Danish East India Company

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Danish and other European settlements in India.

The Danish East India Company (Danish: Dansk Ostindisk Kompagni) was a Danish chartered company.


It was founded in 1616, following a privilege of Danish King Christian IV. It was focused on trade with India and had its base in Trankebar, in the fort Dansborg, the seat of its governor (see indirect rule) of Danish India, who was styled Opperhoved. During its heyday, the Danish East India Company and Swedish East India Company imported more tea than the British East India Company and smuggled 90 percent of it into Britain, where it could be sold at a huge profit.

After a short blossoming, it lost importance quickly and was dissolved in 1729. In 1732, it was refounded as Asiatisk Kompagni ("Asiatic Company"), yet in 1772 it lost its monopoly, and in 1779 Danish India became a crown colony.

During the Napoleonic Wars, in 1801 and again in 1807, the British Navy attacked Copenhagen in the Battle of Copenhagen (1807). As a consequence of the last attack, Denmark (one of few West European countries not occupied by Bonaparte) lost its entire fleet and the island of Helgoland (part of the duchy of Holstein-Gottorp; ceded to Germany in 1890). Denmark sold its colonies in India and the Gold Coast to Britain in 1845.

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