Although later than the Portuguese in reaching the coasts of Asia, the Dutch became in the 17th and 18th centuries the most important of the European nations engaged in the Asian trade - in terms both of the quantity and value of the cargoes shipped, and the number of ports involved. In those centuries the V.O.C., the Dutch East India Company, was the greatest mercantile corporation in the world, and these articles deal with its activities in Asia, from the Indian Ocean to the Far East. They look at the company’s failures, successes and conflicts: the loss of Formosa to the Chinese in 1662, the wealth it drew from the Japan trade and the extent of its influence there, and the rivalry with other European nations, notably the English and the French. The final studies, on the failing years of the V.O.C., look also at the career of Isaac Titsingh, at once a successful servant of the V.O.C. and one of the few to take a seriously scholarly interest in the Orient.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; The Dutch East-Indiamen: their sailors, their navigators and life on board, 1602-1795; Introduction to the fascimile edition of Isaac Commelin’s Begin ende Voortgangh; The seige of Fort Zeelandia and the capture of Formosa from the Dutch, 1661-1662; Jan Compagnie in Japan 1672-1674, or Anglo-Dutch rivalry in Japan and Formosa; The Third Dutch War in the East (1672-1674); Notes on early European military influence in Japan (1543-1853); Rin Shihei and his picture of a Dutch East-India ship, 1782; The mandarin at Chinsura: Isaac Titsingh in Benegal, 1785-1792; Isaac Titsingh’s embassy to the court of Ch’ien Lung (1794-1795); The maritime twilight of the V.O.C., 1780-95; Some sources and problems; Index.
'...a feast of good reading where a great scholar has presented fine detail in a most digestible manner. Such collected works are far more readily to hand than the original journals in which these articles first appeared.' The Mariner’s Mirror