From trade to immigration: Dutch shipping to East India

The center of the painting is the goddess “Amsterdam”

The wheel of history rolled into the 17th century, and the Netherlands replaced Portugal with a new “big belly” Froth sailboat.

During this period, the Netherlands accumulated a lot of wealth through the unmatched East India trade. A famous painting at that time recorded this “Golden Age”: the center of the painting, sitting on the “Amsterdam”, the goddess of all eyes, with its right hand on the model of the earth; everyone surrounded her, and the contents of the land may be They are all cargo from East India.

From the beginning of the 17th century, the Netherlands only took 20 years to complete the dream that Portugal had not completed in the last century: almost monopolizing the spice trade. Among the most valuable spices, such as cloves, nutmeg and dried nutmeg, are found in the Maluku Islands in eastern Indonesia (also known as the “spice islands”). But there, no one sang the golden age of the Netherlands, because of the wealth of the Netherlands, soaking their blood.

On the southern part of the Spice Islands, on the island of Banda, there is a collection of oil paintings depicting “Imperial and Predatory, Aboriginal and Blood”: the center of the painting, a long-sworded man ready to slash the strong man who was tied to the battlefield in front of him. There are a number of skulls on the ground, and the same attire behind them is waving a sword. On the right hand side of the screen, two women with headscarves cry for mercy; a Westerner with a arquebus on the left hand side should be the commander of the killing; at the distance, the vessel symbolizing trade is sailing at sea, and five The skull that is inserted on the long column is on the same line of sight.

However, the Dutch journey to East India is not as black and white as the two oil paintings.

“Salted fish turned over” in the Netherlands
Before the 17th century, the Netherlands was only an area ruled by Spain, or even the name of a province (“the Dutch province”). Why did it rise at the end of the 16th century, not only won the war of independence, but also copied the territory of the former maritime empire of Portugal and replaced it?

In the Netherlands, known as the “lowland countries”, half of the country’s land is below 1 m above sea level, and even 1/3 is below sea level. Such low-humidity areas are not suitable for the development of agriculture, driving many early Dutch people to fishery or shipping. During the global “Little Ice Age” from 1550 to 1700, due to the freezing of the Norwegian coast, a large number of squid swam southward to the Dutch waters, benefiting the Dutch carp industry.

As early as the 14th century, the Dutch explored the technique of pickling squid: using a knife to remove the head and tail, cutting the fish belly, taking out the internal organs, and salting the fish body for a period of one year. This seemingly inconspicuous technology has allowed the Netherlands to export its squid products, accumulating huge wealth in the 16th century, and having enough capital to invest in oceans in the early 17th century.

However, the Dutch before the end of the 16th century may not be very interested in voyages because they can obtain the salt needed for pickled squid from the Iberian Peninsula, purchase East Indian spices with high market demand, and then transport them to the Baltic coast for sale. At the same time, the Netherlands also sells its own textiles and cereals and timber from the north to the south. For the Dutch at the time, since there is still money to make, there is no need to risk leaving Europe.

Trade in the Asian waters did not follow the peace declaration of the “17-year-old gentleman.”

But history does not allow the Dutch to swim in Europe for too long.

Influenced by the reforms of the early 16th century, many Dutch people converted to Protestantism but lived under the threat of the Catholic regime because they were ruled by the Habsburg dynasty in Spain. The long-standing contradiction between religions, coupled with Spain’s attempt to send troops to suppress Protestants, sparked an 80-year Dutch war of independence. In 1579, the Netherlands joined the Utrecht League against Spain and was considered the beginning of modern Holland.

Two years later, Spain’s Philip II succeeded the Portuguese throne, and since then the conflict between the Netherlands and Spain has extended to the entire Iberian Peninsula. The impact of the war, not only the interruption of trade between the Netherlands and the West and Portugal, caused the Dutch ships to lose their right to dock on the Iberian Peninsula. More importantly, after Spain took Antwerp (now Belgium) in 1585, it actually let the city Protestants left unharmed—a rare tolerance decision that allowed a large number of Protestant merchants from the “trade hub” Antwerp to come to Amsterdam, making the latter one of the largest cities in Europe at the time.

Oil paintings depicting “empire and plunder, aborigines and blood”

The Netherlands established the “Dutch West India Company” in 1621 and established a stronghold on both sides of the South Atlantic.


As a result, the Netherlands, which has an excellent maritime culture and is growing by the economy of the squid, has grown its ambition to sail to the East because savvy businessmen have sniffed business opportunities from spices. In 1595, a fleet of four ships bypassed the Iberian Peninsula and traveled to East India. After returning, although the profits were not rich, it opened the prelude to the golden age of the Netherlands.

Merchant-first colonial empire
In 1601, the Netherlands established six ocean trading companies and sent 14 batches of ships to the east. Because the ocean voyage relied on the monsoon, these fleets arrived at their destinations almost at the same time, and in the same days they dumped the goods into the Dutch market. The result of high competition was obvious: profits fell.

In 1602, the Dutch government through the Congress, the six companies jointly established the “Dutch East India Company” (VOC) – the world’s first “stock company.” The Dutch East India Company has set up six branches in Amsterdam, Fort Dee, Hoorn, Enke Watson, Dave and Rotterdam, and representatives from various branches form the “17-year-old”, the Secretariat Located in The Hague. The Dutch East India Company obtained a charter from the Dutch government, monopolizing trade with East India.

In addition, the Dutch East India Company has appointed a Governor in Asia with a very high authority. One of the governors once said: “The gentlemen of the motherland are there to make the decisions they think are the best, but we are here to judge based on our own conscience.”

This state-promoted company is not only politically and militarily supported by the Dutch government, but even of a “quasi-national” nature: it is allowed to appoint the governor in the name of Congress, recruit troops, build bastions, and also with local rule. The parties concluded the treaty. The Dutch East India Company’s ship-building, coupled with the state’s backing, allows the Dutch fleet to quickly replace Portugal’s position in the Asian waters.

In the next two hundred years, no country in the number of ships dispatched to Asia can compete with the Netherlands. From 1600 to 1609, the number of ships going to East India in the Netherlands reached 76, surpassing the 71 ships in Portugal. From 1602 to 1794, the Dutch East India Company sailed to the East for 4,721 times, while the maritime trade was second in the United Kingdom. 2,676 times, even with the rising star of France, 1455 times, can not exceed the Dutch East India Company.

After all, the Dutch East India Company is a company. Colonization is not its original purpose. Most Dutch businessmen are more interested in making money than expanding territory. The “17-year-old gentleman” once warned the governor of Asia that the company must avoid expensive wars, and it would be an honor for the company to obtain profits without illegal means and violence.

However, trade in the Asian seas did not follow the peace declaration of the “seventeen gentlemen.” Perhaps the matter in Asia is judged by the “conscience of the Governor”, but in many cases, the conscience of these Governors did not catch a flight to Asia. Thus, a large part of the Dutch colonial empire was “called” by these businessmen.

The golden age of blood staining
In 1619, Jan Pieterszoon Coen, the fourth governor of the Dutch East India Company, just took office, and despite the opposition of the company, he laid down the small fishing village of Jakarta next to the Kingdom of Banten in Java and renamed it “Batavia”. As a stronghold of the Dutch East India Company in Asia.

After establishing a trade base, Cohen worked to monopolize the trade of the finest spices such as cloves and nutmeg. To this end, Cohen quickly took a fancy to the Banda Islands, because that was the only place where the nutmeg was produced.

The paintings on Banda Island record the killings that took place on Banda Island in 1621. Because that year, Cohen led 2,000 soldiers, including 87 Japanese mercenaries, to board Banda Island, indiscriminately killing about 15,000 Banda people on the island, leaving only a few hundred live. , sent to Java as a slave.

Cohen was thus called “Banda’s butcher”, but he was also regarded as a “hero” by the Dutch. I don’t know if it is because his resoluteness has inspired his governor’s descendants. The Dutch East India Company has sometimes behave more like an “army” in the next two hundred years.

In addition to conquering Batavia (Jakarta) and the Spice Islands, the Dutch also established a stronghold in the southern part of Taiwan in 1623, “Herland,” as an important transit point for trade between China and Japan; and a bloody war against Sri Lanka, After 20 years, he finally won the huge profit of cinnamon monopoly. Subsequently, he established several strongholds in the south of India to seize the cotton business with the United Kingdom. In 1669, he won the Makassar (now South Sulawesi, Indonesia). Controlled the distribution center of Asian merchants to trade spices; in 1682, the British were driven out of Banten in the western end of Java Island to obtain the monopoly of Banten trade.

After he has dominated the Asian waters, the Netherlands will naturally not let the interests of the Americas. Therefore, in addition to the Dutch East India Company, the Netherlands also established the “Dutch West India Company” in 1621 and established a stronghold on both sides of the South Atlantic, mainly engaged in “slave trade” – selling slaves bought in Africa. Farmers in the Caribbean and Brazil. In 1652, the Dutch opened up the Cape of Good Hope in the south of Africa to establish the Cape Colony.

In the 17th century, the Netherlands became the new sea hegemon with the “big belly” Froth sailboat

The world’s oldest stock issued by the Dutch East India Company in 1606

The 17th century is undoubtedly the century of the Dutch, and they can be seen in almost every place of abundance. But the actions of the Dutch are evident from Cohen: they are not only famous, but also notorious.

In addition to the Banda tragedy, the Dutch colonists also created several famous killings. In 1636, the Dutch made a small ball in the outskirts of Taiwan, creating a “Latin Island incident” against the aborigines, resulting in the death of about 300 people, 300 people were sent to Taiwan as slaves; in 1652, to suppress the Taiwanese Han Chinese peasant uprising (“Guo In an event, the Dutch colonists killed more than 4,000 peasants (the other said 10,000 people).

In 1740, the Dutch East India Company planned to send too many Chinese to Sri Lanka to work hard because of fear of Chinese forces in Batavia. The dissatisfied Chinese wanted to start their own insurance, and eventually they were preemptively ordered by the Batavian authorities because of the leaking wind. In this “Hongxi Massacre”, more than 10,000 Chinese were sacrificed in the city.

The Netherlands did create a lot of achievements in the 17th century. It not only accumulated a lot of wealth, promoted the exchanges between the East and the West, but also became an important historical party for the West to move towards modern times. It appeared as a businessman, and held guns and ammunition in a handshake. From trade to colonization, from trading to conquest, it sailed to the great channel in the blood. The cabin was filled with spices, silk, porcelain and cotton.

This is its bloody road, but also the golden age of its blood.