Starting in early 2022, the GLOBALISE project of the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands and four partners will develop an online infrastructure that unlocks ‘General Letters’ of the VOC for advanced new research methods. Matthias van Rossum and Lodewijk Petram will talk about the project’s plans to recognise and identify entities (such as places, persons and commodities) and events in the text, and link these to a comprehensive collection of historical reference data related to the history of the VOC and the early-modern Indian Ocean and Indonesian Archipelago worlds.
The General Letters (Generale Missiven) are the key series of VOC reports from the company’s Asian headquarters in Batavia (now Jakarta) to the Dutch Republic. Spanning nearly the entire 17th and 18th centuries, this series of approximately 105,000 handwritten folios provides detailed and structured overviews of historical events and social, political, and economic developments occurring in the vast region where the VOC was active. It is therefore of crucial importance to our understanding of the history of the world.