The United East India Company (VOC) in Persia 1611-1638

Edited by H. Dunlop

For more than a century one of the most important settlements that the United East India Company (VOC) had on the Asian continent was based in Persia. In 1623, the VOC established themselves for the first time in this country and quickly surpassed the English and Portuguese merchants.

It was not just by importing Persian silk that the VOC was able to generate huge profits; selling spices and other East Indian commodities on the Persian market also proved lucrative. In addition, the Persian settlements facilitated a booming trade between Persia and other VOC settlements in Asia. Although the silk trade during the period under research continued to be profitable, takings fell as a result of increasing competition. The Persians also played the Dutch merchants off against the English merchants and vice versa. The settlements were retained for political reasons as well as commercial interests. The VOC, with its immense wealth and skilled seafarers, controlled the Persian Gulf. It was from this strategic position that the VOC was able to pit itself against the Portuguese and conquer the Indonesian Archipelago more easily.

Most of the selected texts in this documentary edition come from the VOC archives. The Geleynssen Collection and the archives of the States-General were also consulted. Resolutions, letters, instructions and invoices all provide an insight into this episode of the trading history of the Netherlands. The publication was discontinued after the first volume (up to 1638) appeared.

To facilitate research in the VOC archives, an online general VOC glossary has been compiled based on separate glossaries (explanations of terms) that were published in the Dutch series Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatiën (RGP).