The Afterlife of the Ostend Company, 1727–1745
The Generale Keijzerlijcke Indische Compagnie, known as the Ostend Company or GIC, was a short-lived but very successful chartered company based in the Southern Netherlands between 1722 and 1727. Despite the high profits from the Chinese tea trade, the Habsburg Emperor Charles VI was forced to retract its charter in 1727 under Dutch and English pressure. This article analyses the strategies of the directors of the GIC to continue trading after its charter had been retracted. Partly by circumventing prohibitions, for instance via Cádiz, and partly by investing in new companies such as the Swedish East India Company, the GIC threatened the role of the established Dutch and English monopolistic companies. These initiatives have never before been analysed in a coherent way that connects the activities of the Ostenders in Europe, India and China. This article shows the endurance of the business model of the GIC during the eighteenth century.