Obo: Atlantic History

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OBO: Atlantic History

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Hanna Hodacs


Charted companies were established in Scandinavia from the beginning of the 17thseventeenth century. These companies were organized along similar lines as the larger and more familiar charted companies of the time (e.g., the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Companyies). Not only did other European companies provide the Danes and the Swedes with organizational prototypes, but also migrating merchants from northwestern Europe supplied know-how, which proved instrumental into the setting up of the Scandinavian companies and organizing the trade between the Baltic and Africa, between the West and the East Indies, and, to a lesser extent, in the North Atlantic. Nonetheless, it is important to acknowledge that circumstances specific to the Scandinavian geopolitics shaped the conduct of the Danish and the Swedish companies. The ability ofIt was these companies capability to draw on the neutral statuses of the states of Denmark and Sweden during periods of conflicts between the great powers of the Atlantic world constituted their distinguishing feature.that marked them out. This is particularly true of the two most successful Scandinavian chartered companies of the 18th century, the Danish Asiatic Company (Asiatiska Compagni) and the Swedish East India Company (Svenska OstIndiska Kompaniet). in the eighteenth century. Another significant feature of Tthese companies were also marked by their active engagement in reexporting (and smuggling in) towas the degree to which the goods imported from particularly Asia was re-exported (and smuggled) into Britain, the Dutch Republic, the Austrian Netherlands, France, and the German states goods imported from particularly Asia. Thus, tThe success, and ultimate failure, of the Scandinavian companies wasere from this point of view closely connected to changing market conditions in Europe. This fact is clearly demonstrated in when considering the Something the effects of the British Communication Act of 1784, which significantly lowered the custom on tea., clearly demonstrated. Adoption of tThe act undermined the smuggling of tea into Britain, tea that had been which originally had been imported by the Scandinavian companies. Passage of tThis actalso marked the beginning of the end of the most successful of the chartered companies in Scandinavia.


There exists Nno single introductory workion to the Scandinavian charted companies is available. The best starting point for the Danish companies is Feldbæk’s 1986a, an article on the Danish trading companies in which the authorwhere he discusses the characters of companies active in different geographical areas as well as; how they operated and how they were managed. Feldbæk 1986a also highlights the pragmatism that surrounded the establishment of the chartered companies in Denmark. From the point of view of the Danish state they were instrumental in establishing trade and trade routes; once established,ascertained the state opened up the trade to more competitors, ultimately making the companies redundant. The same point is made in Feldbæk’s 1997, a contribution to Danish maritime history (in Danish) in whichwhere the chartered companies are discussed extensively and against thea backdrop of other domestic and transnational maritime history. Worth mentioning in this context is also Feldbæk’s 1986b, a lengthy workedition (in Danish) onf the charters and internal rules that regulated the operations of Danish trading companies between 1616 and 1843. Another good starting point for anyone interested in the broader Danish context in which the companies operated is Gøbel’s 2002, a guide (also available online) to relations between Denmark and the West Indies. This work contains a detailed guide to literature and sources not only relating to the history of the Virgin Islands and the role played by the Danish West Indian Company, but also to Denmark’s history of colonialization and trade more generally. There is Nno equivalent general introductory work on the Swedish companies and their background history is available.

Feldbæk, Ole. “The Danish Trading Companies of the Seventeenth and the Eighteenth Centuries.” Scandinavian Economic History Review 34.3 (1986a): 204–218.

Very good but brief summary of the history of the Danish chartered companies and their main characteristics.

Feldbæk, Ole. Danske Handelskompagnier, 1616–1843: Oktrojer og interne Ledelsesregler. Copenhagen: Selskabet for Udgivelse af Kilder til Dansk Historie, 1986b. [ISBN: 9788775001590]

Excellent resource for more advanced studies of the Danish chartered companies; illuminates how the conditions and rules regulating their operations changed over time. Has a helpful, short introduction.

Feldbæk, Ole. Dansk søfarts historie. Vol. 3, Storhandelens tid, 1720–1814. Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1997. [ISBN: 9788700243262]

The Danish chartered companies discussed within the broader context of Danish maritime history.

Gøbel, Erik. A Guide to Sources for the History of the Danish West Indies (U. S. Virgin Islands), 1671–1917. Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark, 2002. [ISBN: 9788778387219]

Contains a very extensive bibliography on the history of the Danish West Indies, including not only the history of the Danish companies operating in the West Indiesa and Guinea (Ghana), but also the history of Danish colonialism more generally. Also available *online[http://www.virgin-islands-history.dk/eng/default.asp]*.


Two journals thatwhich regularly publish research in English on the Swedish and Danish chartered companies are **Scandinavian Economic History Review**, and **Scandinavian Journal of History**. Several articles from these journals are listed under the sections outlining scholarly work on the specific companies and fields of research in which they are discussed. The **International Journal of Maritime History** is another good source for writing on Scandinavian maritime history. The Swedish **Historisk tidskrift** and the Danish **Historisk tidsskrift**, two of the most significant historical journals in Scandinavia, do also regularly publish work on different aspects of trade, colonialism, and consumption.

*Historisk tidskrift[http://www.historisktidskrift.se/index.htm]*. [class:periodical]

First published in 1881. Four issues per year on a broad spectra of historical themes. Some articles in English but the majority in Swedish.

*Historisk tidsskrift[http://www.historisktidsskrift.dk/]*. [class:periodical]

First published in 1839. Semi-annual publication on a wide range of issues touching on Danish history; in Danish.

*International Journal of Maritime History[http://www.mun.ca/mhp/ijmh.htm]*. [class:periodical]

Semi-annual publication thatwhich addresses a wide range of issues dealing to do with maritime history.

*Scandinavian Economic History Review[http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/sehr]*. [class:periodical]

Important forum for Nordic economic history (understood in a broad sense including e.g., maritime history) since 1952. Has published many articles on different aspects of the Scandinavian chartered companies. Three issues per year.

*Scandinavian Journal of History[http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/03468755.asp]*. [class:periodical]

Published articles on Scandinavian history since 1976, broad treatment. Five issues per year.


Archive material dealing withleft after the Danish companies operating in Asia and the Atlantic world are listed in Bro-Jørgensen and Rasch’s 1969 volume (in Danish). Gøbel’s 2002, a guide to the history of the Danish West Indies (listed under *Introductory Works*), contains more up-to-date information on the Danish archives. In the Swedish case, less material has survived, particularly relating to the East Indian trade, primarily because. The reason for this is that material concerning the financial conduct and ownership of shares of the Swedish company was regularly destroyed, so as to protect the identity of the owners, many of whom many were foreigners. However, tThe material that survived has been, however to a large extent, been digitalized and is now accessible online. The library of the University of Gothenburg (**Ostindiska samlingen, Göteborgs universitetsbiblitek**) provides an access point to eight collections. In addition, to that there is the online archive of the Nordic Museum in Stockholm (**Svenska Ostindiska Kompaniet, Nordiska Museet**) which hosts the collection of the 18th-eighteenth century merchant Jean Abraham Grill, a supercargo in Canton in the 1760s. This material is also digitalized. Müller’s 2008 publication,( listed under the *The Swedish East India Company*) is a good introduction to anyone interested in Grill’s extensive correspondence. Another online archive with material onwhich help the expanding trade between the Baltic area and the wider world can be researched is the**The Sound Toll Registers**. The original documents, a near complete series registering ingoing and out going ship passing the Øresund, the sSound, between Denmark and Sweden, covers the period between 1497 and 1857. Gøbel 2010 provides a helpful guide to this collection. **The Baltic Connections** is an online resource that provides cross links towhich connects up a wide range of archives in northern Europe relevant to the history of trade across the Baltic area and beyond.

*Baltic Connections[http://www.balticconnections.net/index.cfm?article=Archival+guide]*.

User can do cross searches of archive listings from a wide range of archives with material on the history of the Baltic trade from 1450 to 1800.

Bro-Jørgensen, Jens-Olav, and Aage Rasch, eds. Asiatiske, vestindiske og guineiske handelskompagnier. Copenhagen: Rigsarkivet, 1969.

Lists holdings of material relating to the Danish chartered companies operating in Asia, the West Indies, and Africa.

Gøbel, Erik. “*The Sound Toll Registers Online Project, 1497–1857[http://www.sa.dk/media(3636,1030)/The_Sound_Toll_Registers_Online_Project.pdf]*.” International Journal of Maritime History 22.2 (2010): 305–324.

Explains the history of the toll at the Sound, what it contains, and how it has been, and can be used by historians. Helpful introduction to the Sound Toll Register as an historical source for researchers.

*Ostindiska samlingen, Göteborgs universitetsbiblitek[http://www.ub.gu.se/samlingar/handskrift/ostindie/arkiv/]*.

Hosted by Gothenburg University Library, provides access to digitalized material (much of it in Swedish) held by eight Swedish museums and archives relating to the Swedish East India Company. The material can also be searched with a search engine (an English version is available). It also contains brief guides to material relating to the company not available online.

*The Sound Toll Registers[http://www.soundtoll.nl/www/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=69&Itemid=70&lang=en]*.

The sound toll at the Sound is a near complete archival series, listing ship masters, cargos, and ports of departure, and destination ports of the ships that sailed passed the Sound beginning in, from the late 15thfifteenth century. and onwards. The whole series is being digitalized; part of it is already available to search and research online. Note, the ships of the Swedish East India Company anchored in Gothenburg and so they did not pass through the Sound.

*Svenska Ostindiska Kompaniet, Nordiska Museet[http://ostindiska.nordiskamuseet.se/]*.

Contains digitalized material relating to the Swedish East India Company and the Swedish supercargo Jean Abraham Grill (b. 1736–d. 1792) and his private dealings with merchants in Europe and Asia. Grill’s correspondence (in several European languages) might be of interest to researchers exploring the world of East India trading. See “Brevkopieböcker” under “Utgående brev” for Grill’s outboundwards correspondence (organized chronologically) and “Inkomna skrivelser” (organized after the name of the sender alphabetically) for inboundwards correspondence.


The Danish East India Company is the best explored of the charted companies. Studies of its earlier history typically cover the period from 1616, the starting date of the first charter (or 1620 when Tranquebar, a trading station on the Coromandel Coast, was acquired). The enterprise officially ended in 1650, but in 1670 a new charter was set up. The trade with Asia gained a new momentum with the establishment of the Asiatic Company in 1732, and the company’sits first charter lasteding until 1772. This period marked the beginning of much more lucrative trade with India and now also with China. Other important dates that serve as have informed the research reference points are 1772 (the beginning of the fourth charter and when the company lost its monopoly over the trade with India but not China), and 1776 (when the Danish state took over administration for the trading stations in India). The profits of the trade with Asia that marked particularly the three decades predating 1807, a periodwhat traditionally is referred to as den florissante periode (the flourishing period), had, by then, long come to an end. by then. Feldbæk’s 1991 article provides a good introduction to the trade of the different chartered companies operating in Asia between 1620 and 1807. It also summarizes much of the research that was done on the company up until the early 1990s. There has been Mmuch less work on the Danish trade with Asia has been done since then. The most important exception is Diller’s 1999, a monograph (in German) thatwhich covers a similarly long time span (1616 to 1845). Focusing particularly on developments in Asia, Diller’s lengthy work synthesizes and summarizes much of the previous work on the history of the Danes’ activities by Danes in this part of the world. There are Aa series of books and articles focusing only on developments in the 18theighteenth century. Glamann’s 1960 article, although datedold, provides a good introduction to the history of the company during the third charter (1732–1772). The most prominent work on operations during the 18theighteenth century is Feldbæk’s 1969, a monograph. It provides an in-depth discussion of the trade between India and Denmark, including both company trade and private trade (some of which was conducted by British merchants and individuals connected withto the British East India Company) between 1772 and 1808. The study illuminates the extent to which the British and the Danish trade overlapped. Another analysis of more or less the same period is Rasch and Sveistrup’s 1948 account (in Danish). The role of the companies that tradeding with Asia forms a central part in a series on the history of Danish colonies (Vore gamle tropekolonie). Olsen 1967 (Volume 5, in Danish), Struwe 1967 (Volume 6, in Danish), and Rasch 1967 (Volume 7, in Danish) discuss the Danish East India Ccompany’s involvement in the establishment of trading posts and colonies in India. Although somewhat dated in terms of approach and terminology this series provides, to date, the yet most comprehensive work on the topic and the connection between trade and colonization.

Diller, Stephan. Die Dänen in Indien, Südostasien und China,1620–1845. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1999. [ISBN: 9783447041232]

A comprehensive although rather lengthy discussion focusing particularly on developments in Asia. Contains a very extensive bibliography.

Feldbæk, Ole. India Trade under the Danish Flag, 1772–1808: European Enterprise and Anglo-Indian Remittance and Trade. Copenhagen: Studentlitteratur, 1969.

The most important monograph on the Danish trade with India, building on a wide range of European sources, the author demonstrates the interdependence between traders in Asia and Denmark and the role of the Danish neutrality in promoting trade in the wake of the conflicts between the great powers of Europe.

Feldbæk, Ole. “The Danish Asia Trade, 1620–1807: Value and Volume.” Scandinavian Economic History Review 39 (1991): 3–27.

A very good introduction taking a long view on the economic history of the Danish trade with Asia.

Glamann, Kristof. “The Danish Asiatic Company, 1732–1772.” Scandinavian Economic History Review 8 (1960): 109–149.

Although rather old, this article gives a good introduction to the Danish East India Company and developments in the middle of the 18theighteenth century.

Olsen, Gunnar. Vore gamle tropekolonier. Vol. 5, Dansk Ostindien, 1616–1732: De ostindiske kompagniers handel på Indien. 2d ed. Copenhagen: Fremad, 1967.

Provides a history of the initial contact between Denmark and India up until the beginning of the third charter.

Rasch, Aage. Vore gamle tropekolonier. Vol. 7, Dansk Ostindien, 1777–1845: Storhedstid og hensygnen. 2d ed. Copenhagen: Fremad, 1967.

Provides an account of the most dynamic period of Danish trade with Asia and the declined that followed, covers the period up until the Danish colonies were sold to Britain.

Rasch, Aage, and Poul Peter Sveistrup. Asiatisk Kompagni i den florissante periode, 1772–1792. Copenhagen: Nordisk Forlag, 1948.

The most important of the older works on the Danish trade with Asia, focusing on the end of the 18theighteenth century.

Struwe, Kamma. Vore gamle tropekolonier. Vol. 6, Dansk Ostindien, 1732–1776: Tranquebar under kompagnistyre. 2d ed. Copenhagen: Fremad, 1967.

Tranguebar was the most significant of the Danish trading posts in India;, this volume focuses on the history of this post until, during the period of the third charter, the responsibility for its administration was handed over to the Danish state.


The Swedish East India Company was a smaller operation than the Danish. It was (almost) only active largely in the 18theighteenth century only, and, in contrast to the Danish East India Company, it did not gain any permanent footholds or colonies in Asia. However, iIt did however manage to establish itself as a partner in the very lucrative trade with China, particularly in the tea trade. The history of the Swedish East India company, lLike that of the Danish East India Company,’s the history of the Swedish company can be divided into periods thatwhich correspond to the charters whichthat regulated the organization of the company. The trade was only significant only during the first three charters (covering the periods 1731–1746, 1746–1766, and 1766–1786). During the fourth and the fifth charters (1786–1806 and 1806–1821), the trade significantly declined, with no ships being sent out after 1803. Nonetheless, the Swedish East India Company has received its fair share of scholarly and popular attention (furthered perhaps by the failure of other attempts to establish Swedish trading links and colonies outside Europe). The most significant academic study of the Swedish East India Company is Koninckx 1980, which focus on the periods of the first two charters, i.e., between 1731 and 1766. It contains a wealth of information on the quantitative aspects. Koninckx1980 constitutes’s work is the most recentlast attempt to write a more comprehensive study of the history of the company. Among the works predating Koninckx 1980’s, Kjellberg’s 19745 study (in Swedish) is the most important. Material culture as well as social and political aspects forms the most interesting focal points in one of the most recent publications, Söderpalm’s 2003, an anthology (in Swedish). Next to the more traditional “Swedish” histories of the company, more recent research has focused on its role in transnational and global contexts. To a certain extent, such an approach continues one carried onan argument elaborated on in older research among those writers who have emphasized the connections between the networks that ran the Ostende Company (based in the Austrian Netherlands) and the Swedish East India Company. New to the analysis is the stress placed on changing consumer habits in Europe, particularly the increase inof tea consumption in Britain, and the importance given to, based on a growing understanding of, the mechanics of the inter-Asia trade. The articles Müller 2003 and Müller 2011 provide the most significant contributions to this discussion. One category of literature worth mentioning is the published diaries and travel accounts by personnel working for the Swedish company. These works give insights into the everyday life onboard the Chinamen. Campbell 1996, a diary from a journey to China in the 1730s from a journey to China in the 1730s kept by a Scottish merchant who was heavily involved in the Swedish East India Company during a journey to China in the 1730s, is one of the more recent publications. For a biographical study of another central person in the company, see Müller 2008. For some other examples of travel accounts published in the 18theighteenth century, see those works cited in the sectionunder the heading *Natural History, Political Economy, and Traveling*.

Campbell, Colin. A Passage to China: Colin Campbell’s Diary of the First Swedish East India Company Expedition to Canton, 1732–33. Göteborg, Sweden: Royal Society of Arts and SciencesKungl. Vetenskaps- och vitterhets-samhället, 1996. [ISBN: 9789185252558]

Campbell, a Scottish merchant, was one of the early promoters of the Swedish East India Company and the diary illustrates the complications involved in setting up the company. The volume also contains an introduction by Koninckx and a useful bibliography.

Kjellberg, Sven T. Svenska ostindiska compagnierna, 1731–1813: Kryddor, te, porslin, siden. 2d ed. Malmö, Sweden: Allhem, 19745. [ISBN: 9789170040252]

Chronologically organized (following the periods of the charters), this study covers the period 1731 to 1813. Although it lacks an academic reference system (making it hard to evaluate some of the arguments), Kjellberg’s analysis of the more qualitative aspect of the goods from Asia as well as his understanding of the political and cultural contexts in which the company operated makes this a well-rounded study.

Koninckx, Christian. The First and Second Charters of the Swedish East India Company,1731–1766: A Contribution to the Maritime, Economic and Social History of North-Western Europe in Its Relationships with the Far East. Kortrijk, Belgium: Van Ghemmert, 1980.

Provides a detailed account of the volume and types of goods imported from China and, to a much lesser extent, India. Next to the quantitative analysis, Koninckx also discusses the social history of life onboard ship and more maritime aspects dealing to do with distances covered and routes.

Müller, Leos. “The Swedish East India Trade and International Markets: Re-exports of Teas, 1731–1813.” Scandinavian Economic History Review 51 (2003): 28–44.

Discusses the most prominent amongof the goods the Swedish company brought to Europe (tea) and the importance of the British market.

Müller, Leos. “‘Merchants’ and ‘Gentlemen’ in Early-Modern Sweden: The World of Jean Abraham Grill, 1736–1792.” In The Self-Perception of Early Modern Capitalists. Edited by Margaret C. Jacob and Catherine Secretan, 126–146. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. [ISBN: 9780230604476]

Focuses on the Swedish supercargo Jean Abraham Grill and outlines the network with whom he corresponded;, helpful background reading for anyone interested in using Grill’s archive hosted by the Nordic Museum (Svenska Ostindiska Kompaniet, Nordiska Museet, see *Archive Guides and Online Archives*).

Müller, Leos. “The Swedish East India Company: Strategies and Functions of an Interloper.” In Small Is Beautiful? Interlopers and Smaller Trading Nations in the Pre-industrial Period, Edited by Markus A. Denzel, Jan de Vries, and Philipp Robinson Rössner, 73–93. StuttgartWiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2011. [ISBN: 9783515098397] [class:conference-paper]

Excellent analysis of the Swedish East India Company against the backdrop of early modern mercantile theory and trade practice. Based on proceedings of the twenty-fifth World Economic History Conference, held at Utrecht, the Netherlands, in 2009.

Söderpalm, Kristina, ed. Ostindiska Compagniet: Affärer och föremål. 2d ed. Göteborg, Sweden: Göteborgs Stadsmuseum, 2003. [ISBN: 9789185488490]

Contains articles that focus on a broad range of subjects, including not only how the company was run and by whom, but also on material culture and Swedish chinoiserie.


In addition Next to Asia, Scandinavian charted companies also traded in Africa and the West Indies. Again Danish subjects conducted the most significant of these operations. were conducted by Danish subjects. A good introduction to the Danish Atlantic trade is Gøbel’s 1983, an article outlining the trade to and from Copenhagen between 1671 and 1754. Gøbel’s 2002 (a guide to the history of the West Indies cited under *Introductory Works*) is another good starting point to this field of research. AOne good, broad treatment in English of the history of the Danish West Indies is Dookhan’s 1994 study (first published 1974). The history of Danish trade has also been discussed against the backdrop of Danish colonization, the general history of which has been explored in most details in the eight part series Vore gamle tropekolonie (2nd edition). The first two volumes, Bro–Jørgensen 1966 (Volume 1, in Danish) and Vibæk 1968 (Volume 2, in Danish) discuss the West Indian colonies and the role of companies in setting up trading posts and establishing Danish rules over today’s Virgin Islands. In Nøorregaard 1968 (Volume 8, in Danish) the closely related Danish trade (by various constellations of traders) on the Gold Coast is discussed. Efforts byThe Swedes’ efforts to establish themselves self as trading partners and to become a colonizing powers in the Atlantic world provedwere less successful. The organizational forms of one of the attempts made in the 17thseventeenth century attempts, the Swedish African Company, arehave been discussed inby Novaky 1990 (in Swedish) against the backdrop of feudalism and trade. A Swedish presence in the West Indies was established in 1784 when Sweden received the island of Saint Barthélemy from France. With the exception of Hildebrand’s 1951’s study (in Swedish), which coversing the period up until 1796, this history has received relatively little attention fromby historians.

Bro-Jørgensen, Jens-Olav. Vore gamle tropekolonier. Vol. 1, Dansk Vestindien indtil 1755: Kolonisation og kompagnistyre. 2d ed. Copenhagen: Fremad, 1966.

A traditional account of the early history of the Danish West Indies and the role of the Royal Chartered Danish West India and Guinea Company, established in 1671. Covers the period up until 1754, when, in the wake of growing tensions between the company, plantation owners, and private traders, the Danish state took over the administration of the colonies.

Dookhan, Isaac. A History of the Virgin Islands of the United States. Kingston, Jamaica: Canoe Press, 1994. [ISBN: 9789768125057]

A general history of the Virgin Islands that includes a substantial discussion on the role of the different companies trading on the island. First published in 1974.

Gøbel, Erik. “Danish Trade to the West Indies and Guinea, 1671–1754.” Scandinavian Economic History Review 31 (1983): 21–49.

A good introduction and overview of the Danish trade with the West Indies and Africa.

Hildebrand, Ingegerd. Den svenska kolonin St. Barthélemy och Västindiska kompaniet fram till 1796. Lund, Sweden: Lindstedts Universitetsbokhandel, 1951.

On the Swedish connection to the West Indies and the island of Saint Barthélemy; rather dated.

Nørregaard, George. Vore gamle tropekolonier. Vol. 8, Guldkysten. De danske etablissementer i Guinea. 2d ed. Copenhagen: Fremad, 1968.

Outlines, among other things, the complex history of Danish companies active on the Gold Coast of Africa (today’s Ghana), including merchants from Copenhagen as well as, the Danish subjects and traders from Glückstadt on the Elbe River,and the Royal Chartered Danish West India and Guinea Company in the 17thseventeenth and early 18theighteenth centuriesy, and the Royal Chartered Guinean Company (established in 1765, lead by Henning Frederik Bargum), and the Baltic Guinea Company (established in 1781).

Nováky, György. “Handelskompanier och kompanihandel: Svenska Afrikakompaniet, 1649–1663: En studie i feodal handel.” PhD diss., Uppsala University,: Univ., Diss., 1990. [class:thesis-phd]

On the Swedish African Company, active between 1649 and 1663. An interesting analysis of the different organizational forms the company took during its relatively short life span.

Vibæk, Jens. Vore gamle tropekolonier. Vol. 2, Dansk Vestindien, 1755–1848: Vestindiens storhedstid. 2d ed. Copenhagen: Fremad, 1968.

Chartered companies played less of a role in the development in the Danish West Indies after 1754; however, in 1778, a new company was established (the West Indian Trading Company) the history of which is explored here.


The history of the Danish companies has been discussed in several studies focusing on issues connected to Danish colonialism. The contributions to the series Vore gamle trope kolonier (see Olsen 1967, Rasch 1967, and Struwe 1967 cited under the*Danish East India Company* and Nørregaard 1968 and Vibæk 1968 cited under *Africa and the West Indies*) provides a general history of this process. One particularly rich field of research that is closely connected to the history of the companies is the history of the slave trade and slavery. The Danish presence in the West Indies (in today’s Virgin Islands) and the adjunct history of West Indian slavery and the slave trade with West Africa has been discussed in several studies. Hall’s 1992, an account 1992 of the history of slavery in the Danish West Indies, is the standard work. Tyson’s 1996 edition of, a work on forced labour in the Danish colonies, is a helpful starting point. Among works by Scandinavian scholars, it is particularly Green-Pedersen’s 1971 most especiallyarticle that illuminates the slave trade. For a very helpful introduction to this field of research, see also Gøbel’s 2002, a guide to West Indian history (cited under *Introductory Works*), which includes aith its special section on slavery and the slave trade. Among the more recent works, Andersen 2006 has addressed the broader historical issue concerningon the extent to which slavery and colonialism contributed to modernization and industrialization in Europe and, more particularly, Denmark. From a similar perspective, focusing on the question of who profited from colonialism, Rönnbäck 2009 has calculatesd the costs and profits associated with the Danish colonies in the West Indies, focusing particularly on the trade in sugar. Sugar is also at the forefront in another scholarly discussion with a strong European dimension, namely, – the early modern consumer revolution. Building on the author’shis work on the import of sugar to the Baltic region (most of it from the Danish West Indies and via Copenhagen), Rönnbäck’s 2010 article has recently discussesd the existence of a consumer revolution in Denmark and Sweden in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century. The Swedish case ishas also been discussed in Muller’s 2004, an introductory article (in Swedish) on the consumption of coffee, tea, and sugar in the 18theighteenth century (and to some extent the 19thnineteenth century) in Sweden), set against the backdrop of developments in Europe as well as globally.

Andersen, Dan. “Denmark-Norway, Africa, and the Caribbean, 1660–1917: Modernisation Financed by Slaves and Sugar?” In A Deus ex Machina Revisited: Atlantic Colonial Trade and European Economic Development. Edited by Pieter C. Emmer, Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau, and Jessica V. Roitman, 291–315. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2006. [ISBN: 9789004151024]

Discusses the size of the Danish economy engaged in the production, transport, and processing of colonial goods as well as the dynamic qualities of this sector.

Green-Pedersen, Svend Erik. “The Scope and Structure of the Danish Negro Slave Trade.” Scandinavian Economic History Review 19 (1971): 149–197.

Outlines the complex trade inof slaves between Danish holdings in Africa and the West Indies, including the use of Danish ports (as transit points) for the slave trade conducted by companies as well as by private individuals.

Hall, Neville A. T. Slave Society in the Danish West Indies: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992. [ISBN: 9780801844737]

This book Ccompiled and edited after the death of the author by B. W. Higman, this book touches on a wide range of issues dealingto do with the development of slavery in the Danish West Indies, focusing particularly on issues ofto do with social history.

Müller, Leos. “*Kolonialprodukter i Sveriges handel och konsumtionskultur, 1700–1800[http://www.historisktidskrift.se/fulltext/2004-2/pdf/HT_2004-2_225-248_muller.pdf]*.” Historisk tidskrift 124.2 (2004): 225–248.

Great survey of literature on European and Swedish consumption of goods from the Atlantic world and Asia.

Rönnbäck, Klas. “Who Stood to Gain from Colonialism: A Case-Study of Early-Modern European Colonialism in the Caribbean.” Itinerario: International Journal on the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction 33 (2009): 135–154.

Discusses who profited from the trade with the Danish West Indies, focusing particularly on the West Indian planters, the Danish consumers, and the Danish state. Available *online[http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0165115300016296]* by subscription.

Rönnbäck, Klas. “An Early Modern Consumer Revolution in the Baltic?” Scandinavian Journal of History 35.2 (2010): 177–197.[doi: 10.1080/03468750903522349]

Uses the import of sugar to discuss differences between levels of consumption in Denmark and Sweden against the backdrop of the early modern consumer revolution in Europe. Available *online[http://www.history.ac.uk/history-online/journal/scandinavian-journal-history/articles]* by subscription.

Tyson, George F., ed. Bondmen and Freedmen in the Danish West Indies: Scholarly Perspectives. St.Thomas: Virgin Islands Humanities Council, 1996. [ISBN: 9781886007024]

A good selection of papers (reprinted) on Danish slavery, a good introduction.


The link between the history of the charted company, particularly the Swedish East India Company, and the history of European science, more specifically the writing of global floras and faunas, has been discussed by historians of science. At the centre of much of the discussion has been the Swedish naturalist, Carolus Linnaeus (b. 1707–d. 1778). For Linnaeus, aA critical awareness of the growing consumption of goods imported from outside Europe constitutedformed an argument in favor of exploring nature globally. for Linnaeus. Such exploration, which included bringing living material to northern Europe from the East (e.g., tea plants and mulberry trees) would ultimately help diminish the trade, as home-grown products would replace those imported from, for example, e.g. China. Koerner’s 1999, a biography of Linnaeus, is a recentthe work that has exploresd these topics.arguments most recently. Nyberg’s 2009 article, which deals withon the links between the Swedish East India Company and Linnaeus (who, although critical oftowards the imports, was keen to find positions for his students as surgeons and chaplains on the cCompany’s ships), is a good introduction. Lindroth’s 1967, a history of the Swedish Academy of Science, provides more detailed analysis of these links, including the role of the aAcademy (in Swedish). Arnolds’s 2008, an article on Nathaniel Wallich, a naturalists who came to India via the Danish East India Company, and his career in exploring the South Asian flora on behalf of the British East India Company, illustrates the presenceextension and development of economic botany within a 19thnineteenth- century British imperial context. Hoppe’s 2009 article gives a broader picture of the scientific work of missionaries stationed in and around the Danish settlements in India beginning in, from the early 18theighteenth century. and onwards. There exist Mmany different editions of the travel accounts of students from the journeys of Linnaeus are available.’ students. Included in this section is Osbeck, et al.**A voyage to China and the East Indies**, 1771, a two-volume translation of three travel accounts by three Swedish travelers to the East. The volumes were published by Reinhold Foster (one of the naturalists onboard Captain Cook’s second expedition). Foster’s translation into English is based on German translations of the travel accounts rather than the Swedish original. Nonetheless, the volumesy illustrate well how the trade with China promoted discussions of natural history (in Osbeck’s and Toréen’s accounts) and Chinese economy and technology (in Ekeberg’s) in Sweden as well as in northern Europe more generally. The two volumes are available online.

Arnold, David. “Plant Capitalism and Company Science: The Indian Career of Nathaniel Wallich.” Modern Asian Studies 42.5 (2008): 899–928.

An account of Wallich, the Danish born surgeon-botanist; illustrates the continuation and modification of economic botany in a British and imperial context. Available *online[http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1977080]* by subscription.

Hoppe, Birgitte. “Kulturaustausch zwischen Europa und Indien auf wissenschaftlicher Grundlage im frühen pietistischen Missionswerk.” In Der Bologna-Prozess und Beiträge aus seinem Umfeld. Abhandlungen der Humboldt-Gesellschaft für Wissenschaft, Kunst und Bildung, Heft 23. Edited by Dagmar Hülsenberg, 133–173. Rossßdorf, Germany: TZ-Verlag, 2009. [ISBN: 9783940456076]

Good introduction to the pietistic missionaries and their scholarly activities in and around Danish settlement in India.

Koerner, Lisbet. Linnaeus: Nature and Nation. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1999. [ISBN: 9780674097452]

A biography of Linnaeus thatwhich situates the work of the naturalists within the context of mercantilism and cameralism.

Lindroth, Sten. Kungl. Svenska vetenskapsakademiens historia, 1739–1818. Part 1, Vol. 1, Tiden intill Wargentins död, 1783. Stockholm: Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien, 1967.

Gives a more detailed discussion of the contacts between the Swedish Academy of Science, the Swedish East India Company, and naturalists working on behalf of the company.

Nyberg, Kenneth. “Linnaeus’ Apostles, Scientific Travel and the East India Trade.” Zoologica Scripta 38 (2009): 7–16.[doi: 10.1111/j.1463-6409.2007.00303.x]

Discusses the role of the Swedish East India Company in relation to Linnaeus and his students’ explorations of Asian natural history. Available *online[http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1463-6409.2007.00303.x/abstract]* by subscription.

Osbeck, Pehr, Olof Torén, and Karl Gustav Ekeberg. A Voyage to China and the East Indies, by Peter Osbeck, Rector of Hasloef and Woxtorp, Member of the Academy of Stockholm, and of the Society of Upsala.: Together with a Voyage to Suratte, by Olof Toreen, Chaplain of the Gothic Lion, East Indiaman:. And an Account of the Chinese Husbandry, by Chaptain Charles Gustavus Eckeberg. Translated from the German by John Reinhold Forster. 2 vols. London: Benjamin White, 1771.

Both volumes can be downloaded from the *Biodiversity Heritage Library[http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/Default.aspx]*. Osbeck’s account is by far the longest of the three, filling the first Vvolume 1 (pp. 5–396) and part of Volume 2 (pp. 1–125). The accounts give the reader a good idea of the holistic approach thatby which traveling natural historians took in describinged the environments through which they passed through, including not only observations not only on flora and fauna, but also on most aspects of everyday life on on board ship and while anchored in harbor.

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