(Last Updated on : 28-01-2009)
The period of history between classical antiquity and the Italian Renaissance, marked the beginning of the Dutch trade with Asia. Initially the Dutch purchased Indian goods from Portugal and sold them all over Northern Europe. In course of time, the Dutch too wanted to trade directly with Asia. During those days the Portuguese were powerful in India. Hence, in Asia, the Dutch initially traded with the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra and the Spice Islands where the spices were produced.
After the establishment of the Dutch East India Company, in 1609-10, the Dutch developed a factory at Pulicat near Madras. In 1616, the Dutch established themselves at Surat in Gujarat. Later, the Dutch turned out the Portuguese from the Malay Straits and the Indonesian islands. In 1623, defeated the English attempts to establish their base there. In 1658, the Dutch conquered Ceylon from the Portuguese. Between 1661 and 1664, the Dutch captured all the Portuguese settlements in Malabar or Kerala on the west coast. By 1664, the Dutch also possessed factories at Musalipatctm in Andhra and other places like Nagapattinam (Tamil Nadu) on the Coromandel Coast, at Hooghli, Cossimbazar and Dacca in Bengal, at Patna in Bihar and at Surat and Ahmedabad in Gujarat and at Agra in Uttar Pradesh. With all these provinces under their administration, the Dutch established themselves in India.
Some of the Dutch exports from India were indigo, raw silk, cotton textiles, saltpetre and opium. In 1659, the English defeated the Dutch settlement at Chinsura. Slowly, the English captured all the Dutch possessions in South India.Like the Portuguese, Danes, French and English, the Dutch too minted special coins for use within their Indian territories. These Dutch coins are generally called Indo-Dutch coins.