The weakening of Portuguese enabled the English and the Dutch merchants to use the Cape of Good Hope route to India and so to join in the race for empire in the East.
At the end, the Dutch gained control over Indonesia and the British over India, Ceylon, and Malaya.
In 1595, four Dutch ships sailed to India via the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1602, the Dutch East India Company was formed and the Dutch States General (the Dutch parliament) gave it a Charter empowering it to make war, conclude treaties, acquire territories, and build fortresses.
The main interest of Dutch was not in India, but in the Indonesian Islands of Java, Sumatra, and the Spice Islands where spices were produced.
Dutch forced back the Portuguese from the Malay Straits and the Indonesian Islands and, in 1623, defeated English who attempted to establish themselves on the islands.
In the first half of 17th century, Dutch had successfully seized the most important profitable part of Asian trade.
Dutch also established trading depots at −
Surat, Broach, Cambay, and Ahmadabad in Gujarat;
Cochin in Kerala;
Nagapatam in Madras;
Masulipatam in Andhra
Chinsura in Bengal;
Patna in Bihar; and
Agra in Uttar Pradesh.
In 1658, also conquered Ceylon from the Portuguese.
Dutch exported indigo, raw silk, cotton textiles, saltpeter, and opium from India.
Like the Portuguese, Dutch treated the people of India with cruelty and exploited them ruthlessly.