In February 1665, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) agreed to equip 20 ships for the Dutch fleet, six of which were specifically named Indiamen. This article will focus on this episode as the culmination of 25 years of VOC involvement in the Republic’s wars in Europe. During this period, the VOC acted at times as a sixth admiralty board. This article will argue that the ships that the VOC provided in 1665 should not be seen as armed merchantmen, but rather as a distinct type of warship. Drawing on fleet lists and armament figures, the case is made that the VOC provided important support for the fleet. In addition, it is argued that the VOC followed the technical changes in Dutch warship design in this period. The inability to cope with the risk of battlefleet strategy, not technical changes, forced the VOC out of its role as sixth admiralty.

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International Journal of Maritime History
Department of History

Odegard, E. (2014). The sixth admiralty: The Dutch East India Company and the military revolution at sea, c. 1639–1667. International Journal of Maritime History, 26(4), 669–684. doi:10.1177/0843871414551899