A New Company
A New Company
This chapter examines how the trading of shares of the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC) began. A total of 1,143 investors subscribed to the initial capital of the VOC’s Amsterdam chamber. They had been encouraged to invest by the charter that the States General, the highest administrative body in the Dutch Republic, had granted the VOC on March 20, 1602. This charter was the Company’s deed of incorporation, and it spelled out, among other things, the monopoly it had been granted. “All the residents of these lands,” stated article 10, “may buy shares in this Company.” Investors could decide which of the Company’s six chambers to put their money into. There were share registers in Enkhuizen, Hoorn, Delft, and Rotterdam, as well as in Amsterdam and Middelburg. Almost 6.5 million guilders was subscribed to the VOC’s initial capital—a large sum for the world’s first public subscription to an enterprise’s share capital.
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