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Hanseatic Merchants and the Procurement of Palm Oil and Rubber for Wilhelmine Germany’s New Industries, 1850–1918

  • Samuel Eleazar Wendt (a1)

Abstract

This article analyses the reorientation of Hanseatic merchants’ involvement in world trade during the second half of the nineteenth and first decades of the twentieth centuries. This shift was influenced by the independence of former British and Iberian colonies in the Americas, which caused the implosion of colonial trade monopolies. The abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and the Scramble for Africa also allowed German commerce to obtain more direct access to markets in and raw materials from tropical regions. An examination of the commodity chains of rubber and palm oil/kernels reveals the great influence of Hanseatic merchant families (e.g. O’Swald, Schramm or Woermann) on determining and shaping the terms by which African and South American regions became incorporated into the emerging world economy.

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