Al Basrah


The VOC rented a trading post here, initially in the years 1645 to 1646. Several years later the Company returned, in 1651. After that the Company sporadically rented a trading post in Basra. In the period spanning 1723 to 1752 it rented a trading station on and off. But the trading station was abandoned in 1753 due to problems with the local authorities. In 1753 the head of the trading station, Theo von Kniphausen, was accused of maintaining relationships with Moslim women. He protested innocence and was released after a large sum of money had been paid. Von Kniphausen sailed to Batavia where he was able to convince the governor-general to take a hard line and to evade all future problems of 'blackmail and vexation' by setting up a trading post on Kark. He then came back, blockaded the Shatt al-Arab and forced the return of the money and closed down the trading posts in Basra and Bushire. After 1740 Basra emerged as the most important staging post of the VOC in the Gulf. But a number of decades later the roles were reversed once more and it was the VOC's turn to cede to the English.