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In 1580 the Portuguese crown was united in a personal union with the Spanish crown, with which the Dutch Republic was at war.
Further, a number of Dutchmen like Jan Huyghen van Linschoten and Cornelis de Houtman obtained first hand knowledge of the "secret" Portuguese trade routes and practices, thereby providing opportunity.
It appeared on various corporate items, such as cannon and coins.
The first letter of the hometown of the chamber conducting the operation was placed on top (see figure for example of the Amsterdam chamber logo).
1590s–1720s), the VOC-funded exploratory voyages such as those led by Willem Janszoon (Duyfken), Henry Hudson (Halve Maen) and Abel Tasman revealed largely unknown landmasses to the western world. 1570s–1670s), the VOC navigators and cartographers helped shape geographical knowledge of the modern world as we know them today.
The commercial networks of Dutch transnational companies, like the VOC and WIC/GWIC, provided an infrastructure which was accessible to people with a scholarly interest in the exotic world.
At the same time, the Portuguese trade system was unable to increase supply to satisfy growing demand, in particular the demand for pepper.