New dataset General Missives of the VOC available

Our project GLOBALISE has made a new dataset on the General Missives of the VOC available on Dataverse. Using this dataset, researchers and students can not only easily search for General Missives relevant to them, but can also locate them more quickly in the (digital) archive and find already existing transcripts.

The General Missives, which were sent from Batavia to the Republic roughly twice a year between 1618 and 1793, summarised the ins and outs of the United East India Company (VOC) in Asia. That makes these documents an excellent entry point to the rich Company archives, which contain information from all over early modern Asia.

The dataset extends the source publication of the General Letters in the series Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatiën by identifying ‘new’ General Letters in the VOC archives not indexed in the source publication. It also builds on the TANAP database (which digitised inventories of VOC records) by manually linking folio numbers to their respective scan numbers in the digitised collection of the National Archives. All missives are provided with associated metadata, such as the date of the document. Where present, a reference to already existing transcriptions in the RGP volumes and the National Archives’ Iceberg project is also included.

In the coming years, GLOBALISE will also identify the other documents transferred from Asia in the digitised VOC archives. Furthermore, the project will better access the entire collection for research by generating transcriptions and making it possible to search the texts for entities (such as persons and places) and events, either separately or in conjunction.