The Dutch East India Company was another European power that came to India after the Portuguese. Their main aim is to establish a commercial relationship with South East Asia. Therefore, the Government of Netherlands had merged about eight private trading companies into one and founded the Dutch East India Company in 1602 with a commercial aim.

In the beginning, they focussed more on South East Asia to secure a monopoly over Spice markets mainly in Java and the Spice Islands. In 1605, the Dutch company captured Amboyna in Java from the Portuguese. Gradually they establish their influence in the Spice Islands.

Also, they conquered Jacatra, they found Batavia and blocked Goa. They even captured Malacca and the Portuguese settlement in Ceylon in 1658.

These adventures gave them a foothold in Java and controlled an economic center in Archipelago. Later, they advanced to Sumatra, Java and the Malacca for pepper and spices trading.

As days passed by, the growing commercial interest of the Dutch company drew them to India. They settled in Surat and founded factories in Gujarat on the Coromandel Coast in Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa to capture the cotton markets.

They set up important factories in Masulipatam, Pulicat, Surat, Bimlipatam Karikal, Chinsura, Cassimbazar, Barangore, Patna, Balasore, Nagapatam and Cochin. Also, they remove the Portuguese in the East. Thereafter, they practically maintain a monopoly of the spice trade in South East Asia throughout the 17th century.

They exported large quantities of cotton indigo from Central India and Jamuna valley; and, raw silk, textiles, saltpeter, rice and Gangetic Opium to other western countries. Thus, they became the carriers of trade between India and the Far East. Nagapattinam became the chief seat of their trade in the year 1690, in place of Pulicat on the Coromandel Coast.

The Dutch rivalry with the English in India like in Europe during the 17th century was bitter than that of the Portuguese. The naval supremacy of the Dutch and the Twenty-one Truce between Spain and Holland (1609-1630) encouraged the Dutch to oppose the English trading activities in the East Indies.

During these periods, the Dutch activities were mostly confined to Java and Archipelago. However, the years, 1630-1658 saw an expansion of the Dutch on the Coromandel Coast and extension of trade in other regions. They often obstructed communications between Surat and the new British settlements in Bombay during 1672-74. They captured three British vessels in the Bay of Bengal.

However, from the middle of the 19th century, the Dutch began to face the growing power of the English and the French. They were never concentrated in the mainland of India. So, they did not maintain a strong force. As a result, in 1759 they suffered defeat at the hands of the English in Bengal. Also, they lost Nagapatam in 1780. Thereafter, they were forced to acknowledge the British in Archipelago. Since then, their power ceased to exercise any power in India.


Thus, from the above, we can say that there are various reasons for the rise and fall of the Dutch East India Company in India. The capture of Amboyna in Java from the Portuguese and the support from the government were the main reasons they could rise in India. On the other hand, the supremacy of other European countries like the English and the French was the main reason for the fall of Dutch in India.

Source: B.Sm. Sarma & B.R. Sharma

History of Modern India, Book

Note: There are some changes in the Length and Text of the Article.

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