Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Claim Dutch East India Company most valuable in history not credible

Spice Islands, Banda Indonesia
This statue of Jan Pieterszoon Coen (1587-1629), the VOC (Dutch East India Company) governor-general for Asia, was erected in his native Dutch town of Hoorn in 1893. In 1621 Coen had organised the genocide of about 14,000 inhabitants of the Banda Islands, a group of small volcanic islands within the Moluccas archipelago, Eastern Indonesia. In past centuries the Bandas were called the Spice Islands in Europe and elsewhere. Nutmeg was native to the Banda Islands. 
The statue had been knocked off its pedestal in 2011 when it was hit by a car. There was controversy about restoring it and the local council put brief notes in  Dutch and English on a plaque affixed to the pedestal (see below) with an invitation to visit the nearby Westfries Museum covering the so-called Golden Age of 1600-1650 and Coen.  Image source: Google Street
In 1602 the States-General of the Dutch Republic chartered the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) — United East India Company in English, but commonly known as the Dutch East India Company — with a monopoly of trade with Asia. In 2012 it was claimed to be the most valuable company in history and in December 2017 multiple media outlets including Dutch ones, reported on a current-day valuation of $7.9 trillion, equivalent to a market value of 20 global corporations, headed by Apple Inc.

The claim is fake news as it is not based on evidence from the extensive surviving VOC documentation. The company was dissolved in 1799.