Dutch East India Company

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East India Company, Dutch,

1602–1798, chartered by the States-General of the Netherlands to expand trade and assure close relations between the government and its colonial enterprises in Asia. The company was granted a monopoly on Dutch trade E of the Cape of Good Hope and W of the Strait of Magellan. From its headquarters at Batavia (founded 1619) the company subdued local rulers, drove the British and Portuguese from Indonesia, Malaya, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and arrogated to itself the fabulous trade of the Spice Islands. A colony, established (1652) in South Africa at the Cape of Good Hope, remained Dutch until conquered by Great Britain in 1814. The company was dissolved when it became scandalously corrupt and nearly insolvent in the late 18th cent., and its possessions became part of the Dutch colonial empire in East Asia.


See A. Hyma, The Dutch in the Far East (1942, repr. 1953); study by B. Gardner (1972).

Dutch East India Company:

see East India Company, DutchEast India Company, Dutch,
1602–1798, chartered by the States-General of the Netherlands to expand trade and assure close relations between the government and its colonial enterprises in Asia.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

East India Company, Dutch


(the United East India Company), a monopolistic trading company founded in 1602 and dissolved in 1798. It was established by the merger of several competing companies.

The wealthiest Dutch merchants were shareholders in the United East India Company, which was headed by 17 directors, including eight from Amsterdam. The company was the Dutch bourgeoisie’s chief weapon in creating the Netherlands colonial empire, which was established by means of force, extortion, and seizure of territory. From the Cape of Good Hope to the Straits of Magellan the company had a monopoly on trade and navigation, on shipping cargoes to the mother country without paying customs, on establishing trading posts and fortresses, on recruiting and maintaining an army and a fleet, on conducting court proceedings, and on concluding international treaties. In 1609 the company’s administration was established. From 1619 the company had a permanent headquarters in Batavia on the island of Java. The city became the capital of Dutch colonial possessions in Southeast Asia.

Using its commercial and military might, the United East India Company expelled the Portuguese from the Moluccas and established trading posts in many places, including the coasts of India and Ceylon. The company exterminated the local population, put down revolts by the natives, and piratically destroyed new crops of spices in order to maintain high, monopolistic prices on colonial goods. By means of these policies the company secured the payment of enormous dividends (an average of 18 percent, and in some years, even more) to its shareholders in the mid-17th century, the period when the company flourished.

The United East India Company had considerable influence over the Dutch Republic’s policies and the machinery of state. The company’s power began to decline at the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th, a time marked by the general economic decline of the Dutch Republic as well as by competition from the British East India Company and other trading companies. In 1798 the United East India Company was dissolved, and all of its property and assets were taken over by the state. The company’s privileges expired on Dec. 31, 1799.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Igel, The Dutch East India Company, in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BUSINESS IN TODAY'S WORLD, 539, 540 (Charles Wankel ed., 2009).
He served as a director of the Rotterdam Chamber of the Dutch East India Company (Veerenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC), and immediately before and after his voyage to Asia (1605-08) also on the central board of directors known as the Gentlemen Seventeen.
During one of his visits to the eastern headquarters of the Dutch East India Company he was shown a map displaying the results of the two voyages of Tasman and was apparently given permission to copy it.
The first New World exploration was not by the Dutch East India Company, but Queen Isabella handing Columbus a satchel of flags and saying, 'Go plant them wherever you can.' Then private enterprise comes in.
But his financial difficulties didn't end there; the troubled artist ran up debts at the Bols distillery owned by neighbour Lucas Bols, a major shareholder in the Dutch East India Company.
East Indies: The 200 Year Struggle Between the Portuguese Crown, the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company for Supremacy in the Eastern Seas
In a bid to escape religious persecution in Catholic France between 1688 and the early 1700s, about 200 Huguenots (out of an estimated quarter of a million who fled the country) accepted an offer of safe passage to the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch East India Company.
Just to give you a bit of historic background, Jan van Riebeeck, a Dutch merchant, was appointed by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) in 1652 to establish a way-station in Cape Town for the trade route between the Netherlands and the East Indies.
According to the report, Isenberg too found four coins originating from the Dutch East India Company with one dating back to 1690, when some early Dutch seafarers stepped on Australian shores much before Cook.
The Dutch East India Company (VOC) faced a fundamental problem in its first few years of the East Asian trade: the company had no reliable access to Chinese luxury goods with which to exchange for Japan's abundant precious metals.
(1) From 1639 to the 1850s, employees of the Dutch East India Company were the only Westerners allowed to enter Japan.