However logical, indeed inevitable, the comparison, it is not at all easy to compare Dutch and English expansion in the Arabian seas.1 Superficially the two great monopoly Companies, VOC and EIC, had a great deal in common. Both were chartered joint-stock Companies, independent organizations to which certain extra-territorial rights had been allotted. Hence, no other institutions interfered in their affairs, such as the navy or other companies that benefited from their trade; the board of directors of each was responsible to the shareholders and not to the minister of finance. All of this contrasted markedly with the Compagnie des Indes.