Dutch East India Company

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The Dutch East India Company (VOC) was formed in 1602 by the Staten-Generaal (States General) of the then Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. The company was granted a 21-year charter with rights to trade exclusively in Asia and to buy valuable spices, such as nutmeg, mace, and cloves. Spices were in high demand in Europe to flavour food dishes and for use in medicines, and the company eventually gained a monopoly on spices.

More about: Dutch East India Company


  • 1602
    The Dutch East India Company (VOC) is granted a 21-year charter to trade in Asia and search for spices.
  • 1602
    The founding capital of the Dutch East India Company (6.4 million guilders) is raised from public share issues.
  • 1602 - 1799
    The Dutch East India Company (VOC) is in existence.
  • 1605
    The Dutch East India Company secures its first base in Ambon in the Moluccas (Spice Islands). The Dutch called the fort Kasteel Victoria.
  • 1619
    Batavia (present-day Jakarta) becomes the Dutch East India Company 's main administrative centre and warehouse. It remains the capital of the colonial Dutch East Indies until 1942.
  • 1619
    Jan Pieterszoon Coen attacks the kingdoms of Banten and Jayakarta. Jayakarta is burned to the ground and Batavia is built on the city's ruins.
  • 1621
    The Banda Massacre. Jan Pieterszoon Coen, 1,655 soldiers and 250 Japanese mercenaries land on Lontor (present-day Banda Besar). More than 10,000 Bandanas are killed and the Dutch secure a monopoly on nutmeg.
  • 1623
    The Amboyna Massacre. Ten Englishmen, nine Japanese, and a Portuguese trader are tried and executed in Amboyna (present-day Ambon). The Dutch believe there is a plot to seize their fortress and assassinate the VOC governor-general.
  • 1634
    Abel Janszoon Tasman leaves Batavia in search of gold and silver for the Dutch East India Company and a sea passage across the Pacific to Chile.
  • 1696
    Willem de Vlamingh is sent to search for two Dutch East India Company ships and is instructed to chart parts of the Western Australian coast. He and his crew become the first documented Europeans to sight the Western Australian black swan.
  • 1760
    The annual profit for the Dutch East India Company is six million guilders.
  • 1780
    The Dutch clash with the English in the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War. The British Navy destroys the Dutch fleet and severely disrupts its East Indies trading route.
  • 1799
    On December 31, 1799, the Dutch East India Company is formally dissolved by the Dutch government. The company existed for nearly 200 years.
  • 1799
    At its height, the Dutch East India Company’s stock is worth 78 million Dutch guilders (approximately USD 7.9 trillion).