Hooghly-Chinsura, West Bengal

François Valentijn1626

Kalakriti Archives

Kalakriti Archives
Hyderabad, India

An early 18th Century plan of the Dutch factory of Chinsura, on Bengal’s Hooghly River, offering a detailed perspective on a typical contemporary European commercial outpost in India.

This plan grants a detailed insight into the formation of a European factory in India. While there were several European-governed cities in India, such as Calcutta, Madras, Bombay and Pondicherry, most European settlements consisted of such compact, commercial outposts built on land leased or rented from Indian rulers.

In 1635, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) established a factory at Chinsura, very near the town of Hooghly. The settlement was authorized by a firman granted by the Mughal emperor. Chinsura quickly developed into the VOC’s main base in Bengal, then the wealthiest region of India. The Dutch maintained a brisk trade in fine silks, calicos, saltpeter and opium.

The plan depicts Chinsura as it appeared in 1721, and shows a variety of facilities, such as the governor’s house, the accounting office, warehouses, military barracks, residences and docking quays, all enclosed by a wall. While goods and supplies would flow in and out of the factory, the settlement was a largely self-contained Dutch enclave.


  • Title: Hooghly-Chinsura, West Bengal
  • Creator: François Valentijn
  • Date Published: 1626
  • Location Created: Dordrecht
  • Physical Dimensions: 27.7 x 36.4 cm
  • Type: Document
  • Medium: Copper engraving with hand colour
  • Title (Original): Aanwysing der Voornaamste Wooningen, Poorten, Thuynen, Tanken, enz: op Hoegly Ao. 1721.
  • Creator's Lifetime: 1666/1727

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