from Suriname to the Chamber ‘Zeeland’.
West India colonies documented
The selected series contain letters and attachments written by the highest in rank of the colony; usually a Director-General or a commander. The general letters hold information on (illegal) trade, local politics, international relations, competition, ships, personnel and finances. The documents were given to vessels sailing to the Netherlands for the ‘meeting of Ten’ (Heren X).
First step: conservation
In order to preserve the selected documents, these coming months the material will be conserved. Only then the archive is ready for digitization. This will roughly take another 6 weeks. The scans will be available Autumn 2012 on www.gahetna.nl.
Scans First or Old WIC archive