Triester East India Company

The "Triester Handelsgesellschaft" (Société du Commerce d'Asie & d'Afrique) was the last great colonial enterprise by the Habsburger. Empress Maria Theresia gave Guillaume Bolts permission to start the company in Trieste, mainly financed by Antwerp bankers.

After Trieste had been declared a free port together with Fiume by Emperor Karl VI, it held a major significance for the trade of the Habsburgs. Since to them the access to the seas via the Austrian Netherlands remained barred, Trieste was to become the base for the East India trade. In 1775 Guilleaume Bolts received the permission of Empress Marie Theresia to found an East Indian trade company in Trieste.

In 1781 the first shares were disbursed with great success. The famous Antwerp merchant Charles de Proli (son of the founder of the Imperial Indian Company), who was also involved in the insurance industry of Antwerp, became the manager. However, the company finally deteriorated due to the French and British resistance and the failed expedition to China, which put the company into insolvency.

The Trading Compagnie of Trieste went down in history as one of the last great colonial companies of the Habsburgs.