Dutch East India Company

  • States-General, the national governing body of the Dutch founded the Verenigde Oost Indische Compagnie (VOC) by merging a few companies. Wealthy merchants from the Netherlands later augmented the capital resource base of the company.
  • The Charter of States-General had given the company monopoly rights to trade in the East for 21 years.
  • Dutch East India Company established its first factory on the Coromandel Coast which was the principal supply point of textiles to South-East Asian markets including Indonesian Islands and Europe.
  • Dutch East India Company also carried on a substantial amount of trade within Asia.
  • Governor-General and his council at Batavia (earlier at Bantam, Indonesia) in Java regulated the entire commercial Dutch company’s empire in Asia. It was an intermediate administrative body between the Board of Directors of the Company known as Heren XVII and chief factories.
  • They captured Nagapatam near Madras from the Portuguese and made it their main stronghold in South India.

Dutch Factories

Dutch East India Company was the first northern European corporate enterprise to establish factories in India. The process was started on Coromandel coast.

  1. On Coromandel Coast
  • Petapuli & Masulipatnam: They established its first factory at Petapuli on the North Coromandel Coast in 1606. In the same year, another factory was established at Masulipatnam port in Andhra. The Head of Masulipatnam factory was to be second-in-command and was designated as president in 1621.
  • Pulicat: Dutch established a factory at Pulicat in 1610 which also became the headquarters of the Dutch directorate of Coromandel and overall control of Dutch Coromandel factories was given to Governor. Fort Geldria was constructed here in 1613.
  • Nagapattinam: Seat of Coromandel government was shifted from Pulicat to Nagapattinam in Southern Coromandel Coast in 1690.
  1. In Gujarat & Bengal
  • Military personnel were absent in VOC factories in Bengal and Gujarat. Officials were mostly assigned commercial duties.
  • Surat: A factory was established by VOC at Surat in 1618 after permission for the same was granted by the subadar, Prince Khurram (Shah Jahan).
  • Bengal: Bengal factories were organised into an independent directorate free from control of the Pulicat government in 1665. The Chief factory at Hooghly became the seat of the Dutch directorate of Bengal factories.

Salient Features

  • Private trade: Employees of European trading companies also engaged in intra-Asian trade in their private capacity. The employees of the English East India Company played the most significant role in this regard. India was at the centre of European trading activities in respect of both Euro-Asian and intra-Asian trade.
  • The Dutch were not much interested in empire building in India; their concerns were trade.

Decline of Dutch

  • The Battle of Chinsura or Battle of Biderra or Battle of Hooghly was fought on 25 November 1759 and resulted in the defeat of the Dutch


  • Rise of the number of port towns: There was a sharp rise of ports on both East & West coasts of India due to the commercial activities of European trading companies. These ports were a link between overseas trading and inland hinterland.
  • Indian merchants as agents: The French, Dutch and English companies utilised the services of Indian merchants as agents.

See also:

Portuguese in IndiaBritish East India Company
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