• Spencer Low

Decline & displacement

Portugal was united with Spain in 1580 by virtue of sharing the same king in the person of Philip (Filipe I in Portuguese). The Spanish had been at war with the Low Countries since 1568, and the Dutch now had a reason to attack Portuguese interests. This marked the start of the decline of Portuguese power in Asia.


A map from c.1607, by Flemish engraver Theodor de Bry, depicts a 1603 naval battle between the Portuguese and Dutch off the coast of Singapore.

The Dutch East India Company, Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (or VOC), was founded in 1602 to trade with Mughal India.

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