The Dutch East India Company's shipping between the Netherlands and Asia 1595-1795

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This site presents tables which give a virtually complete survey of the direct shipping between the Netherlands and Asia between 1595-1795. This period contains, first, the voyages of the so-called Voorcompagnieën and, then, those for and under control of the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC). The survey ends in 1795. That year saw an end of the regular sailings of the VOC between the Netherlands and Asia, since, following the Batavian revolution in January, the Netherlands became involved in war with England. The last outward voyage left on 26 December 1794. After news of the changed situation in the Netherlands was received in Asia, the last homeward voyage took place in the spring of 1795. The VOC itself was disbanded in 1798.

In total 66 voyages of the voorcompagnieën are listed, one more than the traditionally accepted number. The reconnaissance ship, POSTILJON, from the fleet of Mahu and De Cordes, that was collected en route is given its own number (0022). Since the attempt of the Australische Compagnie to circumvent the monopoly of the VOC can be considered as a continuation of the voorcompagnieën the voyage of Schouten and Le Maire is also listed (0196-0197).

For the rest, exclusively the outward and homeward voyages of the VOC are mentioned in the tables. Of those there were in total 4722 outward and 3359 homeward. The administration of the company was strictly followed, so that, for example, the voyage of Hudson in 1609 (0133) is listed, but not that of Roggeveen in 1721-1722. Voyages of East Indiamen that were driven off course, and arrived for instance in Surinam, or those which went no further than the Cape are mentioned, as opposed to those of warships of the five Admiralties which, from 1783, were sent to Asia to protect the fleets and possessions of the VOC.

The sources of the journeys consist primarily of the archives of the VOC in the Nationaal Archief in The Hague. They are, on the one hand, the so-called 'Uitloopboeken' and ship registers, and, on the other, the 'Overgekomen Brieven en Papieren' (OBP's). The latter contain the regular reports on the arrival and departure of ships in Batavia and other Asiatic harbours. In addition, the 'Overgekomen Brieven van de Kaap de Goede Hoop' and some other, more dispersed sources must be mentioned. The data on the voyages of the voorcompagnieën derive above all from sources published by the Linschoten Vereeniging.

In volume I (i.e. the printed book), the principal sources are described extensively and the origin of the information on each voyage is given. In addition, that volume contains an introduction on the organisation of the VOC's shipping, which also includes an analysis and summary of the data presented in the tables. Various other supplementary information, such as the value of the export from the Netherlands, only available by year, is also published there. The tables follow closely the material presented in the major sources ('Uitloopboeken' en OBP's). Since these sources are not uniform over a period of almost two centuries, the level of completeness of the information given for each voyage also varies.