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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: September 2020


from Part III - Monsoon Asia


Just how unique was the VOC in Asia? In attempting to answer this question, the first thing to establish is that the VOC did not act any more rationally than its Asian competitors. One crucial advantage it enjoyed was that its central organisation gave it a hitherto unparalleled trading network stretching from Amsterdam to Manila. This extensive network meant that the survival of the Company was not dependent on the events in any single region. Rather, it was the sum of a number of specific regional circumstances that contributed significantly to the Company’s success and decline. Apart from understanding these regional developments in their internal cohesion, it is also important to go back to the conclusions of Part I, to briefly reflect on the VOC’s economic performance, both overall and in comparison with its two main European rivals in Asia: the Portuguese Estado da India and the English East India Company. Let us start, though, by drawing some more general conclusions from the various regional chapters above, regarding, firstly, the Dutch settlement colonies in the Tropics and, secondly, the Dutch trading posts on the peripheries of the great Asian empires.