Danish India was the name given to the colonies of Denmark (Denmark–Norway before 1813) in India, forming part of the Danish colonial empire. Denmark-Norway held colonial possessions in India for more than 200 years, including the town of Tharangambadi in present-day Tamil Nadu state, Serampore in present-day West Bengal, and the Nicobar Islands, currently part of India’s union territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Danish presence in India was of little significance to the major European powers as they presented neither a military nor a mercantile threat.
Success of Dutch and English traders in the 17th century spice trade was a source of envy among Danish and Norwegian merchants. On March 17, 1616, Christian IV the King of Denmark-Norway, issued a charter creating a Danish East India Company with a monopoly on trade between Denmark-Norway and Asia for 12 years.
It would take an additional two years before sufficient capital had been raised to finance the expedition, perhaps due to lack of confidence on the part of Danish investors.
It took the arrival of the Dutch merchant and colonial administrator, Marchelis de Boshouwer, in 1618 to provide the impetus for the first voyage. By 1625 a factory had been established at Masulipatnam, the most important emporium in the region, and lesser trading offices were established at Pipli and Balasore.
The lack of financial return led to repeated efforts by the major stockholders of the company to have it dissolved. The King, Christian IV, resisted these efforts until his death in 1648.Two years later his son, Frederick II, abolished the company.
The Danish colonies went into decline, and the British ultimately took possession of them, making them part of British India: Serampore was sold to the British in 1839, and Tranquebar and most minor settlements in 1845 (11 October 1845 Frederiksnagore sold; 7 November 1845 other continental Danish India settlements sold); on 16 October 1868 all Danish rights to the Nicobar Islands, which since 1848 had been gradually abandoned, were sold to Britain.