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THE DUTCH – Before coming of East India Company

THE DUTCH – Before coming of East India Company

  • The Dutch were facing problems in countering the hegemony of the Portuguese and therefore they formed a chartered Dutch East India Company (the acronym VOC in Dutch) in 1602. It is often considered to be the first Multinational Company in the world.
  • It also issued stocks and paid 18% dividend for almost 200 years. This Company was issued a 21 year charter by the Dutch parliament empowering it to make war, conclude treaties, acquire territories, coin money and build fortresses.
  • It was also possibly the first mega-corporation with quasi-governmental powers. This Charter formed more or less a common template for other Nation’s trading companies like French, English etc.                                    THE DUTCH – Before coming of East India Company
  • They had to be given powers to establish and protect their possessions which formed the base on which Asia, America and Africa were colonised.
  • The main attraction in Asia was spice trade which was carried out with Spice Islands of Indonesia such as Java, Sumatra etc known as East Indies, hence the name East India Company.
  • Thus, a struggle to gain foothold in these Islands led to the Dutch driving out the Portuguese from the Malay Straits and the Indonesian Islands.
  • They not only drove off the Portuguese but also successfully defeated English attempts in 1623 to establish themselves there. In 1619, they made the port city of Jayakarta, their capital and changed its name to Batavia which was later named Jakarta – the capital city of Republic of Indonesia.
  • The Dutch also spread their influence north of the Indonesian Islands up to India.

Their trading depots were established in –

  • Western India – Surat, Broach, Ahmedabad and Cambay.
  • Southern India – Cochin, Nagapattinam in Madras
  • Eastern India – Masulipatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Chinsura in Bengal, Patna
  • Northern India – Agra
  • They also wrested Sri Lanka from the Portuguese in 1658. However, the Company was dissolved after it went bankrupt in 1800 due to heavy corruption.
  • All of its assets and debts were transferred to government of the Dutch Batavian Republic.


Modern History

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