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The Portuguese Empire therefore became an appropriate target for Dutch military incursions.
These factors motivated Dutch merchants to enter the intercontinental spice trade themselves.
By contrast, the rest of Europe combined sent only 882,412 people from 1500 to 1795, and the fleet of the British East India Company (EIC), the VOC's nearest competitor, was a distant second to its total traffic with 2,690 ships and a mere one-fifth the tonnage of goods carried by the VOC.
The VOC enjoyed huge profits from its spice monopoly through most of the 17th century.century to include the whole of the Indonesian archipelago, which would later become the modern Republic of Indonesia.
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.
The stage was thus set for the four-ship exploratory expedition by Frederick de Houtman in 1595 to Banten, the main pepper port of West Java, where they clashed with both the Portuguese and indigenous Indonesians.
The logo of the VOC consisted of a large capital 'V' with an O on the left and a C on the right leg.
It appeared on various corporate items, such as cannon and coins.
In spite of the VOC's historical contributions, the company has long been criticized for its monopoly, colonialism, exploitation (including use of slave labour), and environmental destruction (especially deforestation).
The company's economic activity in Mauritius largely contributed to the extinction of the dodo, a flightless bird that was endemic to the island.
The abbreviation "VOC" stands for "Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie" or "Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie" in Dutch, literally meaning "United East-Indian Company", "United East-India Company", or "United East-Indies Company".
The VOC monogram was possibly the first globally-recognized corporate logo.
Demand for spices was relatively inelastic, and therefore each lag in the supply of pepper caused a sharp rise in pepper prices.