Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One: The Most Evil Company In History

Part One: The Most Evil Company In History

Tue, 04 Sep 2018 10:00

No matter who you are, or what personal stance you happen to have on capitalism, there is probably a corporation you regard as “evil”. In Episode 20 Robert is joined by the hilarious Michael Swaim to discuss one of the most terrible companies to ever exist.

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My name is Alex Fumero and I host the new podcast more than a movie, American Me, a film directed by and starring Edward James Olmos. I'll be diving into the behind the scenes controversy, including an alleged backlash from the Mexican mafia. Several people who worked on the movie have been murdered. I don't want to speak about why would people be murdered for being in a movie. Listen to more than a movie, American me on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Sisters of the Underground is a podcast about fearless Dominican women who stood up against the brutal dictator Kapal Tojo. He needs to be stopped. We've been silent and complacent for far too long. I am Daniel Ramirez, and as a Dominicana myself, I am proud to be narrating this true story that is often left out of the history books through your has blood on his hands. Listen to sisters of the underground wherever you get your podcasts. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. So four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey everybody, I'm Robert Evans and this is again behind the ******** the show where we tell you everything you don't know about the very worst people in all of history. Now, today we have a very special guest indeed. My former coworker and current friend, Slash friend worker, Michael S Wayne. Howdy, y'all. Did I get that right? Swam here. That is correct. From the cool ranch. So tell you all about the great. Crunchy taste of Doritos. We are eating Doritos. That's not like a joke or anything. Like, it started out as an attempt to get money out of the Doritos people and now we just eat a lot of Doritos. You're pounding them down. Yeah. It's delightful. It's great to be here, Robert. Thank you so much. Yeah. Thanks for showing up. So, Michael, you and I work together for a while, and now you are are the one of the head beans of the small beans network. TRU. What? True. Oh, dat. Right. True dat tape. Fantastic. So today we're talking about the age of heroic commerce. Have you ever heard of this? No. And you, I asked for like a clue as to what we'd be talking about. And you said it's the age of heroic commerce. And I resisted so strongly the urge to look it up. So I'm coming in fully cold. I do not know what you're talking about. Well, yeah, that is a you've hit upon. As I should have explained a few seconds earlier, the premise of this show, which is that I read a story about someone terrible or someones who are terrible to a comedian guest who's coming in cold. So we're going to start in on that right now. Actually, First off, I'm going to open a Diet Coke and I'm going to do like a theatric open O. Oh my God. No matter who you are or what your personal stance on politics and capitalism is, you probably have a corporation, at least one that you regard as evil. Maybe it's Monsanto. Maybe it's AT&T's Warnermedia, the parent of CNN. If you're the president, perhaps you hate Blackwater now EXE. Or perhaps you hate News Corp or maybe you're not a fan of Twitter because they banned your favorite conspiracy theorist. Everybody hates at least one corporation these days. Build-a-bear workshop building. You've got a real problem with them. So angry. I feel like there's not just a story, but like a solid two seasons of stories and the explanation for that for another day. So yeah, we've all got a corporation we hate, and hatred of a corporation or corporations feels like a pretty modern thing, right? You have trouble imagining someone like 1605 yelling about the corporate giving a **** at all? Yeah, but the reality is that 10s of millions of people have, all over the world with very good reason, been hating on big business since the 1600s. In fact, even with all the nightmarish climactic ******* of modern oil corporations, the scandals of the tobacco industry, and the vast sea of eating disorders caused by the fashion industry in Hollywood, corporate evil may have reached its peak so far more than 200 years ago. So join me, won't you? On a magical tour of a period of time the author Stephen R Bowen calls the age of Heroic commerce. His book Merchant kings, has been one of the major sources for this episode, so the idea of working with several other people to run a business goes back a very long time. Thousands of years. Right. Probably to the beginning of currency in cities and stuff. I think Zildjian Cymbals started that. Whoa. Oldest incorporated business still in existence. That's cool. How old do they go back? I'd have to look it up, but I just know they tout that fact, and I've verified it online. Well, that's pretty cool. Yeah. So yeah, the idea of, you know, running a business with a bunch of people that goes back a long time. But a corporation is a different matter, because for most of human history, there was nothing that you would want to do that it would acquire more than, you know, a couple of rich people. Working together in order to provide the funding and and the funding. I was like, the rich people wouldn't be doing the work. No, never, never, never, never, never. Like, at no point in history, obviously. But you mean you're like, we don't need to put ink to paper on this. We're three rich dudes with money. We'll do the thing. Yeah, you didn't need, like, if you wanted to run a factory at the very beginning like it was. It was just a couple of rich guys could fund it. You need it didn't take resources of huge numbers of people. And like, fast capital makes stuff. You know, anything that did that was generally the province of a state and national government or whatever Rome built. Roads as a government, not as a bunch of business enterprises, right. The great granddaddy of all modern corporations was the Dutch East India Company. It was first formed in 1602. It was a chartered company. So basically, a bunch of people who didn't know each other all paid in so they'd get a share of the profits from this business. And in the case of the Dutch East India Company, its business was achieving a monopoly on all of the spices that came from India and Southeast Asia. So we're talking like Mace. We're talking Mace is a cooking spice. Yeah. It's related to Mace like the weapon. I think it's probably why the spray has its name, but there's also nutmeg and cloves. Oh yeah, you don't want to get nutmeg sprayed in your eyes. That happened to you all the time? Yeah, yeah. Had a lot of try to sneak a cookie. Mom just goes nuts with the nutbag. So yeah, now that kind of stuff you buy for, like $0.89 from Trader Joe's in a big tube. But back in the day, it was worth enough that, like, if you had a backpack of nutmeg and you like, landed in London in the 1600s, you were a rich man. It's crazy that, like Disney or Facebook, any of the big companies you could name. Back then, the big company that had that much money and clout was just like, food is so ******* bland. This will fix that. Like, thank God, finally. Here's all the money. Well, in all of the spices that we've talked about so far come from our only located in a chunk of Indonesia called the Banda Islands. These are known as the Spice Series. So they get all the spices. They just had them all. That was the only place that. Yeah, only place cloves grew. So, yeah, the Dutchy. Sandia Company is formed to try and gain a monopoly on the trade of all the spices from those delightful islands. Now, it started out with a 21 year charter, so it was supposed to be dissolved in the money given back to its original formers after that point. But it wound up getting its charter extended over and over again and eventually lasted more than two centuries. So this is a company that had a long history. The Dutch East India Company was the first publicly traded corporation in the world, and the first stock market in history was created to sell its stock because if they were the first publicly traded, they had to invent the idea that this is when people were like stock markets. That's the thing we should have. This is doing so well. We should make paper that represents a portion of it and just sell that. We don't even need the spices. People gamble on whether it'll be. More or less at the end of the day. Wow. And then let that run our entire society. So these are, I mean, these are capitalist visionaries. Yeah. This is the beginning of capitalism. I will say that only. Maybe. Mild spoiler alert. I don't know. The only thing I recall about the Dutch East India Company is that I read a small plaque about it in the Slavery museum. So that makes there's some thread there possible. Yeah, there's some thread there, although they're not like the number one for that. We'll get to that later. So according to a book called the Honorable. Company, which is about the British East India Company. So there's the Dutch and the British East India Company. Two different companies, almost the same name. Yeah. Are they competing with each other now? But OK, so the British East India Company received its Royal charter on the 31st of December in 1600. So two years before the Dutch East India Company, its original name was the company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies. Now that original name, which is not very clickable, may inform you that it was not the same thing as the Dutch East India Company to start. Rather than being a modern corporation, it was basically a bunch of independent ventures under the same name. OK, so like a bunch of different individual boats going over to these islands, getting spices and bringing them back, all profiting independently, just sort of marketed under the same name. Why did they benefit? It's just like easier to all be under one name. Yeah, that's what I thought at the time. Yeah, the company itself had no unlike the Dutchies India Company had no ability to invest money in new projects or decide how its funds were used across its many ventures. So the British East India Company, when it starts off, is not like a modern. Corporation now, a few decades later, in 1670, the Hudson Bay Company, which still exists today, is formed and winds up gaining control of like most of Canada. It's why we have Vancouver. Vancouver started as like a corporate outpost for this company. Imagine a meeting today for that company and you're like, well, how are we doing? Well, we used to own most of Canada. This quarter we made $800,000. How's that? It was quite a legacy once the whole northwest was all domain, but. We're doing OK, up 1 1/2%. Exactly. So, yeah, so that's just to give you an idea of sort of this is when the idea of running corporation starts to take off and people are trying various different things and not all of these companies are quite like modern companies. The Dutch East India Company is the one that from the start is really recognizable as a modern corporation in terms of its its formulation and the way that it functions. So for an idea of what made it so special, I'd like to turn to an article from the global trade. Magazine called the violent birth of corporations. This is why corporations were so different from what it existed before. They were anonymous. The partners did not all have to know each other. They separated ownership from control. Elected directors made decisions. While most investors had only the choice of accepting those decisions or selling their shares. They were permanent. If one or more partners did want out, there was no need to renegotiate the whole arrangement. Finally, there were legal entities separate from any one owner, and they had unlimited life. The big trading partnerships of the 16th century and earlier were created with a planned. Of dissolution, sometimes at the end of 1 voyage, sometimes after a set number of years, at which point all the firms holdings would be liquidated and divided among the partners. The new firms like modern corporations, did not self liquidate, they built up their capital over the years rather than distributing it back to its separate owners. So they have now created an immortal being. Yeah, has pretty wide-ranging powers as we'll start to get to the corporation. The corporation? Yeah, it sounds like the Guild. Famous intent from venture brothers a little bit, right. It's because they're ahead of the curve as far as any regulation obviously. So they all get to be anonymous from even each other. They're just like Mr X is chartered this mission. Yeah, it's just the company has chartered exactly. So yeah, there are some people who get into who are very critical in the operations of this. Yeah. So for the 1st 200 years, you know from 1600 to 1800 of the corporate era, there were almost no corporations meant to service the needs of inter European trade or based solely. Within a single nation. So for two centuries, the job of a corporation was not operating stores or designing new products. It was plunder and conquest of the known and unknown world. Like, that's why we made corporations, right? The only business that existed was exploration and conquest. Well, the only business required enough incorporation. Yeah, yeah, exactly. You don't need a corporation to sell clothes to people on the other side of the Finn from you and middle of Gross England or wherever. You just have, like, handshake deals with people who own carts and **** like small businesses. There was like a shot in the shop sells the hats, and you get the hats from the shop or whatever. I just wonder who managed the, who's the first person to be like, I'm a stockbroker. I'll manage the stock of this single company and track its ups and downs. I mean, it's sort of like evolved naturally, because you start out with these things that weren't really corporations, but they had stock and they were for a limited time, and their people start, you know, once that becomes a thing, initially, it's just a way for you to get your profits from the deal. But eventually people start selling and trading the stock and once there's no five stocks. Instead of just one stock, they're like, we need a building to talk about the stocks should have an exchange. Yeah, so it's snowballs at some or. My name's not John NASDAQ. So the main reason that corporations were necessary was essentially that violence was necessary in the business of international trade. Operating boats and trading stations cost a lot of money, but the real cost came because in order to force people to trade, sometimes you needed to wage war on the native peoples who had the resources you wanted. It was also necessary because these corporations all wanted monopolies on the areas they were trading in, so corporations would fight corporations. So you needed money not just to take products from one area to the other. Not. To operate factories, but to operate navies and to operate land armies and to wage war against other corporations and against the local people who didn't want to give you their stuff. So that's why corporations are necessary. It's staggering to imagine how profitable this must have been for the home country government for them not to give a **** like that. Private citizens, you know, are amassing a Navy and be like, well, just let them do it. They they'll pay millions and millions of dollars. That's how it starts. Recover. It gets more complicated. Yeah. But at the start, yeah. The Dutch and British East India companies were not just licensed to trade. They had a literal license to kill. They had a power to declare war. And they did so regularly, like, without governmental approval. Yeah, none. None necessary whatsoever. Now, it didn't start out violent. In late 1601, the British East India Company was the first corporation in the Spice Series. You know, these islands in Indonesia that are just filled, the ******* bursting with delightful spices? Spices like the delicious spices on this cool ranch. Doritos chip that I'm going to fortify myself with before getting into the rest of this. Ohh yeah yeah, that's that malic acid you're tasting. We should find the island they grow that acid on. I mean monosodium cultures all day. Hmm, that's a good dorito. So in late 1601, when the British East India Company winds up there, it's actually pretty peaceful. You know, there's no other corporations around yet. The native Islanders are pretty peaceful people. The vast majority of gunpowder expended by the British East India Company is used saluting. Like they'll pass a port or they'll pass another ship and they'll fire into the air. And so most of the people who die at this point die in saluting accidents, just bullets randomly raining down on them. Here's a quote from the honorable company. The indiscriminate firing of a few pieces, often on the flimsiest of pretexts, would account for a good many lives. So much so that in London the directors would be moved to protest that it was quite unnecessary to salute every port, every passing vessel, every sailor, every imaginable anniversary. Yet if anything, the practice grew and there was probably more powder expended in ceremony than in bed. Oh my God, so it's national Peach day. Shoot at those guys. I forgot which is a very male thing to do. We've got cannons, we're on a boat and start with gunpowder. What the **** are we supposed to shoot? Some stuff? So the honorable company tells the story of a Captain brand of a boat named The Ascension, who quote had the unusual misfortune of being shot by the guns of his own ship and sombre mood. He was rowed ashore to attend the funeral of the Red Dragon. On other boats mate when the assumptions gunner let fly with the usual 3 gun salute for a deceased officer. Unfortunately, the gunner, being not so careful as he should have been, had forgotten that his guns were loaded and that the captain was within range. One ball scored a direct hit and slewed the captain and the Boatswains mate Stark dead, so that they went to see the funeral of another and were both buried themselves. I miss the ocean, dude. Well, they were supposed to just put powder in the cannons so it made enough, but they just left the ball in and shot the captain. God, so it's a little bit of a slap dash operation at the start. Yeah, it sounds like it's just a pack of mercenaries with no training. Oftentimes these corporations started off with a name like the Adventurers Association of whatever, because it's just guys with guns going out to get rich. Like, I don't think it's a coincidence that their initials are. HC? That's all I'm saying. Oh ****. Wait, are they? The honourable company. Ohhh, yeah, yeah, that's a nickname for him. But yeah, right. But that would be a nickname later. Well, that's what my dealer calls himself. That's all I'm saying. Weird, dude. Yeah, it's weird that you have a dealer in Los Angeles. Unnecessary, but I'm a traditionalist. Complicating matters, I like awkwardly hanging out with a weird dude to get my weed to give me $60.00 for a bag of yeah, Speaking of giving people too much money for a tiny amount? Sure. Spices. Good thing. Yeah, so around 16081609, the Dutch East India Company makes it to the Spice Series right now. They had a charter to establish a monopoly on spice trading in Asia and India. Things have been peaceful up to this point, but now that the Dutch were here, they decided they didn't want any English ******** buying. And selling spices from the same islands that they were. So, in 1609, Admiral Peter their hoven. I'm assuming the ancestor of all. Yeah, that's what I took 13 warships to the Banda Islands, the world's only source of nutmeg and Mace. Here are the orders his corporate masters sent him with. We draw your special attention to the islands and which grow the cloves and nutmeg, and we instruct you to strive after winning them for the company, either by treaty or by force. Which is nutmeg. Thousands will believe for the nutmeg. Yeah, like, what are you willing to die for? Oh, nutmeg, for sure. 100% I'll die. That's number one with a bullet or a cannon shot, I guess. So Admiral Verhoven took with him an army of 1000 soldiers, including Japanese mercenaries with swords, meant to be used as executioners to enforce corporate will through terror. If this isn't in the 1600s, it sounds 100% like a cyberpunk store. Also, had the natives in that area been rebellious or, like, stood up for themselves, or are they going in? Like, we're going to need some executioners. Let's just it'll be nice to have them. They think it'll be nice to have them, and he's planning to **** with the British, OK, and you want? Samurai if you're really gonna murder British, sure. But then the anniversary of something comes along and they accidentally just execute each other. Everybody. Yeah. So verhoven's big enemies are, yeah, the British East India Company and the Portuguese. So he wants to expel basically everyone who's not the Dutch East India Company from the Spice Islands and have all because he who controls the spice controls the dinner table. Yeah. Going to come in here. On April 19th, 1609, the Admiral came ashore and the largest of the band aisles with 250 men hand out gifts to the assembled natives and told them that they had quote broken their promise to trade only with the Dutch. As a result, he said the company was building a Fort and a permanent factory on the island to keep track of things. Then he went around to all the different tribal chiefs and had them sign agreements which none of them could read to give his company a monopoly on the nutmeg trade from their island. The Islanders did not take well to this. For one thing, he just had all the chiefs on one island sign an agreement. And then he tried to enforce that on all the islands, and they were like, we're different countries, basically. Dude. Like, we don't work that way. And for another thing, no one in the Banda Islands understood why they should agree to give any company a monopoly over their stuff. The goods he tried to buy them off with were basically wool and velvet, neither of which was useful for people on Tropical Island. So they were like, what are we getting out of this? But yeah, Verhoven keeps taking islands. So in in a little bit later, he lands with 750 of his troops and another island in the era, and he starts building a big Fort. The local people decide to take matters into their own hands, and we're going to get into. How the local people fight back against sort of corporate encroachment. But first, we have another kind of corporate encroachment that will not result in the destruction of island cultures. We'll see, we'll see. Probably not guarantee that. No, actually I will. I will guarantee none of the sponsors of this show are going to destroy islands in Indonesia. Robert doesn't speak for both of us. I think it's time. 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And we're back and we are talking about Admiral Peter Verhoven of the Dutch East India Company and his attempts to build a monopoly and the Spice Islands. So he's landing on islands, he's signing agreements with the people on islands. He's building his self some forces, and he's just landed on the island of Nero with 750 men. And he starts building a giant fortress so that he can stop anyone else from trading with the island. The local people invite the Admiral to parlay in the middle of nowhere to talk to him about sort of the limitations of this agreement, and he obliged them, bringing along 2. Chained up English prisoners as a sign of his dominance over the British East India Company to be like. Right, check out what a boss I am. I've got these dudes and chains who aren't Dutch but probably look the same to you because we're all Europeans. Like Bob Iger showing up to the Lucasfilm negotiations with like, look at this dude from Time Warner I got chained over here. Yeah, maybe. With his his lips sewn together. I imagine Bob Iger shows a lot of people's lips together that I could see that, yeah. So yeah, when the Admiral and his men arrived at the meet up point, they found it empty. So the Admiral sent out a scout who found some locals hiding and apparently terrified in the woods. Here's a quote from the book Merchant Kings. They informed him that they had become frightened at the sight of so many armed Dutchman. Would Verhoff please leave his soldiers arms and guns under the tree, bringing only his senior negotiators to them so that they could talk safely without the soldiers shadowing the talks? So this is a sign of how arrogant these Europeans are fairhaven's, like, of course. And then his second in command, Admiral Ackbar like, it's a trap. And he's like, shut up, Ackbar, we're going in. Yeah, the prisoners like, oh, mate, I don't think you're on the up and up. Shut up, you filthy Englishman. Dutch courage shall prevail. So he goes for the meeting with a few dozen of his aides and stuff, and they're all massacred. Yeah, the Admirals decapitated and his head is mounted on a stick, just like in a pullover, hoping maybe it's just like in a movie. So this marked the start of a general uprising against the Dutch across the islands. Luckily for the company, they had 1000 armed men and more than a dozen warships. So the next company leader, the guy who gets promoted when Verhoven gets his head cut off, is a guy named Simon Hoen. And he immediately starts burning down villages, executing Islanders and stealing everything that isn't nailed down as revenge for the killings. His forces were eventually beaten in battle and had to flee to their boats and but then they just enacted a naval blockade and you know, people had been trading with the Spice Islands for a while now, so their population had grown, they've been doing very well. They were no longer self-sufficient in terms of food. They required trade from other islands and from outside. So he just starts starving him. This is so Star Wars now a trade blockade on Coruscant has prevented the spice from yeah. Is this the long, long ago Lucas was talking about this very episode one? Yeah. So they got this naval blockade going and it works the local surrender because they don't want to starve to death, and the entire island of Niera becomes property of the Dutch East India Corporation. In whose eyes, I mean, and then everyone, including the people of the island. They surrendered, the company said. Like in the agreement it was stated like, this is to be kept by us forever. Wow. Like, we just own this island now, and this is the first time that it happened, so not a lot of leverage when it comes to trade back to the trade tables. So, look, I know you own us now, but the spices are still good, right? Well, Howan sailed away from the Banda Islands and the Islanders went right back to trading with people they pleased, albeit just kind of quietly this time. Sure. So they haven't figured out force projection a lot yet, so the natives are still able to get away with some stuff. What the stage has been set for the Dutch East India Corporation's rise to power. By 1623, the end of its original 21 year charter, its forces had engaged in naval battles with every major sea power on the world because they're trading all around Asia and Europe. At this point they're going up into China. They're just sending boats everywhere and they're constantly fighting with people. Yeah, it's like the wire, like it's inherent to trade that well, when you get there, you're going to have to **** some people have to shoot some people, then you control the corner, then you can start selling the product. Yeah. Yeah. So, and this is a lot of companies will set up posts and stuff, right? You know, and they'll maybe conquer the post, but they weren't taking much land beyond that. Or fortresses, it sounds like, which I'm imagining as flying steampunk fortresses. And please don't disappear. That's perfectly fine. Yeah. No, but the, the Dutchy Sindia company starts actually trying to do more than that, trying to actually rule land to an extent. And, you know, they're not good at it at first, but that's where their ambition starts to head. So in addition to fighting the local peoples, they're also fighting the British. India company at this point, you know, there are sort of fighting them in the market, but there's also like street fights in these towns and these islands between company representatives and stuff. And, you know, things gradually start to escalate. And this brings us to a guy named Jan Peter Zune Cohen. Now, Cohen was born in 1587. He served as a junior merchant in Verhoven's fleet and distinguished himself by quite literally writing reports like he he wrote really good reports on how to make more money in these islands. It was that guy, see, I think a guy who. This makes his living writing these long reports, you know, **** a guy like that, you know what I mean? Robert Evans. Yeah, you you hate that. Someone who just researches, shifts around, researching and type, type, type in a way. Stand it. All right, so this guy hate already. This guy you hate. The only syllable I remember is Zune Cohen. Well, piester. Zune. Zune. OK, John Peterson. I'm not even going to try to print. So by 1614, Cohen rose to become the 2nd in command of the company's operations and the species which? To be fair, was as much about not dying of tropical disease as it was about merits other than that very heart of darkness. It's like, that's a real important point. Who's at the top? Yeah, the British guy who hasn't died of malaria yet. Yeah, he was just born immune to malaria. So he's the boss. Yeah. Everyone else died in a month. So Cohen starts looking over the broader economic situation in the Spice Series, and one thing becomes very clear to him. And this is a quote from the book Merchant Kings. Spices grew in such abundance in these regions that there was no shortage of supply. Hence, competition from the English could not be tolerated because this would lower prices in Europe and make the business unprofitable. Which is literally, like, the epitome of evil because on the pole, from empathy to it's like, yeah, so there's this thing everyone in the world wants. Oh, it turns out God has left such a bountiful amount of it that everyone could just have it and it's fine. Well, we better burn most of it. Like, keep it locked in this box. And they do that throughout this. They will exterminate nutmeg from several of these other islands just to make it easier for them to control. Like they're like, well, these islands are too far off. And we don't have enough ships to, so let's just kill all the nutmeg. Withrow is burn the nutmeg. No one else gets nutmeg. I would say they're evil, but it smells delicious around here. Delightful, delightfully scented island. Yeah, so Cohen solution was for the company to expand throughout the region and get a, you know, a total monopoly. This way they have the power to restrict the supply of spices in Europe and thus always charge really high prices, which was necessary because they were running an increasingly large Navy and army and that **** don't come cheap. So in order to achieve this vision, Cohen called for the creation of an even larger corporate fleet so that he could. Assault the Spanish and the Portuguese and the Philippines and Macau and China. He also advocated sending Dutch colonists and slaves to colonize these newly conquered territories all throughout Southeast Asia. It was a beautiful dream. And the Council of 17, who were the Board of Directors for this, you know, right? It sounds so sinister. This whole story is so like it should take place in the future instead of the past. It should be 300 years from now. Or maybe time is cyclical because this really feels like what our corporate culture we currently have. Gonna return to ultimately, like, people start sniping CEO's and ****. Yeah, this is going to happen. It sounds like in 20 years this will happen. Most of the players will have robot arms. Yeah, and it'll be cool as hell. It'll be better. Our version will be higher effects, but yeah, yeah, way higher effects budget. So yeah, the the Council of 17 gets on board. But to actually achieve his goals, Cohen knew he would first have to kick the British out of the band aisles. So there's a bunch of different islands. They're concerned with a lot of other trading points, but he he starts. Trying to really lock down the bandas. So two of the islands I and run had not signed any kind of agreement with the Dutch. They were still free and independent. Here's how a book the Honorable Company describes the political situation in those islands at this point. In the best tradition of Southeast Asian ADAT consensus, each villager island was in fact a self governing and fairly Democratic Republic. They could withhold or dispose of their sovereignty as they saw fit, and whereas they inhabitants of neighbouring Niera and Longthorn had already been bullied into accepting a large measure of Dutch control, those of outlying eye and run had managed to preserve their independence intact. So, in other words, I run so far away. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. But why were they able to maintain that? Is that because they were militarily stronger or just remote? They were just further away? OK, yeah. So my Flock of Seagulls pun scans. Yes. Screws. What? I hate it. And I'm not happy that you made it. And then it's on this anyway. It's happened. No, it's happened. There's no cutting on this show. So in 1615, the company under Cohen sent 1000 soldiers to I to subjugate the locals. The invasion was, however. Defeated and repulsed because the natives had been armed with British guns and trained by British troops. Not troops of the British government, but troops of the British East India Company begins. So yes, multinational corporations were funding insurgent armies to fight each other 400 years in the past. Wow. Yeah, and the idea of governments just funneling guns to a convenient ally that you have no control over in the long term? Just give them all our weapons. They'll do it for us. It'll be fine. Lesson of history is that no one has ever learned. Anything ever. Yeah. I always feel like, yeah, learn history so that you know what the repetition is going to be, not, or you're doomed to repeat it because you're doomed to repeat going to repeat it. People only do the same thing, just with bigger and bigger guns. Exactly. Yeah. See how that works out for us. So the next year, Cohen sends another army to invade. I he also sent a message ahead of them to the English soldiers helping to defend the island, saying that, quote, if any slaughter of men happened, they would not be culpable. So the English company. Runs away because they don't want to die and eye gets conquered. So sci-fi. I'm sorry. That's amazing, right? The honorable Company and Council of 17 lay waste to eye for spice. Oh, boy, it's about to get wasted. So. Oh no. Bad. Yeah, no, it's terrible. Now, at this point, the English are still active in ruin and other islands in Indonesia. So Cohen's, you know, he's not finished kicking them out yet. He wrote a letter to the council of 17 around this point that inadvertently sums up the military industrial complex. Today quote Your Honor should know by experience that trade in Asia must be driven and maintained under the protection and favor of your honors own weapons, and that the weapons must be paid for by the profits from the trade, so that we cannot carry on trade without war, nor war without trade. And no, I don't understand everyone who lays the foundation of the military industrial complex. How do you not scan that as? Oh, and that seems bad. Why? This might end really badly. They're like, Sir, what's the report from the front? Well, we have chained our trade to violence and violence to trade and a never ending only accelerating freight train of who knows what will happen? Good, good report. This seems like an endless caught, like an endless Rd to more profits. Feels like it will never go badly for us. The gravy train will never stop. This seems sustainable forever. So on April 30th, 1618, the company promotes Cohen to head of Eastern Operations and basically gives him a mandate to Congrats. Yeah, I know, right. He got a plaque. He works so hard. He did. He did. Yeah. You know, it's that cannon on national broccoli day. He missed his kids Dutch baseball games a lot. But, you know, it was worth it in the end because his kids going to go to Dutch Harvard. So, yeah, once Cohen was in total command, things quickly got even more violent. The fighting and the islands were sort of the Dutch and the British are still kind of. Holding an easy piece, you know, there are more and more street fights. There are more and more naval battles between the fleets of the corporations. Soldiers start fighting in the jungle. But sort of while Cohen is working on eliminating the last of the British from this area, the English and Dutch governments go behind his back and arrange a peace treaty for the two corporations and kind of force it on them because they're like, you're going to draw our countries into war and like England doesn't need to be at war with the Netherlands over spices that there's plenty of 1000. Miles away. We don't want this, so the governments make peace. Break it up, fellas. Cohen is furious about this because if there's one thing he loves, it's fighting the British East India Corporation. And I love that. This is like maybe the first time in history a human had the impulse. How dare the government regulate my corporation? My corporation is more important than the government. I think this is where that begins. Because this is the first time that I'm aware of that a government really stepped into a multinational corporation. And was like, what the ****? Yeah, there's so much nutmeg. Why are people dying? So Cohen, yeah, has to deal with the fact that the British East India Company is now his friend and ally. He grumbles about this, but he turns his attention to ******* over a completely different group of people, the remaining unconquered Banda Islands. So he assembles an invasion force and he subjugates the remaining free indigenous people of the island chain. He burns their mosques. He requires them to pay taxes and sweet, sweet spices. And when certain people among the Islanders fight back and start massacring his patrols and basically draw the company into a guerrilla war, Jan Peterson Cohen. Those scorched earth on their *****. He captures 45 tribesmen, beheads 8 tribal elders in public and then quarters the rest, which means he just cuts them in four. One officer working for Cohen at the time stated that quote, things are carried on in such a criminal and murderous way that the blood of the poor people cries to heaven for revenge. So that's one of his employees being like, we're the bad guys. This is really clear to me. He's like, quarter that, man. He's quartering everybody. Jesus, he's *******. I'll tell you one thing about Jan Peterson Cohen, he's always able to ******* clean his laundry because he's got quarters coming out the roof. You nailed his name that time, too. Thank you. Well played. Thank you. So subjugation was not the only thing Jan Cohen was out for. His plan for the islands was, in essence, genocide. Here's how Merchant kings describes it. Quote he wanted to depopulate. The islands to replace their inhabitants with imported slaves and indentured labor under company control, he proceeded with the ethnic cleansing of the Banda Islands. Over the next several months, company troops burned and destroyed dwellings, rounded up entire villages, and herding captives into ships so that they could be transported to Batavia and sold as slaves. Thousands of men, women, and children died of disease and starvation during the voyage. Out of a total population of perhaps 13 to 15,000, barely 1000 of the original residents remained in the Banda Islands. Holy ****. How much right? Can you think you have to reform the earth? That's crazy. Like showing up at a place and being like, yeah, let's move that over there. Build these buildings, kill all these people. Just all of them. Would it change your opinion, though, to know that there's nutmeg? Yeah. What are they? That's what I'm clothes. You dare forget clothes at home? Are people outraged, or are they just like, I love me them? Get hard. And they're building like, the government gets taxes out of this duties and they're building nice new buildings and yeah, it's or what have you. If you're just a dude in the Netherlands, you like ****. Load of money's coming in from over here, and I'm sure your average person on the street in the 1600s doesn't have their app open going like, oh, all this ****** evil. And by the height of the Dutchy Cindy Corporation, it's responsible for something like half of all of the trade in Europe. Wow. So they become huge to the point where people just take it for granted, like, well. They're just always there. They're McDonald's. What he gonna do? They're even. It would be fair to say they're even bigger in this society as a force for like the life in commerce then Amazon is today. Like half of the trade like that. They are enormous. They're like Googles on. Yeah. And they just had to genocide some people. So you might think that for any rational man or even a moderately crazy genocidal man, this would have been enough. But it was not enough for Jan Peterson Cohen, he decided. And laterally, to renege on the peace treaty with the British East India Company that his government had negotiated. He arrested all of the English people on the islands, tortured and executed a huge number of them, took all their goods and destroyed everything that they built. Wow, yes. So he's not even. Because a lot of times evil ******** will have the ability to dehumanize foreign or exotic peoples, but he's he'll kill anyone. No one is a human to jam code. That's what I mean is like, he doesn't it's not a thing. Where he has any justification, he's like, I'll kill anyone who opposes me. He doesn't just not clear. He has *****. But he took half of his ***** and he executed them in front of the other half of his ***** to keep them quiet. Like that's the man here. So we're going to talk more about Jan ******* Cohen and then we're going to talk about a ************ named Robert Clive and a little subcontinent called India. But first, do you love products and services and using currency to purchase those things? Like you know it. That's why I'm here. It's the best. Off we go. 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Get premium wireless service from just $15.00 a month and no one expected plot twists at That's Seriously, you'll make your wallet very happy at Mint Mobile. Com slash behind. So by now we imagine that you've seen the theories on Tik T.O.K. You maybe even heard the rumors, your friends and loved ones. But are any of the stories about government conspiracies and cover ups actually true? The answer is surprisingly or unsurprisingly, yes. For more than a decade, we hear at stuff they don't want you to know have been seeking answers to these questions. Sometimes there are answers that people would rather us not explore. Now we're sharing this research. With you for the first time ever in a book format, you can pre-order stuff they don't want you to know now. It's the new book from us, the creators of the podcast and video series. You can turn back now or read the stuff they don't want you to know. 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Go to That's Get paid to talk about the things you love. Spreaker from iheart. And we're back, we're back. We're talking about Jan piece, Jason Cohen, Jan ***** ** **** Cohen. It's a real ***** ** ****. Real. The piece of Shittest Cohen there's ever been. I wonder if the Cohen brothers, it would be weird if a real ***** ** ****. It would be weird if we've been talking about ancestors to both Paul Verhoven and the Cohen brothers, the three greatest directors of all history, and they hear this and have a bare chested fist fight to resolve the conflict or make this into a sweet *** movie. Here you go. Because I think if you're going to have the Coen brothers and Paul. We're having team up on a movie. You need verhoven for how bloody this story is. You have the Coen brothers direct, like the peaceful native people and their their plight. And I think you have Paul Verhoeven direct the Dutch. Yeah, so yeah, Jane's corporate masters were angry that he had disobeyed them and massacred the British company, but he'd also guaranteed them sole world monopoly over nutmeg and Mace, two of the most valuable things on the planet. So they gave him history's first slap on the wrist corporate punishment, and also gave it to him with a gigantic bonus. So literal golden parachute. Well, he stays on. No, they're not going to kick him out. He's really good at this. So one of the company's directors looking out at the burnt. Farms and slave run plantations that had replaced a once thriving society in the Banda Isles said quote this is fine. This seems good to me. Oh no, he said there is no profit at all in an empty sea, empty countries and dead people. That's I agree. Like what the? At some point if you burn everything the **** down, where are you getting the nutmeg dude? Well he was right eventually because this all does collapse for the Dutch India Company. But for a while it's super profitable and the Dutch East India Company becomes most powerful corporation on the planet. Cohen died of a horrible tropical disease in 1629 at age at age 42, so he didn't last that long. But the company lived on. By the end of the century it had a private fleet of more than 150 merchant ships and 40 warships and employed 50,000 people across the world, including a 10,000 man's private army, and eventually sank into decline in irrelevance. And by 1799 it was dissolved under a tremendous amount of debt. So yeah, the Netherlands continue to govern much of Indonesia until 1949, but the Dutch East India Company was not the most. Successful or the most notable East India Company in all of history? That title goes to the people they defeated in the battle for the Spice series, the British East India Company. So after Cohen massacred a bunch of their people in the Banda Isles back in 1623, the British East India Company hit a wee bit of a rough patch. The company took on more and more debt and had to sell most of its assets in order to stay alive. The only reason it didn't get dissolved and go out of business is that it maintained a small trading post on India's northwest coast. Now the company limped along through the 1630s and 1640s. And Oliver Cromwell took away its royal monopoly over Indian trade at the same time as he took off the King's head. By early 1657, the British East India Company was near death, and its governor suggested ending it altogether. But all Oliver Cromwell was like, wait a minute, maybe this thing just needs a little tune up. And he issued the company a new charter. It would again have a monopoly on trade within the Indies, but it would also have to organize itself differently. So, as I said before, the Dutch corporation had been similar in organization to today's corporations. You know it. Emulated wealth, invested on projects and was able to, you know, operate the way a company operates. The British East India Company had not functioned that way. The new Charter was basically a rip off of the Dutch East India companies organizing principle so that it could compete with a company like that and develop an effective Navy and army. The government even ceded the reformed British East India Company with £750,000 of capital. But is this after the Duchess India Company had already collapsed? Biggest thing is, OK, because I thought it was like, they saw a train crash and they're like, let's do that. No, because this is like the 1650s, right? When they're in, they're making a **** load of money hand over fist. So they're emulating success exactly, much like Coke has to palely imitate Pepsico's delicious brand of umbrella of yes. And much like all other tortilla chips are a pale imitation of Doritos. They taste like ashes in my mouth. Would rather boil my tongue hard now. Oliver Cromwell died two years after reforming the company, and when a new king took over Britain, that King issued a royal decree that granted the company even wider powers to quote, wage war, administer justice, engage in diplomacy with foreign princes, acquire territories, raise and command armies, and capture and plunder ships, violating its monopoly. So the King's like, you're basically a government, but just to make money, get out of jail free, construct the laser cannons. Yeah, well, funny that you bring up laser camp. Oh boy, because this company's new focus was not spices. The British Cyndia company was not stealing spices, say lasers. The the 1600s equivalent, because India just happened to be the world's largest reservoir of saltpeter now. Saltpeter forms from animal droppings after they've been left to sit in calcify for a while, and it was the indispensable ingredient in gunpowder. Whoever controlled India saltpeter supply would basically control Europe. Ability to shoot people. If you know, Europe in the 1600s, shooting people's kind of their thing. So the British company focused on India and spread. By the 1700s, they had established control over three separate presidencies along the subcontinent. And these are fairly small areas. They're still just setting up trade. Sometimes they control like a city and a little bit of the surrounding territory, but they're not capturing territories, right? You know, they're starting trading posts. Some of those turn into cities. Some of them are based around cities, but they don't. Control vast swaths of land yet, and they're not saying here are our soldiers, we own this whole city. Just saying, here's our little building, here's our little building we're here to trade for now. For now, yes. Just give us the gunpowder. We'll we'll just see what happens later. It'll probably go great for everybody. Well, we love is mutual profit right now. The fact that Indian saltpeter was behind most of the gunpowder used in Europe, many, many many many many, many, many, many. Pretty much constant and unending wars meant that the British East India Company was not the only corporate power vying for control of the subcontinent resources. Their old enemies, the Dutch were there, as well as French, Danish, Swedish, and Australian corporations all fighting over the Indian saltpeter. These places not have animals that **** to make. They're not like, if you've been to India, it's a beautiful country, fascinating culture. Poop everywhere. Yes, absolutely. It will not like when I read, like, oh, saltpeter comes from poop in India had the most. It was because I spent a lot of time. And he's like, oh, of course, yeah. That's the place where there would be all the saltpeter. Interesting. Yeah. And they've been, you know, India has been developed for a very long time. They've been long history of animal husbandry, a long history of of cultivation. And so there were just huge reserves of this stuff. Sitting around and it just so happened that the Mughal Empire, I don't know why I said Nice, they have a lot of poop. Good for them. It's not about to be good for them. So the Mughal Empire who ruled most of India was in decline at this point. And as it declined, the French and British corporations particularly grew more powerful. So these corporations all had armies on the subcontinent, usually a mix of regular government troops and corporate soldiers, basically mercenaries along with cadres of local troops trained to a rough approximation of European. Standards. Now, these armies were there to defend against other corporations, but they'd sometimes make military alliances with, like, local Princess and stuff who were more or less independent because, again, sort of the centralized nature of the Mughal government's breaking down at this point. So you've got local princes and whatnot, Nawabs kind of vying for more and more control. And I'm sure the local forces they trained were just as effective as the local forces we trained nowadays. You know, it's easy to transmit that kind of knowledge. It really is. So this is the world that one Robert Clive is born into in 1925. Now, have you ever heard of Robert Clive? No. He's one of the most important people who's ever lived. Wow. Yeah. I mean, yes, I know everything about him. You can skip it. Like Jan Cohen, he is a monster. But at least to me, he's also kind of a likable monster. I kind of want to see a movie about this guy, and I credit that to the decades I spent reading adventure novels set during the colonial era, like King Solomon's Mines. Clive isn't objectively bad person. That holy God, he had hotspot. So he was born into the aristocracy, but like the poor aristocracy. So you would think of this guy is like lower middle class. They got a nice house, but his dad's working all the time and like, he doesn't have a lot of prospects for the future. You know, while he's a kid, he keeps getting expelled from schools because he can't stop pulling pranks. At one point a bunch of his friends get together and they form a protection racket to extort money from local business owners. So he's like a thug from Oh yeah, that old prank of beating the **** out of people if they don't pay you. Yeah, classic Clooney. Clooney did that on set. All the time. All the time. This is just a prank. This is a prank. This is a prank. Give me your money. So Clive eventually grows up and decides to take a job in India with the company because again, he doesn't have any prospects in England. And if you want to get ******* rich in this. You roll the ******* die of a tropical disease dice and get a job with one of these death of a salesman and you just go into the jungle and come out a millionaire. Yeah, yeah, that's the OR die of malaria. A lot of people did both. So, yeah, he gets a yeah. And he's he's he's not the stuff that he's gonna sound like an action hero when we get through with this. He is a small man. He's not good looking. He's sick all the time, and he is manic depressive. OK, yeah. I also like to think he's just a Mesa holic. He needs that. He's got to be where the. That's further South India, although he's probably loving the Curry. The Curry family? Yeah. So in 1745, Clive gets a job working as a clerk at an outpost in Madras. 2020 there are only about 300 guys there from the East India Corporation. When a force of French company soldiers shows up and tries to conquer the place. Now, the company meant a whole up inside the Fort. But rather than fight, they just drink all of the liquor and the Fort. And then once the liquor runs out, they surrender. Which is. I can respect that. That means they probably knew they were going to surrender the whole time, but they're like, wait, wait, give us a minute. Give us a minute. They're probably going to take the liquor if we let them out. Exactly. Should drink it first, I should say they all surrender. Except for Robert Clive. Ohh nice. He dresses up in the traditional outfit of a local interpreter, paints himself in blackface, and escapes with a few of his colleagues. Not nice, not nice. They hike 150 kilometers to the company's last intact coastal Fort and get there just in time to warn them that the French army is on its way. This gives the British company men enough time to get the local ruler, the Nawab, to raise up an army of 10,000 men to defend them. So the French show up with 1200 men and they easily beat this army. Because I wish we could know if he was. Manic or depressive at each time like it changes and this is a manic ******* run for his that diagnosable in the 1600s? How do we know but people since then because he wrote a lot and he had a biographer? Who hung out with him all the time so there's enough info that people are like it seems like he was manic depressive clear. Yeah, it seems like it. You know, so yeah, the the French beat the army that's raised up to defend the last sort of British company port on the coast. But the delay in fighting them gives the Royal Navy enough time to show up. Save the day. So in 1748, that little trade war ends and Robert Clive realizes that he kind of loves being in terrifying danger. So he volunteers. Definitely manic. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like I could kill 1,000,000 French guys. This is great. This is the best. So he volunteers for service in the militant wing of the East India Company. He basically transfers over to the armed division. Right. Request to be in the fighting section. OK and his his request is granted because he's did a really good job. The last time. So he immediately gets a promotion and he winds up in a pretty sweet position where he basically gets a cut of all of the trade within a certain small area. So he starts making good money. And the thing that the trade war had driven home to Clive is that Europeans were just way better at fighting than everybody else. Again, that was like a 1200 man French army versus 10,000 Indian soldiers, and it wasn't even a hard fight. There's a lot of reasons for this, you know, it's not that these guys are superhuman or genius. It's that, number one, they have guns and fairly modern cancer. Yeah. And #2, none of these soldiers usually want to be fighting for the side they're with. They're kind of pressed getting into it. These aren't large professional armies that are motivated, right? They're just like guys this local rulers forcing to fight. And they run pretty easy, right? So come to fight another day whenever they want. Yeah, if they want. But they don't really want to fight because they're farmers, right? That they're not so kind of balances out. And that's the other thing is that all of the European soldiers in here are soldiers, usually for decades. If they live long enough, they'll have 20 years of fighting. Experience. So is it almost all spent overseas? Yeah, yeah. It's not like now where they have regular, like go home for you because it takes like 2 years to get home. It's just crazy to imagine that you sign up for my life is just totally detached from my home now, forever going into the void. Amount of violent, kind of off balance people. So Europe trains them really well, harms them, and sends them away from Europe. Like, yeah, it's like the beginning of the space program. This is just a bunch of ******* astronauts. Sent out, we were just like we got to get Neil Armstrong out of this ******* planet. Such a prick cinema way. Send him to the moon. Yes, this this show has always had a strong anti astronaut 5 and I'm glad that you caught on to that present in every episode. Gaddafi would agree with you. They should all commit suicide, yes. The hollow life of an astronaut. The empty existence of an astronaut. Just kill myself. Yeah. So yeah, Robert Clive realizes that European armies are just unbelievably good compared to anything that particularly that the Indian rulers can put together. And he realizes that with enough soldiers, there's basically no native force in India who could stop him from doing whatever he wanted. Now, he did not turn straight to conquest. He just saw this as a service he could offer the local rulers. Basically, I want trade in a certain reason. You're the guy in charge. I can help you beat whatever local enemies you have and it won't. It's not even hard for me. I send my guys out for a couple of weeks, it's done. And then you let me get your **** at a lower price or whatever. We set up a deal, right? So that's kind of, that's his first idea is just to rent his mercenaries out in order to get better trading deals, right? Punch that guy in the face and we'll give you a Costco club. Tired? I get it. So. And that's when all this is happening. The empire is dying. Regional leaders are getting more and more power, and he's just renting his army out. And basically the different European companies just start sort of backing puppet rulers in the regions where they're active because it's easy for them to prop up a government. And it makes it easier if they can know the government's going to be supportive of their company. And they've learned from the mistake of, like, don't have your mercenaries try to turn into judges and magistrates and lawmakers and ****. Yeah, just let the nation building. But it's not worth the investment, yes. So they're leaving the state intact. They're just making sure the ruler won't do anything they don't want, or knows that they'll be killed if they do. Yeah, it's it's a pretty sweet position because they don't really have any responsibility over anything like other than fighting every now and then. Yeah, robbing people at gunpoint is usually a pretty advantageous position to be in. At one, you know, at various points, the puppets of these corporations go to war with each other. And during one of these little trade wars between the puppets of the French and the puppets of the English, like the different puppet rulers they put up, Robert Clive talks his way into a major military command. He takes a force of 200 English company soldiers and 300 mercenaries on a daring jungle March. They go 100 kilometers in six days, and they capture the enemy capital, a town called Arcott, with 100,000 citizens. They don't even have to fire a shot. O Clive takes command of the town's Fort. He orders his men not to loot or take bribes because he doesn't want any trouble with the locals, because he knows that there's going to be a big counterattack to quarter only quarter only cut them in four. No, but he's really, he's not that kind of guy. He really is trying to win hearts and minds. He's just trying not to lose them because he knows the people. They don't care about the local ruler either. They're just ****** *** that everything is chaotic. They don't care which puppet exactly. And he just, like, don't give them a reason to hate us. Like, there's there's no benefit to that, right? Less than that. So yeah, Clive took takes command of the Fort. He and his men start to like, fortify it for the counterattack and the counterattack comes. Clive and his men wind up surviving like a 50 day long siege from this, like massive Indian army, 10,000 men who have been partly trained by French soldiers. So they're a little bit better than the Indian armies usually are. And they have several dozen war elephants that are covered in metal plates on their heads that are basically meant to batter down this Fort. We've reached act three of the movie. We reached act three of the movie, but being a military genius, Robert Clive realized that elephants don't like being shot by rifles. So he just had his men do that repeatedly. Genius. He's a brilliant man, Wiley. *** ** * *****. So the muskets of that era weren't really good at killing elephants, but they scared the **** out of them, and the elephants stampeded and trampled their guys on their own side. It's like, you don't have to kill the elephant, you just have to make the elephant be like, **** OK? **** this. Yeah, yeah. So the army retreats, and a few hours later Clive and his men are relieved by reinforcements. So this point, Robert Clive, 20 something dude had seen more adventure than most people in two lifetimes, but he was still like, **** it, I want more action. So he takes charge of the reinforcements and he leads an attack on the guy who's just been laying siege to him. Clive bribes hundreds of the enemy's best soldiers to defect and adds them to his army, and he spends the next few months just winning a series of skirmishes and slowly demolishing this Indian Kings Army he everywhere he conquered, he took bribes and cuts of all of the riches. In the region and just took it. Some of them went to the company, some of it just went to Robert Clive. So by the time this whole war is over, Clive has **** you money. So he goes back to England for a while once he's there. He's one of the guys Manafort we'd be trying to burnish the image of pressure, be like, yeah, he was. He's a real inspiration. So he goes back to England for a while. Once this trade war ends and he does the fancy rich British gentleman schtick for a spell, he gets married. He's sort of famous at this point. Prime Minister William Pitt the elder called him, quote the Heaven born general. Wealth and politics quickly grew boring for him, though. So when Clive heard the company was having more trouble with the French, he took the opportunity to go back to India and do more war stuff. So this time. Winds up in Bengal, a super productive and agriculturally rich region of the country. A local Nawab, his soldiers trained by the French, had just conquered the city of Calcutta, which had been sort of a British trading city, and he'd captured the English Fort there. Now the area around Calcutta had both a lot of cotton and also the world's largest reserves of high quality, saltpeter. So the British can't really afford to lose this area. So Clive takes a fleet and 200 soldiers and he sails back to India to **** **** up. Oh, OK. I thought you were saying Clive took it like they. Like the British East India Company, defense is like, *******. We're taking over England. He's going in to get it back. It's conquered by an Indian army that's backed by the French, and the British decided to take it. They go easier on the ratio of elephants to soldiers. They're able to win this time. Well, there's just not that many guys. There's like a couple 100 dudes, right? And they're not really well organized. So yeah, they get, they get. So they call the sociopaths to come in and mop and sociopath real ******* hard. So. Winds up back there and he's, he's he's great, you know, he he wins a bunch of battles. He scares a bunch of elephants and makes them run through enemy ranks. That happens a number of times. It's like the classic Clive move. Uh and the British East India Company stock raises 12% off of his victories. Everything culminates in the Battle of Plassey. Now, this is one of those battles, like the Battle of Hastings, that everybody should know about. It's one of the most important moments in the history of both India and of the British Empire. So Clive, with three thousand soldiers, only 1000 of whom are European, fights a local army of 50,000 men and he just wipes the floor with them. They're basically charging cannons and gun lines with swords and it just doesn't work. Clive is not a military genius, although he gets that reputation at the time. The consensus now more seems to be that he was just competent and didn't **** anything up and was very brave. And it wasn't hard to win a war like this because again, you've got disciplined soldiers with muskets and cannons, and the natives are charging you with swords across an open field. As long as you're able to just barely keep them in line and be like, don't run, yeah, we'll win, you'll win. And these guys, these are all hard **** ** ******* who have been killing people for decades, so they don't know exactly in there for ******* 15 years. They are rough sons of *****. I can't even run my head around the mercenary concept because I just. It's so crazy to be like, hey, there's money. Kill that guy, and then someone else comes along. They're like, here's more money. I don't know, kill that guy. You're like, OK, shoot this guy. Yeah, money's good and I'm good at shooting people. The guy who paid you before. Because here's more money. Can I stay drunken on opium for forever? Of course. It's the 1600s. That seemed to be like part and parcel of being a mercenary at this time. He's over just ******** your pants, taking opium, killing people. Yeah, that's that's these guys. So with the victory at Plassey, Clive instantly rockets from having **** you money to **** the world, money. He's one of the richest humans on the planet. After this he places a new guy on the throne of Bengal, which is a huge chunk of India and is given a cut of all of the wealth and like the wealthiest part of the Indian subcontinent. So he's given £300,000 and not. Towns, in terms of British currency, £300,000 in gold and jewels just for him. Like he just gets that loot. 300,000 pounds of **** 150,000 tons. There's only one reason to accrue that in physical gold. He's Scrooge Mcduck king. That **** he is, why would you need it as physical gold and jewels? Now his men get another huge chunk of money, like half a million pounds of wealth, so they they all get rich too, but not nearly as rich as Clive. And the company gets also huge, huge amounts of money. And also the British East India company winds up with a total monopoly pretty much on high quality saltpeter. So the British Government from this point on basically has the power to cut every nation on Earth off from gunpowder. Doesn't that play a key role in the American Revolution in every war that happens? I guess that makes sense the the seven Years War, the French and Indian War. A big part of why the British win is because they own the gunpowder. So I know that 1776, yeah. John Thomas Jefferson tells his wife how to make yeah, self saltpeter. Yeah, so Clive is appointed Governor of Bengal, but Bengal is still technically ruled by a local dude. But for the first time, the company finds itself in control of more than just a few ports. They're more or less in control of this whole region. They're not officially because they don't want to be, because they don't want to be. But they really are running this now because they think there's a lot of money in it. For once, they just get, as soon as they conquer it, the guy they put on the throne. Gives them huge amounts of money so they start to get a taste for eating big chunks of land, right? OK, that's kind of where the East India companies and nation building are, just owning them and sitting on what they don't give a **** about me, OK, just want to take the money. But back at home in England, this starts to scare people, both the company having this big chunk of land that's larger than England and contains more people in it, which is weird for everybody. And it even scares Clive a little bit in 1759, he writes. This to a company officer so large a sovereignty may possibly be an object too expensive for a mercantile company. And it is feared that they are not of themselves able without the nation's assistance to maintain so wide a dominion. It took that long. Yeah, you start a business and you're like we own most of Canada's parts of Texas. Like, have we gone too far? Is this is this not what a company should? No one asked this till now, but should we own the moon? I mean, we just make Build-a-bear. This is gone maybe too far for build-a-bear. So the sheer amount of wealth Clive acquired in one fell swoop after the Battle of Plassey also terrifies everybody. In Britain this is a semi modern state. We're not talking the Roman Empire, we're generals are meant to plunder things. This is a place with press and like civil rights rules and like limitations on the power of government and stuff. Nothing like this or like they can be circulated within England. They do, right? Obviously not compared to what we'd consider, but like this is still weird for them, but this guy just doing crimes. Crimes, this is a officer of a corporation and under Clive is not just company troops, but Royal British soldiers and the Royal British Navy. So the British Government soldiers are fighting under the command of a corporate officer who just took hundreds of thousands of pounds in plunder. This is weird for everybody. And like, kept as much as he wanted. Yeah, yeah. So people start to speak up and be like, this might not be OK with England. We we need to talk about this. And Bengal is not at this point, the only chunk of land that's been taken over by. Operations. We just talked about the Dutch, but obviously like in Canada, the American Northwest was like the Hudson Bay Company by this point controls 1,000,000 square kilometers of North America. So it's starting to be a thing and it's starting to get weird to people. And also, it's probably worth noting that in 1660 the British government issued a charter to the company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa. This would become the Royal African Company. By 1689, the Royal African Company had shipped roughly 100,000 slaves out of Africa and into the New World. So. Yes, the Dutchy cyndia company. The guys from the beginning also founded the New Amsterdam colony. They're mismanagement, gave it over to the English, and they eventually became New York. So like, this is what else is happening at this time, or Robert Clive is back in England with all of the money in the world and starting to fend off some like legal challenges as a result of how much he's taken. So maybe your education was different than mine, Michael, and people listening, maybe you all learned about this stuff when you were a kid. But prior to my research here, the only thing I knew about the British East India Company was something to do with the Boston Tea Party and that they were bad guys in at least one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, right? I knew that in in narratives of this time period, they are seen as like an evil empire. So I was ready for that to be true. And it is true. It's super true. And it's true that their actions built the modern world. In very many ways. They embody what's possible. In a gigantic business, enterprise is completely unencumbered by the rule of law or conscience. But what we've seen happen here isn't just the birth of free enterprise utterly devoid of regulation, international corporations that cannot be regulated. It's not just that this is the birth of colonialism, because this is now when these companies start thinking about colonies, not just as a place for like, people to move or whatever for whatever, but like this is part of a trading empire that we've set up and like a planned community. And some, I mean, there's several movies. Where the evil plan is to, like, just reshape people on a genetic level until you have the perfect worker or whatever. And this is almost that, like, let's just change the whole world, do whatever the **** we want. Yeah. Now, in the 1850s, the British annexed Mandalay in modern day Burma. Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem about life as a colonial soldier there. That I think sums up very well the attitude many of these corrupt corporate officers had towards the vast domains now under their charge. I'm just surprised the government's not already pushing back. Harder. Like, they don't see this as an existential threat, I guess, because it enriches them so much. Right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And we'll be getting to that in the next part of this. But I want to read you this quote from Kipling's poem Mandalay. That's sort of, I think it helps me get into the head of these people. And I'm gonna do it in a British accent. OK, great. Ship me somewheres east of Suez where the best is like the worst, where there ain't No 10 Commandments and a man can raise a thirst. That's that's the attitude here. Yeah, yeah. There's no God out here. Let's go to international waters and get drunk. Do whatever we think it's better we ******* next. So if you want to see what it looks like when a bunch of cash hungry corporate types winds up in charge of one of the most populous nations on the planet and realizes that there are no ******* rules about what they can do, you'll have to tune into the next episode of behind the ********. Because this is again A2 parter. We will be dropping the next part on Thursday and it's going to get ugly. Not just as ugly as it's been. But as ugly as anything last century was, this so far compared to other episodes I've heard, is tame in terms of detailed graphic detail about that can be changed. See, like, now you have the overview. We'll get to the blood and guts. Yeah. So, Michael. Yeah. Michael, as you have never gone by and Miguelito sometimes, yeah. So you got any pluggable before we close this episode? Well, my Twitter handle is at Swayam under score Corp, but now I want nothing to do with. I thought it'd be cute. I'm a corporation. I'm a brand, you know? But now I realize that I'm destined to colonize the earth. And crash people under my boot heel, yes, and it doesn't feel good, but if you wanna follow my progress on conquering the earth, that would be it. Swam, under score Corp and as you mentioned at the top, very graciously. Our own podcast and Sketch network is called small beans and you can find us on Patreon, Instagram, iTunes and etcetera. All right. And I'm Robert Evans. You can find me on Twitter at I write. OK, just two letters. And you can find this podcast on the Internet at Well, we'll have all of the sources for this episode and next episode. You can also find us on Twitter at at Bastarde pod. You can find us on Instagram in the same way. So thank you for listening, and we'll be back next Thursday with Part 2 of the age of Heroic commerce. My name is Alex Fumero and I host the new podcast more than a movie, American Me, a film directed by and starring Edward James Olmos. I'll be diving into the behind the scenes controversy, including an alleged backlash from the Mexican mafia. Several people who worked on the movie have been murdered. I don't want to speak about why would people be murdered for being in a movie. Listen to more than a movie, American me on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Sisters of the Underground is a podcast about fearless Dominican women who stood up against the brutal dictator Kapal Tojo. He needs to be stopped weeping, silent and complacent for far too long. I am Daniel Ramirez, and as a Dominicana myself, I am proud to be narrating this true story that is often left out of the history books through your husband, blood on his hands. Listen to sisters of the underground wherever you get your podcasts. My name is Lauren Ober, and in addition to being a charming podcast host, I am also a newly diagnosed autistic person. My new show, the loudest girl in the world, is all about my weird, winding path to diagnosis. My decision at age 42 to finally get evaluated for autism. Listen to the loudest girl in the world on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.