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Slave Trade Logics

23 September 1625
Pulicat, entrance to the Dutch cemetery
Wikimedia Commons

Two vessels of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) were sent from the VOC's Pulicat factory in South India to the kingdom Arakan (nowadays a region in Burma) on 23 September 1625 to fetch slaves from there. The vessels returned with 130 slaves who were the only ones to survive of the total lot of 544 bought. The slaves were in bad condition at the moment of their purchase: 'If there had not been a terrible famine and pestilence in Arakan this year, as many as 1000 to 1500 slaves could have been bought. The king of Arakan had received 10.000 slaves from Bengal earlier. Since the unsold ones would have to be maintained, the king had ordered suspension of further procurement.' These slaves were left to die. (letter from VOC officer Ysbrantsz at Pulicat to the governor-general at Batavia dd 5 December 1625).