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GFD Blog

The First and the Greatest: The Rise and Fall of the United East India Company

The Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC), or the United East India Company, was not only the first multinational corporation to exist, but also probably the largest corporation in size in history. The company existed for almost 200 years, from its founding in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly over Dutch operations in Asia, until its demise in 1796. During those two centuries, the VOC sent almost a million people to Asia, more than the rest of Europe combined. It commanded almost 5,000 ships and enjoyed huge profits from its spice trade. The V ...