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The Noordsche Compagnie (English: Northern Company) was a Dutch cartel in the whaling trade, founded by several cities in the Netherlands in 1614 and operating until 1642. Soon after its founding, it became entangled in territorial conflicts with England, Denmark, France, and other groups within the Netherlands.
Whaling is the hunting of whales for their usable products such as meat and blubber, which can be turned into a type of oil which became increasingly important in the Industrial Revolution. It was practiced as an organized industry as early as 875 AD. By the 16th century, it had risen to be the principle industry in the coastal regions of Spain and France. The industry spread throughout the world, and became increasingly profitable in terms of trade and resources. Some regions of the world's oceans, along the animals' migration routes, had a particularly dense whale population, and became the targets for large concentrations of whaling ships, and the industry continued to grow well into the 20th century. The depletion of some whale species to near extinction led to the banning of whaling in many countries by 1969, and to a worldwide cessation of whaling as an industry in the late 1980s. The earliest forms of whaling date to at least circa 3000 BC. Coastal communities around the world have long histories of subsistence use of cetaceans, by dolphin drive hunting and by harvesting drift whales. Industrial whaling emerged with organized fleets of whaleships in the 17th century; competitive national whaling industries in the 18th and 19th centuries; and the introduction of factory ships along with the concept of whale harvesting in the first half of the 20th century. By the late 1930s more than 50,000 whales were killed annually. In 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial whaling because of the extreme depletion of most of the whale stocks.
The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
It was also known as the Groenlandse Compagnie (English: Greenland Company), but the name is misleading today since the "Greenland" referred to is Svalbard, previously thought to either be identical or connected to the island of Greenland discovered and colonized by the Norse.
Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Situated north of mainland Europe, it is about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. The islands of the group range from 74° to 81° north latitude, and from 10° to 35° east longitude. The largest island is Spitsbergen, followed by Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya. Administratively, the archipelago is not part of any Norwegian county, but forms an unincorporated area administered by a governor appointed by the Norwegian government. Since 2002, Svalbard's main settlement, Longyearbyen, has had an elected local government, somewhat similar to mainland municipalities. Other settlements include the Russian mining community of Barentsburg, the research station of Ny-Ålesund, and the mining outpost of Sveagruva. Ny-Ålesund is the northernmost settlement in the world with a permanent civilian population. Other settlements are farther north, but are populated only by rotating groups of researchers.
Greenland is an autonomous country of the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for more than a millennium. The majority of its residents are Inuit, whose ancestors began migrating from the Canadian mainland in the 13th century, gradually settling across the island.
In 1598, a whale beached at Wijk aan Zee. The animal was sold for 126 guilders and the jaw was transported to Dillenburg and given to Jan van Nassau as a gift.
Wijk aan Zee is a small town on the coast of the North Sea in the municipality of Beverwijk in the province of North Holland of the Netherlands. The prestigious Tata Steel Chess Tournament takes place there every year.
Dillenburg, officially Oranienstadt Dillenburg, is a town in Hesse's Gießen region in Germany. The town was formerly the seat of the old Dillkreis district, which is now part of the Lahn-Dill-Kreis.
In 1612, the first mention is made of a commercial expedition to Novaya Zemlya after it was concluded that whaling at the Cape of Good Hope in the southern Atlantic offered little prospects of profit. Willem Cornelisz. van Muyden was one of the first skippers to set sail to the North. In 1613, he was the commander of the Neptunus and the Fortuyn, two ships that were sent to Spitsbergen (modern Svalbard, then considered part of Greenland) to hunt for whales. On board were twelve or thirteen French Basques.The remaining crew of 48 men came from North Holland.
Novaya Zemlya, also known as Nova Zembla, is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in northern Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe, the easternmost point of Europe lying at Cape Flissingsky on the Northern island. West of Novaya Zemlya is the Barents Sea, and to the east is the Kara Sea.
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".
On 27 January 1614, the Noordsche Compagnie was founded for a period of two years on Vlieland.[ citation needed ] Tymen J. Hinlopen and Jacques Nicquet were amongst the original investors.[ citation needed ] In 1617, the charter was renewed for another four years and, in 1622, for another twelve.
Vlieland is a municipality and island in the northern Netherlands. The municipality of Vlieland has one major town, Oost-Vlieland. It is the second most sparsely populated municipality in the Netherlands, after Schiermonnikoog.
Thijmen Jacobsz Hinlopen, was one of the leaders of the Dutch merchant and whaling company of Noordsche Compagnie since 1617 and participant in the New Netherland Company, interested in furs. Thijmen was a prominent trader in corn from the Baltic carrying on trade to Genoa and Portugal.
Whaling was done in the summer months. Ships and crew left the ports of the Dutch Republic in May or June. After a three-week journey they arrived at the coastal waters of Spitsbergen, Jan Mayen, or Bear Island. In August, September, or October the ships returned to the Republic. Soon whaling stations were established on Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen, the best known of these being Smeerenburg. These stations saved much space in the cargohold of the ships, and also held relieve the stench. For years the Noordsche Compagnie controlled the monopoly for whale oil. For every expedition, participants would invest capital. When the expedition had returned, the profit would immediately be divided amongst the investors.
The Dutch Republic was a confederal republic formally established from the formal creation of a confederacy in 1581 by several Dutch provinces—seceded from Spanish rule—until the Batavian Revolution of 1795. It was a predecessor state of the Netherlands and the first Dutch nation state.
Spitsbergen is the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in northern Norway. Constituting the westernmost bulk of the archipelago, it borders the Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea, and the Greenland Sea. Spitsbergen covers an area of 37,673 km2 (14,546 sq mi), making it the largest island in Norway and the 36th-largest in the world. The administrative centre is Longyearbyen. Other settlements, in addition to research outposts, are the Russian mining community of Barentsburg, the research community of Ny-Ålesund, and the mining outpost of Sveagruva. Spitsbergen was covered in 21,977 km2 (8,485 sq mi) of ice in 1999, which was approximately 58.5% of the island's total area.
Jan Mayen is a Norwegian volcanic island situated in the Arctic Ocean. It is 55 km (34 mi) long (southwest-northeast) and 373 km2 (144 sq mi) in area, partly covered by glaciers. It has two parts: larger northeast Nord-Jan and smaller Sør-Jan, linked by a 2.5 km (1.6 mi) wide isthmus. It lies 600 km (370 mi) northeast of Iceland, 500 km (310 mi) east of central Greenland and 1,000 km (620 mi) west of the North Cape, Norway. The island is mountainous, the highest summit being the Beerenberg volcano in the north. The isthmus is the location of the two largest lakes of the island, Sørlaguna, and Nordlaguna. A third lake is called Ullerenglaguna. Jan Mayen was formed by the Jan Mayen hotspot.
The administration of the Noordsche Compagnie was divided into five chambers. These were relatively independent and located in Amsterdam, Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Rotterdam, and Delft. Each city had its own installations on the polar islands. In 1616 the Zeelandic Lampsin family took part in the company. From then on Vlissingen, Middelburg and Veere also had a chamber. In 1634 the charter was renewed for another eight years. In 1636 two Frisian chambers were created: Harlingen and Stavoren.
The trading area of the Noordsche Compagnie stretched from the Davis Strait to Novaya Zemlya, north of Russia. The company did not make any claims to the territory, they were only concerned with their trading-monopoly.
Initially the company made much use of Basque Harpooners and navigators. Aside from whales, walrus and seals were also hunted. The polar bear hunt resulted in skins and fur. Whale baleen was used to make picture frames for paintings, walking sticks and knifehilts.
Michiel de Ruyter, the most famous Dutch admiral, served as pilot on a ship of the Noordsche Compagnie from 1633 to 1635. He was probably familiar with the route from the time that he was still a sailor.
The company was dissolved in 1642. The company had started receiving intense competition from Dutch interlopers and Danish whalers. Whaling was privatized, and taken over by the private sector.
The participation of the population of the West Frisian Islands to whaling is evident from the tombstones of the ship-captains buried there, which were made from whale jawbones.
Henry Hudson was an English sea explorer and navigator during the early 17th century, best known for his explorations of present-day Canada and parts of the northeastern United States.
Willem Barentsz was a Dutch navigator, cartographer, and Arctic explorer. He went on three expeditions to the far north in search for a Northeast passage. During his third expedition, the crew was stranded on Novaya Zemlya for almost a year. Barentsz died on the return voyage in 1597. In the 19th century, the Barents Sea was named after him.
The settlement of Smeerenburg on Amsterdam Island in northwest Svalbard was founded by Danish and Dutch whalers in 1619 as one of Europe's northernmost outposts.
The polar archipelago of Svalbard was first discovered by Willem Barentsz in 1596, although there is disputed evidence of use by Pomors or Norsemen. Whaling for bowhead whales started in 1611, dominated by English and Dutch companies, though other countries participated. At that time there was no agreement about sovereignty. Whaling stations, the largest being Smeerenburg, were built during the 17th century, but gradually whaling decreased. Hunting was carried out from the 17th century by Pomors, but from the 19th century it became more dominated by Norwegians.
This article discusses the history of whaling from prehistoric times up to the commencement of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.
The Norwegian Polar Institute is Norway's central governmental institution for scientific research, mapping and environmental monitoring in the Arctic and the Antarctic. The NPI is a directorate under Norway's Ministry of Climate and Environment. The institute advises Norwegian authorities on matters concerning polar environmental management and is the official environmental management body for Norwegian activities in Antarctica.
Jan Jacobszoon May van Schellinkhout was a Dutch seafarer and explorer.
Jacob van Heemskerck was a Dutch explorer and admiral.
Ytre Norskøya is an island on the northwest coast of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard archipelago.
Jonas Poole was an early 17th-century English explorer and sealer, and was significant in the history of whaling.
Whaling in the Netherlands was a centuries-long tradition. The history of Dutch whaling begins with 17th-century exploration of Arctic fishing grounds; and the profitability of whaling in the 18th century drove further growth. Increased competition and political upheavals in Europe affected the stability of this maritime industry in the 19th century; and a combination of these factors cut short any further growth of Dutch whaling in the Antarctic.
Jean Vrolicq was a mariner from St-Jean-de-Luz in the first half of the 17th century. He served in the Danish, Dutch, and French whaling industries from 1619 to 1636, and later became a privateer.
Willem Cornelisz. van Muyden was an early 17th-century mariner. He is known in the Netherlands as De Eerste Walvisvanger (1613). Van Muydenbukta and Van Mijenfjorden on the west coast of Spitsbergen and Kapp Muyen on the west coast of Jan Mayen are named after him.
Lambert van Tweenhuysen was a prominent Lutheran merchant at Amsterdam in the early seventeenth century. Born of a well-known patrician family, he had contacts ranging from Archangel and Spitsbergen to North America, and from Northwest Africa to Istanbul. He traded in a wide variety of items, including salt, corn, wine, wood, linseed, textiles, tar, soap, furs, spices, and pearls. He had trade connections in the Baltic, France, Spain, Portugal and the Mediterranean.
Joris Carolus was a Dutch cartographer and explorer. He served for both the Noordsche Compagnie and the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie.
Samuel Godin, Godyn or Godijn was a wealthy merchant, originally from Southern Netherlands, trading on Spain, Brazil and the Levant. He was one of the administrators of the Noordsche Compagnie, involved in whaling, and of the Dutch West India Company. From 1620 he traded on New Netherland. His name was at first given to the Delaware Bay and he was one of the main investors in Zwaanendael. The colony did not last very long as it was plundered by Native Americans soon after its founding.
Virgohamna is a small bay on the northern coast of Danes Island, an island off the northwestern coast of Spitsbergen. Spitsbergen and Danes Island are islands of the Svalbard archipelago. The bay is named after SS Virgo, the vessel of Swedish engineer and explorer Salomon August Andrée's 1896 expedition. Virgohamna is located across a small strait from Smeerenburg, a historical whaling station on Amsterdam Island about 2 km to the north.
Maria Musch, was a Dutch shipowner. She was a major partner of the pioneer whaling company Kleine Noordse Compagnie (1616), which initiated the whaling industry around Jan Mayen. The bay Maria Muschbukta was named after her.