The rise and fall of Dutch East India Company

The birth of Dutch East India Company

A fleet of ships, organized by the investment of merchants from Amsterdam and Rotterdam, left for East India to reach the Banda Island and Ambon Island of the Maluku Islands which was a major source of spices. Here they obtained great success in trade. The companies in the Netherlands merged to establish the United East India Company (company logo mark: V.O.C) to counter a decrease in profit of trade caused by various competitors. This company was given special authorities by the Dutch government, such as a monopoly on trade in the Far East, making alliances, using military force, minting currency and appointing a local director or an attorney general, in the area from the Cape of Good Hope to the Magellan Channel. In this way, the ships of the Dutch East India Company arrived at Dejima.

Trade on Dejima

The number of Dutch ships arriving in Japan between 1621 and 1847 for 227 years reached a total of more than 700 of ships. The arrival of Dutch ships always occurred during June and July of the lunar calendar due to the monsoon. They would leave Batavia (present day- Jakarta) for Nomozaki, sailing past Bangka Island, the Taiwan Strait and the Jyojima archipelago.

After the Dutch ship would drop anchor of the shore of Dejima, the interrogation on the Dutch ship about the departure ports and number of crew members would be carried out. Two or three days later, the Dutch officials would begin to unload the cargo that would be up for bidding.

In the early Edo period, the main import – product from the Netherlands was raw silk made in Bengal and Tonkin, while the main export – product for the Netherlands was silver. Later the middle of the Edo period, Japan imported woolen cloth, velvet, pepper, sugar and glassware. The exports were cooper, camphor, ceramics and lacquer.

 

The end of the Dutch East India Company

The frequent exchange between the Netherlands and Japan since the opening of the port of Nagasaki gradually declined in the beginning of the 18th century. One of the factors in the reduction was the regulation of the limited trade enacted by Japan. At first, the Edo Shogunate had not regulated the amount of trade. However, they reduced the trade with 3,000 kanme. Besides, only two ships per year were allowed to enter the port of Nagasaki with a limit of 700 kanme in 1790. Meanwhile, in the beginning of the 18th century, the business of Dutch East India Company was going worse and suffering heavy losses by the time of the French Revolution in 1789. In 1795, French Revolutionary troops invaded and occupied the Netherlands, resulting in the establishment of the Republic of Batavia in 1799. Dutch East India Company was forced to declare bankruptcy in1799.