William Brand

On this day in history...

457 posts in this topic

Very moving . . . Thank you.

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You're welcome.

February 8 -

On February 8, 1725, Peter the Great, emperor of Russia, dies and is succeeded by his wife, Catherine. The reign of Peter, who became sole czar in 1696, was characterized by a series of sweeping military, political, economic, and cultural reforms based on Western European models. Russian victories in major conflicts with Persia and the Ottoman Empire greatly expanded Peter's empire, and the defeat of Sweden in the Great Northern War won Russia direct access to the Baltic Sea. Here, Peter founded the new Russian capital of St. Petersburg, and Russia became a major European power--politically, culturally, and geographically. In 1721, Peter abandoned the traditional Russian title of czar in favor of the European-influenced title of emperor. Four years later, he died.

I've included this entry because Peter the Great was instrumental in creating the first fighting Russian Navy in October of 1696. Ascribed to Peter I is the oft quoted statement: "A ruler that has but an army has one hand, but he who has a navy has both."

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February 9 -

Christopher Carleill, a gentleman adventurer from England and professional soldier was a Commander of 800 English troops in Drake’s fleet during a campaign in the West Indies and captain of the ship Tiger, 1585-6. He landed his soldiers at the banks of Rio Haina to attack Santo Domingo. Carleill held the city for a month, ransacking it and burning its buildings until its inhabitants handed over 25,000 ducats in ransom. A week later Drake sailed to Cartagena, landing Carleill and 600 men near the fort at La Caleta where the town’s battery guns were located (February 9-10, 1586). Carleill had to pick his way through the darkness, carefully avoiding the poisoned stakes driven into the path by the Indians. He overran the outer defenses, defeating the Spanish governor with 450 men armed with harquebuses, 400 Indian archers, 100 lancers, 54 cavalrymen and 20 armed African slaves plus two well-armed galleys in the large outer harbour. Spanish moral collapsed. Cartagena was held for over a month and thoroughly plundered, until its inhabitants came up with 107.000 ducats to save its buildings from burning to the ground. Drake also plundered St. Augustine in Florida and Santiago in the main island of the Cape Verdes, before returning to England. The effect of this enterprise was enormous. The Bank of Spain collapsed; the Bank of Venice nearly foundered; and Germany’s principal bank, the Bank of Augsburg, refused to extend the Spanish monarchy any further credit.

Henry Morgan was the eldest son of Robert Morgan, a farmer living in Llanrhymny (today known as Rhymney, three miles from Tredegar), situated on the Rhymney River, in south-east Wales, within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. He also had a sister Catherine. An entry in the Bristol Apprentice Books showing "Servants to Foreign Plantations" 9 February 1655, included "Henry Morgan of Abergavenny, Labourer, Bound to Timothy Tounsend of Bristol, Cutler, for three years, to serve in Barbados on the like Condiciouns."

February 9, 1688 - After a sound victory at Nueva Segovia against the Spanish, Raveneau de Lussan and his followers descended the Yara on the wretched boats of the country, and came in sight of Cape Gracias a Dios on February 9th, having traveled afoot nearly 1,000 miles, harassed by the Spanish all the way,

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February 10 -

Jan Abels was one of the first leaders of the Seabeggars in 1568. He was active with three vessels, manned by 40 people, in the Ems River. On this day in 1569, with a small boat and a crew of 25, Abels took a ship from Delfzijl, Friesland, laden with cheese and goods. He left the goods belonging to Hamburg merchants alone and sold the cheese belonging to the Spanish. He went on to seize a larger vessel and used her for further piracies, and continued to seize merchantmen from Amsterdam selecting the goods belonging to Spanish Netherlanders to sell.

Thomas Armstrong, one of Roberts' men, said to have been forced into piracy after deserting HMS Swallow at Cape Three Points, West-Africa in April of 1721. When Roberts on the morning of the 10th of February 1722 was surprised by a ship making slow headway against a offshore wind, it was Armstrong who rushed to tell him he recognized his old ship and knew her well. Armstrong told the pirate chief she "sailed best upon a wind and therefore, if they designed to leave her, they should go before it", which meant that the naval vessel was at her best when going into the wind, but sluggish when her sails were filled from behind. There were too few sober pirates to fight the powerful Swallow, Roberts pondered, that is why he would let the man-of-war come deep into the bay against the wind and then, at the last moment, his Royal Fortune would sail directly past her. However, writes Defoe: "coming close to the Man of War, they received her fire, and hoisted his black flag, and returned it, shooting away from her, with all the sail he could pack; and had he took Armstrong's advice, to have gone before the wind, he had probably escaped. But keeping his tacks down, either by the wind shifting, or ill steerage, or both, he was taken a-back with his sails; and the Swallow came a second time very nigh to him".

Robert's Royal Fortune was doomed and so was her crew. With Roberts' death the men surrendered. Armstrong was taken to HMS Weymouth to be executed in accordance with naval regulations. "There was nobody to press him to an acknowledgement of the crime he died for, nor of sorrowing in particular for it, which would have been exemplary." So after long hours of lamenting and bewailing his sins in general faced a noose dangling over a yard arm, secured to a capstan where some navymen waited for the order to wind up the rope. Desired the spectators to join in with him singing 2 or 3 last verses of psalm 140, which the sailors willingly did. The firing of a gun disturbed this peaceful moment and "the Deserter then was tric'd up by the Neck at the fore Yard Arm".

After a successful career as a pirate off the Iberian Peninsula, Captain Gow decided to return to the Orkney Islands. He was running low on supplies, and the authorities were on his trail. Arriving in early 1725, he adopted the name Mr. Smith for himself, and renamed his vessel the George, and passed as a wealthy trader, even courting a Miss Gordon. He was eventually recognized by a merchant passing through the islands, and his true identity was revealed. According to other accounts, some of his prisoners escaped there and notified the authorities. Rather than surrender, Gow and his men successfully raided the Hall of Clestrain on February 10, 1725, but when they attempted to attack another remote mansion, they ran aground on the Calf of Eday, where they were captured.

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February 11 -

Captain Croc, aka Krok, was one of the pirates known as a Seabeggar. He's remembered for cutting off the nose and ears of a priest before murdering him cruelly. The prince of Orange had him arrested and beheaded on this day in 1573.

William Funell was Dampier’s steward and was promoted to the position of midshipsman aboard the 200-ton St. George in 1703 (others had it Funell was sailing master). Funell was involved in a privateering expedition during the War of Succession, but attacking French vessels was a delicate question at the time. St. George was joined by Cinque Ports, and this was the voyage where Alexander Selkirk decided to stay behind at Juan Fernández Island. Funell helped attack a well-armed 400-ton French vessel, “fought broadside and broadside for more than six hours”, but St. George took heavy casualties, with nine men killed and many badly wounded. Funell supported a mutiny led by Edward Morgan and set off in a prize brigantine on this day in 1705. “If I spoke a word they would dash my brains out,” said Dampier. Funell arrived in patria eighteen months earlier (August 1706) than Dampier did, after having been jailed in Ambon (in the Dutch Moluccas) for four months. Funell was thought to be clever in imitating Dampier’s successes with his own journals and chose to write his own 'A Voyage Round the World', published by Knapton, London, in 1707, which book was denounced by Dampier as a “chimerical relation”. Most of Funell's charges in his writings against Dampier were unproven and fueled in part by malice and self-preservation.

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February 12 --


Today is the anniversary of the birth of Cotton Mather (February 12, 1663). Interestingly, tomorrow will be the anniversary of his death (February 13, 1728). America’s foremost Puritan minister during the early 1700s, Cotton Mather railed repeatedly against piracy and offered his counsel to a long line of condemned pirates, ranging from Captain William Kidd, in 1700, to William Fly, who was executed in Boston several decades later, in 1726. When six members of Samuel Bellamy’s crew were condemned in 1717, Mather made the “long and sad walk with them from the prison to the place of execution,” where he delivered final words before the pirates were hanged.


Mather and other Puritan leaders saw piracy as a vivid symbol of everything that was wrong with colonial New England at a time of deteriorating social and religious values -- and pirates awaiting execution provided rich, engaging material for sermons. (http://www.gregflemming.com/2014/02/02/pirates-pulpit/)


Mather died in 1728 and is buried in Copp’s Hill Burying Ground in Boston’s North End.


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Thank you. That's a great addition. Certainly far more interesting than the following, but it's all I had for today...

February 12 -
Duchesne was a filibuster from France from 1681 through 1689. He was in command of a ship that sailed from Saint Domingue to sack Tampico in the Gulf of Mexico in 1683. Duschesne was also in the fleet of Joseph Bannister in 1684. On this day in 1685, he served in command of Bannister’s 36-gun Golden Fleece, because Bannister was not supposed to sail under French colors. In September 1685 he was able to escape the Spanish flotilla that had hunted down Bréha and nearly ended De Graaf’s pirate career.

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February 14 -

Quite a few things happened on St. Valentines Day over the years...

On this day in 1683, Abraham Cowley (aka William Ambrose, a Sailing master) wrote in his diary:

"We were choosing valentines and discoursing on the Intrigues of Women, when there arose a prodigious storm [which lasted two weeks on end and drove his ship farther South than any ship had ever been before] so that we concluded the discoursing of Women at sea was very unlucky and occasioned the storm."

Cowley was a graduate of Cambridge University serving as sailing master in the ship Revenge under command of John Cook, sailing from the Chesapeake bound for the South Seas.

. . .

Edward Davis, was a buccaneer from Vlaanderen in the Republic of the United Netherlands. He operated with John Eaton but he left because Davis insisted on a larger share in the loot. Davis continued cruising along the coasts of Chili and Peru, sacked towns and captured Spanish vessels, but his general plan was to waylay the treasure galleons from Peru to Panama. On 22 October, 1684 encountered Swan’s Cygnet and a smaller vessel under Peter Harris. Then on this day in 1685, after having crossed the Darien Isthmus, 200 French and 80 English adventurers reached Davis’s squadron. Davis gallantly handed over a recently taken galleon to the French gentlemen, dividing the English over Bachelor’s Delight and Swan’s Cygnet.

. . .

L’Escuyer, aka L’Escayer aka Lescuier aka Lequie was a Filibuster from Fance. In January 1685 he served in command of a small ship with six guns and five swivel guns that sailed in the West Indies in company with Andriesz in his Mutiny of with Brouage’s Neptune, Le Garde’s brigantin Galant, the Captains Roze and Vigneron in their vessels. He sacked Paita and Guayaquil in company of Grogniet, Davis and Swan in the Pacific, after having arrived with 280 filibusters in a massive pirate invasion on the Westcoast of Panama on this day in 1685. He later suffered defeat at Quibo but was rescued by Townley. He then sailed with the latter and again sacked Guayaquil. L’Escuyer, with Grogniet, plundered Granada in Nicaragua but gaining no profits from the town (the inhabitants having taken their valuables to an island in Lake Nicaragua), they burned the town in March of 1686. He died shortly after the company arrived at the Pearl Islands. His crew merged with Grogniet and later Edward Davis.

. . .

Also on this day in 1688, following a 1,000 mile march overland, Raveneau de Lussan and his followers embark on an English lugger bound for Santo Domingo.

. . .

José Almeyda of Portugal, who lived with wife and eight children in North America, and was active in the wars of independence in the Spanish Main, was arrested in December 1827 and executed for piracy on this day in 1832 at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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February 17 -

John Coxon, a filibuster from England, was a hot-tempered man. He served as one of the commanders who surprised and plundered Santa Marta on the Spanish Main in early 1677. He was declared a pirate since he sailed from Jamaica with a questionable French commission, but he promised to give up his crimes to escape punishment. However, in 1679, with Sharp and others, he fitted out an enterprise to Honduras that turned out to be rather successful. Among the plunder there was to be found 500 chests of indigo, cocoa, cochineal, tortoiseshell, money and plate. In January of 1680 he set sail, in consort with Allinson, Essex, Row and Sharp, for Porto Bello. They arrived there on February 17th after four days marching, and after having been without food "and their feet cut with the rocks for want of shoes" they still took and plundered the town, gaining about 18.000 pounds in booty. Each man’s share was 100 pieces of 8.

Cornelius Essex, with Allison, Row and Sharp joined the same expedition under command of captain Coxon, who in four barques and two sloops, sailed from Jamaica to Puerto Bello. Their passage was frustrated by violent storms but all ships arrived at the destination. Some 300 men went in canoes and landed about 20 leagues from the town, then marched for four days along the coast, “many of them were weak, being for days without any food and their feet cut with the rocks for want of shoes and stung by insects”. Essex was among those who attacked and took Puerto Bello, on February 17th and left the town before a Spanish force of 700 could come to hinder them. As others, he received one hundred pieces of eight for his pains. On his return London was informed of Essex’s arrest in Jamaica “with 20 of his men for riotously comporting themselves and for plundering Major Jenckes of St. James parish.”

. . .

Richard Worley, who died on this day in 1719, was a pirate who was active in the Caribbean Sea and the east coast of the American colonies during the early 18th century. He is credited as one of the earliest pirates to fly the first version of the skull and crossbones pirate flag. The name of Worley's ship has never been identified, nor those of the four ships that he captured during his five month career from late September 1718 to February 16, 1719.

He is first recorded leaving New York with a small boat and a crew of eight men hoping to make their fortune in the so-called Golden Age of Piracy. However, their first prize resulted in the capture of household goods from a ship in the Delaware River in September 1718. This attack was technically burglary rather than piracy, as according to British maritime law at the time the attack did not take place in international waters. Local authorities mistakenly attributed the attack to Worley's better-known counterpart Blackbeard, who had raided the same waterways earlier in the year.

Their second prize brought better luck as, upon capturing a sloop bound for Philadelphia, Worley also gained four additional crew members. As they made their way to the Bahamas, however, King George I issued a royal proclamation for the capture and execution of pirates who chose not to accept a royal pardon from the British government. Although the 24-gun warship HMS Phoenix was sent out after Worley, he and his crew were able to evade capture.

After six weeks off the Bahamas, during which time he captured a brigantine and a sloop as well as additional guns and crew members, he began flying his official colors of a flag with the skull and crossbones. It was during this time that the crew agreed upon a set of articles, which included a vow to fight to the death rather than surrender to authorities.

Worley soon prepared to make his return to the colonies, where others such as Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet were enjoying success off Virginia and the Carolinas. When he pulled into Charleston, South Carolina to refit his ship, the governor was informed of his presence and sent two warships against him.
As they reached the mouth of Jamestown harbor, Worley encountered the warships and moved against them, mistaking the ships for merchant vessels. Attempting to block the harbor, he inadvertently trapped his own ship, which was easily disabled by cannon fire. The pirates refused to surrender however, and, as colonial militia boarded the ship, all of the crew were killed (with the exception of Worley and 19 of his crew were seriously injured in the fighting).

Worley and 19 of his crew were sentenced to death the day following their capture and hanged on February 17, 1719. However, another account states Worley was killed in the fighting with some of his crew, while 19 of the crew were captured in the hold of their ship.

. . .


Thomas Baker came aboard Rackam’s sloop at Negril Point in Jamaica, enticed aboard to share a glass of punch. He brought his gun and cutlass with him, but had the ill luck that the sloop was overpowered by a pirate hunter the very same moment. By a tragic travesty of justice he was executed on this day in 1721, at Gallows-Point at Kingston, Jamaica.

John Eaton, one of John Rackam’s men who also came aboard the pirate’s sloop at Negril Point, Jamaica that day, only to be executed one February the 17th at Gallows-Point, Jamaica.

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Great stuff on Coxon and Worley.

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Thank you. Just jotting down whatever I come across throughout the year.

February 18 -

Mathurin Desmaretz, was Quartermaster with captain Charpin in the ship St. Roze, and quarreled with him over the division of the loot. He agreed in defining the captain’s dividend (ten lots and first choice of any captured vessel) and those of the two surgeons on board, who, in addition to the usual allowance for their chests, were to keep captured instruments which were not embellished with silver details (“qui ne seront point garnys d’argent”). Pillage included gold, silver, diamonds, pearls, musk, ambergris and all sorts of precious stones as well as all bales that were not pierced between two points or at their bases (“tous balots entammez entre deux ponts ou au fond”). Recorded at Ile à Vache, February 18th, 1688.

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February 21 -

On this day in 1701, William Dampier's ship, Roebuck, sank at her anchors at Ascension Island, ending his expedition described in 'A Voyage to New Holland'. The 290-ton 12-gun Roebuck with a crew of 50 men and boys had carried him to King Sound, where he was the first European to describe the Australian aboriginals in very unflattering terms. He explored coastlines, rivers, streams and maintained his extensive journals in his seaman’s chest or, forced by necessity, in long sticks of hollow bamboo (waxing the ends to keep out the water and humidity) during the numberless crossings. He had won wide, previous acclaim after writing and publishing a lively narrative entitled 'A New Voyage Round the World' in 1697 that ran into many editions, the best being the 4th, published in 1729. The work transformed the pirate into a respected explorer.

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February 23 -

It is believed that Captain Samuel Bellamy was born on this day in 1689, not because we have a record of his birth, but because his mother Elizabeth Bellamy is reported to have died in childbirth and was buried that day.

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On February 24, in 1725, the trial of Matthew Perry and a number of other sailors began in Newport, Rhode Island. Perry was the first mate aboard the ship John and Mary when it was captured off the coast of Belize by members of the Low-Spriggs pirate crew, now under the command of Richard Shipton (Low had been cast adrift some months earlier). Three pirates went aboard the John and Mary to take command, with orders to follow Shipton's vessel. Perry was initially bound with his hands tied behind his back, but in a matter of days, several other captives aboard the ship, who were entrusted by the pirates, were able to free Perry and gave him one of their pistols.


Anchored off the coast of Guanaja in the Bay of Honduras one afternoon in late December, Perry and the other captives suddenly rushed the pirates, killed two of them, and regained control of the ship. The men cut their cables and immediately set sail back home to Newport. When they arrived, however, they were put on trial -- because the men, with “force and arms,” had killed “two of the subjects of our Lord the King.” Yet since these two “subjects” were by all accounts pirates, there never seemed to be any question of the crew’s innocence. The men recounted their capture and escape, and all of them were found not guilty.


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February 24 -

Also on this day back in 1720, the Spanish fleet arrived at New Providence, only to find that Roger's had fortified the place with new defenses. Wary of Rogers' defences, the Spanish landed troops on Paradise Island (then known as Hog Island), which shelters Nassau's harbor, but they were driven off by Rogers' troops.

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Catching up from the weekend, we have a few days in history to mention.

While there was no leap year this year, on February 29, 1720, Edward England (aka Jasper Seagar, or Edw. Seegar) with no less than 250 men aboard, “attempted a Dutch ship near Cape Town. He came up with the Black Flag flying.” Royal James “was not beaten off until his foremast was within one foot of the Dutchmen’s ensign staff, when her chase guns raked him and made him withdraw.”

Then, while not pirate related, this little bit of history certainly demonstrates the fears and superstitions of the period, because on March 1, 1692 the notorious Salem Witch hunts began.

Also on March 1, 1796, the VOC (Dutch East India Company) was nationalized by the new Batavian Republic. Its charter was renewed several times, but allowed to expire on 31 December 1799.

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March 7 -

On this day in 1665, the second rate 'HMS London' accidentally exploded in the Thames Estuary, killing 300 crewmen.

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March 8 -

On this day in 1702, Anne Bonny was born in Ireland.

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My favorite day in pirate history: On March 9, 1723, the pirate crew of Edward Low was anchored in two sloops and a schooner near several cays in Port Royal harbor, at the eastern end of the island of Roatan, Honduras. The pirates had been there for about a week and were preparing to head out for the coast of Belize (where, on March 10, Low would unleash one of the bloodiest massacres of his career). On March 9, seven men from Low's crew took a boat ashore to Roatan to fill their casks with fresh drinking water. As they made their way towards shore, they were spotted by Philip Ashton, a young fisherman from Masschusetts who had been captured by Low's crew off the coast of Nova Scotia nine months earlier. From the deck of another of Low's vessels, Ashton pleaded with Low's cooper to take him ashore and, when the pirates agreed, Ashton jumped in the boat. Once on Roatan, Ashton wandered off -- at first pretending to casually stroll along the beach looking for coconuts, then suddenly dashing into the thick woods and hiding. After Ashton escaped from Low's crew that day, he would spend close to two years living alone as a castaway on the uninhabited island. (For more on Ashton and photos of Roatan, check out www.gregflemming.com.)



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On March 10, 1723 (the day after Philip Ashton ran away from the pirates on Roatan--see previous post), four sloops from New England were anchored just off the shore of what now forms the mainland of Belize. The sloops were filling their holds with huge stacks of the prized Central American trees known as logwood and would soon set sail back to New England. Suddenly the men working on the sloops spotted a frightening sight: an approaching Spanish ship. The New England sloops anchored in the shallow bay as they were being loaded with logwood were an easy target for the Spanish vessel, which had ten large guns and close to sixty men aboard. The Spanish ship quickly captured three of the sloops, all from Newport, Rhode Island. The fourth, from Boston and under the command of a man named Edward Loyd, stole away as quickly as it could. Loyd’s crew cut their cables and set sail immediately. The Spanish ship followed Loyd for a short time but couldn't catch up and eventually returned to the other captured sloops.



But barely three or four hours later that same day, the pirate crews of Edward Low and Francis Spriggs sailed into the bay. Low’s former partner, George Lowther, was with them. With three vessels and more than one hundred men, most of them either manning heavy guns or armed on deck with muskets and pistols, Low's men outnumbered the Spanish crew and immediately captured the ship, as well as the three New England sloops. The pirates’ capture quickly turned into a horrifically bloody massacre. Low’s crew killed as many as fifty of the Spanish seamen, butchering some of the men and hacking their bodies into pieces, according to the report from one sea captain who witnessed the attack. Seven of the Spanish sailors survived when they jumped overboard and frantically swam ashore.


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I pre-ordered At the Point of a Cutlass through the brazilian river company. I'm looking forward for it's release and for the read this summer. ;)

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I pre-ordered At the Point of a Cutlass through the brazilian river company. I'm looking forward for it's release and for the read this summer. ;)

Thank you! I hope you enjoy it.

Greg

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March 16 -

On this day in 1719 Rogers learned that Spain and Britain were at war again. He redoubled his efforts to repair the island's fortifications, buying vital supplies on credit in the hope of later being reimbursed by the expedition's investors.

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March 19 -

On this day in 1720, John Clipperton and his crew reached the Port of Velas at the Western extremity of Nicoya peninsula arriving with their prize the 'Prince Eugene".

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March 20 -

The Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC, "United East India Company") was a chartered company established on this day in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia. It is often considered to have been the first multinational corporation in the world and it was the first company to issue stock. It was also arguably the first megacorporation, possessing quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts, negotiate treaties, coin money, and establish colonies.

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