Great Britain was the last of the three great sea-faring nations to break into the Chinese and East Indian trade routes. This was
due in part to the unsteady ascension to the throne of the Stuarts and the Cromwellian Civil War.
Silks, spices, tea and porcelain. These and other exotic products of China have been eagerly sought by Europeans since Roman times. But the land route through the Euroasian deserts along the "Silk Route" allowed only a trickle of Oriental products to reach the Western World.
The trade from Ostend in the Austrian Netherlands to Mocha, India, Bengal and China started in 1715. Some private merchants from Antwerp, Ghent and Ostend were granted charters for the East-India-trade by the Austrian govemment that had recently come to power in the Southern Netherlands. Between 1715 and 1723, 34 ships sailed from Ostend to China, the Malabar or Coromandel coast, Surat, Bengal or Mocha.
On 20 March 1602, the prime companies of Holland merged to form a large company called "Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (V.O.C.)