How Dutch comes to India and won over Portuguese?

Why the Portuguese could not conquer India? 

Now, a question arises that if the Portuguese had captured the coastal regions and were having the monopoly over the ports then why did they fail in conquering the rest of the country. The main reasons responsible for the failure of Portuguese in India were: 

  • The strong empires of India – A main reason for the inability to conquer India was the rule of the Indian rulers which were very strong during the mid of the 16th century like the Mughal Empire and the Maratha Empire. That is why they could not conquer the interiors of India. 
  • The decline of the Vijaynagar Empire – The Vijaynagar Empire which ruled most of South India started losing its strength by the end of the 16th century. Its rule was very important for the Portuguese as many of the major seaports of the Portuguese like Calicut, Cochin and Cannanore were on the coastline of the Vijaynagar Empire and thus, the Empire became a very important source of revenue for the Portuguese because of the trade practices. 
  • The Corrupt practices of the Portuguese – After the weakening of the Vijaynagar Empire, the Portuguese could not generate much revenue so as to pay salaries to their employees and this forced the employees to take bribe from people to generate money. Thus, management also got weakened. 
  • Arrival of other European countries – By the beginning of the 17th century many other explorers from other European countries like Dutch and later on the French and British started capturing the sea ports like the Battle of Swalley which became the main reason for the failure of Portuguese rule in India. 

The arrival of Dutch in India 

After capturing of many major ports of India, the Portuguese had created a monopoly over the sea trade of India. In order to maintain a monopoly, the Portuguese had kept the route secret from the other European countries. But, Huyghen van Linschoten a Dutch merchant entered the Portuguese territories and served as the secretary of an archbishop in India under the Portuguese from 1583 to 1589. During his service, he secretly copied the maps which could help in navigation and much other information like the current flow, commercial information, etc. 

After this, he returned to the Netherlands and after collecting some more information about East Asia from other explorers he wrote some books and established them. Thus, these books resulted at the end of the Portuguese monopoly oversea trade as the complete information about the route was disclosed. 

The expansion of Dutch India 

The Dutch before coming to India had colonised many ports in the Indonesian Archipelago during the 16th century and these islands became much beneficial to them in capturing the Indian ports. Later, the Dutch East India Company was established in 1602 and after three years they set up their first factory in India at Masulipattanam (Andhra Pradesh) in 1605 and later many other ports were also captured by them. They also captured the major ports of Cochin, Cannanore and many other ports of the Portuguese. 

The Dutch colonialism expanded so widely that it was divided into governorates or states named as follows: 

  • Dutch Suratte – It consisted of Dutch territories in Gujarat, i.e., Ahmedabad, Suratte(Surat), Cambay and even Agra. Yes, Agra which was the capital of Mughal Empire had a Dutch factory established there but as the empire started losing its control the factory was destabilised. Later on, most of them were taken away by the British. 
  • Dutch Coromandal – It consisted of Dutch territories on the Coromandal Coast, i.e., Pulicat, Nagapattinam, Sadras, Nizampatnam and many more. These were mostly forts and factories. 
  • Dutch Malabar – It consisted of Dutch territories of Malabar Coast which mostly included the Portuguese ports, i.e., Cochin, Cannanore, Pallipuram, Purakkad and so on. 
  • Dutch Bengal  It consisted of Dutch territories of Bengal, i.e., Balasore, Dhaka, Patna, etc. But, like the Dutch Suratte ports many of these were also taken away from them by other Europeans. 

And, throughout the 17th century they tried their best to create their dominance over the major ports. 

But, it also lost many of its ports to the British who also came to India during the 17th century. Although the French also came to India but much later. 

The Battle of Colachel 

Although, the Dutch East India Company was the richest company of that time they still had to face many failures in the wars of 1700s and one of the most remarkable war was the Battle of Colachel. Colachel was a port city which was under the Kingdom of Travancore but was captured by the Dutch in 1740. Its capture would help them in the control over the sea trade of the Travancore Kingdom. The Dutch had ended all trade with the kingdom so as to weaken their economic condition and soon they could be able to conquer the kingdom. But in 1741, when Dutch started capturing the adjacent villages then the Battle of Colachel broke out and the Dutch had to face a harsh defeat. It was not just a battle as it resulted at the beginning of the downfall of the Dutch in India. 

Why Dutch also failed in India? 

The main reason for the inability of the Dutch in conquering India was the arrival of other European powers. After this battle they started losing many of their territories to the British. But, the territories which were lost during the Napoleonic War were returned to it by the Anglo-Dutch Treaty, 1814. After this, one more Anglo-Dutch Treaty was concluded in 1824 to clear the terms of the trade. But now, the Dutch were left with a few ports so they were unable to get any benefits from them and at last they had to leave the Indian territories in 1825 so that they could focus on their territories of Indonesia. 

The Danish East India Company 

The first question which may arise is that who were Danish. Actually, Danish referred to the people living in Denmark and Norway as they were a union state at that time. As, the Portuguese had already arrived India in 16th century and the Dutch and British had also arrived in the first decade of 17th century so the Danish also thought to do spice trade and gain high profits like the other Europeans. 

Finally, on 17th March, 1616 the Danish King Christian IV issued a charter creating the Danish East India Company in order to trade with the East Indies. 

Voyage of Danish East India Company to India 

The first voyage of the Danish to India started in 1618 and after about 2 years of voyage the Danish finally reached Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in May, 1620. But, the king of Ceylon refused to do trade as he had already made peace agreements with the Portuguese. As now they could not do trade with Ceylon so they occupied a small region of Trincomalee without the consent of their head Robert Crappe. 

Robert Crappe had reached India one month earlier from the main ship and had to face Portuguese ships near the Karaikal Coast and most of the crew members were killed or they sunk in the sea but Robert Crappe and some of the crew members escaped from their and reached the shore and were captured by the Indians and were taken to the King of Tanjore who liked their proposal to do trade and gave them permission to trade from the port of Tranquebar which became their first settlement in India. Like other European countries the Danish also tried their best to gain as much profit they could get but could not create monopoly like other Europeans. 

Their ports were mainly on the Coromandal Coast and in Bengal. They also had some ports in the Malabar including Calicut. They also had complete control over the Nicobar Islands. 

The failure of Danish East India Company 

The Danish East India Company in its early years had to face very much economic hardships as the ports were often stuck by a storm and they could not make much benefit from the trade also as the other European countries had already gained the monopoly power. Thus, the economic conditions got worse and worse and their rule came to an end in 1869

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