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The Dutch in India

The Dutch came to India in search of direct access to the spice markets in South-east Asia and formed the Dutch East India Company in 1602. They captured Amboyna from the Portuguese in 1605, and conquered Jakarta in 1619 and Malacca in 1641. They obtained control of Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka) where the Portuguese had settlements. A number of important settlements were gradually established in India as well. Later, they limited their trade to Malay Archipelago, while the English focused their attention on India.

It was commercial interest that drew the Dutch to India. They established factories in Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and in Malabar and the Coromandel coast. The Dutch overthrew the Portugese and became the masters of the east and west coast of India. They maintained the monopoly of spice trade during the 17th century and also became the carriers of trade between India and the Far East. Machilipatnam , Pulicat, Surat, Bheemunipatnam, Karaikal, Chinsurah, Nagapattinam and Kochi where the important Dutch centers in India.

In 1650 the Dutch East India Company had unfortified factories at Kayamkulam, Kollam and Cannanore (Kannur). Kochi was the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company in Malabar. The Dutch ruled Malabar for over a period of 130 years, and forced the rulers of Malabar to agree to monopolistic contracts for the trade of pepper and cinnamon.

The arrival of the British and the joining of hands between the Portugese and the British saw the downfall of the Dutch settlement in India. The Dutch were confined to small pockets in the east coast by the middle of 18th century.

Updated on 15th November, 2005

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