The World Today

The World Today
Earth in 2013

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rebuilding the VOC

The new VOC, a strictly private venture between a group of captains, sailors, employees and investors of the former colossus opened its doors to business in 1801. In retrospect, it was a very poor time for any company to open its door, much less the second incarnation of a company that had earned itself many enemies. With the Wars of Napoleon raging across Europe and the United Provinces located in the middle of it all, neutrality was a position harder and harder to maintain. British and French ships alike preyed upon the merchantmen waving the hated VOC standard. Losses in the first year alone would have made any other business fold.
Dutch involvement in the Wars opened a new avenue of business for the VOC; privateering. All of the fourteen surviving ships were armed to the teeth as investors sought to remake their income by simply looting French vessels. The profits from captured French ships and their contents was far greater than sailing to Angola for a hull full of logs. Some of the captured ships were sold to offset costs, but the larger ones, and the few genuine frigates captured, were held by the company. The warships were used not only to raid more commerce but to escort VOC ships on their more legitimate business ventures.
The final fall of Napoleon saw a VOC that had expanded to forty-one heavily armed ships. The frigates had partitions and excess guns removed and were turned over to commercial freight once French shipping was legally no longer an option. Though the VOC had barely survived the first decade of the new century, the had in deed survived and were generating a modest, if small ,profit. With no spice monopoly, the VOC made few trips to the Far East. Instead, the bulk of their revenue was made in the timber trade in both Angola and Brazil.

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