Breaking of Portuguese Monopoly

Rivalry for Trade in East – Dutch , Portuguese and British

The Netherlands is considered to be the first European nation which broke through the Portuguese monopoly in the east.

  • The Dutch got independence on 26 July 1581 through the Eighty Years’ War from the Spanish Empire.
  • This Dutch war for independence closed the ports of Spain to the Dutch, and forced them into the direct trade with East Indies.
  • The war with Spain and the closing of Lisbon and Antwerp ports also compelled the English to enter directly into the Indian trade.

During the entire 16th century, the ports of Bruges, Antwerp, and Amsterdam became successively the great emporiums where Indian produce, imported by the Portuguese, was sold to Germany and even to England. In the beginning both Dutch and English, attempted to find their way to India by sailing around the northern coast of Europe and Asia.

Jan Huyghen van Linschoten

Jan Huyghen van Linschoten was a Dutch merchant and traveler. He dwelt at Goa from 1583 to 1589 in the train of the Portuguese archbishop and copied the top secret Portuguese nautical maps and published them in 1595-1596.

  • This narrative enabled the passage of the elusive East Indies to be opened to the English and the Dutch.
  • This valuable guide was translated into English in 1598 and later in other languages.
  • Jan Huyghen van Linschoten is credited for enabling the British East India Company as well as the Dutch East India company to break the 16th century monopoly of the Portuguese in trade with the East Indies.
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