Amidst the WIC’s bankruptcy and the loss of Northern Brazil to Portugal, the Dutch found themselves on the arid island of Curacao with 100,000 slaves and minimal opportunities. But the Dutch are known for their ingenuity and they quickly rebounded from their losses even while her corporate was itself a sinking ship. Part of their initial success revolves around them settling in Curacao before 1642. The WIC realized how invaluable a slave trade depot would be if Northern Brazil would ever fall back into the hands of the Portuguese. Once Curacao was established, the Dutch knew they could continue transporting slaves to the Caribbean and then sell them to the highest bidder. Initially the highest bidder was the Spanish because, unlike the Portuguese, they paid the WIC in cash. However, it took some time to convince the Spanish to consider asiento contracts with them.
With the end of the Eighty Years War in 1648, Portugal had previously revolted against Spain in 1640. Portugal, as Postma explains, “had monopolized the slave trade to the Spanish colonies because they were the only Europeans who had African trading bases that could obtain large numbers of slaves.” As mentioned, the Treaty of Tordesillas prevented Spain from entering into Africa herself. Therefore, the Spanish had to find alternative means to acquiring their needed labor force. At first the Spanish acquired their African slaves by way of illicit trade because they felt that the Dutch and English were