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Sellers & Sailors: The East India Companies

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  • Isak Sebastian Browald (1768 - 1787)
  • Olof Torén (1718 - 1753)
    Preacher on board ships belonging to the Swedish East India Company. Died from scurvy in the vicarage of Näsinge, where his brother lived.
  • Jonas Lomberg (c.1705 - 1750)
    Skeppspredikant 1738 - 39. Svenska Ostindiska Compagniet, första oktrojen. Två skepp seglade denna resa tillsammans, Friedericus Rex Sueciae och Stockholm. Kyrkoherde 1745. "Jonas Lom...
  • Lieutenant William Pickett (c.1759 - 1796)
    Lieutenant WILLIAM PICKETT , in the Honb. East India Company's Service was slain by Pirates on board the TRITON in the Bay of Bengal the 29th June 1796 Aged 36 years.
  • Adriaan Stoop (1856 - 1935)
    Adriaan Stoop was een Nederlandse ontdekkingsreiziger. Hij studeerde in 1878 af aan de TU Delft met een mijnbouw-diploma en vertrok kort daarna naar Nederlands-Indië, nu Indonesië. In 188...

Thank you to Geni for making us their Featured Project for July 11, 2011!

From the 17th through 19th Centuries, thousands of European men set sail on behalf of joint-stock companies to reap the riches of the Indian subcontinent. Trading mainly in cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpeter, tea, and opium, these companies became the original capitalist mega-corporations as each -- and its royal backers -- fought each other on the seas and tried to conquer Southeast Asia, East Asia, and India for their own benefit.

This project aims to bring together profiles of the financial backers, captains, officers, rank-and-file sailors, and others affiliated with the major East India Companies.

Major Companies

The major East India Companies were:

  • British East India Company (1600 - 1874)
  • Danish East India Company (1616 - 1772)
  • VOC ‧ Dutch East India Company (1602 - 1798)
  • French East India Company (1644 - 1794)
  • Portuguese East India Company (1628 - 1633)
  • Swedish East India Company (1731 - 1813)

Please feel free to add anyone to this project who was involved with one of these companies.

Company Lists

Most company lists must be obtained directly through primary source research; however, some websites do exist on-line containing records.

For direct research on British East India Company sailors, this website gives good details on how to obtain records. For secondary on-line research, East India Company Ships ( lists British East India Company captains. You can also find information on obtaining late-period civil service graduate records here. Otherwise, you will need to work with official manifests and government records to locate information, particularly outside the British company.

Cautionary Note

Many men sailed for a flag other than their own. If a record for an Frenchman says, for example "East India Company sailor," he could just as easily have sailed for the Swedes. Keep that in mind when working on individual profiles -- documentation is always key.