Arrival of Dutch in India

Arrival of Dutch in India

After the Portuguese, the Dutch entered India. Originating from the Netherlands, their aim was to access and dominate the profitable spice markets of South-East Asia. The first Dutch person to come to India was Cornelis de Houtman in 1596 AD. Subsequently, in 1602 AD, the Dutch formed a major trading entity known as the ‘United East India Company of the Netherlands’ or ‘Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie’ (VOC), which merged various trading entities. Went.

The Dutch fought the Portuguese, successfully reducing their influence and gaining control over major spice-producing areas in India. They established trading centers in Gujarat, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The first Dutch factory in India was established at Masulipatnam in 1605 AD, followed by other factories at places like Pulicat (1610) and Surat (1616). The Dutch expanded their presence to Chinsura, Vimalpatnam, Cassim Bazar, Patna, Balasore, Nagapattinam and Cochin. Prabhay Dutch Factory located at Pipli in Bengal was established in 1627 AD.

In terms of trade, Dutch traders in India mainly traded spices, indigo, raw silk, glass, rice and opium. Interestingly, the Dutch prioritized the export of textiles over spices, making India, especially the Coromandel Coast (Bengal) and Gujarat, an important center for the export of Indian textiles.

The decline of the Dutch in India began after their defeat by the British in the Battle of Bedra (Bengal) in 1759 AD. The British won this war under the leadership of Clive. Factors that contributed to the decline of the Dutch included their weak naval power compared to the British, excessive centralization, economic difficulties, and an overemphasis on the Spice Islands.

Documents dating back to 1722 shed light on the Dutch trading system, which operated on a cartel basis with an emphasis on cooperation. Remarkably, the Dutch company maintained a record of continuously paying a dividend of 18% to its partners for almost 200 years, a remarkable achievement in the history of commerce.

To provide broader context, here are the founding years of other foreign companies in India:

• Estado de India (Portuguese Company): 1498
• Varigidae Oost Indische Company (Dutch East India Company): 1602
• British East India Company: 1600 (1599)
• Dane East India Company: 1616
• Compagnie des Indes Orientales (French company): 1664


• After the Portuguese, the Dutch came to India to dominate the spice markets.

• Cornelis de Houtman arrived in 1596; Formation of ‘United East India Company’ in 1602.

• The conflict between the Dutch and the Portuguese resulted in control of the spice regions.

• Establishment of trading posts in Gujarat, Bengal, Bihar, Orissa; First factory in Masulipatnam (1605).

• Extending to Pulicat, Surat, Chinsura, Vimalpatnam, Cassim Bazar, Patna, Balasore, Nagapattinam and Cochin.

• Establishment of Prabhay Dutch Factory in Bengal in 1627.

• Trade focused on spices, indigo, silk, glass, rice and opium; Textile export was given priority.

• The decline began after the British victory at the Battle of Bedra (1759); Factors included naval weakness, centralization, and economic difficulties.

• The Dutch trading system, with its emphasis on cooperation, maintained a consistent 18% dividend for nearly 200 years.

• In broader context: Portuguese (1498), Dutch (1602), British (1600/1599), Dane (1616), French (1664) companies in India.