Official letters of the United East India Company (VOC), 1610-1795

Compiled by W.Ph. Coolhaas, J. van Goor and J.E. Schooneveld-Oosterling

The general letters of the VOC consist of annual letters through which the Governor-General and Committees of the United East India Company sent a general report to the Gentlemen XVII (the 17-member board of the United East India Company) with details of the company’s activities in Asia and South Africa. These letters also summarize messages that had been received from the company’s different outposts. In this way, the letters provide a continuous flow of information about the territories in Asia, the Middle East and South Africa where the VOC was established. Moreover, the series unlocks the massive archive of the VOC which is kept at the National Archive in The Hague. Routine issues and excerpts that were not considered to be of any great scholarly relevance by the compiler have been summarised. Full text versions of all other documents have been included. The series currently consists of eleven volumes and covers the period 1610-1750.

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