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Return of the second Asia expedition of Jacob van Neck in 1599 by Cornelis Vroom (ca. 1591-1661)
A voorcompagnie (pre-company) is the naming given to the trading companies from the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands that traded in Asia between 1594 and 1602, before they all merged to form the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The pre-companies were financed by merchants from the Northern Netherlands and rich immigrants from the Southern Netherlands. Because of the deadly competition, the government forced the smaller trading companies to unite and form the (United) East India Company, that on its turn received the exclusive rights for the trade with Asia for the following 21 years.
In the seven years before the founding of the VOC, 12 pre-companies were formed:
Verenigde Zeeuwse Compagnie (United Company of Zeeland)
According to Jaap ter Haar, "they were sailing the coins out of each other's pockets and the shoes off each other's feet". In total fifteen expeditions were sent between 1594 and 1601, excluding 3 troubled expeditions via North Cape (Norway).
^Gaastra, F., De VOC en het Aziatische handelssysteem (1992)
^Jaap ter Haar, Geschiedenis van de Lage Landen / 2 Heersers der Nederlanden / druk 1: heersers der Nederlanden (2008:226). Uitgeverij Kok. ISBN9789043509596.
Unger, W.S. (1948) De oudste reizen van de Zeeuwen naar Oost-Indië. De Linschoten-Vereeniging LI. Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff.