Charter Given by the High and Mighty Lords of the States General on the Date of June the Third, 1621


On June 3, 1621, the States-General, the governing body of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, issued a charter to a group of Dutch merchants to establish the Dutch West India Company. Similar to the Dutch East India Company, which was founded in 1602 in order to promote trade with Asia, the West India Company was granted a 24-year monopoly on all trade by Dutch merchants and inhabitants in a region that included the Americas and West Africa. The text of the charter, published in this 1623 pamphlet, contained 45 articles that reflected the high level of business organization in the Netherlands of the early 17th century. Article 18 established the Lords Nineteen as the company’s governing body and specified the number of representatives each province would have on this body. At its peak, the West India Company controlled settlements in the Caribbean, Brazil, and Suriname, the colony of New Netherland located in parts of the present-day U.S. states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware, and was involved in the African slave trade. Initially profitable, it fell on hard times as it lost many of its territories to Portuguese, French, and British rivals. In 1674, the Dutch West India Company ceased to exist.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Hillebrant Jacobsz van Wouw, 's Gravenhaghe


Title in Original Language

Octroy, By de Hooghe Mogende Heeren Staten Generael, verleent aende West-Indische Compagnie, in date den derden Junij 1621

Type of Item

Physical Description

Pamphlet, printed paper, 14 x 19.5 centimeters


Last updated: September 22, 2014