The United East India Company (VOC) in Kerala 1663-1701

Edited by H.K. s’Jacob

This publication contains a total of ten exit reports and instructions concerning the Malabar command post of the United East India Company (VOC). Malabar refers to the southern part of the west coast of present-day India, and corresponds more or less with the coast of Kerala state.

The command post was set up after Cochin was captured from the Portuguese in 1663. Aside from the fort at Cochin, it consisted of forts at Quilon, Cranganur and Cannanur and, outside Malabar towards the north, the fort at Vengurla. Whenever a commander-in-chief stepped down, he was required to leave a formal report behind for his successor. In this report, he described the command post and presented an account of what had taken place during his term of office and how his relationships with the local merchants and rulers, particularly the Raja of Cochin, had progressed. Consequently, this series of exit reports provides us with an historical survey of the command post and of relations with the local rulers. Instructions were given to commissioners who were responsible for monitoring the administration and who were often dispatched if there were any problems.

The exit reports and instructions are preceded by a ninety-page introduction describing Malabars social structure and trade policy as well as personal details about the authors of the reports.

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