The Dutch West India Company or the Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie (GWC, Chartered West India Company) or Dutch West-Indische Compagnie was a trading and colonizing company, and was chartered by the States-General of the Dutch republic in 1621 and organized in 1623.

The Dutch West India Company was an offshoot of the Dutch East India Company which had funded Henry Hudson’s voyage to the Americas in 1609, hoping to find a shorter route to Asia and thus make even more profits. When this proved not to be practical, The Dutch West India Company was created. The Company was formed to wage economic warfare against the holdings of Spain and Portugal in the West Indies, South America and the west coast of Africa.

In return for subsidies to the Dutch state, it's charter granted the company a monopoly of the trade, with the right of colonizing and of maintaining armed forces, for the Americas and Africa and the Atlantic regions between them, no citizen of the Netherlands could trade with any point on the African coast between the Tropic of Cancer and the Cape of Good Hope or on the American coast between Newfoundland and the Straits of Magellan without the company's permission.

Prior to the establishment of the Dutch West India Company, Dutch merchants were competing among themselves in the New Netherland colony.

In 1626, Peter Minuit becomes director of the West India Company and purchases Manhattan Island.

The company also established several colonies in the West Indies between 1634 and 1648, including Aruba, Curaçao, Suriname, Guyana, and Saint Martin, but later lost many of them to the French.

From its ports on the West African coast The Dutch West India Company supplied slaves for plantations in the West Indies and South America.


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