Page 208 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
P. 208

Lists o f V O C ships sailing for o r returning from Asia and figures o f return cargoes and
other key data o f the Company's Europe-Asia trade were compiled many times during
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A n early example o f such records is the list
compiled by Hugo de Groot around 1613 of ships equipped for Asia at Amsterdam between
1594 and 1612, a list intended to make it obvious to the States-General that with every
expedition t h e merchants had suffered increased expense on account o f the war against
the Portuguese and the Spaniards. Incidentally, this record demonstrates yet againthe
closeness of the continuity between the voorcompagnieën
In most cases however such reviews were not compiled by outsiders, but by directors
themselves requiring information on the development of the business and using statistical
data as a basis for their policies. For this reason tables and figures were incorporated in
the work of Pieter van Dam and are to be found in various archive collections of directors
and V O C officials, such as the collections Hudde, Radermacher, Hope and Nederburgh.
Sometimessurveyswerepublished,asbyValentijninhisOudenNieuwOost-lndiën or
in the Kortgevat Jaarboek printed in Zeeland.
In Company administration th e data o n Asiatic shipping were recorded clearly and
systematically. The documents in the V O C archives, other than the lists mentioned above,
which cover one particular period only, make it possible to provide a complete survey o f
Dutch-Asiatic shipping from 1602 to 1794. These documents comprise two different kinds
of sources: the ships' registers and uitloopboeken
and the systematically recurring data in
letters and papers sent annually from Asia to the chambers of the Company in the Nether-
lands. These sources can be supplemented and verified by the use of lists and tables
compiled in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and of published sources and secon-
dary literature. Details o f pre-1602 voyages can also b e derived from these source publi-
cations and literature.
The VOCarchives
In view o f the Company's organization it is obvious that no central archives o f the V O C
were established, for the Heren Zeventien did not meet permanently and when they did
have meetings these took place in the Oostindisch Huis o f either the Amsterdam o r the
Zeeland chamber. The six chambers all kept their own records; the V O C archives now
in the Algemeen Rijksarchief in The Hague are largely derived from the two largest cham-
1 ARA, coll. Hugo de Groot, Suppl.I, f.574-575; see also Van Foreest and De Booy, De Vierde
Schipvaart, I, 27-28. For this collection and its importance for the VOC see: Roessingh, Sources,
2 Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol.63, contains a large table which incorporates the number of ships
sent out, total value of the equipage, amount of ready money sent out for the years 1640-1702
(facing p. 364, in the reprint of 1976 at the back). In this volume Van Dam also gives a list of ships
built by the chambers in the second half of the seventeenth century, p. 480-492. Much of this
material is available, in handwriting, in the A R A , coll.Hudde. The other archive collections men-
tioned here are also in the ARA, see Roessingh, Sources, 95-127.
3 Valentijn, Oud en Nieuw Oost-lndiën, vol. I, 217 et seq. gives a list of homeward bound ships.
Christiaan Sigismund Matthaeus, Kortgevat Jaarboek, applies to the Zeeland chamber only.For
both sources see p. 199, 206-207.
and the V O C in the eyes of the

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