Santa Catarina (1603)

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The Santa Catarina was a Portuguese merchant ship.

On February 25, 1603, the carrack was picked up in the Strait of Singapore by ships of the Dutch East India Company . The carrack weighed around 1,500 tons and had 650 men and 100 women as cargo on board, including Chinese silk and porcelain. This silk alone brought a pure sales revenue of 2.2 million guilders in the Netherlands and made Admiral Jacob van Heemskerk a wealthy man. The total profit is almost 34 tons of gold and after deducting all losses, expenses and other expenses, the company has a profit of 450,000 guilders, the seamen 123,380 guilders and van Heemskerk 31,500 guilders.

A legal opinion commissioned for this case was the reason for Hugo Grotius' book "Mare Liberum".


  • Pieter van Dam: Beschryvinge van de Oostindische Compagnie. Martinus Nijhoff, 's-Gravenhage 1929.
  • Tobias van Gent: 17 Zeventiende eeuwse admiralen en hun zeeslagen. The Hague 2000, ISBN 90-9013658-4 .

Web links

Van Dam's work can be read digitally online: