Evolution of the Dutch Empire

Evolution of the Dutch Empire

This is a list of the various territories and trading factories that have been under the political control of the Netherlands, or of the Dutch East and West India Companies. Collectively, these territories are traditionally referred to as the Dutch Empire.


Dutch East India Company and the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia)

:"See also Dutch East India Company and Dutch East Indies."In 1605, Portuguese trading posts in the Spice Islands of Maluku, Indonesia fell to the superior firepower of the Dutch. In 1619 a fortified base was established in Batavia (now Jakarta), and became the headquarters of the Dutch East Indies Company. Following the company's bankruptcy in 1800, Indonesian territory under its administration was nationalised as the Dutch East Indies. By the early twentieth the Netherlands had under its administration all the territory that now forms Indonesia. Indonesian independence was declared on 17 August 1945, and officially recognised by the Netherlands in December 1949 following the Indonesian National Revolution. Dutch New Guinea however, remained Dutch, until 1962, when it was transferred to Indonesia following United States pressure.

Dutch Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

The Dutch first landed in Ceylon in 1602, it was then under Portuguese control. Between 1636 and 1658 they managed to oust the Portuguese, initially at the invitation of local rulers. The Portuguese had ruled the coastline, though not the interior, of the island from 1505 to 1658. Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims had all suffered religious persecution under Portuguese rule; the Dutch were more interested in trade than in religious converts. The VOC proved unable to extend its control into the interior and only controlled coastal provinces. Ceylon remained a major Dutch trading post throughout the VOC period. Ceylon's importance came from it being a half-way point between their settlements in Indonesia and South Africa. The island itself was a source of cinnamon and elephants, which were sold to Indian princes. In 1796 the British seized control of the Dutch positions, at the urging of the ruler of Kandy. It was formally ceded in the treaty of Amiens.

Formosa (Taiwan)

The Dutch maintained a base, Fort Zeelandia, on Taiwan from 1624 until 1662, when they were driven away by Koxinga. The island itself was a source of cane sugar and deerskin. It was also a place where Dutch VOC merchants could trade with Chinese merchants from the mainland. Here they could buy the silk needed for the Japanese market.


The Dutch captured Malacca on the west coast of Malaya (now West Malaysia) in 1641 from the Portuguese. In accordance with a treaty signed with stadtholder William V of Orange (then in exile in the United Kingdom) it was turned over to the British in 1806, during the Napoleonic wars. It was returned to the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1816. It was then ceded to the British in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824.

New Holland

The part of Australia now known as Western Australia was recognised as in the Netherlands sphere of control and known as New Holland. No formal claim was ever made through an attempt to settle the region, although much of the North West coast has Dutch names. There are many Dutch shipwrecks littered all along the coast, (such as the "Batavia") that were wrecked on their way to the East Indies. By the time the British arrived they noticed that there were small pockets of the indigenous population with blonde hair and blue eyes. See the History of Western Australia for more information. Abel Tasman also planted the Dutch flag and claimed possession of Van Diemen's Land when he arrived there on 3 December 1642, but there was no attempt to settle it or even make a return voyage to it.


Band-e Kong(1690)*

Bandar-e Abbas(1623-1758)* The VOC founded an office in Gamron in 1623. Here the VOC purchased wool and attar of roses and above all silk. Besides spices and cotton fabrics, the VOC also sold porcelain, opium and Japanese lacquer work. Gamron had a garrison comprising around 20 European employees and 20 Persian staff. In 1729 the Dutch attempted, without success, to move their factory from Bandar-e Abbas to the island of Hormuz. In 1758 the company decided to close the station at Bandar-e Abbas.


Esfahan(1623-1747)* In 1623 Huybert Visnich established a trading station in Isfahan and concluded a commercial treaty with the Shah. Esfahan, was the capital of the kingdom of Persia. The VOC bought silk from the shah in exchange for spices and military protection. The VOC was obliged to maintain its office in Ispahan due to the endless negotiations with the shah about trading concessions. In 1722 Ispahan was conquered by the Afghans, during this time the Dutch, were kept virtual prisoners in their factory. In 1727 the factory had to be abandoned because the inner city was to be reserved for Afghans only. The Dutch staff moved to Jolfa. In 1747 the VOC office was closed


A Dutch trading station was opened at Kerman in 1659, it remained in operation, with interruptions, until 1744. The town of Kerman was know for its wool trade.

Khark(1753-1766)Khark is an island in the north of the Persian Gulf near Basra. In Khark the Baron Tido von Kniphausen, formerly V.O.C. agent in Bassora, built a fort (Fort Mosselstein) in 1753 were Javanese sugar and Indian textiles were offered for sale. In 1766 the Dutch fort was plundered by the Persian army.





Al Basrah(1645-1646, 1651)*


The Dutch held the city of Sindi(now Thatta)from 1652-1660. [ [http://www.colonialvoyage.com/ COLONIALVOYAGE. DUTCH PORTUGUESE COLONIAL HISTORY. Portugese en Nederlandse Koloniale Geschiedenis. Historia Colonial de Portugal e Holanda. Indonesia, Brazil, Formosa, South Africa, Timor, Malacca, Ceylon, Sri Lanka, Burghers, India, Ghana, New York... ] ]


On 22 August 1620, the Dutch ship "'T Wapen van Zeelandt" reached Aden, here the Dutch immediately rent a house. When the ship left Aden, five servants and a supply of goods (worth about 42.000 guilders) were left in the trading post under the charge of the "chief" Harman van Gil. Van Gil went to Sana'a where Muhammad Basha granted to the Dutch the permission to build a trading office in Mocha. In November/December 1620 Van Gil transferred the Company's goods to Mocha and closed the trading office in Aden.

Al Mukha(1621-1623, 1639-1739)*Van Gil arrived in Mocha on 28 January 1621 and there he founded the Dutch trading office. Harman van Gil died in July 1621, Willem Jacobsz. de Milde was appointed "chief" of the trading office. It seems that the trading office was closed in April 1623 due to problems with the Yemenite governors. It was reopened in 1639-1739.

Ash Shihr(1614-1616)*















Nakon Si Thammarat*






Kuala Kedah*

Kuala Linggi

Kuala Selangor

Tanjung Putus*

Ilha das Naus

Kota Belanda(1670-1743,1745-1748)
The origins of the fort can be traced back to 1670, with the coming of the Dutch. It is located in the village of Teluk Gedung , a fishing village in Pangkor island. At this time, the Dutch had a monopoly on the export of tin in Perak. An earlier fort was built in 1651 but was destroyed. In 1670, Batavia ordered the construction of a wooden fort, ten years later it was replaced by a brick one. In 1690, the Malays under the leadership of Panglima Kulup, attacked, destroyed and killed several Dutchmen. The settlement was temporarily abandoned until 1743, when the Dutch returned and repaired it. The Dutch stationed 60 soldiers , inclusive of 30 Europeans.

In 1748, the Dutch built another fort near the Perak river. Following this the Dutch administrators ordered to abandon this fort. Originally the fort was used as a store for tin ,and now it is called " Kota Belanda". In 1973, the Museums Department rebuilt the fort but without a roof as they did not know the original plans. The fort measures 3.5 sq meters and 6.7 meters high.


Phnom Penh*

The town of Lawec in Cambodia was situated halfway along the Mekong River on the way to Phnom Penh. The VOC set up a trading post at Lauweck in 1620, but the trade there proved disappointing, and just two years later the company shut the post down. The Lawec trading post was reopened on three further occasions, but in 1667 the VOC left Cambodia for good. Besides deer hides and ray skins, Cambodia functioned mainly as a source of provisions for Batavia such as rice, butter, salted pork, and lard.


Towards the end of the 1630s, the Company signed an agreement with the king of Tonkin and opened a trading post in or near today's Hanoi. The country was a major silk producer. The silk which the VOC bought there was particularly valuable for trade with Japan. The VOC maintained a trading post in Tonkin from 1636 to 1699. This trading post was run by an 'opperhoofd' or supervisor.

Hoi An*


After the loss of Taiwan in 1662, the VOC tried to acced to the Chinese porcelain and silk trade at the port of Fuzhou. However, the Company's attempts to trade there were hampered by a string of bureaucratic restrictions. Although the trading post at Fuzhou barely made a profit, the VOC kept it on until 1681.

Huangpu(1728)Whampoa, an island situated in the Zhujiang river, served as the harbour of Canton. A Dutch warehouse was built here.

Guangzhou, Kanton(1749-1803)*
Tea and porcelain were the principal products purchased by the VOC in Canton. In the 18th century the VOC rented permanent premises in Canton, next to the building occupied by the British.


Firando (1609-1641)*

Initially the Dutch maintained a trading post at Hirado, from 1609–41. Later, the Japanese granted the Dutch a trade monopoly on Japan, but solely on Deshima, an artificial island off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan, from 1641 to 1853. During this period they were the only Europeans allowed into Japan. Chinese and Korean traders were still welcome, though restricted in their movements.

outh Africa

In 1652 the Dutch East India Company established a refuelling station at the Cape of Good Hope, situated half-way between the Dutch East Indies and the Dutch West Indies. Great Britain seized the colony in 1797 during the wars of the First Coalition (in which the Netherlands were allied with revolutionary France), and annexed it in 1805. The Dutch colonists in South Africa remained after the British took over and later made the trek across the country to Natal. They were subjected in the Boer Wars and are now known as Boers.

The Americas

New Netherland

New Netherland comprised the areas of the north east Atlantic seaboard of the present-day United States that were visited by Dutch explorers and later settled and taken over by the Dutch West India Company. The settlements were initially located on the Hudson River: Fort Nassau (1614–7) in present-day Albany (later resettled as Fort Orange in 1624), and New Amsterdam, founded in 1625 on Manhattan Island. New Netherland reached its maximum size after the Dutch absorbed the Swedish settlement of Fort Christina in 1655, thereby ending the North American colony of New Sweden.

New Netherland itself formally ended in 1674 after the Third Anglo-Dutch War: Dutch settlements passed to the English crown and New Amsterdam was renamed New York.

The treaty forged by the Dutch and English may, in a nutshell, be regarded as a cessation of hostilities and that each party would hold onto any lands held or conquered at the time of the Treaty of Breda ending the previous Second Anglo-Dutch War. There was no exchange of lands. Hence, the English held onto what had been an easily-conquered New Amsterdam of Peter Stuyvesant (including Manhattan Island and the Hudson River Valley), and the Dutch spoils included what is now Dutch Guiana or Suriname in South America as well as a small island in the East Indies (the Spice Islands) that was the home of the most valuable spice (if not substance) in the world: nutmeg. At the time nutmeg was much more valuable than gold. This island was the only place in the world where the nutmeg tree was found. At the time the Dutch were very pleased with getting the nutmeg isle and did not regret the loss of New Amsterdam.

Dutch West Indies

The colonization of the Dutch West Indies, an island group at the time claimed by Spain, began in 1620 with the taking of St. Maarten, and remains a Dutch overseas territory to this day, as part of the Netherlands Antilles. Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are organized as two self-governing units whose legal relationship to the Kingdom of the Netherlands is controlled by the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


Captured by the Dutch from the English during the Second Anglo-Dutch War, Suriname and its valuable sugar plantations formally passed into Dutch hands in return for New Netherland with the signing of the Treaty of Westminster in 1674. It remained an overseas Dutch territory until independence was granted in 1975.


In the 16th century European settlers first arrived in this area of north South America, the Netherlands being the fastest to claim the land. Around 1600 was the first trade route established by the Dutch. Eventually the Netherlands planted three colonies to further mark the territory under the Netherlands rule; Essequibo (1616), Berbice (1627), and Demerara (1752). The British occupied Guyana in the late 18th century. The Netherlands ceded Guyana to the United Kingdom in (1814).


In 1624 The Dutch captured and held for a year Salvador, the capital of the Portuguese settlements in Brazil.

From 1630 to 1654, the Dutch West Indies Company controlled a long stretch of the coast from Sergipe to Maranhão, which they renamed New Holland, before being ousted by the Portuguese. A major character from the war was a mestizo named Calabar, who changed sides and changed the course of the fighting in favor of the Dutch, for a while. He was captured and executed by the Portuguese.

Virgin Islands

First settled by the Dutch in 1648, but annexed by England in 1672, later to be renamed the British Virgin Islands.


'Nieuw-Walcheren' (1628–77), nowadays part of Trinidad and Tobago


Santa Marta(1630)*


Chiloé Archipelago*

West Africa


The Netherlands were granted control of the Southern Netherlands after the Congress of Vienna. The southern Netherlands declared independence in 1830 (the Belgian Revolution), and its independence was recognized by the Netherlands in 1839, giving birth to Belgium. As part of the Congress of Vienna, King William I of the Netherlands was made Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and the two countries united into a personal union. The independence of Luxembourg was ratified in 1869. When William III of the Netherlands died in 1890, leaving no male successor, the Grand Duchy was given to another branch of the House of Nassau.


*An asterisk(*)designates Trading Post

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