Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company is considered as the first multinational company of the world to issue stocks and possess quasi-government powers. It was privileged with the responsibilities of waging wars, imprisoning and executing convicts, negotiating treaties, striking its own coins and forming colonies. It held its position as an important trading company for 200 years and made a powerful impact in Indian history.
There was a constant pressure on the United Provinces of Netherlands to expand overseas. In the late sixteen century, Dutch merchants accumulated a large amount of capital and were looking for further investments. Portuguese merchants were pioneers in discovering trade routes between Europe and Asia.
The first expedition, led by Cornelius Houtman, to reach East Indies in 1596 was successful. He concluded a treaty with the ruler of Bantam in Java and opened up the spice Archipelago to Netherland. Huyghen van Linschoten from Netherland wrote in his travelogue about his voyages and sea routes from East Asia to Holland. His book was translated into many languages and inspired traders to find new sea routes. From 1595 to 1601, fifteen voyages were undertaken by the Dutch to the East. In 1602, different individual traders came together to form an association named the Dutch United East India Company.