East India Company

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Under the East India Company name there arose in the 17th century several enterprises with special privileges from various European governments for trade with the East Indies. The oldest and most important of these trading companies were founded by the English and the Dutch. The English East India Company received a charter on 31 December 1600, from Queen Elizabeth. The Dutch East India Company was formed in 1602 through the union of several companies founded after 1595. Their field was principally the East Indian islands. In a short time this company became dominant there. In it there were Mennonites at first; but they withdrew when the company became involved in conquest and violence (Cramer, 611).

The council of Bern hoped that it might be able to use the Dutch East India Company in its suppression of the Mennonites. The expulsions previously carried out had not shown the desired results, since the exiles could not take their families with them and therefore frequently returned. By taking them to a distant island the council hoped to make a return impossible. On 17 May 1699, it therefore applied to the company in Amsterdam with the request to take the Mennonites to the East Indies. The Amsterdam company, however, did not comply (Müller, 253).


Brons, A. Ursprung, Entwickelung und Schicksale der altevangelischen Taufgesinnten oder Mennoniten. Amsterdam: Johannes Muller, 1912: 195-206.

Cramer, Samuel. "Mennoniten," in Herzog, J. J. and Albert Hauck, Realencyclopedie für Protestantische Theologie and Kirche, 24 vols. 3. ed. Leipzig: J. H. Hinrichs, 1896-1913.

Müller, Ernst. Geschichte der Bernischen Täufer. Frauenfeld: Huber, 1895. Reprinted Nieuwkoop: B. de Graaf, 1972.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. (Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 321.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Date Published 1955

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Hege, Christian. "East India Company." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 11 May 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=East_India_Company&oldid=144085.

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Hege, Christian. (1955). East India Company. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 11 May 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=East_India_Company&oldid=144085.

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