Selling a Massacre

One of the main reasons why the Amboyna Conspiracy Trial has remained so controversial for so long was because it became the subject of a ferocious and sustained campaign of propaganda that was designed to influence public opinion on both sides of the Channel. English and Dutch writers competed to produce ever more inflammatory pamphlets that sought to damn their rivals as ruthless traitors intent on spilling innocent blood or immoral tyrants who had engaged in what was effectively judicial murder. These pamphlets turned the Amboyna Conspiracy Trial into a source of national outrage as well as topic of intense public interest and discussion in both England and the Dutch Republic.

Documents & Topics

The Amboyna Men
The six English survivors of the case would go on to become instant celebrities when they arrived back in England in June 1624. Their testimony, which condemned the Dutch as brutal tyrants, would become a key exhibit for English propagandists seeking to attack the VOC.
First Salvos
It was clear to both sides that the Amboyna trial would become instantly controversial but it was the Dutch who would move first by printing their version of events in a widely circulated pamphlet.
Warring Pamphlets
The Amboyna conspiracy trial generated a ferocious war of words. The chosen weapon for this war was a series of pamphlets in which the two sides charged the other with villainy and betrayal.
The Long Controversy
The controversy over Amboyna did not die away after 1623. Rather it continued for decades after the original incident, providing the backdrop for a sharp deterioration in Anglo-Dutch relations.