Ships of the Honourable East India Company
The Honourable East India Company was a response to the Dutch East India Company . Many of the delicacies of life were being supplied by the Dutch and English money was leaving the country. Such an affront to mercantilism was unacceptable. The main cause of this money outflow was the fashionable desire for nutmeg. There was typically a 16 fold profit margin on this spice in the early 1600s. Little did anyone know that the desire for nutmeg would create a company that ruled the Asian sub-continent with an army of administrators in London, a private military and navy in Asia.
After a shaky start using ships displacing 700 to 1000 tons the Company's typical ship size was soon reduced down to 499 tons displacement . The smaller ships had better sailing qualities and trade was yet to develop to a level where the behemoths were required.
The spice trade had not proved as successful as anticipated as the spice islands were firmly under Dutch control. Large ships would have to wait two hundred years to be of use to the Company. The 499 ton ships avoided the requirement to have a Chaplin on board. The crew of an East Indiaman already contained far more specialists than other merchants who typically carried just a carpenter . A Chaplin would have taken valuable space and resources that could have been used for crew, specialists or human super cargo. Although many East Indiaman officially listed at 499 tons displacement they actually displaced upwards of this figure. East Indiamen carried considerably more armament than a typical merchant. They were operating under a royal charter in possibly hostile environments assuming a quasi-diplomatic role. To this end each ship carried the Kings Commission. A standard weapons...