Spice Trade

754 Words4 Pages
The history of spice trade between Europe and Asia is one riddled with influences in the political, economic, and cultural area. It was only in the 16th century that the European ships actually sailed regularly to the Asian market. As the Portuguese where the first in the late 15th century to find a trading route around the Cape of Good Hope to get to Southeast-Asia. All distribution of goods from Southeast-Asia was done from Lisbon. To avoid the Portuguese monopoly, the Dutch tried to find North-East passage to the Asian continent. After their unsuccessful attempts finding an alternative route the Dutch eventually overcame their hesitance to follow the same route as the Portuguese. The hesitance was a result of the war which the Dutch Republic…show more content…
As the harbour city of Antwerp was occupied by the Spanish during the war all the protestant merchants and nautical scientists/engineers fled to Amsterdam. This made Amsterdam the centre of information and expertise on modern trading methods. As the Dutch Republic was well-developed on shipping and shipbuilding for that period in time it didn’t take long before the first attempts were taken to find the sea route to South-East Asia. The first expeditions were done by relatively smaller enterprises which succeeded to reach the Asian continent, but didn’t get enough goods to cover more than the costs of the trip (25-27). As the competition arose between the Dutch trade enterprises, but also from for example from the national British trade enterprise, the Dutch Republic tried in 1598 to merge the Dutch traders. Only in 1602 the Republic succeeded to create Verenigde Nederlandse Geoctroyeerde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) also known as the Dutch East India Company which created a nearly 200 year lasting trading monopoly in South-East Asia (Ricklefs,31). This essay will focus primarily on the VOC, and its political, economic and cultural impact in the Batavia and Cape of Good…show more content…
Parthesius states that the first destination was the commercial centre Bantam on the island Java (27). Bantam with its long history of pepper and spice trade and its International contacts seemed like the Dutch answer to Goa and Malacca which were in possession of the Portuguese. However at the arrival the Dutch found out that the Portuguese also had posts in Bantam. With the arrival of the strong Dutch competition, the only option the Portuguese had in Bantam was applying political influence on the local rulers in attempt to disadvantage the VOC. The political conspiracy made it impossible to keep the operation strictly commercial. The Dutch Republic sanctioned the capture of enemy ships, which the start of an important strategy of Dutch-Asian trade. Capturing Portuguese ships proved to be a rich source of goods, which developed in to attacking Portuguese establishments. The first four fleets of the VOC between 1603-1607 sieged Mozambique, Goa and Mallaca, which followed in attacking Ambon and the the Mollucas. Whenever the VOC took possession of Portuguese establishments they had difficulties staying in power. They had to change the strategy to be able to become a trading monopoly (28-29). According to Ricklefs the VOC established with force an official post in 1619 in Batavia (modern-day Jakarta) on Java, which became the headquarters of the VOC (34-36). This strategic step by the VOC has been a great development towards
Open Document